I had the pleasure of interviewing Donna Simone Johnson, who talked a bit about her uncertain beginnings, where she pulls her strength from and her mosh-pit fail. She is currently in “The Bluest Eye” at Virginia Stage Company, can be heard on NETFLIX’s “SuperDrags,” and has 2 upcoming podcasts: “The Dreamland,” and “Pang!” both out this summer.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about your beginnings as an actor?
Sure! My Mum was an actress, and I grew up in theaters and rehearsal rooms, I acted a child and did a couple of TV shows and commercials, but didn’t get serious about wanting to act until I went to the California State Summer School for the Arts, which is a summer-long intensive. I was one of 500 students admitted from all over the country, and being immersed in an arts community and being introduced to the craft electrified me!
My Mum passed away from breast cancer in 2005, and the passion just intensified. I went to college for theater, did regional theater, moved to NYC and danced a bit, and then decided I wanted to train more and got my MFA from CalArts in Acting. I guess that’s more than just beginnings, but… you know!
Can you share the craziest thing that happened to you since you started?
I mean, I work around artists, so there is a lot of crazy— how do I choose one thing? This has little to do with acting, but I danced at ShortStop in West Hollywood for a bit, and one day, I fell off the stage while doing some choreography and splayed my arms forward, thinking the crowd would pick me up and surf me, but nope! It was one of those slow-motion moments, where I saw every grimace and wince on my way down, bless their hearts! (laughs) Everyone moved out of the way and I hit the ground hard! I was all pumped with adrenaline and so, I pretty much bounced back up like an over-caffeinated cheerleader. This was before Insta, thank God, otherwise, I’d be viral for all the wrong reasons… or would they be right? (laughs)
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I have a lot of non-PC stories that I’d hate to have in print on the internet! I will generally say that inauthenticity will give you trouble. And folx will totally call you out on it. Sometimes, behind closed doors, sometimes right in front of you, sometimes they’ll address it in a room full of 200 people… you never know!
You are killing it right now! Congratulations on “Super Drags!” What do you think has contributed to your immense success in the last couple of years?
I shave my legs more often? [laughs] No, but that’s demi-serious! I’d had a spiritual shift in the last couple of years and the end result of a lot of it was dealing with the trauma and the turmoil and realizing that these things are a part of you, but that don’t make you. They’re not your worth. But you also can’t pretend it’s not there, you know? Waking up and choosing to leave the mask on the floor. Seeing yourself. Loving yourself. Sharing yourself. Something so simple really frees you up.
Which tips would you recommend to other actors to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Self-care on 100. I mean, I’m laughing, but really. I have a pretty rich self-care routine that borderlines on ritual and spans from weekly yoga and massages, essential oil care, staying connected with my friends and showing up for them and dance parties. I also love to write and I’ve been doing that more for myself these days.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I have had so many prolific Mentors, Stand-in Mamas, just people who have seen me. Usually, at a time when I couldn’t see myself, you know? And you cover it with all of this other stuff? Usually lies? False? Yeah. So, I have a lot of people like that. Most notably, I’ll say the first Black Mentor I’ve ever had was at CalArts. I never had a black teacher in undergrad. I had a black Chemistry teacher in High School. I think that was it? So, it was a big deal to have Fran Bennett. And she’s hard. She holds you to a high standard and she is relentless. And she saw me. And after my first semester, she pulled me aside and told me that she didn’t understand me. She could see I was built for this work, I had the work ethic, the talent, but lacked, “the joy and fire.” She said, “Where is your joy? You aren’t really here. Your flame is out before you’ve begun.”
And that stunned me. Really. I think any of my close friends would say, I am all joy and fire, so that was the beginning of a lot of reflection, self-awareness, spiraling… but ultimately led to a place of freedom. That was the provocation to embrace all of the parts of myself, even— especially the ugliest parts. The secrets, you know? To deal with them, because some people could really see the effects. Probably a lot of people could, actually, but she was the gem in the middle of the mess. And she is still a close friend, advisor, and mentor. She really has been a gift.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
(Laughs) “Do good and throw it in the sea,” meaning work in excellence, without expectation of praise or recognition. Do good for yourself, your pride— to fuel your joy and fire. That and “Real G’s move in silence, like lasagna.” (laughs) That is my fave. It’s a Lil’ Wayne line, but along the same lines… Do what you’re doing without the bragging and the boasting and let your work speak for itself. Don’t overshare.
