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Entrepreneur.com + Getting Camera Ready – Jessica Abo – Podcast Transcript

Entrepreneur.com + Getting Camera Ready with Jessica Abo

Episode 37 – Pitchin’ and Sippin’ – Entrepreneur.com + Getting Camera Ready

 

SPEAKERS

Lexie Smith, Jessica Abo

 

Lexie Smith 

I have to start by giving a huge shout out to Stephanie Carton of Social Fly and Entrepreneur, as she is who brought the incredible Jessica into my life. You want to hear more about Stephanie plug, you can go to Episode 30. Anyways, Jessica and I hopped on to an initial virtual coffee chat a couple months ago. And now she’s officially not allowed to get rid of me because I am a huge Jessica fan. And I’m so excited to have her on the show today. So Jessica, thank you for carving out some time in your day, we’re gonna go into all the work stuff. But first, I always love to kick things off by asking what it is you like to do outside of work for fun.

Jessica Abo 

So first of all, I’m so happy to be with you. And you are stuck with me for the lifelong plan as well. So I’m sorry, I feel like you were probably someone who didn’t sleep as it is because you’re so busy. And I probably am taking away more of those sleeping hours. But when I am not working I love to be with my husband and toddler. And given that she is not in camp or anything right now. We’ve been having a lot of fun playing doctor, playing dentist and doing all fun things together on a daily basis. So I can’t get enough of her. And that’s that’s where you’ll find me when I’m not at work and in my happy place.

Lexie Smith 

And I know where home base is, but for everyone else where is home base?

Jessica Abo

I am in LA which has been such a gift. And I was on the East Coast when I met my husband and I never ever thought I would leave New York but I lost the coin toss. And I’ve been out here for about four years now.

Lexie Smith 

Four years. Okay, I don’t think I realized it was that recent I Um, let’s see here. Math real quick is fun. I think I’ve been in the LA area. Well, I’m a little North for about eight years now. But I didn’t ever move to LA thinking I would stay. So my husband is to blame for that as well. I lost the coin flip as well. So I can relate to that. When I leave I feel like I’m in really good company, which is awesome. Yes. Hence I am so everyone listening, recording right now from my family home up in Portland, Oregon. So if the audio sounds different, that’s why, but um, okay, so we have so much to get into today. I want to start by talking about your air quotes, resume because you have done and still do so many amazing things. Let’s start by rewinding back to your very first job as a news, anchor and reporter. How did you get into the industry and then kind of high level walk us through up until today?

Jessica Abo 

So I’m 40 and I’m going to date myself because when I was nine I wanted to be phil donahue. So many people who I talked to these days don’t know who that is. But he was the equivalent of the male Oprah when I was growing up. And I love this idea of watching his show and seeing a person share their story. And by the time the episode was done, that person was feeling better because the guest psychologist gave them advice or Donohue weighed in on the matter. And I just sort of felt like wow, to be able to help one person but be helping a lot of people at the same time was something really powerful and exciting and something I had to pursue. So my first job was actually when I was in high school. I was a reporter for a local NPR affiliate. So I had a radio show for teens. And then I applied to Northwestern University’s medill School of Journalism. I had my heart set on going to that school, and I went there and I studied broadcast journalism. I was there for college for graduate school. When I graduated from graduate school. I worked in my hometown, I was a reporter for a local edition of CNN Headline News. From there moved to Burlington, Vermont, where I reported an anchor for a CBS affiliate from there made my way to New York where I was in New York at New York one for a decade, and wear lots of hats there and I met my husband and signed a book deal

and left the TV news world and came out to California. My book and my daughter were due the same day. So your one here was a little hectic. And we went on a family book tour. They traveled with me wherever I went. Year three was COVID. And I pivoted my whole business to really lean into media training, which is something I’ve been doing on the side for about a decade, but about two years ago really, really pivoted and started to do it full time. And that’s what I do now.

 Lexie Smith 

Okay, let’s hold the phone because how does a teenager get a show on NPR? We’ll get to it, we’ll get to the other stuff but I did not know that about you. How did that come to be?

