WHAT THE FUNDRAISING

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54: Confidently Claiming Next-Level Success through Self-Awareness, Visibility, and Brand Partnerships with Julie Solomon

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“I always had this thing in me to attract and also to be attracted by stars … Not necessarily Hollywood stars but people who were at the top of their game or had the potential to be.”

– Julie Solomon
Episode #54

Overview

In this episode of What the Fundraising Podcast…

It was such a pleasure to welcome Julie Solomon, a highly respected brand and pitch expert, on the day of her first book’s publication. In this episode of What the Fundraising she is walking us through the very internal process undergone by the successful entrepreneurs, entertainers, and other public figures with whom she has worked over the years. But the real work? It started with Julie herself. She gets vulnerable in sharing her own origin story, which is also detailed in “Get What You Want: How to Go From Unseen to Unstoppable.” 

In this episode, we are looking at what it takes to break through the scrappy startup phase into the next stage of growth and development. In most cases, it looks like moving from scarcity to abundance – which is a lot harder than it might sound. Julie explains the kind of self-examination required to discard toxic beliefs that no longer serve, embrace clarity and claim true confidence. She explains a three-step framework built around Awareness, Acceptance, and Action that you’ll find simple to understand and available to anyone willing to take that all-important pause. 

For many fundraisers, stories we tell ourselves about money or judgments we make around funder agendas get in the way of actually realizing our own power. As Julie notes, nonprofits have assets of great value to offer branding partners. This episode is all about uncovering and laying claim to the value-add our donors need – and want – to see!

Click here to order Julie’s new book, “Get What You Want: How to Go From Unseen to Unstoppable.” Anyone who orders prior to June 11th is invited to attend for free a virtual live event that day, at which many of Julie’s principles and practices will be put into action. 

You can also enjoy Julie’s podcast The Influencer by clicking here. It offers a wealth of knowledge and information to grow and scale organizations and businesses of all kinds!

If you feel like you need more support around the topic outlined in this episode, check out my Power Partners Formula. The course is designed to equip you with the tools you need to identify your Power Partners, avoid mistakes, and stop wasting time on the endless fundraising hamster wheel. To learn more about my unique methodology, you can also register for my free 60-minute masterclass here.

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@JulieSolomon roots for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library 

Get to know @Imagination Library:

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth to age five, no matter their family’s income.

www.imaginationlibrary.com

Get to know Julie:

For more than fifteen years, Julie Solomon has been empowering lives—including her own. As a brand and pitch expert, coach, and host of The Influencer Podcast, Julie, has launched several successful online programs and masterminds, including Pitch It Perfect, The Influencer Academy, and SHINE Mastermind. She helps women turn messages into movements and empowers entrepreneurs to grow their influence and impact through her work. Julie was recently named one of the Top 100 leaders in influencer marketing by Influence Co. In her weekly chart-topping podcast, The Influencer Podcast, she offers up real-time coaching, straight talk, and conversations about business growth and personal development to her millions of listeners worldwide.

Julie Solomon’s free downloadable audio guide + worksheet for gaining clarity, building confidence, and accomplishing goals is available here.

Julie’s new book, “Get What You Want: How to Go From Unseen to Unstoppable.” 

Click here to learn more about Julie and her work.

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I teach nonprofit fundraisers to bring in more gifts from the RIGHT donors… so they can stop hounding people for money. Fundraising doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.

MALLORY ERICKSON

episode transcript

Mallory Erickson: Welcome Everyone. I could not be more excited to be here today with Julie Solomon on such an important day, book launch day! Julie, thank you so much for joining us. 

Julie Solomon: Thank you so much for having me. And I know that we have a mutual friend who we both adore. And so it’s just so great to see how the beautiful ripple effects of connection can work in real time, which is why we’re here. It’s great to be here. 

Mallory Erickson: Yeah, it’s wonderful. And I have been a fan of your work for so long, but why don’t you just kick us off telling everyone a little bit about you and what brings you to this conversation?