What are your “5 things I wish I knew then?”
- You are enough.
- Real Connection will make the journey worth it all. It’s okay to ask for help.
- Pay attention in Chemistry and do the work! (laughs) That’s where discipline starts.
- Strength of Character, Strength of Spirit, Strength of Love, Strength of Tequila. Viola Davis said that, and I added the last part.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
@dsimonejo across all platforms
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Jordin Roussell – Scaling a 7 Figure Real Estate Company
Recently, I was fortunate enough to sit down for an interview with Jordin Roussell. Jordin has scaled his Real Estate Company, Gulf South Home Buyers, to 7 Figures very quickly. I asked him how he got started, and for tactical advice for anyone looking to get into Real Estate Investing.
- Hey Jordin, what do you do?
Jordin Roussell: I’m a real estate entrepreneur, I am the Founder of Gulf South Home Buyers.
- What made you become an entrepreneur?
Jordin Roussell: My first journey with entrepreneurship was actually network marketing. I was sold on the idea of having freedom, creating impacting, and getting to travel the world. The venture came to an end rather quickly, but those desires for freedom, impact, and travel never left me. After I dropped out of college, it took me a little time to pick myself up after some personal things took place in my life, but I knew with what I wanted out of life my options for obtaining the three things I desired were very limited which led me back into entrepreneurship.
- How did you get started investing in real estate?
Ravi Abuvala: It’s a funny story! I was 19, scrolling through Instagram and this guy I was following had just posted a video about this 18 year old kid, one of his students, making $25k with none of his own money and no credit. I was stunned, I did some more research and for the next 2 years consumed everything real estate I could. Just after my 21st birthday I was fed up with working a 9-5 and took the plunge, quit my job, and made the decision to go all in on real estate.
- How have you scaled your company?
Jordin Roussell: Other than the traditional ways of increasing marketing. I became genuinely obsessed with helping people out of their distressed situations and because I stopped focusing less on money and more on the people I could help. This quickly established me as a leading authority in real estate in my city.
- What advice would you give to someone looking to get started in Real Estate?
Jordin Roussell: There’s several ways to get started in real estate and make money, but the most important thing when getting started is to find one strategy. Whether it’s wholesaling, fix and flips, purchasing rentals, bond for deeds, or anything else, just go all in on the strategy until you can do it in your sleep, then transition into another strategy. Focusing on too many strategies at once is similar to shiny object syndrome in my opinion.
- How do you find deals?
- Ringless Voicemail
- Direct Mail
- Google Adwords
- How do you find investors?
- Direct Mail
- One of the best ways to get investors and cash buyers is to obtain a list of properties that have been purchased for cash in your city. Filter the ones that have bought 2 or more because the chances of them being investors increases, and send them a post card explaining what you do with your contact info on it.
- Where do you see your company in the next 5 years?
Jordin Roussell: Operating in multiple states within multiple markets. Helping 1000’s of families per year close a chapter and start a new one.
Personality Sales: The Path to Success with James Winn
From a young age, James Winn was always concerned that no matter what direction he took in life, he was going to be unable to achieve his full potential. he constantly bounced from dream to dream, seeing quickly that without focus and resolve on a specific topic, results would never come. He began to realize that one of the reasons people aren’t successful is because they were unwilling to change consistently, and that is when he decided to make a change to himself.
He entered college two years early, and achieved a business degree, which opened his eyes to the business world, and he stated that he loved it, ultimately because in business, it isn’t what you know, it is about your ability to sell yourself and exceed expectations. He learned quickly that people don’t choose individuals for opportunities solely based off of qualifications, rather off of the amount of qualities that he was able to show that he possessed in the networking process.
