Marketing your business can feel like a bad game of darts when you’re struggling to find leads and generate content. Julia Block Pearson and her team at Stratos Creative Marketing create story-telling marketing strategies that increase your revenue and keep your business top-of-mind.
Julia also hosts the Marketing in the Wild podcast where she explores the good, bad, and wild of marketing. A resident of Salt Lake City UT, Julia spends many of her weekends and non-working moments hiking in the mountains with her husband, four-month old daughter and three dogs (which is two too many).
[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]
Umar Hameed 0:01
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone! My name is Umar Hameed, I'm your host on The No Limits Selling Podcast, where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how you can become better, stronger, faster. Just before we get started, I've got a question for you, do you have a negative voice inside your head? We all do, right? I'm gonna help you remove that voice and under 30 days guaranteed, not only remove it, but transform it. So instead of the voice that sabotages you, there's one that propels you to much higher levels of performance and success. There's a link in the show notes, click on it to find out more. All right! Let's get started.
Umar Hameed 0:41
Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of The No Limits Selling Podcast. And today, I have Julia Block, what's the new name?
Julia Block Pearson 0:50
Umar Hameed 0:51
Pearson, she just got married less than a year and a half ago. Welcome to the program.
Julia Block Pearson 0:55
Thank you. I'm excited to be here.
Umar Hameed 0:57
And you're the head honcho at Stratos Creative Marketing.
Julia Block Pearson 1:02
Yep. So I started Stratos about four or five years ago, as a freelancer and now it's an agency and we're a full service agency.
Umar Hameed 1:11
So you went from being like the janitor and the chief architect, the chief everything. And then you started hiring people to kind of grow the practice?
Julia Block Pearson 1:19
Umar Hameed 1:19
So when were you brave enough to go, "I'm gonna hire someone."
Julia Block Pearson 1:24
And when I was like underwater. So the story goes, like I was working at a nonprofit, and it ended up being a really bad situation. And so I realized, "Okay, I need to do something else," I had owned a business previously expected to own a business again, but at the time, I was single. And for any listeners in the United States, you know, insurance is a mess. And so I figured I would wait until I was married, because then I would get insurance through my husband. And so I really couldn't handle my job anymore. So I had three months of pay of living expenses saved up. So I told myself, "I had to get at least one client and three months." And so within the first, I want to say eight to 12 months, I had gotten so many clients that I wasn't actually enjoying my life anymore.
Umar Hameed 2:22
Julia Block Pearson 2:22
And I realized, "Oh, gosh, I quit my job, so I could enjoy my life more and travel and do fun things." But I have so much to do that I not really doing that. And so I was able to hire a friend to come and join me on the journey. then that way, I freed up my time.
Umar Hameed 2:22
And what was the name of your friend?
Julia Block Pearson 2:26
My friend's name is Ryan. And she lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where I was living at the time.
Umar Hameed 2:50
Nice. And she's still with the company, I see.
Julia Block Pearson 2:52
Yeah, she is and...
Umar Hameed 2:53
Julia Block Pearson 2:54
she's one of our best and so.
Umar Hameed 2:55
And so pretty much it's just one guy and girl power, right? A bunch of women.
Julia Block Pearson 3:01
Yeah, there is only one guy on our team. We're thinking about hiring somebody and he said only we can only hire women from here on out but that's just a joke. But mostly it's a woman. Woman it is women owned and then women runs minus [garbled].
Umar Hameed 3:16
Agency. Nice. We you know, we everybody has to have a token then you got to token male, which I appreciate. So let me get this straight.
Julia Block Pearson 3:23
We love him.
Umar Hameed 3:24
So let me get this straight. You are see someone that's like cute, yes. Looks like has the right morals, check .Knows how to dance, knows how to sing, no health insurance, get out of here. Was that the criteria?
Julia Block Pearson 3:39
For my husband, at the time, yes, but not any longer because he's also self-employed so now we just pay for insurance.
Umar Hameed 3:47
Nice as he should be. So here's my thought is, I could let's say you and I were dating, don't tell your husband.