Julie Solomon: My name is Julie Solomon. I am an online business coach and really a mindset coach as well. Which I think we’re gonna be talking a lot about today. I’m also a speaker and I’m a brand expert and a publicity expert publicist. I was a former publicist and so I do call myself a PR expert, a publicity expert just due to that background. And now I am also a published author and my new book Get What You Want is out today, which is amazing. So that is something else to add to the never-ending things that we do as entrepreneurs. 

Mallory Erickson: Yes, absolutely. And I’m so excited for you and I cannot wait to dive into the whole book and we’ll make sure to link below, so folks can get their hands on it too. Okay, let’s go to what you first started with, which is that you’re both a business coach and a mindset coach, and that those things are so intimately intertwined. So talk to me about what does even being a mindset coach mean to you and why is mindset so important? 

Julie Solomon: Yeah. I’m going to start on the business side because then that goes into the mindset. But I say business coach, and what I mean by business is that a business is anything that makes a profit. And so I coach people pretty much all online that have a business and want to get it out into the world and do that through brand building practices. And so some people will claim oh, I don’t have a business, I have a brand but yet if you’re monetizing your brand and your brand makes a profit, then you have a business.

And I started coaching content creators, influencers, entrepreneurs, coaches a lot of incredible people in the health and wellness space years ago in this world of business. And I did that really through my foundations, as a marketing expert and as a publicist, I was a publicist for over 10 years and worked with some of the top acts and names on the music side and then also on the book side. Thought leaders that are household names, a lot of musicians that are household names. I had the pleasure of working with at a really young age. I always had this thing about me to attract and to also be really attracted to stars. And I don’t necessarily just mean Hollywood stars but people who were at the top of their game or people that had the potential to be at the top of their game.

And it’s always been a gift in me to see the inner star and everyone that you know, people that really want to change the world and really impact in a great way. And I help them crack open that inner stardom that they have so they can shine and really show the world who they are. And so it started with celebrities and with really famous people and really well known people. And then it started in this online social media influencer space. And so that’s where that comes from. And with that idea of building a brand and building a business, the one thing that I always saw with any person that I ever worked with that was massively successful and I don’t just mean that revenue wise or fame or notoriety wise, but really had the success of a rich life had peace in their life, had abundance in their life, was changing other people’s lives. Really knew the importance of keeping people first and foremost, because that really is what it’s about.

They had a clarity about their vision and a confidence about what was possible, that was so steadfast. And so I always knew and within them, and even in my own work, but that’s really what you need to lay the foundation to get anything you want is the clarity and the confidence piece. And so that’s where the mindset comes in. When I started coaching a lot of other coaches and entrepreneurs and content creators, they would have great business ideas. They would have clients, a lot of them even had really successful businesses. They were making really high five to multi-six figures in revenue at the time. But they had this upper limit issue, that there was some kind of core belief that kept them from believing in that next level of possibility from themselves. And it always went back to this clarity piece and this confidence piece. And so that’s when I knew that I needed to really add a lot of the mindset and the empowerment work that I now do into my practice.

And it really had to begin with me and we can talk about that. And I share a lot in my book just about my own origin story, my own challenges with confidence and not feeling seen and not feeling heard and people pleasing and just abandoning myself for a very long time. And a lot of the work and a lot of the therapy and a lot of the coaching that I had to do to really root into myself and get to the other side of those things so that I could then be the conduit and the vessel that I was really meant to be on this earth and to support others in shining as well, and really being that reflection. And so that’s where the mindset comes in. That’s the reason behind it. And that’s how it’s connected to the brand and business building work that I do. 

Mallory Erickson: Oh, okay. There’s so much that I appreciate about what you said. And one of the things I’m curious about related to that confidence piece is that it sounds like. And maybe that’s connected to that upper limit component that you talked about that I think sometimes people assume if you’re confident in one area of your life, or if you’re confident building a six-figure business, then you have the same confidence to build a seven figure business because you just have confidence. And I think both you and I know that actually they’re these capacity confidence limits that any time you’re up leveling requires a certain amount of work on what’s happening in your mind, it sounds like you had it really clear when you had already had this incredibly successful career. I can imagine that by most people’s standards, they were like, she’s confident, but then you reach this point where you were like, actually to get myself in this business and this work to the next level, I need to move myself to a different phase of my own confidence. So talk to me a little bit about what you think about that and what that has looked like for you.

