Setting up a business is all about having people gravitate towards you and your services. How can you draw people to your business? In this episode, Jen du Plessis talks to Jennie Edwards, the Founder of Your Dynamic Story and photographer and videographer herself who helps entrepreneurs share their message to make a bigger impact in the world. Through storytelling and impactful delivery with powerful videos, Jennie has set the bar high when it comes to connecting to a desired audience. She believes that it is by showing up confidently and vulnerably as well as being in alignment with your values are the keys to empower clients, grow an audience, and authentically connect with them to drives sales. Learn from Jennie as she teaches you about her nine gates of customer commitment and how you, too, can pull people towards you.
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My guest is Jennie Edwards and I love that I have another Jennifer/Jennie. There are many of us out there, isn’t that correct?
Jennie is a photographer and videographer, and she helps entrepreneurs share their message to make a bigger impact in the world. She teaches how to show up confidently and vulnerably at the same time without being cocky. I know there’s a message there in alignment with your values, which is right in store with what I do. My coaching is aligning your values with your success. Since 2007, Jennie has run a successful business, empowering clients to grow their audience, connect authentically and drive sales. She’s a great dancer. One thing you probably don’t know about me is that I’m a competitive ballroom Latin and swing dancer, so I was dancing with you, but I was doing other things. It was fun. We had a great opportunity to meet at the New Media Summit. Welcome, Jennie. We’re happy to have you.
Thank you, Jen. I appreciate it.
I want to start off with your story. Tell us about you and how you have gotten to this point. Did you always set out to be a photographer? Is that morphed into something? We’d love to know your story.
Thank you. I grew up an only child living a secluded life on a farm in rural Illinois. I didn’t have a lot of other kids to play within the neighborhood. There are two TV channels on TV at the time. I was bullied on the school bus so I had this introverted lifestyle. I had to make a decision for myself. I remember going into high school and I was like, “Something has to change. I don’t want to be this nerdy, introverted kid. I want to do something else. This is not working for me.” I decided to go out to the theater club and that was this huge step for me. It opened up a lot of options for expressing myself. Even though I was not the star of the school play or anything, it at least gave me another option to learn new things, be in front of people and expand my comfort zone. That started giving me more confidence in my life, which ultimately shifted me incrementally along my path about being able to be on stage, be in front of people and be truly me but be the better, more improved me. Does that make sense?
It totally does. I’m reflecting back on seeing you and how vibrant you are. You’ve got beautiful red hair. You definitely set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd and that was one of the reasons why I wanted to have you on the show. I believe in people being authentic themselves and you were. One of the powerful things about that is it attracts people rather than people having to go and try to grab business and clients and pull them in. It’s an attraction and it becomes a magnet so it’s easier and it’s more efficient to be able to pull people towards you that are attracted to your style and your dynamics. We’re making sure that people understand what their messages and how it aligns with their values, etc. Tell us about your values, how this came about and how we can align our message with our values. What are your thoughts there?
Some core values that I was taught when I was a kid were honesty, loyalty, and trust. Also, as I’ve grown older, I’ve seen the opportunities of sharing my story and it’s evolved into me seeing how I could use my gifts because I’m a fine artist by my education. I thought, “How am I going to be an artist and make a bigger impact in the world?” I don’t want to just sell paintings in the art fair or whatever. How could I do something to help people? Through the process of my own personal development and also starting to do public speaking training years ago, I thought, “People need video. People need this as a tool to share what they have and to elevate their visibility.” How it has evolved is seeing how not only can I feel fulfilled by using my gifts and talents to help elevate others, but seeing how I can hold space for them to share this message that they have. Sometimes, people don’t even have clarity of what their message is. “What am I supposed to share about my story? How can I even be vulnerable?” That freaks me out. By holding space for them to let that part of them be seen and accepted, it’s made a huge shift.
Most of my readers are lenders or realtors, some entrepreneurs as well. From my own experience over the years in lending, the tendency is for us to maintain a stiff professional image and not share about ourselves. What I do know is seeing those loan officers and realtors that do go out of the box or stretch the box. They shine a light on themselves and make themselves different from everybody else. The unfortunate thing I see is that someone else is going out there and putting a cartoon character up. All their marketing is about cartoon characters or doing something that is feminine where you’re sitting and you have flowers.
That’s the real me. My mom was a florist and I’m a big flower person. Seeing me and saying, “She has all these flowers. I should do that.” The disconnect is identifying what’s right for you because what may be right for someone else may not be right for you. How do we dissect that? How do we dive in and figure out, “What do I want to do?” If I were to call Jennie and say, “I want you to photograph me and I want you to do a video showing my vulnerability and showing the message I want to give.” What if I don’t know what message I want to give? How do I prepare for that? How do I dig deep and figure that out?
It’s important to start with the values. What are your core values? What values do you want to magnetize in the people that you are working with? If you want to work with people who are goal-driven, and people who are open to personal development or change, then somebody that you meet that doesn’t fit these criteria is like, “Don’t spend my wheels and waste my time to pull this person into my life.” You want to surround yourself with excellence and people that are in alignment with your values. Start with the values and then look at the parts of your message and your story that can relate to those key values. As you’re sharing those parts of your story, that comes into play with building the connection. Connection builds trust. Starting out with that is an important part. Sometimes it’s journaling about it. It’s taking the time to reflect, “What aspects of my life could exhibit this part of my personality?” That’s a great place to begin.
