The Heather Sager Show

Zafira Rajan: Bringing Personality Through Your Voice (even if you're an introvert)

July 19, 2021 Heather Sager Episode 106
The Heather Sager Show
Zafira Rajan: Bringing Personality Through Your Voice (even if you're an introvert)
Show Notes Transcript

It’s one thing to write words, another thing to speak them. As you’re building your brand online, it's important to bring your personality to BOTH. 

Today’s guest, strategic launch copywriter Zafira Rajan will help you get comfortable bringing your uniqueness (and weirdness) into your brand voice.

Plus we dig into the role of diversity in online marketing, as Zafira shares her direct experience as a woman of color speaking on a well-known virtual stage in 2020.

This conversation is a must-listen if you want to authentically connect with your audience and get comfortable sharing more of your personality (even if you’re an introvert).

Watch the interview on video, grab the show notes here and full episode transcript here.

➡️ http://heathersager.com/blog/106

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Zafira Rajan  0:00  
Your voice as the business owner is one that builds the bridge between your own and the voice of your customer, right? So that requires you to have confidence in two things. One, is knowing how you actually want to show up and how you want to speak, and the other one is really understanding what your audience is seeking from you and how you can support them.

Heather Sager  0:27  
Well, hey friend, welcome to another episode of the Heather Sager show. It's me, Heather Sager and I'm honored to be your speaking coach here today in this episode. I've spent the last 15 years studying and building my communication skills to inspire and teach business owners and their teams from stages around the world. I've had the honor of speaking on more than 1000 stages on topics of leadership, premium brand positioning, sales, and of course communication. And now my focus is helping fellow online entrepreneurs become magnetic speakers, so they can make a bigger impact in the world while growing their income. This show right here was designed to give you a dedicated space each and every week to grow your skills and keep your big goals front and center. And if you liked today's episode, be sure to grab a screenshot and share it to Instagram and tag me @theheathersager so I can get you a shout-out and celebrate the work you're doing. All right, let's dive in, friend. It's gonna be a good one.

Well, hey friends welcome back to another episode. I am thrilled to welcome today my dear friend, Zafira Rajan. We're going to talk about all things copywriting, personality, getting your voice down, talking about weird, talking about speaking on stages, talking about speaking on Amy Porterfield's stage. We're gonna dive into all the things. 

Now Zafira and I first met when we were in a mastermind together in. I don't know, two years ago, a year ago.  I don't know, a while ago. She and I connected. I just loved her spirit. She's an introvert. She is kind-hearted, she loves spas and furry blankets. One of those things called, Sherpa blankets. Anyways, love affair of cozy things and being warm. But Zafira and I connected even further when she was shoulder tap by Amy Porterfield to speak at the Entrepreneur Experience in December of 2020. So of course, if you have reached out to me and said, Heather, help! I had the absolute pleasure of helping Zafira share her story on the big stage. It was so much fun and I enjoyed her style and I love her approach to helping people bring out their full personality when it comes to copyright. 

You know, I see a lot of, especially course creators, especially my dear audience, many of you have professional backgrounds. You have badass careers you came from, but let's be honest, had a certain professional brand voice to them. So we are in an everlasting pursuit to shake the shackles of corporate language and really just be ourselves because as personal brands we get to talk like people, not as stuffy brands. I love how Zafira had this ability to help people bring their voice and I got to see her teach people at a big level on Amy's event and I just knew immediately that I wanted to tap into her beautiful skills to help me share my story. So we've been working the last few months and she's helping me rewrite to relaunch heather sager.com and I couldn't be more thrilled. It was just a joy to work with her both in the capacity of helping her share her message and then having her help me share mine, what a beautiful thing. 