Julie Solomon: Yeah, Mallory, you touched on something when you were talking about the different stages of revenue that someone can hit that I think is a great way to kick this off. There’s really three stages or three levels of revenue capacity that I think are the most challenging for people.

So the first one is their first six figures because that takes a certain amount of hustle and energy and white knuckling to get there. 

The second one is seven figures because you cannot hustle your way to seven figures. You will absolutely burn out. And so there is so much learning and mindset that goes between that 100K mark and that 1 millionK mark that really comes down to learning how to manage yourself, learning how to manage your emotions, learning how to manage your thoughts and your feelings, learning how to manage other people, which you can’t do until you learn how to manage yourself. 

And then the third one is that getting to that 3 million and then over 3 million space, because that really comes when you have to learn how to start working on the business in a much different way instead of in the business. And it takes a scalability mindset and a level of confidence. And most importantly, a level of trust that I see a lot of seven figure earners that can’t quite seem to get over that, they’ve made a million dollars, but how do they scale that and how did they get to 3 million, if that’s their goal. And it’s a trust piece that tends to be missing with that.

And so there are certain parameters I think for each of those which really come back to initially what you were asking with that. And I really think that just comes down to that idea and to that mindset of the belief in yourself and what is possible. And we all have that upper limit and it was actually the author Gay Hendricks that coined that term. And he wrote a whole book about the Upper Limit. And I’m going to paraphrase what he says, but basically it’s we get to this place of we’ve gotten what we want and then subconsciously whether we realize it or not, we start looking around and we can inadvertently manifest these challenges and these problems that may not even exist because we feel like we have to have something to worry about. He talks about in the book how he’s sitting in his office and it’s this corner office, it’s a glass office, it’s beautiful. He’s gotten everything that he wants in his business. And he starts freaking out worrying that his daughter is going to be homesick when she goes to a slumber party that night, and just starts like tripping himself out about something. And so I think awareness is the first step, always with any recovery process and recovering from your origin story or from your limiting beliefs and what you believe is possible is no different. And so just having the awareness of when those upper limit moments are coming. 

Mallory Erickson: I really appreciate you sharing that. And I would say for nonprofits listening to this, I would actually draw some of the same marks around revenue and just how differently I think people think they can use the same strategies they use to get to a certain revenue threshold, and that’s not true. And then the shift in strategy changes the confidence that you have related to that, or the visibility you need related to that. And I really appreciate you benchmarking that.

And you hit on the first, you have these three tools to freedom, awareness, acceptance, and action which I love and actually correlate very closely with some work I do inside my course, the Power Partners Formula for fundraisers. And you started to touch on the first one, that awareness piece but will you talk to us a little bit about those.

Julie Solomon: Yeah, so awareness, acceptance, and action is actually coined from a lot of therapy circles and very well known in 12 step groups. And so if anyone is listening that has ever been a part of a 12 step group, the three A’s is not new to you, but if you have not been introduced to the three A’s, I am so excited to be able to introduce them to you because they have just phenomenally changed my life and you can apply them to literally anything. 

So the first one is awareness which you were just talking about, and that is just the state of being aware as to the reality of whatever situation that you were in at that moment. I think that a lot of times our lack of awareness and really just our lack of permission to be able to slow down and to be present and to allow ourselves to feel our feelings, allow ourselves to pause. I call it the power of the pause in the book that if we can give ourselves this, the pause to just sit for a moment and think, okay, what is really happening right now? What’s going on, not what I believe to be happening, but what is really happening, what’s the reality of the situation and start working towards that place. What happens with awareness and I say it as when we are not in a state of awareness, it’s like we are frozen. What awareness does is that it thaws us. And once we are less frozen, then we are able to see clearly and think clearly so then we can go to the next two steps, which is acceptance and action. 

