The freedom of digital entrepreneurship means something different to all of us. For Andrea Vahl, it has meant the freedom to be unafraid of being different, and build a business that shines a light on her talents. And she loves helping other people do the same.
In this wide-ranging 36-minute episode, Andrea and I discuss:
- The importance of getting your social media tracking pixels installed … NOW!
- Why the freedom of digital entrepreneurship can be both exciting and scary
- Her proud story of the lives she’s changed through her work
- How she deals with being “big enough to get critics.”
- What she’s doing to fulfill the potential she sees in her business
- Her methodical process for achieving her current top priority
- How she’s trying to overcome being the bottleneck in her business
- Why staying fresh, and exercise, are so important to her moving forward
And, of course, Andrea answers our standard rapid-fire questions at the end. Don’t miss those answers!
Listen to The Digital Entrepreneur below …
The Show Notes
Why You Should Build a Business That Shines a Light on Your Talents
Jerod Morris: Hey, Jerod Morris here. If you know anything about Rainmaker Digital and Copyblogger, you may know that we produce incredible live events. Well, some would say that we produce incredible live events as an excuse to throw great parties, but that’s another story. We’ve got another one coming up this October in Denver. It’s called Digital Commerce Summit, and it is entirely focused on giving you the smartest ways to create and sell digital products and services. You can find out more at Rainmaker.FM/Summit.
We’ll be talking about Digital Commerce Summit in more detail as it gets closer, but for now, I’d like to let a few attendees from our past events speak for us.
Attendee 1: For me, it’s just hearing from the experts. This is my first industry event, so it’s awesome to learn new stuff and also get confirmation that we’re not doing it completely wrong where I work.
Attendee 2: The best part of the conference for me is being able to mingle with people and realize that you have connections with everyone here. It feels like LinkedIn Live. I also love the parties after each day, being able to talk to the speakers, talk to other people for the first time, people who have been here before.
Attendee 3: I think the best part of the conference for me is understanding how I can service my customers a little more easily. Seeing all the different facets and components of various enterprises then helps me pick the best tools.
Jerod Morris: Hey, we agree — one of the biggest reasons we host a conference every year is so that we can learn how to service our customers, people like you, more easily. Here are just a few more words from folks who have come to our past live events.
Attendee 4: It’s really fun. I think it’s a great mix of beginner information and advanced information. I’m really learning a lot and having a lot of fun.
Attendee 5: The conference is great, especially because it’s a single-track conference where you don’t get distracted by, “Which session should I go to?” and, “Am I missing something?”
Attendee 6: The training and everything, the speakers have been awesome, but I think the coolest aspect for me has been connecting with both people who are putting it on and then other attendees.
Jerod Morris: That’s it for now. There’s a lot more to come on Digital Commerce Summit, and I really hope to see you there in October. Again, to get all the details and the very best deal on tickets, head over to Rainmaker.FM/Summit.
Welcome back to The Digital Entrepreneur. I am your host, Jerod Morris, the VP of marketing for Rainmaker Digital. This is episode No. 25 of The Digital Entrepreneur. On this week’s episode, I am joined by someone who is passionate about helping small businesses understand and leverage the power of social media to actually grow their business.
She co-authored the book Facebook Marketing All-in-One For Dummies, and she was the community manager for Social Media Examiner for over two years. She is also the co-founder of Social Media Manager School, an online training course that has helped over 500 students learn how to start their own business as a social media manager or consultant. She also doubles as Grandma Mary, social media edutainer.
Can you guess who it is yet? She is Andrea Vahl. I’m very excited to have Andrea on the show. You’re really going to enjoy the conversation that we have — so much good insight that she has about how to decide what to do next when you have a lot of different priorities on your plate, the importance of really having a mindset of wanting to help, not just to succeed and make money for yourself, but a real genuine desire to want to help other people.