Julia Block Pearson 3:56
Okay, I wont tell him.
Umar Hameed 3:57
And so we're dating and after the third date, you start noticing the real me.
Julia Block Pearson 3:57
Umar Hameed 3:57
So I'm showing you my best SOP and all of a sudden I say, "Wait a minute, that maybe this is not what I want." So the reason I bring that up is when we do marketing, oftentimes companies try and pretend to be better than they are, right? I think the real power is in who they actually are. So A, do you believe that? And if you do, how do you get clients to embrace that, as opposed to pretend to be something they're not?
Julia Block Pearson 4:30
Yeah, I actually have a great example of this on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Umar Hameed 4:36
Oh, tell me.
Julia Block Pearson 4:36
So pretending to be much better than they were. And it was very unfortunate. We no longer work with this company, but on the outside and everything looked amazing and they were teaching some financial courses, but once you got inside of the business, you realize they were teaching financial courses, but they didn't even know how to manage their own money. And they were not practicing what they preached. And then they started asking us to do very questionable marketing tactics. And we were like, "Peace out. This is not how we do marketing." And so that was a really unfortunate event and their business was suffering because they were pretending to be something that they were not. And on the other hand, we really, with the companies that we love working with, and that were that are great companies, it does take a minute to help them figure out what is their secret sauce? Or their what makes them different? And how do we embrace it in a way that really speaks to their customers? It's a process. But I think that it's worth it, because then that actually becomes a differentiator between you and all of the...
Umar Hameed 4:36
Julia Block Pearson 4:37
Other people [garbled].
Umar Hameed 5:16
They're doing people doing the same thing. And...
Julia Block Pearson 5:52
Umar Hameed 5:53
So absolutely. And I think that's really important to figure out who you actually are. And sometimes as a marketing agency, I suspect, that when you talk to their clients, their clients articulate a different reality than the customer themselves. And stuff that the customer themselves discounted like that, that's no big deal was a big deal to their customers. Can you give me an example of that? And also, why do you think that happens? Why do people disconnect from something that's right in front of their face? Like we all do it, but I wonder why we do it?
Julia Block Pearson 6:25
For sure. Um, yeah, I think one of the reasons that we do it is because we get so close to like our own product, or our own market, or our own business that we actually forget to see it through the eyes of the customer. And sometimes the customers experience can actually give us the, the truth about what our biggest asset is. Recently, I had it this is about us recently, we had, I was talking with one of our clients. And she was like, "Well, I just love working with you guys, because you guys are so organized," and I was like, it was the last word of use for us. But it made me really happy from a client perspective that like, that's what she's seeing, like, does it feel like a crapshoot half the time on the inside? Like, yes, but at least like the client experience is [garbled]
Umar Hameed 7:20
Is different, yeah.
Julia Block Pearson 7:22
I think another thing that oftentimes we overlook is that as companies, we're all solving a problem. Like if you're not solving a problem, like you really shouldn't be in business. And one of the problems is we have like an external problem, but then we also have an internal problem. And so if we can identify what the internal problem is, and then we are going to also differentiate ourselves from the market. So there might be like everybody, and their mother is a marketing person right now. But, and they're all they can all say, "Hey, we do social media." But if I say, "Hey, we do social media for clients," because they want more time back, like then suddenly, I'm solving an external problem. Like, we need social media, and they need time, which solves like an internal problem of stress. And so...
Umar Hameed 8:17
Julia Block Pearson 8:17
I think that that's another thing that your clients can actually start telling you, "Hey, this is like the feeling that you're giving me or that you're empowering me with, or that you're solving for me," and that will also differentiate you.
Umar Hameed 8:32
And I think capturing all for several reasons. Number one, capturing those stories is good folklore for the company itself. Because most companies have a bunch of bullshit values on the wall, and A, they are bullshit. But even if they're legit, they're meaningless words and where they come to life is one of our values is going above and beyond for our customers. Let me tell you about ABC. Well, let me tell you about one of those stories. It was a restaurant and this waiter, he was serving this woman and her granddaughter, they would come in every Wednesday and have lunch together. And he overheard that conversation that next Wednesday, the granddaughter was going out of town and grandma couldn't make it in and the waiter says, "Would you like me to pick you up and bring you into the restaurant?"