This episode is so great. She gives us so many great little tips and strategies for just how to bring your personality into your copy. But also when we talk about there's one thing to write words, another thing to speak them and it's important that we bring our personality for both for sharing that. We're also talking Zafira's experience as experienced as a woman of color, speaking up and talking about why that matters in the business space and talking about how over the last year, year and a half, of navigating the waters that have happened for so many women of color and business owners of color who have been shoulder tap for different speaking opportunities and thinking about is it a sign of tokenism or are we valuing business owners of color for their voices and skills not just trying to get diversity on our schedules? 

This is work that we have to be mindful of, especially as white business owners, we need to be really mindful that it isn't check-up the box type of thing that we're quote-unquote getting more diversity on our shows like that's BS. There are incredible skills, beautiful voices and such rich information that business owner is able to bring to the table and it's especially important that we honor and respect and encourage all business owners to share but specifically, I wanted to make sure that I am actively not only listening to but supporting and empowering women of color to be able to share on different platforms. And so I'm honored to have, Zafira, on my stage, because she's just a badass and she's got so many great things to share and I cannot wait for you to hear from her so let's dive into the episode.

Well, Zafira, welcome, welcome for your long awaited arrival to the show. We've been in the works on this for literally months. I'm so glad you're here. 

Zafira Rajan  6:02  
I know, I'm glad I'm here with you. Thanks for having me. 

Heather Sager  6:05  
Of course, I am really excited about our conversation today. I say that to all my guests because I'm always really excited about particularly, because the topic we're covering today is so near and dear to me but also you and I have a very, it sounds weird to say, very interesting relationship, but a very, how would I describe it? It's like special because not only have we been together in a mastermind, but we've also had the opportunity to work with each other as like a service provider and client both ways. So I have the ability to coach you earlier, like last year and then we just wrapped up the big project of rewriting my entire website which I'm very excited about. So I don't know, I just think when people talk about business stuff online, they're not always on the experiencing end of the other person's work and we have that little mutual thing. 
So kicking that off, my wonderful copywriter, dear, share a little bit with the audience around what you do. Your copywriter, but you don't just write copy. There's like so many things you do, I'll let you beautifully describe yourself.

Zafira Rajan  7:08  
Oh, thank you. Yes, and I totally agree. It's been so fun which like playing switcheroo with each other and like client and service providers so I'm so stoked to be here. All I have to do now is start my own podcast and have you on there. But yes, I'm a launch copywriter. I'm also a brand strategist and I mainly work with coaches and online course creators. For the last few years, I am often the voice behind many launch email, many a sales page, and a launch strategy in general and now. I'm also a course creator as well and I have my own program signature, group program and many products of the works. A lot of which actually has been inspired by our time working together and moving into speaking. So I'm really at the stage of my business where I'm scaling and I am taking along private work with me but I'm also opening up space to share more with a wider community and really help more people find their voice and express themselves. It's just such a joy and a treat to do what I do every day.

Heather Sager  8:24  
Sounds fun and you are so, so good at it. One of the things that I really love, especially working with service providers are I think we fit in a similar category, right? Where we love working with people one on one to be able to like see the magic happen in one business but then there's that hunger to work on the one to many aspect. I don't know about you, I don't ever have the ability to run some giant, huge company that I only sell digital products but I love working with people so coaching is always going to be about what I do but I like that our businesses are really similar in the hybrid approach. I think it keeps us really sharp and witty for our one on one clients.

Zafira Rajan  9:00  
Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, I don't think I can teach people if I'm not actively also trying to uplevel what I'm doing and observe what's going on, like with private clients and how things are actually functioning in the real world and just regurgitating the same thing over and over again. So yeah, it keeps me on my toes in creative and for me, this is like the best blend possible where I feel often online world you're forced to pick one or the other so I like hanging out in the Venn diagram spot with you.