His current chosen career path is Banking, and at the age of 24 he is a branch manager for one of the largest Credit Unions in the western United States. Being a branch manager has challenged him in many ways that he did not anticipate, but he stated that the beauty of doing something you were approved for through your self-sales ability is that when you are approved for a position by those above you, you can make mistakes and still be appreciated and supported. Even though he is young, his ability to network and sell himself has kept him in a position where the average age of those employed is over 30.
A perfect example of making mistakes that are easily forgiven, is one that he made in his first few months as a branch manager. He sold himself on his ability to motivate people and provide direction to teams, but his first couple of months, his team was struggling to meet goals. Their production had even dropped. On top of that, he was going through a very difficult breakup, which caused him to lack the focus and resolve that was needed in order to maintain structure on my team. He was failing as a manager for the personal reasons like losing someone he loved, and because he was not truly ready to take on that position. He was expecting that his managers would not take the fact that he had promised results and was not delivering very well, but was surprised when they quickly offered their support and assistance.
He stated that in retrospect, the reason they offered their support is because he sold himself so well, that they could not believe that the lack of success was who he truly was. His personal brand was one of efficiency, excellence, and success, and he had confidently sold himself to them as that type of person through networking, testimonies, interviews, success stories, and overcoming challenges that were thrown his way. he realized that in any walk of life, in any business, you can find success if you sell yourself effectively, following these 5 rules:
Anticipate Their Needs
When someone is looking for an individual to fill their need in their business, research their business to understand what qualities and needs they will need to fulfill that need.
Once you have determined the need they have for their business, create examples from life experiences to show how you are exactly what they are looking for. Use personal experience, the experiences of those around you, or education to create perfect examples that the business is looking for.
Network, Network, Network… and Network
Success is a long hard road, and in order to achieve greatness, you have to have individuals around you with influence that are willing to vouch for you. A friend can be made easily, so the more friends you have, the more likelihood you will maintain your reputation throughout struggles. I maintained my job through struggles because I knew people, not because I was doing a good job.
Utilize your successes as stepping stones
Successes can be individuals, achievements, or other things that impress those around you. The key to selling yourself is to mention your successes to build relevance in yourself, but not to show that you are overly proud of them. After mentioning a success, modestly mention how you are proud of the accomplishment, but cannot wait to prove what you are truly capable of
Bring up those around you whenever possible
In order to be successful, you must be surrounded by success. Whenever you have the chance to elevate someone into success, they become a beacon of your personal brand. For example, Apple would not be popular if they did not have individuals who loved their products. Depending on your business, you may not be selling products, but you can build relevance in yourself and your brand through the success of those who have associated themselves with you.
“Ultimately, if your goal is success, you must be willing to make changes to yourself every day. Anticipating the needs of future customers, employers, and businesses will require change, which is difficult for some people. My favorite saying goes, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” The question is, what will you do today to sell yourself to those around you and become more successful?”
Jeremy Haynes – Scaling Megalodon Marketing to a Top Digital Agency in the World
Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jeremy Haynes for an interview. Jeremy owns Megalodon Marketing, which is one of the top Digital Marketing Agencies in the World. He has worked with Personal Brands like Dan Lok, Garret White, and many more. I asked him about scaling his agency, how he got started, and for his best tips and tricks.
- Jeremy, what does your company do?
Jeremy Haynes: I have two companies that I actively run. Megalodon Marketing is my marketing agency I’ve run the last few years, and we focus on scaling the world’s largest personality brands. We help take these entrepreneurs to 6 or 7 figures monthly selling different information products.
My second business I actively run is Jeremy, INC. That business acts as an umbrella to all of my mentoring programs and events. Currently, I help over 1,900+ paid students with starting and scaling a marketing agency, digital marketing, and personal branding.
- How did you choose digital marketing?
Jeremy Haynes: This might sound cheesy, but digital marketing chose me. I was selling phones in Costco down in Miami Beach, and this guy who I sold a phone to offered me a job as his head of marketing. He had confidence in me that I could learn fast, and that I likely knew social media more than him. All of the responsibilities of a digital marketer were thrust upon me to figure out and I welcomed the opportunity with open arms. That later led me to getting recruited by a prominent sales trainer and mentor named Grant Cardone, which later helped me get into entrepreneurship full time.