Julia Block Pearson 9:20
Oh, that's sweet.
Umar Hameed 9:21
So the waiter actually stopped his shift went to pick her up bought around on the Wednesday. That's a kick ass amazing story. A, because it's true. And because it breathes life into the we go above and beyond. So a new employee coming in goes, "Okay, this is not empty words. This is real." And the more of those you collect, the stronger your culture is. But more importantly, when you tell that story to potential customers, they kind of go, "Okay, because everybody in their uncle tells me that they do social media, but we do social media that generates leads that grows your business." That's a really good trick.
Julia Block Pearson 9:58
For sure. I think it what I love about that story is that by collecting those stories, you're almost having other people brag about your business without you bragging about yourself like nobody loves. Nobody enjoys talking with people who only talk about themselves. So businesses also need to take heed. Don't just talk about how great you are. Have other people talk about how great you are. So reviews, testimonials, stories like that are in essence saying, "Hey, here's a real life story," like you said, that has meat on it. But then also, this is how, how they're bragging about you without you bragging about yourself?
Umar Hameed 10:39
Absolutely. And I think it's important for two reasons. One, we've got two audiences. One is the external audience. And the other one is our employees internal audience. And we can ignore one for the other.
Julia Block Pearson 10:51
Oh, for sure.
Umar Hameed 10:52
And so but sometimes the message is different on the external versus the internal. And sometimes the internal battle cry is different than the external one. So the world knows us as XYZ but internally, it's like, whatever it happens to be. And so one of the things that really fascinates me is how to build kick ass amazing leaders. So your job is the leader of your agency, there's only three components to it. One, of them by the way, this is world according to Umar. One is to have a kick ass amazing vision that inspires other people to go on the journey, go, "Oh, my God, I take a bullet for that." The second thing is building a kickass amazing culture where people go, "Oh, my God, I can't see myself working anywhere else." And number three, how do you grow the value of this organization. And when you're a leader, and you don't have a strong culture, then you're putting out fires all the time, and you don't have the ability to do those three things. Because I'm not sure what you think your time is worth but I suspect your time is worth $1,000 an hour. And when you're doing BS stuff in your company that isn't vision, culture and growth that you're stealing from your company. Thoughts on that?
Julia Block Pearson 12:07
Absolutely. I think or I'm stealing from my family too like...
Umar Hameed 12:10
Oh that's even worse. That's like, stab.
Julia Block Pearson 12:13
Yeah, we have a new baby in our house. And so I'm, like, very protective about my time now. But I think that that's exactly true. One of my proudest moments was we had a few, a few months ago, we had some massive client shifts, and we had to infuse the business with a little bit of cash. And one of my employees told me she was like, if I could, I would invest because I believe in what we're doing.
Umar Hameed 12:42
Julia Block Pearson 12:42
That was one of my proudest moments where I like realized, okay, these people are along for the ride. Like it's no longer this Julia Show, of like I want and it never really was. But especially as a freelancer, it felt like, "Oh, this is what I'm doing for myself. But now it's a Stratos is for all of us." And it's serving both our clients, but then it's also serving our team, we have four people who make full time incomes off of us, we have three who do part time work and those people thrive, because Stratos, our organization thrives and Stratos thrives because they do and so it's a very...
Umar Hameed 13:29
Julia Block Pearson 13:29
...cool relationship now.
Umar Hameed 13:30
By the way, you've seen you needed some cash infusion. How's your husband doing with one kidney?
Julia Block Pearson 13:38
He's doing okay.
Umar Hameed 13:39
Good. He's a trooper. Heed for the organization,
Julia Block Pearson 13:42
He'll do anything for. You're saying, "He'll take a bullet," he will take a bullet for us. So don't worry.
Umar Hameed 13:48
Nice. So as you move forward, you know this, I look for sayings that are like, universal and any culture in the world has it? One of the phrases is, "The cobblers son has no shoes."