Heather Sager  9:33  
Right there in the middle. Okay, I'm curious. So we're going to talk about, just to like loop everyone, and we're going to talk about a lot of things today related between like the carryover between copy and speaking. I have some questions for Zafira around like, oh, since she's done both and does both. Where is the overlap there because we talk a lot about speaking on the podcast, but some people are much more natural writers than speakers or vice versa so we're gonna talk about that crossover today. But specifically, we're talking about how do we bring more of us into our copy and not sound so cookie cutter or I don't know, like everyone else online which scrolling through Instagram, like you can just confuse people's posts. That all sounds the same so we're going to talk about that piece. 
But first, I want to go where I'm curious, the term launch copywriter and the term like conversion copy. Those are very new to me when I started in this space. Can you tell me a little bit about what makes a conversion copywriter a launch copywriter? What is it about that versus just the general term of like copy?

Zafira Rajan  10:37  
Totally, such a good question. A conversion copywriter is really someone who specializes in getting people to in persuasion in copy to encourage people to click, checkout and actually make a purchase. So that's why conversion copywriters usually specialize in those particular pieces of copy that drive conversion, like sales pages, like launch emails, everything down to the checkout copy on a page. But essentially a conversion copywriter or a launch copywriter would have been trained in knowing specific tactics or strategies to move someone from being an audience, member to a buyer, and sometimes that can be a much longer journey than a launch. It can start so far out in advance so a lot of it is really strategic whereas other copywriters tend to focus on other facets like website copy or brand messaging, or, you know, working on lead magnets and I've done all of that too, as well. I've just sort of niche down a little bit into this space and I still dabble in others but that's really the main difference. You usually will just want a copywriter on your launch if you can but I also think this space is shifting and changing and what we're deeming, like, you know, as good like metrics and conversions are starting to shift as well in this space.

Heather Sager  12:02  
Yeah. Okay. Tell me a little bit more about that. What are you seeing and some of those shifts?

Zafira Rajan  12:08  
Yeah, what I'm noticing is that, I think when the online course creator space started taking off, everybody wanted these gigantic launches. These really drawn out cart opening, cart close periods. But I find time and time again, when I'm working with clients, I often end up playing like launch therapists throughout and afterwards. It's leaving people so burnt out and so frazzled and so tired and with not enough energy to then actually pour into showing up for their audience. So I'm starting to notice people wanting to shift away into finding their own type of launch style and not just let the big box brands are telling us we have to do and there's nothing wrong with trying all of those things. I think you have to do it to figure out what works and what doesn't. But people are starting to lean into the idea that you know, numbers are just numbers and there's never really a guarantee what you can get and what you should get. You know, we can all make like estimates. I think the fact that even copywriters still run around asking each other being like is this a good conversion rate? Is this a good conversion rate? What about this open rate or this click rate? And every time something in tech shifts, all those metrics shift. 

I was starting to see people measuring their launches more so and how they feel and how much they can bring to the table once it actually wraps up so that might mean you know, doing a really short launch or might mean doing a flash launch, it might mean doing an email only launch and ditching a webinar, if it feels weird for you, like I midday you end up seeing me on a webinar means something dramatic has changed in my life. 

Heather Sager  13:51  
I think we could do what feels good and not in your face.

Zafira Rajan  13:57  
We'll get there, but yeah, I'm generally noticing people leading into acceptance of the fact that a launch can look different for everyone and it takes some experimentation but they don't necessarily have to do what everyone else is doing which ties in very perfectly into what we want to chat about today.

Heather Sager  14:15  
I love this. I've just silently giving myself and actually physically giving myself a pat on the back because I'm so glad I asked that question because I didn't know where you're gonna go and I love, love that because I, okay, random side tangent kind of parallel that I see right now. I'm in this, those who have been listening to podcasts I know I've talked about this multiple times. I recently found out that I had separated abs from giving birth to my children which my youngest is now three and a half years old so kind of crazy that I just discovered this. 