Jessica Abo 

So I really let it be known everywhere I went that I just wanted to be a reporter or talk show host and that was just something I shared. Everywhere I went, so I think I had met someone in my community, who was also a volunteer, or maybe even a professional at this, at this NPR affiliate. And she put me in touch with this producer who was new to town and looking for an intern. And I interned there, but made my presence known that I could do anything, and I would work any hour and just made myself available. And you know, they had airtime to fill and I was there to fill it. And I mean, at that time, it wasn’t as technical as it is, today, you would do an interview and it would be on tape. And you’d have to take a little razor blade, and cut the tape and then tape it back together. I mean, it’s wild to think of where radio has, you know, gone from, from that time to now what we listen to in our car, like Sirius, or iheart? or what have you.

Lexie Smith

Wow, what a cool story that will be one I’m sure will be fun to share with your daughter too. And maybe she’s a little bit older to understand what you’re saying. But really cool, clearly a hustler from day one. And you mentioned it, I want to get into it. You got a book deal. You wrote a book. It’s called unfiltered, how to be as happy as you look on social media. So the first question is how did this book deal come about?

Jessica Abo

So I had been working on this book for 10 years, and I wrote different versions of it. It was supposed to be called chief empowerment officer –  how to be the CEO of your life. That’s actually what the title was, when I signed the book deal with Entrepreneur, I had learned that Entrepreneur Magazine had a press division at a conference. And I did not want to go the literary agent route and the five publisher route like the Simon Schuster, Random House penguin direction, I wanted to write this book and get it out in the world as soon as I possibly could. So entrepreneurs seemed like a really great way to make that happen. And they said yes. And we turned the whole book around from yes to market in around 11 months.

Lexie Smith

Wow. Wow. Okay, so I don’t also I’m learning so many new things today, Jessica, I didn’t realize the book deal was through Entrepreneur, which we were gonna circle back to, but to the topic of the book, can you give us a quick overview about for those who are about to run out and purchase it, what they’re going to learn and kind of what it’s about?

Jessica Abo

I felt like the reason why the chief empowerment officer had to be the CEO of your life, like didn’t work, was because everywhere I was going at that time, people kept saying, I have to sign off social media. Every time I log online, I just feel really sad. And I compare myself to other people. So I called the publisher and I said, Can I change it to unfiltered? How to be as happy as you look on social media? And they said, Sure, so I wrote the book into three parts. And these are the three triggers that in my research, I found people seem to get stuck, the most, you know, get stuck in the most or get stuck from the most. The first being relationships. So maybe you have a group of friends, and you’re on the outside of that circle. Now, maybe everyone in your group is married, and you’re single, maybe everyone just had their first kid and you’re still on the road to being able to have a child. There were relationships and careers. So maybe you pick the wrong career, and you need to pivot maybe you got fired, and you don’t know how to pick up the pieces or you have a toxic boss, and you need to figure out do you have a discrimination case? Or do you just work for a jerk? So oftentimes, people will post something about work and other people in their network will see that post and they’ll snap their happiness against that person and it’s career related. And then the last section is activism. So if you see someone posts that they’re running for 5k, and the cause is really meaningful to them, that might trigger someone who doesn’t feel passionate about anything that they are running for, or raising money to say, you know, what, what Mark am I leaving on this planet? So I wanted to help people get the blueprint that they needed to go from where they are to where they want to be. In all of those aspects of life, acknowledging the role social media plays in our life and help people not just get to the root of their rut and take an audit in their lives, but find the tools that they need to put into place, so they don’t fall into the compare and despair trap in any of these areas or any other

Lexie Smith 

Compare and despair. I love that. And no joke, this is separate from THEPRBAR, I have another company, which some listeners might know called Ready, Set, Coach, and this topic of social media comparison is the topic of the week right now. So I’m quite literally after this recording, about to go drop your book in that channel for them all. And myself. So everyone listening, we’ll put that in the show notes. I don’t want you to give away any meat and potatoes. But do you have any kind of quick tips or one quick tip on, if you’re identifying that you’re triggered one way to move past again, not the meat and potatoes, just maybe one small takeaway from the book.