And the second piece to this is acceptance, which we all know what that word is. And that’s really what it means in this moment. That once you are aware of the reality of a situation, you can start to accept it for what it is and not what you wish it could be more, should be. And so for anyone who is like me, that loves to control and loves to shape and loves to manage, the acceptance piece is not only going to be the most important piece for you but it is also going to be the piece that you’re going to try to avoid the most. And acceptance usually is, as people want to get the awareness and then run straight to the action without really allowing themselves time to accept the reality of the situation that we’re in. Now that does not mean that we accept bad behavior. It does not mean that we accept someone doing wrong to us, but we accept that it’s happening or that it has happened. So then we can take the appropriate action, which is okay, now, what are you going to do about it? And sometimes that is actually taking an action or sometimes that’s not doing anything, which is also another form of an action. 

So awareness, acceptance, and action has helped me, it has saved my marriage. It has helped me grow my business. It has helped me really become a great coach because my ability to show up and hold space is not contingent on their success or them showing up or them getting some kind of result and outcome. Awareness, acceptance, and action just really allows me to keep my side of the street clean. And if we are doing that, then we are within our integrity. 

Mallory Erickson: Okay. I love that. And I’m curious for someone who’s listening and they’re like, I’m not sure if I have acceptance or not, I think maybe I do. What are some indicators that someone might be hustling from awareness to action and skipping that true acceptance step.

Julie Solomon: Yeah. So you know that you’re not in acceptance when you are trying to force a solution, that you are not in acceptance when you are, and I’ll just call it from just my own experience, it’s a self-righteous way of thinking when I’m like this person should be doing this or this person shouldn’t be doing this, or let me tell you what you should do. Let me give you advice. I share something in the book one of the tools that I use to make sure that I’m staying in acceptance is that I wait for the question mark. So if someone does not ask me a question, I don’t need to respond. Even if I think that I need to, that’s a control thing. I don’t need to respond. 

And so the acceptance piece and knowing that you’re in acceptance is when you really are accepting people, places and things for exactly who they are, as they are and nothing more, nothing less. Now, like I said before, it doesn’t mean that you’re like, okay, now I have to just stay in this horrible relationship. Or, now if this person told me, no, I can’t go back and check up. Those are the action pieces that you get to make. But the first piece is just like, all right, it is what it is, now what am I going to do about it? 

Mallory Erickson: I think this is a really huge point that you’re making. So we talk about this a lot in my work using the term judgment, that when you’re in like black and white thinking and judgment, that really does hinder your ability to move forward with consciousness around the decision that you want to make. It gets in the way of that. And I think as humans, we can get really tied to our need to evaluate something from a judgmental place. Like we believe that actually is going to lead to a better action. 

So what do you think about the word judgment, does that come up a lot in your work around this like acceptance piece. And how for folks who are so tied to the narrative they have in their head, right, like sometimes we’re telling ourselves a story and we just believe so strongly, it’s the true story. How do you help folks really take a step back and say, okay let’s pull you out of being inside the drama yourself to see this a little bit more for what it is. 

Julie Solomon: Yeah. I do mention this in the book when I talk a lot about boundaries and being able to advocate for yourself. And it really goes back to those three A’s.  I think a lot of times we love to make up and tell ourselves things that just really aren’t happening and they are happening because they’re happening within our perception and in our form of reality. But that doesn’t mean that it’s actually the reality of the situation.

And I think that a great question that someone can ask themselves, is this true? What I’m thinking and what I’m telling myself, is it true? Is it a hundred percent absolutely true? Or what am I choosing to believe about this? What am I making up and telling myself, because really, we don’t know. We don’t know what other people are thinking. We don’t know why other people do the things that they do, unless they tell us why they do the things that they do. But most of the time we don’t know, and we are just assuming a lot and seeing a situation, spinning it into an idea based off of our own belief systems, our own origin stories, our own insecurities, whatever that may be.

And so I think that really the boundary piece and where that comes in is starting to have boundaries for yourself, of creating a filter system of what you will allow and not allow in because we really do, we control what happens up here, whether we realize it or not, or whether we want to believe it or not. And I’m touching my brain for those of you who are listening and can’t see me. We do get to choose our thoughts. Now they may be flooding in, at a crazy pace, but it is up to us to choose to think those thoughts or to say, okay, there’s a thought I’m going to let that just be what it is, and be aware of that thought and accept that it’s there. But now I do have a choice to take a separate action. 