But I've been going through this online rehab recently that I found it on a Facebook ad, but it's just like pelvic floor ab whatever rehab. I remember like in the Facebook group, the gal constantly tells people like don't just focus on like, as you're going through, like the pounds loss or like the interest on your waist. You have to think about as you're going through and fixing your diet and your exercise, there are other wins, like other games that you have. She's constantly reminding people around. It's not just about the pounds, it's not just about the inches. It's also about how you feel like this, your back hurt. There's this, like, just when you talk about this thing with the launch, there's like that parallel to me, that when it comes to like physical things, so many people are focused on like size and weight, but our bodies, like our vibrancy, how we feel? Do we have headaches? Are we flexible? There's a feeling piece that goes with it? And I think it's easy for people in the business sense to forget about all those things and feel it as like fluffy, around, like, how do you feel after a launch? How do you feel taking care of dozens of potential students versus 12? You know, I don't know. But I just I love that conversation, because I think people are getting bolder to push back on the norms of those big launches. Do you see that a lot?

Zafira Rajan  14:21
Yeah, I think so and it's actually becoming one of the reasons people come to me specifically for a launch copy is knowing that I will create something unique for them. It's not going to be formulaic, but it's going to be dependent on how they naturally like to show up and engage with their audience. So you know, if they never see you on video and you want to share it, you want to now do a webinar like well, maybe we need to talk about that, right? If you want to do an email only launch where you go through them for two months, we probably need to talk about that too. Finding what's in alignment with your personality is something that I didn't realize I could identify for clients, but it's turning out to be quite valuable and I think necessary at this point so that they don't you know, cry every time they launch in September.

Heather Sager  16:52
They're might be in tears but hopefully not the tears of like overwhelm and the stress of it. Okay, I'm curious something that you said around clients that come to you looking for that something different. You've carved out that name for yourself around let's do things differently. You and I talked about this a bit. One of the reasons I really wanted to work with you to have you helped me write my copy for my website was I felt like our personalities for, like your very hot like zen-spa like, right? You have this like, we're always talking about you, cozy up under a Sherpa blanket with a big glass of tea at the lake looking at the water. I'm like high energy like rah-rah, big hand gestures, right, where we can totally snuggle together under a Sherpa blanket but our like everyday personalities, they're very different. And I love the fact that the way you communicate was going to be a really good, like, balanced/allow me to convey who I am in a way that's going to just feel really good. I'm doing a terrible job describing this, but we're just different personalities. I'm curious, how did you figure that out for yourself to attract people who were like, yes, that secret thing that you have Zafira? Like I want that in my life, not because I want to be Zafira, but I see Zafira as like, a way for me to be more me. Does that make sense?

Zafira Rajan  18:16  
So yeah, is it how did I communicate that this is what I do or why did people end up showing up in my doorstep? 

Heather Sager  18:23  
I think like to the whole idea of like, personality was this, okay, people talk about like strategy online? Like, how do you attract the right people? Was there like, some kind of, sounds a bit like a calculated way around here's the ideal person you want to work with? Or were you like, I'm just gonna show up as me and see who that attracts?

Zafira Rajan  18:44  
Right. Okay. This is a good question. I feel like working with course creators and coaches has been a bit of a natural evolution. And, you know, I think we know actually how small this space is. Once you know one, then you know two, then you know three, then you know four. So things started happening more as a result of word of mouth but the testimonials I were getting were not necessarily like, yes, there were conversions but a lot of them were like, she put me at ease, she made me feel this, she made me feel that. And then when people started noticing that in the results of my work with clients, and also, you know, the fact that you can still have a good launch and like not want to borrow until whole. They just kind of wanted to feel the same way too or they wanted to give themselves permission to have that on their team for their next launch. And I think a lot of the course creators I have worked with, also take it upon themselves to want to do everything themselves. 

So my signature launch service actually called Launch and Let Go and I have an intake question that says, so what are you letting go of this year and all of them tend to say oh, trying to control everything, trying to do everything by myself, like trying to write all of this stuff. So yeah, I think over time, it just, yeah, if people wanted that experience of knowing that they would just be taken care of and also, knowing that, you know, there was a different way, and I definitely didn't set out to be like, I'm only looking for a course creators who like reject conditional conversion. 