Jessica Abo

The first thing to remember is that people post information that they have chosen, it’s curated, people don’t necessarily have a camera recording themselves 24 hours a day. So you can see the good, bad and the ugly. So we are wired to care about what other people are doing. We’re wired to care about what other people think about us. And I think you have to remind yourself that you are not seeing someone’s Whole Truth. So for as much as you can, it’s easier said than done. Remind yourself that people are posting selectively positive information. And it’s in our DNA to compare ourselves to other people. We’re social animals. It’s what psychologists call the social comparison theory. And we have to work at not comparing ourselves to other people in the same way we would have to work at getting a six pack by going to the gym and eating well.

Lexie Smith 

So good. Yeah, absolutely. So I’m going to keep moving on from that. But I’m, I’m personally genuinely excited to dive into that. And social media is not going away anytime soon. So I just feel like the need for this book is going to continue to evolve. So aside from being an author and a reporter for 20 years, you are a media trainer extraordinaire. In fact, you have a workshop out right now. And of course coming soon, well, depending when everyone is listening, it might actually already be out. So stay tuned, we’ll give you all the links. But the theme generally is how to go from camera shy to camera ready. So let’s first talk about what that statement in itself means.

Jessica Abo 

To me, going from camera-shy means you are at a place in your life where you might not know what makes you interesting, or what you want to say and how you want to say it, you might be turning down opportunities because you just don’t like the idea of being out there. You don’t like the idea of being on television or on a podcast, or maybe you have been in a media interview opportunity. And it didn’t go well and you’re still recovering from that experience. So camera shy Has everybody on one end of the spectrum. And then on the other end, being camera-ready means you know what you want to say and how you want to say it, you know the ways that work for you to practice your material, you know how to set up your shot or if you’re going live into a studio, you know what to bring, you know what to ask in advance to be prepared for that day. You know how you’ll handle yourself in the interview, how to pivot, how to get your talking points across, and how to look good and sound good, and get yourself to a place where when you step off that set, or you close your laptop for the day and the interview is done, you breathe a sigh of relief and you know you have nailed it. And you know how to take that content and maximize your exposure. So who are you teaching specifically? Is it small business owners, corporate fortune 500 people who are the audience. So for the course itself, I would say it’s typically small business owners, it’s people who want to DIY their PR they want to DIY their media training experience. But the people that I am spending time with all day every day on my zoom. Those are my private clients. Those range from celebrities, to philanthropists, to startup founders, entrepreneurs, small business owners and people who just want to elevate their speaking game for some people. They want to elevate their speeches and give a TED talk for other people. They’ve been wanting to write a book but they just don’t even know what stories they would incorporate. So they need someone to go through and excavate all of the things that make them who they are today and just sort of remind them how much they have accomplished. So it really runs the gamut. But you know, today I interviewed a former head of a TV network and later today I’m interviewing. I’m training a small business owner so there’s really a lot of different hats.

 Lexie Smith

You do work with so many different types of clients? Is there an identifiable biggest challenge that you have noticed people face when doing media interviews?

Jessica Abo

Oftentimes, people have not gotten their material in a self-contained way. So they struggle with knowing when to stop talking. For some people, they’ll have an idea while they’re talking, oh, I’ve never talked about this before, this would be a great day to share this thought. So they ramble. Other people think I don’t know if I answered the question, or I don’t even remember what the question was. So I’m going to keep talking. And I hope at some point, I nailed it. So I think the the first thing I come across is people don’t know how to tell me what it is they do, or what their company does, or how they got to where they are today, in 10 seconds or less, in 20 seconds or less, they end up reciting their whole bio, or using business jargon that nobody outside of their industry understands. And as a result, the more long winded they are the more filler words they use, like a like because they just don’t know what direction they’re going in. And they don’t know when to stop because they don’t know where they’re headed. They don’t know when they’ve actually arrived.