I love the answers that she gives to the questions that I ask about the one word that she would use to describe her business now and the one word that she hopes she’ll be able to use to describe it a year from now. Really great answers and so much else in this conversation. I think you’ll really enjoy it.
Andrea will actually be joining me on stage this October at Digital Commerce Summit in Denver, Colorado, which I’ve been telling you about here on The Digital Entrepreneur the last few episodes. The conference will be held on October 13th and 14th. All of us really here at Rainmaker Digital hope that you will join us at this one-of-a-kind event.
Why Digital Commerce Summit Will Take Your Digital Business to the Next Level
Jerod Morris: Here’s a few things that make it one-of-a-kind.
First, it’s not like some of those other cattle-call conferences that you may have been to, where every 90 minutes, you have to make a difficult decision about what presentation you want to go to. Then you get buyer’s remorse because you’re thinking, “Man, what if this other presentation that I’m missing out on is good?” You’re trying to get some sort of coherent through-line between the sessions that you pick, but it’s kind of difficult.
Well, at Digital Commerce Summit, you are treated to a single track of speakers. It’s curated personally by Brian Clark, and it follows a step-by-step progression to help take you from point A to point B, or point C, or point D, or even further with your digital product or service. We don’t want you leaving Denver in the same place in your business that you showed up. This is an event about action, and you’re going to be buzzing with ideas and an itch to execute by the time it’s over and you’re traveling home. That’s our goal. That’s our commitment to you.
Second, what other conference is held at a famous theater and treats you to a special musical performance by a band like Cake? Well, you’re going to get both at Digital Commerce Summit. This combination of fun and education is what makes it a great place to network and why Digital Commerce Summit is the premiere live educational and networking event for entrepreneurs who create and sell digital products and services — entrepreneurs like you.
But here’s the deal. The early bird price goes away today. This episode is coming out on Thursday, July 28th, and the early bird price goes away today. You don’t want to hesitate to get your ticket because you’re only going to end up spending more.
Here’s something better. Since I’m a speaker at Digital Commerce Summit, and Andrea’s a speaker as well, I can give you the special speaker link, which allows you to get an even better deal than the one being offered publicly. Now, this deal also expires with the early bird price on July 28th. Again, don’t hesitate to use this URL.
Here’s the link. Make sure you remember it or write it down. It’s Rainmaker.FM/Summit-Speakers. That’s the URL. Use it. Get the best price on your tickets for Digital Commerce Summit because I really want to see you there.
All righty. Well, let’s get to this week’s discussion. You will enjoy certainly some wit, some humor, and lots of wisdom from my guest — the one and only Andrea Vahl.
Miss Vahl, welcome to The Digital Entrepreneur.
Andrea Vahl: Thank you so much, Mr. Morris. I didn’t realize how formal it was here.
Jerod Morris: You and I, we did a session recently for Digital Commerce Academy, but I believe we last saw each other in Philadelphia. Is that right?
Andrea Vahl: It was, yeah.
Jerod Morris: We’re going to see each other again in October coming up in Denver, which will be fun.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, I’m really excited for this event. It’s going to be so great. I attended other events put on by Copyblogger, and of course, the content and material is always spectacular.
Jerod Morris: Well, thank you. We’re looking to do it again this year, so it should be no different. Speaking of, your talk is titled Social Advertising Secrets for Selling Digital Stuff, and you’re speaking on the second day of the conference. Obviously, this is a topic that you know quite well. You’ve built a business around it.
I’m wondering — don’t give away all of your secrets — but is there maybe one secret that you can share with our listeners today that might help them get a little more bang for their social advertising buck?
The Importance of Getting Your Social Media Tracking Pixels Installed NOW!
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. If you want to really rock your social ads, it’s making sure that you have all of your tracking pixels in place so that you can know exactly which ad is giving you the best results. You can do all kinds of tests around different types of ads, different copy, different images, different targeting — but unless you’re really tracking all that specifically, you’re not going to know what ads you can shut down and what ads you can keep running.