But what I do to filter in the right people is, you know, on a kickoff call or initially out, or before I sign anything, I let them know that you have to be okay with me tailoring this whole experience in this whole approach to you. And if you just want to hire someone to story brand your or Donald Miller you, or just like use a sales pitch template that you bought from someone and plug things into, that's really not how I do things. And it's, you know, the whole process involved before we even get to copy like, you know, they will be researching, interviewing people, that all set the groundwork for everything else to come so there's a much bigger picture involved. And yeah, that's kind of just, if they're not cool with that, then that's close enough and you're doing the right direction. Yeah, but that's why I think working with planes, like us so fun because you do have that wonderfully, like vibrant personality that is so open to the possibilities, but also has so much to share and there's no way you're being restrained by a template, and I'm like all for that, you know.

Heather Sager  21:30  
I even talked about that. I told you how I despise templates and swipes and all those things. I feel like people don't know how to put the personality into it so then they mock, it's not really mocking, but they try to emulate the personality of whoever wrote the swipe to begin. That's where I had big challenges with swipe files that I got for sale sequences because I was trying to be like someone else and I found myself, okay, this is gonna sound super funny. But like, I remember I wrote an email to my list, like, I don't know, probably a year and a half ago, and I used the word like, hey, boo, or something and I just laughed at it. And I actually said, okay, truth, truth. Like, if I ever call you boo again, call me out because that is never anything that I would say. I don't call anyone boo as I'm joking. I laughed because I was adopting the language from who I was learning with and who was point swipes from and it's just so easy to assume someone else's personality and kind of lead them on your table because we think that oh,that personality is what sells. So yeah, let's talk about the concept of personality online. Here's the thing, like, we have businesses. We're not here to like, bring big influencer personalities and just be liked online and then pitch products. We actually have products that we sell on our own. So it's like, how do you bring you, this is a very loaded question. But how can business owner be approaching the concept of bringing personality to the brand, knowing that sure it's about them, but it's also about a business. How do you start that conversation with a business owner? 

Zafira Rajan  23:11  
Yeah. Oh, this probably needs a two-hour class. 

Heather Sager  23:14  
Yeah, just snack-sized. We're gonna go a snack-sized ideas? 

Zafira Rajan  23:19  
Yeah. Okay, so I think first things first is, you know, I talk a lot about this is your voice as the business owner is one that builds the bridge between your own and the voice of your customer, right? So that requires you to have confidence in two things. One is knowing how you actually want to show up and how you want to speak, and the other one is really understanding what your audience is seeking from you and how you can support them. And, you know, doing customer research, like we just chatted about, like interviewing them one on one, putting out surveys to figure out what they're struggling with or what you can help them with, what they're looking for from you, can really help you start creating like a word bank of phrases and things that your audience tends to share or tends to use very often. 

The easiest way for me to explain it to business owners when they're sitting down to write something and they're trying to figure out how to bring all these things to the table is to write something in their own voice first and then edit it using the voice of their customer. So let's say you're sitting down to write a launch email to your list and let's say starts with a story like maybe my course is dropping tomorrow, and this is going into my waitlist, and I'm saying, hey, I've got a case of the Sunday lazy. I went to the beach, I'm brewing this cup of my favorite lavender tea and reading this book to prep and I also just wanted to let you know that this thing is dropping tomorrow. Then what you can pull in is the voice of your customer instead of just talking about your course from your point of view. If you're the kind of person that's really struggling with XYZ and use those words from your word bank, and then say, hey, this is going to be perfect for you, keep an eye on your inbox, and then you know, have a fun sign off. That's like such a great combo of using your personality and the voice of your customer so that's like a really micro example of how that would be put into action. But I think when we're staring at like a bunch of data, we've got a lot of fat, like, we have so much information about our audience and we have to sit down and write something from the heart, it's hard to really navigate that all at once in your head at the same time. So doing one or the other first, whatever feels most natural is usually you know how it like to explain it as like, Okay.