Lexie Smith

That just triggered a very old memory that I didn’t even know I had. But I had a grade school teacher, which, looking back, was kind of harsh, but also smart, who every time we said I’m in our speech, right? I think you start learning how to do public speaking, speaking, speaking, it was a great mark off. So if someone said 12 times now they’re 88% for their grade.

Jessica Abo

Case in point, there we go. The best of us happens to the best of us. But I would have loved that teacher. That’s my kind of person.

Lexie Smith

It’s so funny, I really didn’t even know I had that memory. So I know working as a PR coach, many of my clients and I bridge the topic of getting ready for interviews and some of the common fears that I hear and you’ve talked and hits, a lot of them on the head are no fear of rambling, not wanting to sound dumb, worrying, they’ll do something to help or harm the brand rather than help the brand. When addressing these fear mindsets, is there a good tip you have on how to go past? Or really the first step in addressing these mindsets? Obviously, we’re not going to go over the full psychology of it right now. But for anyone sitting here listening, going, the thought of going on TV is absolutely terrifying. What advice would you have for them?

Jessica Abo 

The first thing would be to break down your information in a way that feels relatable and memorable for you. So if you are afraid to go on, let’s say CNN or your local news, it could be because someone in your company wrote the talking points, and you have no connection with that material. So it’s hard for you to memorize people who memorize all of their material, I think have a harder time just winging it and going with the flow in TV scenarios, or even podcasts because they are so married to a script. But if someone asks a question out of order, or someone asks a question in a different way that can throw them off. So I think for the person out there who’s just overwhelmed by the whole experience, just sit with your story and figure out how did you get from where you are? How did you get from where you were to where you are today? Tell me about yourself. Tell me about your company? How does your company work? Whether it’s a product? Or if it’s a book? Why did you write this book, just get yourself to a place where you have a really simple script. And if you are someone who is really consumed with a lot of fear and anxiety, then do a body check to see where that anxiety and where does that fear really sit? So for me, before I did a good morning america interview a few weeks ago, I know my heart would race and my voice will get lower. So on days that I have big interviews, I will not drink coffee, because I don’t want my system to be overworking. So I know that the day that I’m going to drink a lot of water in the morning, and I’m going to try to calm myself down by doing breathing exercises and stretching, you might be someone who has a playlist that you love and going for a run would do it for you or just shaking it out or having a dance party in your bathroom while you’re getting ready. There’s so many different tips and tricks that people can try on to help them get over their nerves. But usually at the root of all of it, there is a little voice that either came from a great school teacher or came from a spouse or a parent that says you can’t do it . Why should you do this? You’re not worthy of this opportunity. Sometimes if it doesn’t come from someplace else in your life, it could just come from within you for whatever reason. And you have to remind yourself that you have something to share. You have many gifts you have accomplished. And by going out in the world and sharing your story or sharing information about your product, you’re educating somebody else, you’re really a public servant, doing public service, and it would be a shame for people to not listen to you.

Lexie Smith 

Just everyone tap back I don’t know for a little 30 seconds and re-listened to that soundbite there was so much good, solid advice that Jessica just shared. So thank you, Jessica, I know you’re barely scratching the surface. So the next obvious question is if people want to learn more about working with you, whether that be one on one with your workshop, depending on when they’re tuning in, or your course, where can they go to learn about that stuff?

Jessica Abo 

The best two places are my website, which is just jessicaabotv.com. There’s a contact tab. And my Instagram is where I seem to be living the most these days in terms of sharing what I’m working on, I think I have sort of fallen off the Facebook world a little bit. And Twitter, I don’t remember the last time I signed on to Twitter, but Instagram and my website are definitely the easiest places to find me on LinkedIn, I go on a couple of times a week.

Lexie Smith 

Perfect. So we’re not done, no one leave yet. But I know some of what I want to do to have everyone have a chance to go look at that right now. We’ll bring it up again at the end of the show. But I am going to pivot a little bit more. You are also a VIP contributor to entrepreneurs video networks. First, what does that even mean?