Julia Block Pearson 14:01
Oh, I love that one.
Umar Hameed 14:03
And so you run a marketing agency? And how often do you look at your own marketing and the own your own look and feel? Because I suspect a lot of time so easy to help our customers become awesome. How do you stay true to make sure you guys are doing the same thing?
Julia Block Pearson 14:20
Umar, literally that has been going through my mind since year one. And because here I was selling social media to people. I was selling email, I was selling lead generation. And then I was looking at my own business and saying we're doing none of those things. And I really felt very honestly convicted at one point because I was like, "Who am I to be selling people this if I'm not actually practicing what I preach."
Umar Hameed 14:45
Not drinking my own Kool Aid.
Julia Block Pearson 14:47
Exactly. And so granted, it took actually bring my friend Ryan on. And before we could do that, because suddenly because there was two of us I could then start looking at our own things, and how to start doing that. But I will say one of my favorite stories is that we, I did this random event, when we were trying to start an email list, I did a speaking engagement for a nonprofit organization, and there was a bunch of other nonprofits in the room. I was like, this is practice. I don't expect any clients to come out of this. But I'll just pass my little signup sheet around and have people sign up for our email. And people did. It took six months. And all of a sudden, I got this email out of the woodwork. And this woman named Tammy said, "Hey, I saw you present, can you do this job for us?" And so suddenly, I was actually seeing the fruit...
Umar Hameed 15:50
Julia Block Pearson 15:50
...of practice. And so that was really great. First as confirmation. But then I also had another testimonial of my own testimonial, my own story to say, hey, clients, it worked for me, it will work for you. And so it's taken a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of recalibration. But it's something that I really believe in is that if you are trying to hire a marketing company, if they're not doing what they're telling you to do, then you should question them on why, and maybe they have good reason, like all marketing [garbled]...
Umar Hameed 16:21
They don't have a good reason. But there is an adage that comes into play here. You only teach what you need to learn.
Julia Block Pearson 16:28
Okay, yeah, no, I agree. And I think that that's one of the things I really believe, especially in marketing companies, and I work with a mentor, a lot of other marketing agencies, like you have to practice what you preach, because your clients are watching.
Umar Hameed 16:43
So I think there's three words that are really critical to life. One is focus. Two is integrity. But to have integrity, you need to know who you are. And the third one is intention, what is your intention for connecting with the world? And I think those three can really keep you on the right path. No matter what you're doing, whether you're a mom or head of an agency, or whatever, right?
Julia Block Pearson 17:13
Umar Hameed 17:14
So if there was a magic wand, and I happen to have one here, "Tadaa"
Julia Block Pearson 17:18
I love it.
Umar Hameed 17:19
And what ability would you like to be a better leader? Or what ability would you like me to remove?
Julia Block Pearson 17:27
Umar Hameed 17:27
That would allow you to be like a better leader for your organization?
Julia Block Pearson 17:30
Um, I think I have two is that okay?
Umar Hameed 17:37
Julia Block Pearson 17:39
First is like, very unrealistic, but it's a magic one. So I would love some more time. And I think everybody would, I would be surprised if it wasn't in most people's top five. Because right now, I'm a new mom, and also a CEO of an organization. And I could use some extra time because I have a ton of creative energy, but no creative time.
Umar Hameed 18:07
Yeah, of course, more time would be excellent.
Julia Block Pearson 18:10
Yes. And but that brings me to number two, because realistically, what I would love to have is more delegation powers. Because I have so often that I decide, "Oh, I can do it, or I'll volunteer for things." And, for example, this morning, I was working on a project and the whole time I was like, Why did I volunteer to do this like that somebody else in the organization could have done it. And they could have done a much better job. But I volunteered and how silly because like we were talking before my time, whatever it is worth, I could be doing things that lead to the growth of vision. And I can't remember your third one, but the...
Umar Hameed 18:54
Julia Block Pearson 18:55
Yeah, I could, I could be doing those things, rather than this project that somebody else could be doing.