What’s amazing about it is you sometimes have a guess about which ad is going to perform the best, and a lot of times, you end up getting totally surprised. If you get those tracking pixels in place and there are tracking pixels for Facebook. There are tracking pixels for Twitter, and there is ways you can track on all of your advertising efforts with all kinds of things. I’ll leave it at that.
Jerod Morris: Yeah. I know I was going to say we’ve definitely found that with the ads that we’ve done — being surprised, thinking that one’s really going to take off. But then it doesn’t do as well as you think, and another one really goes well.
One quick follow-up to that, so you want to get those tracking pixels in. Let’s say someone hasn’t yet started doing their paid advertising. They’re thinking about doing it in the future. Would it make sense to just get the tracking pixels installed today, so you start building an audience? Or is that something that you’d wait until you’re serious and ready to start running ads?
Andrea Vahl: No, absolutely. Especially for re-targeting, your traffic starts building the moment you install a pixel. You want to get that pixel on your website, tracking the traffic that is coming to your website so that Facebook or Twitter, whatever, can start building that audience and putting that traffic into a reserve for you that you can then use in the future.
Definitely, if you do nothing else from this conversation, it’s just go, find that pixel of yours — everyone has one that’s unique to their Facebook Ads account or Twitter Ads account — and just go ahead and put that pixel on your website.
Jerod Morris: That’s great advice. We’ve been seeing our best results from our ads, from those remarketing campaigns. Very good advice.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. For those people who are new to the idea of advertising, the idea of pixels and tracking, pick the pixel … when I say ‘pixel,’ it’s really just a little bit of code, a few lines of code that you just copy and paste into the header area of your website. It’s really not hard. Your webmaster can do it, or a lot of times, your site has a place for tracking codes that you can easily put it into.
Jerod Morris: Yes. All righty. Switching gears a little bit, Andrea, I have always believed that the number one benefit of digital entrepreneurship is freedom. The freedom to choose your projects, the freedom to chart your course, and ultimately, the freedom to change your life and your family’s life for the better. What benefit of digital entrepreneurship do you appreciate the most?
Why the Freedom of Digital Entrepreneurship Can Be Both Exciting and Scary
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, it really is truly that freedom and that ability to scale your business up and down, to be able to work from anywhere. I love travel. I try and plan trips to Europe or international destinations, and I can work from there. I can keep my business running from there. It’s just a beautiful thing. Then in the summer, I scale my business back a little bit because I’m hanging out with the kids a little bit more.
Jerod Morris: I’m also curious, from your perspective, taking that freedom idea in another direction, freedom of expression, freedom to be yourself — obviously, some people know you as Grandma Mary. I’m wondering how much that plays into it for someone like you. You didn’t need to ask anybody permission to do that. You did it.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. It’s true. Sometimes it’s hard, and sometimes it’s easy to have that freedom. It’s nice to have that freedom to be able to choose your projects, choose the clients you want to work with, choose the things you want to work on, but also choose the way you want to do it — you make all the decisions. That can be hard and scary sometimes, too, because you’ve got almost unlimited amounts of things you could do, and you have to choose the things that you’re going to really focus on. I know, as entrepreneurs, I think sometimes the ideas start flowing, and we get excited. But there’s only so much time in the day. Double-edged sword there.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, that’s a good point. Let’s hold that thought because I want to get to that a little bit later in terms of how you make those decisions. That is something that I think so many digital entrepreneurs face.
Before we get there, though, I want to go back a little bit. I’d love for you to take us back before you became a digital entrepreneur. What were you doing? What was missing that led you to want to make a change to take you down the path that you’re on now?
How Wine Led Andrea Down the Entrepreneurial Path
Andrea Vahl: I started out as an engineer, so I was working for some different companies. I actually worked for a motor company, and I was actually over in Europe for them for a little while. Then I worked for Agilent Technologies in the telecom field. I was doing technical support, played a technical support role for them. I actually did really like my jobs that I did. There was a little bit of lack of freedom, lack of being able to call the shots, but it was okay. I liked the companies I worked for and the teams I worked on. What happened is, I got laid off through no fault of my own. The telecom bubble burst.