Mallory Erickson: Yeah. And I feel like this is so related perhaps to some of what you share around your origin story. And it’s interesting, when I started coaching women around moments of vulnerability in their life,  I was coaching around online dating, I was coaching around infertility. I was coaching all of these moments where I felt like women were coming to me saying I’m leaving my body in these moments. I’m becoming less conscious. I’m disconnecting when I think I actually need to look deeper at what’s happening here, these moments of serious vulnerability.

And at the same time I was fundraising. And when I thought about what is for me the moment where I create the most stories, like what are the moments in my life where I actually create the most stories that make me flee reality, perhaps like into my own narrative. And it was always about money. It was always about asking for money. It was always about the donor not responding to an email. And I know your money story as a part of your origin story too, which I love. And so will you talk to me about that? Your experience with money and these stories and why maybe that felt like a critical opening for your own journey into this?

Julie Solomon: Yeah. So my origin story around money is one of scarcity. I grew up in a really small town to really young parents who didn’t come from a lot. My dad actually came from extreme poverty. He was one of eight. He lived in a shack. I remember being a young girl and actually walking out to the outhouse to go to the bathroom because they could not afford indoor plumbing. And this was in the 90’s, like this wasn’t 1945, I’m only 37 years old. So you know, it wasn’t that long ago. And so my grandparents, my dad’s parents were completely illiterate. They had no education. They had no means and they had eight mouths to feed, my dad was one of eight.  And then there were also a lot of really hard things that people go through. There was alcoholism in that home, there was domestic abuse happening in that home. There was a lot of trauma happening at the same time. And so then that gets parlayed into my home. 

My mom had more of a middle-class upbringing, but still got married very young, did not go to college. And so there was this mindset of just sheer survival. There was never this abundance of money. There was never a savings. We didn’t have enough money to save, there wasn’t a 401k, there wasn’t, my dad literally wore a blue collar to work every day. He worked at an auto plant and he would punch the clock. And that’s what you’re told is the American dream. And as long as you can pay your bills and put food on the table and maybe go on a vacation once every 5, 6, 7 years, maybe if you can afford it, then that’s life. 

And I think that growing up in that and that really being indoctrinated into me, I had this very scarce mindset. I never had a problem with pitching other people for things or asking for money on the behalf of other people. But when it came to my goals or what it was that I was asking for, and when I felt like it was this direct reflection of me, it was really hard to do. I also did not think that I could be honest about money because I would tell myself that I wasn’t good at math growing up and I don’t do numbers well, and I never learned about finance financing and budgeting and economics and all of the things that kind of parlay into money. And so that catapulted into a very sick disease and behavior of me hiding debt. 

And I ended up and I actually kick the book off with this story that I’ve never shared publicly before, I had hid $30,000 of credit card debt from my husband and he found out, and so he calls me to call me out about the credit card and it was really just financial and personal rock bottom moment that I couldn’t deny anymore. I couldn’t be delusional about it anymore. This was happening. I couldn’t hide from the awareness of it and I had no choice but to accept what was happening. And that really kicked off this internal discovery and therapy and work on myself about why is it so hard to be honest about money? Why am I so afraid of money? Why do I feel like there’s not enough money? Why don’t I feel like it’s possible for me to not only make money, but for me to actually budget my money and not spend all of my money or not go into debt with my money. It was just all of these questions that for me were very foreign, were very uncomfortable because they were not put into this positive light growing up as a child. And even looking at my lineage of my dad and his parents and their parents. And it was just no one had money and it took a lot of peeling back those layers to be able to answer those questions, it’s still not perfect. I need a financial planner. I need someone to help me with those things. I need someone to support me in those things, but I also did not want to feel like a financial toddler anymore that could not make very basic decisions about how to make, spend, use, and save my money.

And so that is my origin story with money and it kicked off the idea of I want to make a lot of money, but I don’t know how to make a lot of money. And then once I make a lot of money, how do I not spend all the money? Or how do I not be terrified of the money and just leave it underneath a bed and in a shoe box because I think it’s going to go away. So it’s this balance of money that is meant to be used. And so how am I going to use this money to actually benefit the greater vision that I have for my life and myself. 