Jessica Abo

So what that means is I am not a staff member of Entrepreneur Magazine, or

Entrepreneur.com, it means that I create and sell fund content that I share with entrepreneurs every week, because I’m part of this network of people who have been vetted. And I’ve been with them for about five years now. And I get to interview all kinds of interesting people. I tend to chat with a lot of publicists who are having a really hard time landing a placement for a client, and we’ll chat about why or maybe the story that hasn’t been shared, and a press release that I find interesting. And I’ll focus on that. Or there will be something happening in the news. And I’ll want to learn more about it and make that information more accessible to other people. So I’ll go out and I’ll find the source for that. So I’ve been creating content for them for a while. And I still feel like it enables me to feel like a journalist and be a journalist, even though I don’t work in a traditional TV newsroom anymore. And it’s been really wonderful and really rewarding.

 Lexie Smith

How would someone go about finding your specific series on Entrepreneur?

 Jessica Abo

So if you go to Entrepreneur.com, and you go to the search bar, you just put in my name Jessica Abo, you’ll see a little bio about me and underneath my bio is my archive. And all of the stories that I’ve done over the years will fall right under each other and you can’t you can just scroll I don’t know what the opposite of doom scrolling is by learn a little bit about everything you can you can you know scroll, scroll for, you know, an MBA in a day on food allergies, or how to pick the right credit card to maximize getting points like it really they’re, no two weeks are the same.

Lexie Smith

And I think I was down the scrolling rabbit hole kind of recently on your page.

There’s a baby food company profile that was introducing not or out different allergens into baby food. I’m probably butchering that it was a beautifully told story. And I was very excited as someone who is interested in motherhood, soon knowing that my future children potentially have a way to not have the same allergy that I have. So lots of amazing small businesses did this opportunity come about because of the book deal where they kind of happened at the same time, or what was the cadence there?

 Jessica Abo 

So it was actually the other way around. I wanted it when people read my book. So let’s say for example, if someone is familiar with baked by Melissa, so their cupcakes the size of a quarter, very popular place in New York, I’m not sure outside of New York wherever cupcakes are available. But if someone were to read the book about how sometimes in life, you have to date your career, because as a startup founder or solopreneur, that is a sentiment A lot of us feel it’s okay. And it’s it’s okay if you have to miss birthday parties and you know, events going on because you’re facing a deadline or you’re working on your deck because the people in your life who love you and appreciate you will support you through those, through those, you know, early early days of your of your business. And if someone was reading about Melissa in the book, I wanted them to be able to then click on a link that would take them to the interview I did with Melissa on entrepreneur so they could hear in her own words and in her own tone, like what it really meant and how lonely it really felt to be that person and then how rewarding it was to have her friends start to come back with her in the middle of the night to keep her company because they believed in her so much. And there’s only so much of that that I could bring into the book on my own. So I went to an entrepreneur and I said can we make the book work in such a way that in the Kindle version, people could actually click on a link and go to this video series, sort of like a book, bootcamp all in one. And they were able to make that happen. So in the hardcopy of the book, you will just see little bit links throughout and then you can, you know, circle them or make a note that you want to go back and watch that video and learn more about that person.

Lexie Smith 

Brilliant. Win win for everyone involved. I saw, it seems like a no brainer for entrepreneurs, because then that would push people back towards their site as well. I think that’s absolutely brilliant. I’m assuming, but I never want to assume. Do you get pitched for this interview series? Or is it people you’re just finding?

Jessica Abo 

So I get about 100 pitches a week for the slot that I have. So my pieces come out typically every Tuesday, and I get hundreds of pitches a month for one of these four slots.

Lexie Smith 

So that’s the perfect segue into a little rapid fire that I wanted to do. Anytime I have a member of the media who is someone who gets pitched on, I like to just go rapid fire through some preferential questions. So obviously no, no right or wrong. I’m just gonna go do you prefer X, Y, or Z and whatever comes to mind, so you go with that? I’m perfect. Okay, cool. Very first question. Where do you prefer to be pitched email, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.?

Jessica Abo

Email, email.