That is another aspect that I love about being a digital entrepreneur — that you can call the shots in terms of not having to worry about your income completely disappearing. Obviously, there are things that can happen in your business, but usually you’ve got different silos, different things that you’re working on. You can even pick up and recreate everything, probably pretty easily, if everything somehow disappeared anyway.
Jerod Morris: What then led you to go into business for yourself? If I remember correctly, correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t wine involved?
Andrea Vahl: It was! Heavy drinking — always good in entrepreneurship.
Jerod Morris: Yes.
Andrea Vahl: After I was laid off from the engineering field, actually, it was great. I had a one-year-old son, stayed at home, decided to stay at home and stretch out my severance pay there. I started working with a wine company doing in-home wine tastings, and it was entrepreneurial in a way because I was building my business. It was a network marketing company. Then what happened with them is that they folded as well. I was really bummed because who else pays you to drink on the job, right?
Jerod Morris: Right, yeah. Tell me about a milestone or a moment in your career as a digital entrepreneur as it has progressed that you are the most proud of?
Andrea’s Proud Story of the Lives She’s Changed Through Her Work
Andrea Vahl: I would have to say that probably … there’s a few things. I was obviously very proud when I got the book deal to write Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies. I was shocked and amazed. It was a wonderful moment. But I have to say, the parts that I’m really, truly most proud of and what keeps driving me is when someone that I’ve helped has said to me, “You have changed my life, and I’ve been able to become a digital entrepreneur myself because of you. You’ve made a difference in my family.” I’ve had people who say that I’ve helped them keep their home.
Jerod Morris: Wow.
Andrea Vahl: They were laid off from their job, and they weren’t able to work. But they created their own income, and they were able to keep their home. A woman whose son had cerebral palsy said that it’s changed her life because she’s able to stay home with her son and work from home.
One of the things we do in Social Media Manager School is teach people how to become their own boss and run a business as a social media manager or consultant. That has been so rewarding and so exciting to me. I love working with small businesses and people who are solopreneurs, where you feel such an impact on their home, their family, and what they’re now able to do. I love that.
Jerod Morris: That’s incredible. You know, I had Chris Ducker on last week, and for this same question, he gave a similar answer and actually used the exact same phrasing in terms of, “You have changed my life,” that someone who had read his book said that — “You have changed my life.” It’s a guy. I think his wife had passed away. He was trying to spend more time with his daughter, and because of what Chris taught him, it helped out their family so much, which is similar to what you’re saying.
Do you think that having that spirit of empathy, wanting to help, and taking real joy out of that — not just saying it, but really getting joy out of that impacting other peoples’ lives — is that a prerequisite for significant success as a digital entrepreneur, do you think?
Why Coming From a Place of Service Changes the Way You Approach Your Business
Andrea Vahl: I think that it can really help be such a motivator. I think some of the other things we see that we might think of as perks, as maybe feeling like you’re kind of semi-famous in this niche, feeling like you’ve made it in some monetary way, or whatever — those are exciting on the surface, but this is a tough life sometimes.
It is really hard. Sometimes you are working long hours. Other times there are benefits, where you don’t have to work as much. Sometimes it’s harder on motivating yourself to get certain things done. If you’re working out of your home, it can be challenging. I think the coming from a place of service will really change the way you approach your business. I think it’s a great way to keep going.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, I agree with you whole-heartedly. Let’s flip to the other side now. Tell me about the most humbling moment in your career as a digital entrepreneur and what you learned from it?
How Andrea Deals with Being ‘Big Enough to Get Critics’
Andrea Vahl: I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from others. I guess I think that there are some humbling moments where I’ve thought a product is going to launch really well. I thought, “I’m going to knock it out of the park.” Or it’s going to be an amazing reception to a certain product or offering that I have, and it’s just like crickets — and there’s lots of reasons that can be.