Mallory Erickson: How did it feel writing that story in the book or like the day that book was getting sent out and you first started to share it? How did it feel? 

Julie Solomon: Yeah. I was just talking to a friend about this the other day. It can be very triggering because part of me, when I was starting to read the audiobook, I was like, oh, I’m getting really emotional and I feel very tender, I’m having to relive this again.

And I think some of the delusion if anyone who is listening to this that’s written a book they may be able to relate to this, but you’re, Hey I wrote you in those pages, you’re supposed to stay there. You’re not supposed to creep back out and attack me. And so it is triggering, but I think that because luckily I’ve done so much work on myself and I have a lot of tools in my toolbox, I’m able to go back to those tools. We’ve talked about some of them today and really use those tools as a foundation and as a guide to allow me to feel the feelings and be aware of what’s happening, but then to also not be detrimented by that and to really use it as a source of good.

And so it’s very vulnerable. It’s very vulnerable for a business leader and a coach to share that she hid $30,000 worth of debt from her husband. And that was a hot mess financially for a long time. And didn’t have it all figured out. But I think that’s also very normal, when I have shared it within the confines privately with my community and my coaching members. There’s a lot of me too that kind of starts to get thrown around. And so I think that yes, you might have not been someone that hid $30,000 with a debt from your husband but you may be someone that can relate to other parts of that story. Just not feeling confident around money, or just having shame around money. Maybe I feel like I talk about how I grew up and I would always watch my mom. She would go shopping and she would immediately run in the house and hide the shopping bags in her closet because she didn’t want to be found out that she went shopping or get quote unquote in trouble for spending money.

And so that’s just like this other thing that I adapted. I looked at money as being very like masculine, that the man takes care of and the financial toddler that is the wife gets this cute little allowance. And, there was just a lot of reshifting and reshaping around the dynamics of money and just the societal dynamics around money that I talk about within that.

Mallory Erickson: Wow. Okay. There are so many pieces to that we could unpack, but one I just really appreciate you sharing your story with us. And I think it is one of those things that even if we don’t have identical stories, we have so many overlapping parts and pieces and I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t have some shame story related to money in some way.

And I think it is painful to look at those sometimes. And I think when I watch people hit their fundraising ceilings I know it’s in there, like that story is in many ways holding them back from either feeling like they deserve to sit in certain rooms, they deserve to say certain numbers out of their mouth. That they deserve abundance maybe in a lot of ways. And you’re making me think about something I’ve never thought about before, which is that I feel like some of the behaviors that are conditioned into us related to scarcity mindset are really effective behaviors in hitting our first financial milestones, potentially.

When I think about the things I did to my first six figures as a business, they were very much rooted in a scarcity mindset. And I found success with that mindset to that ceiling. But like you were saying before, I can’t hustle my way to seven figures. And that’s the same with the nonprofits. 

And so I feel like there’s this super complicated piece here where we get positive reinforcement around these really toxic behaviors, maybe to have a certain threshold. And then we’re expected to think different, feel different, be different to get up to the next one. What do you see in your work around that? Particularly when you’re coaching folks around how they position themselves to brands or start to think of themselves as a bigger sort of entity. 

Julie Solomon: Yeah. So you touched on such a great point and I think the idea here is that a lot of times our greatest strengths can also be our greatest defects. And similar to you, that was me. I am so relentless and that can serve me so well until it doesn’t. And my relentlessness was when I was hitting my six-figures, that’s what got me to hit my six-figures because I was just going to pitch and it was just a volume game and I didn’t take no personally. And I just kept pitching and I had this number in mind and you weren’t going to stop my relentlessness of getting there. 

But that could only get me so far. And then when you’re trying to really step into a higher version of yourself which each level requires that, each level of growth requires a stronger level of growth from you emotionally, spiritually, mentally. And so that was a thing that I really had to come to terms with, I can’t relent myself to hold space. I can’t relent myself as a coach. I can’t relent myself as a business owner who has a team, I need to get out of the way a little bit and trust the process a little bit.