Umar Hameed 19:01
So here's what's going on. So I'll ask you a follow up question.
Julia Block Pearson 19:04
Oh, dear. Okay.
Umar Hameed 19:05
Is, is this a theme for you where you'll go in and rescue?
Julia Block Pearson 19:09
Oh, I think my team would probably say, "Yes."
Umar Hameed 19:13
So here's why it's happening. Because intellectually you know what you should be doing. But underneath every single behavior that counts, is a belief in our unconscious that controls it. And this is the strongest force in the universe. This is like the black hole of gravity and it locks that behavior in place. The only problem is, the belief is out of our awareness. No matter how hard we try, we can change it even though we know better. And so what we need to do is to go in at the level of belief and change that belief and once we change that belief, it allows you to be free, and it allows you to work at a higher level because that's what you need to get to the next level of growth for your organization. Is your highest good is making sure only quality goes out of your agency, and you inspire your people that you lead to just, because what's really interesting is, they rely on you to your trust in them gives them trust in themselves. And that's the magic of leadership is that you can say, "I don't worry about your fears go on a journey with me. Let's go do something amazing?
Julia Block Pearson 20:22
Yeah. That's so interesting. That is probably why No, it's accurate. I just would like to say it's not. But I think it is. And because I do often jump in, because I'm like, "Oh, everybody's stressed out," like, I can relieve some of the stress and instead of really focusing like what they actually need me for.
Umar Hameed 20:47
So last couple of questions for you.
Julia Block Pearson 20:49
Umar Hameed 20:49
This is gonna be the toughest, no, it's gonna be the easiest. You're ready?
Julia Block Pearson 20:53
Oh, gosh. Okay.
Umar Hameed 20:55
What makes you happy?
Julia Block Pearson 20:58
Oh. That, oh, right now, my family. I know, that's like a very generic, but like I've mentioned, we have a four-month old and seeing her face light up is just even on like the craziest day.
Umar Hameed 21:18
So pause right there right now. Take a deep breath in, let it out slowly. And I want you to go back to some time today, yesterday, last weekend, whatever, a particular moment. Is it a daughter?
Julia Block Pearson 21:31
Umar Hameed 21:32
Think of a moment where your daughter's face lit up, a specific moment. And I want you to close your eyes for a minute and go back to that moment. And just see that her smile. And just the thoughts that were going in your, in your mind, and were in your body do you feel that?
Julia Block Pearson 21:49
I would say I feel it in my chest.
Umar Hameed 21:51
So I want you to take a hit and imagine you have a volume knob, and figure out which way turns that feeling up. And go and turn it up. So it just fills your chest and your heart. And it fills your entire body and your head and your legs and you're just glowing with that. And that is why you do what you do for that magic. And I just want to share with you that even though that's an amazingly powerful experience, you can make it fricking better. And that's the control we have on ourselves. And here's the final question.
Julia Block Pearson 22:24
Umar Hameed 22:25
What is one mind hack or one trick you use to be more productive, more efficient, six year healthier, sleep better? What's the one thing you want to share with the world that they could use today to make their lives better?
Julia Block Pearson 22:41
Oh, goodness, I think one of my favorite things is to remind me myself that every habit is like a muscle that's being exercised. And it's really just like a mindset shift of changing from, "Hey, this is hard," to, "Hey, I'm exercising that muscle." And every time I do this, it'll get a little bit easier.
Umar Hameed 23:04
Brilliant. Thank you so much for being on the show. And was there a question I should have asked you that I didn't ask you? You got the last word.
Julia Block Pearson 23:12
Oh my gosh, no, this was excellent. I feel like I actually got like free coaching. So what I would like walking away with so thank you so much, Umar.
Umar Hameed 23:22
Oh, my pleasure. Thanks for being on the show.
Julia Block Pearson 23:24
Umar Hameed 23:30
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five-star rating. And if you're looking for more tools, go to my website at nolimitsselling.com. I've got a free mind training course there, that's going to teach you some insights from the world of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and that is the fastest way to get better results.