I love that because that’s what my coaching is all about, by the way. My entire program is, “A life with values adds value everywhere in your life.” I love knowing this because you’re echoing exactly what I teach or share all the time. What you’re doing is sharing it through a lens. I do something completely different but I like that. Give us an example of a client that you’ve had that you’ve helped break through this messaging to get that vulnerability out that made an impact in their business.
I one time worked with an acupuncturist and she had never told her story on camera before. It’s like The Hero’s Journey, if you’re familiar with it.
Yes, I am.
Guiding her through that process of what part of her story to highlight was an amazing process. Through that, not only was she seeing what she’s pulling out, the passion behind why she does and what she does, and then her story of how she got into that and what made this shift for her. Also, how she was called to do this type of work for healing. She had been studying Western medicine and how she is now is the bridge to Eastern medicine with her work. Also, seeing how these benefits that her clients are feeling and how she’s able to heal them from these big life-altering situations that they’re having. It gave her this greater sense of appreciation and confidence too, like, “This is what I’m doing. I have credibility and I’m seen as an expert at doing this because of what I’ve gone through in my life.”Don’t just step back. Follow your gut and trust yourself. Click To Tweet
I have this piece of paper with me all the time and it’s called Above the Line and Below the Line. It’s activities, actions, responses, behaviors, beliefs, and statements that you make. We always want to be working Above the Line. Rather than scarcity, it’s in abundance sides of things. One of the lessons I learned and a breakthrough that I had and telling your story about her brings this up. For years, I had a shell on. I had this shell that was I’m professional. I don’t need any help because I felt that if I asked for help, that was making me weak. I saw that as vulnerable. I didn’t see it as scarcity in a way that I didn’t want to share with the world. I said, “I got this. I am a woman. Hear me roar.”
I realized that I was working in scarcity. I was working Below the Line in a lot of scarcity that I was afraid that if someone knew that I needed help, it would make me weak and maybe they wouldn’t work with me. I finally told my story years ago. There are days where it hits me, but most of the time, I can tell my story without crying. It raised me up Above the Line into abundance and people were drawn to that story. I love what you said, especially about what part of her story is important to tell because we all have stories. We all have circumstances. Some are more deeply rooted than others and some are way back and some are recent. Knowing what part of your story to tell that aligns with your values so that you can attract people is huge. How do you draw that piece? How do you combine those two? How do you combine all the pieces of the story and say, “This piece is going to align with your business?” How do you bring those together?
It’s starting with the values. Who do you want to magnetize and then looking at what is your goal? What is the next step that you want people to take? One of the things that I also teach is about the 9 Gates of Customer Commitment because there are different levels of commitment that are required for different professions. You might pick somebody out of Yelp and hire them for basic service but if it’s something that’s specialized, you need to interview them, get to know them and feel like they’re the right fit. There are different aspects of the story that can be implemented to increase that level of commitment and deepen that relationship to take the trust building into action where they hire you for your services.
Hopefully, you’re going to share a couple of those gates with us. Maybe you’ll be able to share that as well in your sessions that you’re going to be offering everybody. Jennie, what’s it like to be you?
It’s awesome. I love my life.
Tell us a little bit about you. What do you do when you’re not working?
I love personal development and I love reading. One of the things that have made a big impact on me was when I read Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly, since you’re talking about vulnerability, showing up and moving past the shame or the weakness into abundance. I also have a daughter. I love being present in the moment. That’s always a necessity in my life as being a mompreneur and juggling everything. It’s having that resourcefulness because it’s not about the resources. It’s about resourcefulness.
I know that you have a gift for my readers. Why don’t you tell us about that gift?
I would love to gift all of your readers a Custom Monetization Blueprint, which is a 30-minute Zoom call that we could do. I can teach you some different elements like the 9 Gates of Customer Commitment and customize that for your industry. I’m giving you some insights on how you can build trust and increase that level of trust and commitment which leads to action and monetization of your message.
That is a great gift because many people struggle with, “I’ve done everything. I’ve tried this.” Let’s stop the nonsense and reach out to Jennie to see if you can hone that in so that next year or years beyond, you’ll have that ability to change your life and make a difference because a podcast is forever. I absolutely love that and thank you so much for that gift. Do you have a special quote that you live by that you’d like to share with everyone that might impact them?
It’s funny because it takes me back to when I was 15 or 16 years old. I was listening to the Beastie Boys. There’s a quote in one of their songs that says, “Trust yourself and you’ll never fall.” It’s always stuck with me.
We don’t take time to just step back, do that, follow our guts and trust ourselves. Thank you so much for that. Jennie, it’s been a pleasure chatting with you. For our readers, I want to make sure that you all take advantage of this. Click on the link so that you can get a complimentary 30-minute session with Jennie and see if it would open up some doors for you. It never hurts to do these things to learn and continue to grow. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us. I want to thank all the readers. As I do almost every single time, I’m full of gratitude. I ask you to pay it forward by sharing this with everyone else. Subscribe if you’re not subscribed. Please write a five-star rating and then write a review for us. We’d love to have those reviews. Continue to come in, go out and make it a fantastic day.
- Jennie Edwards
- Daring Greatly
- Custom Monetization Blueprint
About Jennie Edwards
Jennie Edwards, photographer/ videographer, helps entrepreneurs share their message to make bigger impact in the world. She teaches how to show up confidently and vulnerably, in alignment with their values. Since 2007, Jennie has run a successful business empowering clients to grow their audience, connect authentically and drive sales.
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