Also, I think it’s hard sometimes to take some of the feedback. I’ve had someone who swore a whole bunch at me in an email about segmenting my list. It sometimes feels like a punch in the gut when someone words something a little bit nastily. You are in a mindset where you’re kind of internalize it maybe differently than what was meant, or you are more sensitive to something like that. I think that what it’s really taught me is just take that feedback and really examine it. See if there’s a way you can improve.
I did really look at my list segmentation after that. And actually, I had the guy come back to me a year later. We connected somehow on LinkedIn, and he apologized for that email like a year later.
Jerod Morris: Wow.
Andrea Vahl: He was like, “I’m sorry. I was in a really bad place. Thank you for reaching out to connect on LinkedIn.” I was like, “Okay, great.” That was kind of interesting because you never know what kind of mindset that person is in who is giving you criticism. I think really understanding where to take your criticism from. I definitely am more concerned about my customers, people that I’m directly doing business with rather than someone who may never do business with me and is just feeling the need to complain.
I’ve gotten some comments about Grandma Mary, too. I never really sweat that because I’m like, “You’re not my people.”
Jerod Morris: Right.
Andrea Vahl: I think that’s really just it — just examining where you can get better from that feedback and trying to implement it. Then just tossing away and leaving the rest, to not internalize, if you can.
Jerod Morris: When you were introducing Grandma Mary and you got some of that feedback, did it ever make you question whether you should keep doing it? Whether this was the right path? I agree with you whole-heartedly. You’ve got to know who your people are. There are different levels of seriousness with which you deal with different critiques, depending on who’s giving them to you. How did you deal with that with Grandma Mary, which seems like such a personal thing to me?
Andrea Vahl: Right, yeah. Actually, that has always been interesting because I’ve never really questioned that much my decision to go with Grandma Mary because I’ve gotten so much positive response that a few negative voices means that maybe I’m big enough to get critics, right?
Jerod Morris: Yeah.
Andrea Vahl: I’ve really gotten so many people who have come to me and said, “This is awesome. This is great,” that I’ve been able to not ever think about changing. There are times where feeling like not doing Grandma Mary some days and really getting into it other days. I think there is a natural ebb and flow to our own energy in our business. I think the other thing is just important to really remember why you’re doing it.
My whole idea with Grandma Mary, her whole mantra is “If Grandma Mary can do it, then you can do it, too.” I’m really drawn to that, not only in business, but in expressing yourself creatively. People are so afraid to be different and so afraid to shine a light on their talents sometimes. I think that being able to say, “Hey, someone else did this, and she didn’t die,” and say, “You can express yourself and be who you are” — even if that’s a wig-wearing crazy person.”
Jerod Morris: I love the line, “Big enough to get critics.” We should all hope to be big enough to get critics. It’s a good place to be.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah.
Jerod Morris: Okay, let’s fast forward to now. What is the one word that you would use to sum up the status of your business as it stands today?
What Andrea’s Doing to Fulfill the Potential She Sees in Her Business
Andrea Vahl: Oh wow, that’s a good question. I think ‘potential.’
Jerod Morris: Potential.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. I really feel unlimited potential with the things I’m doing. I think that I definitely am feeling a little bit of a crossroads sometimes in my focus. Do I decide to bring on people? Do I decide to focus more on speaking, more on the products, or more on the consulting? Or whatever it is. I think that it’s exciting times because I just see so much potential.
Jerod Morris: That’s a good one. That’s a really good one. So on that, and relating to what you said earlier about having so many things to do and how do you figure out what you’re going to do — you’ve got all this potential, all these things you want to do. What is at the top of your priority list right now? How do you decide? When you have 10 things you could do, how do you decide, then, what goes at the top?