Heather Sager  25:45  
I'm going to echo that back and translate it to make sure that I get because when you and I talked about this, I was like, oh, it's constant reminder for me again. I teach people how to speak, right? But it's ingrained in how I do things, right? So you and I do this in our work together is, it's so funny, when you're really good at what you do when you do it for other people, it's so clear. But when we trying it out ourselves, we're like pulling our hair out, like oh, why can't I tell my own story? Why can't this, whatever. So when you heard us talking about that, I think it's really, really important for anyone listening to gather. 

You talked about this nuance between you have your natural voice, right? Your natural way of how you show up and kind of what makes you you, but we're not just us. We have a business. There's that like the effect, where we have to really understand who it is we serve and it's merging those two things together to create this like voice that really transcends that gets that like, oh my gosh, she's in my head approach. It's like that blend between using language from your audience, but putting your spin on it. So it's not like you're, have you ever been in a sales conversation before where someone will literally use your words back on you and you're like, schmucky, I'm not sharing with you anything else because like, you can see them like dishing it right back in your face around like you should buy this because you said this. I hate that sales approach. So like this idea here is you reflect your audience's language, but you do it with integrity and you do it with heart because it's actually embedded in how you think and feel to in your story so I like that merge. I think about it's like styling an outfit where like we are maybe like, this will be weird analogy, but like the basics, like put together like really good whatever separates, and then we pull in our audience language to be like the accessories to make it really feel pulled together.

Zafira Rajan  27:34  
100%. I love that, and here's the analogy Queen.

Heather Sager  27:36  
I totally am and profile because you've recommended that Yeah, I am owning that part of my personality. Okay, so I love this idea. So okay, I want to talk about personality piece because I remember when you and I were working together on a presentation for you. You had, I don't remember if I said this or you said this, but it just stuck and became the thing of your keynote that you delivered. It was this idea around like, figure out what's your weird, and like, talk about it. So can you just like spitball for a moment around this idea around everyone has this weirdness and why is that like, why does that matter when it comes to the world of copy or speaking?

Zafira Rajan  28:22  
Yeah, so I think the word weird has always had a bad rap up until recently. You know, it's always lead people think to make you like, the eyeball or the cookie kid or you probably heard it a lot when you were younger, but we never think as adults, but like, I love being my weird self.

Heather Sager  28:41  
If your first year in Portland like me and our whole mantra is like Portland, keep it real. 

Zafira Rajan  28:44  
Okay, yeah. Outside of Portland, but not necessarily the vibe concept. But when I say weird, what I mean is really and people get sometimes scared by that, like, I'll have to find my way weird. There's nothing weird about me. I'm like, so boring. There's nothing fun to share. You're weird is really just those parts of your personality that make you and that are just so hard to replicate or hard to find in anyone else. For example, Heather, what's your favorite kind of sandwich that you've shared with me?

Heather Sager  29:18  
Oh, yeah. Peanut butter and pickle, baby. 

Zafira Rajan  29:20  
Yeah, there are no a lot of people out there but I know that. 

Heather Sager  29:24  
There's like a visceral reaction that just happened for people going, did she just say peanut butter and pickle sandwich and let me just tell y'all, we're talking about dill pickles and delicious creamy peanut butter. Put those things together. You're welcome in advance.

Zafira Rajan  29:38  
There you go, boom. Personality tips, you're walking away with them. But those are those little weird things about us that we might not necessarily realize are useful in business or that need to be woven into our business but for, you know, folks who listen to your podcast, people in our community, they're all personal brand and at the end of the day, you know, you're not the only speaking coach out there. I'm not the only copywriter out there and what people are going to gravitate to is those parts of your personality, because that's all you have to really set you apart at the end of the day. And yes, there's your teaching approach. Yes, there is like how you work with people, yes, there is a result that you get for clients. But at the end of the day, people are really just hiring a real human. And even the fact that you mentioned like, you have always liked my spa vibe or my zen situation and you're like, I'm curious to see how we can mingle our personalities and will see what comes out.