And so I see that as well with people that, that idea of pitching themselves, being a solopreneur just doing their thing. And then they hit this goal and then they’re like, okay, so now obviously I’m going to have a next goal and the next goal because that’s how the brain works.

And I think that it is this mindset of some of the strengths that got you to where you are today are great and you don’t need to judge them, but what are some new strengths that you could potentially start to empower within yourself that could set you off to that next level.

And that’s the big thing that I see with coaching it’s a lot of times when people are hitting that first six figures, and it may even be the same in the nonprofit realm, there may not even really be a lot of clarity on the greater vision. It’s just our goal is who wants to give us a hundred thousand dollars? There’s gotta be a company out there that wants to be a title sponsor. Let’s just go find them, right? Because we just need them, we need a hundred thousand dollars. Without that greater vision in place of what’s the long-term game or what is a potential longer-term partnership or relationship that we can put in place? Make this even bigger than we can realize. I think clarity is the first step, what really is the goal? What is the vision? Why are you doing this? What is that? And I tend to stay away from five-year plans and ten-year plans just because I’m way too in the moment with things and things will quickly excite me. Like I have a lot of passions and I think you have to give room for your passions to change. However, my why is always the same and that’s the foundation, that’s the root system and that’s never going to change. And so I think that really getting clear and having the clarity on your why and what that greater vision is the difference between the relentless six figure hustler and the person who is actually growing a profitable business that has longevity for impact and longevity for really long-term success and really changing. 

Mallory Erickson: I love that. And you talk about that inside Pitch It Perfect, your course. And I think it’s such an important point for nonprofits to hear too, because I think they can get into the weeds around the strategic plan or that they need to show this company or this funder every little minutiae detail about how the program operates. And nobody cares about that. Especially not in the first meeting, maybe they are going to ask you those questions later down the line, if they’re thinking about real impact funding but at the beginning, the why is what really matters or the mission statement for the organization, your why and how it connects to that mission statement.

And I’m curious, you do so much work helping individuals and influencers position themselves for brand partnerships. And I feel like it’s a really unexplored opportunity for nonprofits too. And I’m curiou what you think about that and what you feel like it takes for a nonprofit entity or a nonprofit leader to be considered as in that sort of influencer realm with brand partnerships.

Julie Solomon: Yeah. I think the first thing to always remember is that a lot of big, really any brand, but especially bigger brands, if you can tie a charitable organization to something they are going to be so more apt to be open to working with you. And I think that’s what gives the nonprofits a benefit over just someone who has a business or just someone who’s a content creator. Because there are deeper opportunities to impact because again it really is about people first and there’s incentives that a business gets working with a nonprofit. 

And so I think that it’s always about working with what you have, not being worried about what you don’t have. And so if I was working with a nonprofit, I would say stick to that strength, the fact that you are a nonprofit and start looking for those brands who want to align with organizations doing amazing work. There’s so many of them out there and really thinking bigger. If you want to work with a brand why do you want to work with a brand? What do you envision that looking like when you close your eyes and you see a partnership taking place? What are the tangibles, what are the assets? What’s the feeling that you get? All of those things I think are really important when you are mapping that out because then it becomes less about a number and more about a greater ability to create something that really moves the needle.

 

Mallory Erickson: Yes. And we’re going to link below this show to that course as well for folks who really want all your tips and tricks there. And I love that you said what are your assets? What are the things that you do have? And one of the other things I love in the course is I feel like you do a really great job and I’m sure this is in the book too, balancing the dream big with the set expectations for yourself so you don’t start to have all these like mindset traps. Inside the course you’re like, okay these companies are getting 300 messages so how do you set expectations around what your response rate is going to be in a way that’s healthy. It doesn’t hold you back from your reach and your attempt at visibility, in your attempt at partnership. But you’re being realistic along the way too. 

And I feel like that, when I heard you say that in the course, I was like this is something that is not talked about enough in the nonprofit sector is the balance between those two things that’s not in conflict being realistic and dreaming big are not two ideas that are actually in conflict with each other. They’re just two different pieces of your like process and puzzle. So I’m curious what you think about that?