Andrea’s Methodical Process for Achieving Her Current Top Priority
Andrea Vahl: I think I always want to focus on the core business that’s brought me the most income and really keep focusing on those digital products because that’s, by far, what has brought in the most money for me over my eight, nine years of business. That’s always at the top of my focus.
Right now, I’m really looking to draw in more speaking. That’s been not as big of a part of what I do, the in-person speaking. I do a lot of speaking, obviously, on webinars and other things, interviews and things like that, but I’m really looking to shine more of the light in my business on my speaking. It’s something I really, really enjoy, and it’s also something I love doing, combining the travel with the speaking.
That’s something that I’m bringing up in my business, and I’m doing things like, this weekend, I’m attending the National Speakers Association convention. I’m connecting with speakers. I’m making a real marketing plan towards marketing my speaking. Even though it’s not been, historically, a big chunk of my business, I’d like to grow it because it’s something that’s fun for me.
Jerod Morris: Well, and it sounds really smart, the way that you’re doing it. The next question I was going to ask you is, what are you doing to get there? You pre-answered that question by telling me exactly what you’re doing to get there — which is good. I think a lot of people in our industry, they talk about wanting to speak. They’ve got it out there as this nebulous goal, but as we’ve both learned, to do it, you’ve really got to put yourself out there. You’ve got to be active about it like anything else — which you’re really doing, which is good.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. It’s always fun. I love learning about something new, and this is something new for me. I’m going to have to be making some outbound calls, which is uncomfortable for me, but I know that there are great ways to do it. I’m learning from some of these professional speakers how they do it and their methods, and getting into a new challenge.
Jerod Morris: Tell me a little bit about the biggest challenge that you’re facing right now in your business?
How Andrea’s Trying to Overcome Being the Bottleneck in Her Business
Andrea Vahl: I think right now it is a little that I’m kind of a bottle neck in it. I have a team, but I haven’t given as much work to my team as I should. I’m doing too much of my own little things. It’s just a case of laziness on my part and not getting my systems set up as well as they could. I definitely have some systems to outsource things to my team.
I use things like Asana, which is project management. Also, one of my team members uses Basecamp. That gets the work to them, but sometimes I’m just lazy about really getting it to them, getting more to them that I should offload from myself.
Jerod Morris: How do you decide what you’re going to do and what you will offload?
Andrea Vahl: Sometimes it’s just, as soon as I get them trained up on something, then I know that they can all do it. I think it’s just a little bit of control where I want the control over the process and how something looks. But a lot of times, I find that when I give up that control and let them just do it, they’re better at it than I am. It comes out better. It’s just so much nicer for me to not have to deal with it.
As growing up from zero to where I am now, you get used to being able to do everything yourself in your whole business. You think, “Oh, I’ll just , ” rather than I’ll give that to someone else, “I know how to do it really quick. I’ll do it.” It’s a lot of stuff that you shouldn’t be doing. I’m not very good at delegating as much as I should be.
Jerod Morris: That is a common challenge that digital entrepreneurs face.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah.
Jerod Morris: Let’s open up your toolbox a little bit, if you don’t mind. What is one technology tool that contributes the most to your success as a digital entrepreneur?
The Tools That Contribute to Andrea’s Success as a Digital Entrepreneur
Andrea Vahl: Well, I would say, one I use all the time that I use to create my products is Camtasia. I love that product for editing videos, mostly. Sometimes I get a little bit irritated with it when it glitches out, but it’s like any tool, right? That’s the tool I use to record video. I do like a lot of video. Obviously, things like my phone and cameras that I use are important to me.
Jerod Morris: I like Canva. Canva’s a good one.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, Canva’s pretty amazing. It’s pretty off the hook, so yeah.
Jerod Morris: What is the non-technology tool that contributes the most?
Andrea Vahl: I would say that the non-technology tool that contributes the most is exercise.
Jerod Morris: Ah, that is a good one — and an oft-overlooked one, too.
Andrea Vahl: I know. I have to exercise.