- What made you choose Personal Branding as your niche? Did you start your agency only focused on that niche?
Jeremy Haynes: I’ve tried a few other industries, and didn’t find the same level of fulfillment I get helping personal brands. When we help a personal brand get more clients and customers, we’re selling transitions, skills, and outcomes.
There’s nothing better than getting feedback from thousands of customers telling you their lives are infinitely better from an investment into a course, event, or mentoring package that you helped get into their hands.
- How have you leveraged Personal Branding for yourself?
Jeremy Haynes: Absolutely! I’ve managed to teach in 3 different Tai Lopez Programs, a Mentor Box program without being an author, have trained over 1,900+ paid students, impacted hundreds of thousands through content and press, have scaled a marketing agency to over 7 figures yearly all through my personal brand.
It’s natural human behavior to connect to other humans who you have commonality with or can get value from. People have a different and unnatural behavior when attempting to communicate with a company.
As a simple example, look at human behavior when they call a corporation to complain versus the behavior of bringing a problem to the attention of one singular person’s attention. The person who calls McDonalds and complains about their order treats the rep with less respect typically, because talking to a company is interpreted different mentally. It doesn’t feel like the same accountability model we have when communicating to someone on a one to one level.
- Best tips for a beginner agency owner?
Jeremy Haynes: Focus on results that help businesses make more money, do not focus on time and effort intensive services.
I’ve sold it all, funnels, advertising, marketing automation, chat bots, social media management, graphic design, web development, video services, etc. At one point I had 27 staff and 3 offices here in the USA.
The lessons I consistently learned the hard way, were that clients did not respect our time or effort, they respected results. Even if we set expectations several times throughout the relationship that you can’t make money until we get xyz done first, the client always only cared about the results, nothing else.
So that’s what we started selling, for more money and with less staff, less time, and less overhead. We started only taking the highest revenue driven actions, and didn’t bother with anything else. This changed the game for my agency! We realized that if something took us an hour, but produced massive ROI for the client, they could care less if we only worked an hour for the month.
We had to overcome the employee conditioning that more time invested and more hard work does not equal achievement and results.
- Top 3 Personal Branding tips?
Jeremy Haynes: Content is content, and ads are ads, do not confuse the two. Most personal brands will make call to actions in their content, or will add links to their posts not knowing that significantly reduces the organic reach of the post.
Content should be strategically created, because all social interaction is now retargetable. This is the modern day email marketing, and the segmented lists are in the Facebooks Ads Manager labeled as ‘Audiences’.
If you learn to apply psychology into your content, like managing to establish the authority bias, curiosity bias and social proof in your first piece of content you show an ideal future customer who doesn’t know you yet, you’ll be lightyears ahead of other person brands. Most of the marketers and advertisers in the personal brand game go straight for the pitch, which disrespects people in the sales process. The key is to show your ideal buyers content in a strategic sequence first, and then move them into your direct response ads.
- What are your 3 core principles?
Jeremy Haynes: Low time commitment, low responsponsibility and high profitability for both myself and the client.
These core values keep me focused on the highest revenue driven actions and the most impactful actions for myself and others in any situation.
In a world full of others who rob you and your time and consume your energy, I’m thinking like an engineer solely focused on efficient results. How can I put the least input in, and produce the most output.
This thinking goes into everything, including ad spend for clients as an example. How can we spend the least and make the most?
Or for my students, how can they invest in my course and put the least amount of time and effort in to get the most results compared to other investments?
- What makes Megalodon Marketing different?
Jeremy Haynes: Our long list of previous wins and losses and our depth of applied knowledge in the Personal Brand industry. We’ve managed to produce some significant results for clients over the years, and we’re always excited to help the next personal brand we work with to get to 7 figures monthly while impacting millions around the world.
- What are your future plans?
Jeremy Haynes: I’d love to get even more results for my students and clients while expanding my own personal brand. Impacting people and expanding their potential has become a main focus for me, you don’t know what you don’t know, and that can kill you or seriously limit your opportunities!
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