Heather Sager  30:38  
Maybe it will rub off and bring me a little zen vibe.

Zafira Rajan  30:43  
That just goes to show, right, because I mean, you could have worked with any other copywriter on this, but that is was the deciding factor, and you know, us working together. And for me, I knew I needed someone that was really just gonna, like push me and make me do the hard things that even when I don't want to do them and I knew that so you'd be the perfect speaking coach for me. So when I say you're weird, it's just the things that people would say are so you. Those weird little recipes that you have or your signature snags, the things that you know, your family or friends might find super annoying or super awesome about you. You can sprinkle them throughout your marketing, you can sprinkle them throughout your copy in a way that makes it memorable and also just let it be like a recurring refrain that you mentioned time and time again, you know, maybe you weave your, I don't know, like one of my clients used to have like her signature drinks and her every email sign off. They'd be like with love and like a pearl spritzer with love and Prosecco. And, you know, people would always reply to those emails and be like, oh, yeah, and I'm pouring myself a glass of that or they would look forward to seeing what she was drinking that week. And, you know, it might not seem like such a big deal and like the grand scheme of things, but you'd be really surprised to know what people actually retain after interactions with these. You touched on in the beginning when you scroll through social media, it's the same, same, same, same same. When you learn to lean into these weird, unexpected, you know, things that are just so true to you and start revealing more of that to your audience, it's an instant conversation starter and it's also something that retains itself in your audience's memory in a way that is really hard to forget. I'll never forget that you like peanut butter and pickle sandwiches but I might forget, you know what you said to podcast episodes. They make you think of them right away.

Heather Sager  32:38  
And it's so funny because we're like, wait a minute, that's what we want people to remember us for. Well, the fact that you want people to remember so like a little quiz game. I give myself, I go okay, thinking back especially early when I started consuming a lot of content online. Amy Porterfield, scout and kombucha. I didn't even know what kombucha was until Amy talked about it all the time. And I was like, why are we talking it? But it's one of those you could think of her. Tyler McCall, I think of Target. Totally, Target, all those things. Recently, I was reading Luvvie's new book, Professional, Troublemaker, and in it, she talks about her core values and one of her core values is cocoa shea butter. She talks about things and then this deep desire to have deeply moisturize skin. I was laughing, it was so out of place and I will never forget that. And it's like, these are the elements you're talking about were things that literally have nothing to do with the business but they make people memorable and that's we want people to remember us because I think, and I want you to talk a little bit about this. I think there's this urgency that people have as business owners of thinking like I want someone to read my copy or read something and then instantly buy from me but that doesn't normally happen. There's something that happens over time where people build relationships, right? Can you talk a little bit about, I don't know, I'm just curious. We didn't really prep for this, but I'm just curious, like your impressions or what you feel around this? This like discovery that somebody does something and like your ability to stick around with their brand until you actually need their product or program. Have you experienced that?

Zafira Rajan  34:16  
Yeah, I have noticed in my audience, at least I'll share from my personal experience that people go one of two ways. One is that they like fall in love with you instantly and they're like, yes, I'm here for everything you're doing, let's go. And maybe you've just got so many, like have those weird quirks that they're like, yeah, I love Harry Potter too. Yeah, I go to the beach every day. Yeah, I'm like, you know, I have sleepytime tea every night as well. And they're just like, how, like you know, where have you've been on the internet? And other people aren't just like okay, okay, I see your vibe from afar. I get it, like I kind of like what you're about and they need a little bit more nurturing. They need to be let into your life a little bit more. 