Jerod Morris: Yes.
Andrea Vahl: It just gets the monkeys out of my head and really helps me stay centered, stay grounded, stay focused. I love running. I just actually signed up for my second triathlon. My first one last year did not go so well. I had to blog about it. It was so bad.
Jerod Morris: But at least you did it.
Andrea Vahl: I did it — and I finished last, but that’s okay.
Jerod Morris: Nice. Exercise is so … I think people underestimate the importance. It gives you energy, makes you alert, helps you focus, keeps your brain young.
Andrea Vahl: Yup.
Jerod Morris: There’s so many reasons. I’m glad you said that. Okay, moving forward. I asked you a few minutes ago for the one word you would use to sum up the status of your business as it stands today. You said ‘potential’ and really the unlimited potential that you see it having. If we talk again in a year, what would you want that one word to be?
Why Staying Fresh, and Exercise, Are So Important to Andrea Moving Forward
Andrea Vahl: Ooh, that’s a good one, too. I would say, I guess it’s like quick, what’s coming up for me is ‘freshness.’ I don’t know.
Jerod Morris: Ooh, okay.
Andrea Vahl: Really, I want to always just be making sure that I’m staying energized with the things I’m working on, make sure that I’m feeling fresh. I think being a digital entrepreneur and consuming a lot that’s online, as we do sometimes, can be really frustrating, really energy-sapping sometimes. I think I just want to always be making sure that I’m feeling fresh and energetic.
Jerod Morris: I like that. Very good. Okay, so let’s go now to our rapid-fire questions, if you’re ready. Are you ready for these?
Andrea Vahl: I’m ready. Let me just stretch. Hold on.
Jerod Morris: All right. Get a little a little exercise in.
Andrea Vahl: All right, yeah.
Jerod Morris: Here we go. Let’s keep this fresh.
Andrea Vahl: Okay.
The One Book Andrea Would Insist You Read
Jerod Morris: All right, here we go. If you could have every person who will ever work with you or for you read one book, what would it be?
Andrea Vahl: I think one of the books that I just love so much is Steven Pressfield’s, The War of Art. It just encompasses so much around creativity, around work, around the idea of what work should be for us, and I love it.
Jerod Morris: I was talking with a student of my alma matter, Indiana, yesterday, and he asked me a similar question, what book I would recommend. That’s the first one that popped into my head, too.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah.
Jerod Morris: Actually, I have that on my desk right now. I’m re-reading it because it’s so good.
Andrea Vahl: Nice. I know, it is.
Andrea’s Ideal 30-Minute Skype Call to Discuss Her Business
Jerod Morris: Okay, if you could have a 30-minute Skype call to discuss your business with anyone tomorrow, who would it be?
Andrea Vahl: So hard, that’s so hard. I think I really go between Seth Godin, who I love and I think is amazing, and another person that’s heavily influenced the way I think and my mindset is Darren Hardy. I subscribe to SUCCESS magazine and have listened to his CDs for a long time, and it really helps me. I think I’d have to go with Darren Hardy just because I’ve just really loved his practical advice.
Jerod Morris: I’m not familiar with Darren Hardy. I’m going to have to look him up.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah.
Jerod Morris: SUCCESS magazine, is that a print magazine?
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, it is a print magazine, and it’s just filled with really uplifting entrepreneurial advice, entrepreneurial stories. They often feature people who have risen through the ranks. They deal with mindset. Darren Hardy used to be the publisher. He isn’t anymore, but I still follow him. He also wrote Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster.
Jerod Morris: Got it. Okay, very cool.
The One Email Newsletter Andrea Can’t Do Without
Jerod Morris: What is the one email newsletter that you can’t do without?
Andrea Vahl: That’s a good question. The one I consistently, consistently read is Chris Brogan’s.
Jerod Morris: Yeah?
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. I love the ideas in there. I also love Social Media Examiner’s for the news and getting caught up on what you need to know, but I definitely think Chris has a real good insight into the entrepreneurial mind.