Lexie Smith

Is there such a thing as too long of a pitch?

Jessica Abo

Yes.

Lexie Smith

Favorite day of the week to be pitched?

Jessica Abo

Doesn’t matter.

Lexie Smith

Any days to avoid?

Jessica Abo

No.

Lexie Smith

Time of day?

Jessica Abo

No.

 Lexie Smith 

How do you feel about follow ups?

 Jessica Abo 

You should not follow up with me within 24 hours of sending me your pitch.

 Lexie Smith 

Can people send one follow up the following week?

Jessica Abo 

The following week is great, but not 24 hours later. And definitely not six hours later. Like what just happened the other day.

Jessica Abo 

Okay, so that would probably be a pet peeve.

Lexie Smith

Any other biggest pet peeves that you see, come through your inbox.

Jessica Abo

Make sure you address the pitch to me and not somebody else, because that usually is a sign that you’re copying and pasting the pitch and sending it to hundreds of people. So it doesn’t show that you’ve watched my Entrepreneur pieces, or know how I format these videos or articles. Don’t pitch me a segment for Forbes or Business Insider because I don’t contribute to those I contribute to Entrepreneur. If you have a piece you’re pitching and it’s similar to something else I’ve covered, it would be great to know that you’re familiar with that piece and how your piece would be different. And other pet peeves or things to note. I think those are the big ones right there.

Lexie Smith

Great. Perfect. You nailed that. I just really have one more question for you before we tell everyone how to go learn about Jessica. And that question revolves around the fact that this is called the pichon and sippin podcast and we’ve been talking pitchin’ so now I have to ask what we can find you sipping so what is your favorite beverage alcoholic or non- alcoholic of course?

Jessica Abo

So these days I drink a lot of lemon perfect. I don’t know in what stores is that available to you but it is a lemonade type of drink non alcoholic comes in lots of different flavors and I love iced tea. So I’ve been trying to brew a lot of my own iced tea because I drink a lot of iced tea. I don’t drink as much coffee these days. So I like to try a lot of different herbal teas and then I make my own Arnold Palmer’s which makes life very exciting. So two, you get two drinks and can give you three drinks. It literally tastes like lemonade or is it kind of what you think of the Spindrifts lemon perfect and it’s like, hold on let I feel like I need to get one to show it.

Lexie Smith

Yeah, grab it.

Jessica Abo 

Okay, I didn’t, I didn’t want to misspeak. But it’s called lemon perfect. And it’s cold pressed lemon water, five calories. No sugar. This one is strawberry passion fruit, but I love the peach and it contains 5% organic lemon juice.

Lexie Smith 

Amazing. I like the branding too. No one can see that sorry guys, but we’ll put out a link and we’ll give them a little shout out.

Jessica Abo 

Water iced tea, lemon perfect Arnold Palmer. That’s like Arnold Palmer. I never was able to say that.

Lexie Smith 

Those are the go twos. These days. I worked at a golf club in high school and part of college and that was a drink I had to become very familiar with making which wasn’t too complicated.

Jessica Abo 

Okay well now at least when you know you come to my house I’ll have the ingredients. Maybe you’ll just teach me how to make a killer one.

Lexie Smith 

Perfect. There you go. Okay, but only other question I have before let you get back to your life being a mother, media trainer and entrepreneur, all the things that journalists is where can people go you mentioned a little bit earlier but again, where can people go to learn about the book, the workshops, the courses and all things Jessica?

Jessica Abo 

All things Jessica the best place to go is jessicaabotv.com. To engage with me on a daily basis. Instagram is where you’ll find me. And I’m also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or LinkedIn. And I recently joined Tick Tock but I am rarely on it. And I’m on clubhouse too.

Lexie Smith 

Clubhouse is great. My dog has a TikTok account. I think he has six followers. So we’re moving up in the world.

Jessica Abo

Oh my gosh, okay. Well, I will go on TikTok to follow you and your dog. No problem.

Lexie Smith 

Thank you. Thank you so much, Jessica, for coming on the show.

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