Julie Solomon: Yeah, the big dream is the end goal before you get to the next big dream. The reality of the situation is how you get to the big dream. And so I think that you touched on a great point and especially with the confidence piece because if you can start making smaller wins. And I talk about this, someone who tries to go out the gate trying to land this really big partnership is if they’ve never done it before, they’re not going to have the clarity and they’re not going to have the confidence to do it.

I actually have a five-step free guide if people want to download it on how to gain clarity and build confidence so you can reach your goals. And that would be a great first step. You can just go to Julie solomon.net/clarity to get that free. It’s an audio guide and there’s a worksheet to that and I break it up a lot of the clarity and confidence pieces down. But with that, and I talk about that in there. If you’re trying to come out the gate with some massive partnership and you don’t have the clarity in place and you haven’t done it before. You’re probably lack the confidence. You’re not going to have the confidence to kick it off. And if you get told one no when you’re already feeling not very confident, you’re just going to fold. It’s not going to want to keep you in the game. However, if you can start little by little building it out and landing 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 deals at a time, you’re going to have much more confidence to then go for the big guns when it’s time to go there. 

And another thing when it comes to brands is, that’s why brands love working with people as partners. They’re not going for the big win because then the brands don’t have to pay out all of this money at once. The brands it’s a mutual exchange. And so the brands want to know that this is going to be mutually beneficial for them as well. So you’re also more apt to get more deals and work with more brands if you’re closing these five, 10, 15, 20 smaller deals, instead of just focusing on this pie in the sky.

And it’s actually those smaller deals that are going to a) allow you to learn what you need to learn, allow you to test things out. I allow you to really start creating content that brands like. Allowing you to start to feel through, do I even enjoy doing this? Is this something that I want to move forward with is brand partnerships, something that I really want to build out as part of being the business model.

You’re not going to know those things until you get into it. And so allowing yourself to lock in those smaller partnerships and really starting small and going with the lowest hanging fruit is only going to allow you to lay the groundwork, build the foundation, build the clarity and build the confidence that’s needed to then go to that big thing in the future.

Mallory Erickson:Okay. We’re going to end with that. So tell everyone where they can find you where you’d like them to go and get the book. 

Julie Solomon: Yeah. The book you can get it wherever books are sold Barnes and Noble, Target, Amazon or you can go to Julie solomon.net/getwhatyouwant to get it there. And then also for anyone who orders the book before June 11th, I am doing a free live virtual event on June 11th that is taking a lot of the principles and practices that I share in the book and putting it into action. So this is going to be a full day fun virtual workshop. So you can just go to Julie solomon.net/getwhatyouwant order the book and then you get a free ticket to that virtual live event on Saturday, June 11th. You can also go to Juliesolomon.net/clarity if you want the five step clarity and confidence guide, and then I tend to hang out on Instagram so you can follow me at Julie Solomon. I do a lot of DM-ing myself and my team. So if you ever need support, help, have a question, whatever, feel free to shoot over a DM. We’re always in there. 

And then my podcast, The Influencer Podcast you can listen to on Spotify, iTunes, wherever you love listening to podcasts. There’s a wealth of knowledge and information there from the last five years to help you really market grow and scale anything that you want.

Mallory Erickson: And I invite all my guests to highlight a nonprofit that is near and dear to their heart to get a little shout out to. 

Julie Solomon: Yeah. So one that I’m actually loving right now because a portion of the proceeds from the book will go to this nonprofit, it’s called Imagination Station. It’s Dolly Parton’s nonprofit that makes sure that books get into every hand of any underprivileged community, any minority community, any child that does not have a book that needs a book, they do that. And it’s just an incredible organization and it’s a great tie in the fact that I wrote a book and she just does remarkable things. So that’s the charity that I’m going to be shouting out right now. 

Mallory Erickson: I love it. And we’ll link to them as well.

Julie Solomon: Awesome.

Mallory Erickson: Thank you so much for this incredible conversation and for spending this time with us today.

Julie Solomon: Thank you, Mallory. It was so fun.

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