Jerod Morris: I’m pretty sure his was the first one that I ever subscribed to, I do believe. There’s probably a lot of people for whom that’s true.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah.
The Non-Book Piece of Art That’s Had the Biggest Influence on Andrea as a Digital Entrepreneur
Jerod Morris: What non-book piece of art has had the biggest influence on you as a digital entrepreneur?
Andrea Vahl: Well, I would have to say The Carol Burnett Show. I always wanted to be Carol Burnett, and that’s how I feel like I combined that desire with my business.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, and Grandma Mary was emanated from that, right?
Andrea Vahl: Exactly, yeah.
Andrea’s Biggest Productivity Hack for Doing Meaningful Work
Jerod Morris: Very cool. What productivity hack has had the biggest impact on your ability to get more meaningful work done?
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, I think for me it’s a lot about changing scenery sometimes. That can mean like going on a walk and taking a break, or switching to a coffee shop. If I’m really feeling stuck and really not getting stuff done, I just take a walk or meet a friend at a coffee shop, and it really helps my productivity.
Jerod Morris: That’s a good one. I’ve even read studies about how just going through a doorway, like if you’re stuck with your thinking, literally just walking through a doorway can change your thinking and freshen up your mindset a little bit. You don’t even have to leave your house. You just walk through the doorway.
Andrea Vahl: That’s cool.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, there’s something psychological that goes on. I know I find myself, working from home, feeling like that a little bit.
Andrea Vahl: Right.
Jerod Morris: As great as working from home is, sometimes it’s like, “Okay, I got to get out of here. I need a change of scenery.” So that’s a good one.
How to Get in Touch with Andrea
Jerod Morris: Okay, and finally, the easiest one of all — what is the single best way for someone inspired by today’s discussion to get in touch with you?
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, just go to my website AndreaVahl.com. There’s a Contact Me spot there, and you can just get in touch.
Jerod Morris: AndreaVahl.com, perfect. We will have that in the show notes. Andrea, thank you so much for your time.
Andrea Vahl: Thank you. This has been great!
Jerod Morris: It has, and I look forward to hanging out in Denver here in just a couple months.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, see you soon.
Jerod Morris: Yes. All right. Thanks, Andrea.
Thank you very much for tuning in to this episode of The Digital Entrepreneur. I do want to make a special announcement, which I will do here in just one second.
But one more quick reminder to go to Rainmaker.FM/Summit-Speakers. Again, the early bird prices go up today. That is Thursday, July 28th. Make sure that you go today and get your ticket. You’re not going to want to miss Digital Commerce Summit. It really is a one-of-a-kind event, and we all want to see you there.
A Brief Hiatus for The Digital Entrepreneur
Jerod Morris: As for the future of The Digital Entrepreneur, going to take a week or two off. My wife and I welcomed our first child into the world, so we’re obviously very excited. I’m taking a little bit of time to play dad and focus on that role. Putting some of these podcasts, doing it with The Showrunner as well, on hiatus for just a few weeks. It won’t be too long because I’m excited to get back and to continue recording these episodes and bringing you these great stories from so many great digital entrepreneurs. I’m really excited about the direction that we’re taking the show in, and I hope that you are as well.
Anyway, I’ll be gone for a couple of weeks, but then we will be back with some more brand-new episodes of The Digital Entrepreneur. Until then, use the time that you might have used listening to The Digital Entrepreneur to go over to Rainmaker.FM and check out some of the other shows over there. I highly, highly recommend Confessions of a Pink-Haired Marketer, Sonia Simone’s show.
Sonia will also be on stage at Digital Commerce Summit, and any time you listen to her show, you’re going to get great insight. She’s just one of the great experts in this field and one of the most compelling and entertaining people to listen to.
Check out that show in the meantime, and I’ll be back soon with brand-new episodes of The Digital Entrepreneur. Take care.