But it's like I said that, that recurring refrain that, you know that, that intention behind consistently showing up with those quirks and those parts of yourself and just putting them on display goes such a long way with that other camp who really needs to be led behind the scenes a little bit, they need not just information, they need stories. I think you know, that's what we're all noticing when it comes to things like email marketing, or when comes to social media even when you're launching. And I mean, you know, better than anyone. That's what sells, right? But beyond that, it also just gives your audience more of those, you know, I talk about ping pong moments. Those opportunities for people to just see themselves in you and a little bit, to see themselves reflected in you whether it's a good value, or something you care about, or something you ate that day, and it's just gonna take a little bit of time, you know, so, I mean, I think that's just how humans connect in general. I'm that type of person that takes a while for people to like, come into my inner circle even when it comes to friendships. But once you're in, it's just like, you know, a ride or die forever. Yeah, or like at a party and we're likely to hang out with one person the whole time instead of like bouncing all around the place. And I really think that being a marketer or being an online business owner is really no difference but how you're showing up at that party and what the quality of those conversations, it's the same thing, you know, and it just sometimes it takes time, or sometimes you schedule a coffee date to see someone the next day because you just hit it off right away. It's just human nature.

Heather Sager  36:40  
That is relationship building. I think as marketers, we have to start getting really comfortable around the way that we build relationships, thinking pulling the page from real human relationship books which is if you're always like in someone's face around your professional job, I don't know about you. So I went for a hot minute, I was like, super into work, like very obsessed with climbing the corporate ladder and I realized all my friends were people that I worked with. So when my husband and I would go out for dinner with my friends, it was all my co-workers, we live, breathe, talked everything, it was always back to work. And my poor husband was just like, can we talk about something else? He caught up on the office drama, like he knew everything. But when I pulled myself out of that, I realized I was like, I don't have anything else to talk about because all I talked about at work and then I realized I was an annoying person that was always talking about work all the time even to people that I would meet like randomly, it would just assume people want to talk about work. 

So putting this into business, if I'm talking to my audience all the time around speaking like in your face, like you should be on podcast in your face, you need a signature talk in your face, you got to be on lives. People are going to be annoyed because they got other things to do than to just work on their speaking. For me to require 100% of their attention on my expertise is kind of crazy so it doesn't do me any good to not have other things to talk about so that's one of the things that I love. I heard you, I think it was something that you shared on Amy Porterfield's podcast here a couple of months ago where you were talking about how sometimes in an email somebody might not resonate with like your content or something, but if they connect with you on your love of tea or your love of something, like you find those connection points, they stick with you. So it's like it might not be like a dead ringer for everything you're talking about but if you can find that one connection point you got a lifer with you. Side note, can we talk about your experience with that Miss on Amy Porterfield podcast? 

Zafira Rajan  38:48  
Yes, please. What do you want to know? 

Heather Sager  38:50  
Let's use that as a transition to talk about you're so good with words,. Words on paper and words out of your mouth aren't necessarily the same thing. So let's talk a little bit about you using your voice a lot more over the last six to nine months. So let's like rewind it back to the fall of last year. You are doing awesome, you're building your awesome copywriting business and you have the opportunity to speak on a very large stage. 

Zafira Rajan  39:21  
Keep the heart palpitations 

Heather Sager  39:22  
Even with the heart palpitations because this is a moment that so many people dream about, getting called by Amy Porterfield saying, will you be a speaker on my stage? That's literally on people's dream boards. I actually, my dream board back over here is me photoshop next to Amy Porterfield speaking on her podcast, like literally a thing. Here it goes, you get this request. Tell us a little bit about how you felt in that moment and then how you've navigated that.

Zafira Rajan  39:53  
Oh my god. Yes. I mean, you know what it was on my vision board too. I was like, this is a good to have podcasts three years down the line. I will try to pitch it. So when I got that email from Amy, I had just moved into this new house. It have been a day. We had just bought a house. I didn't have anything in my office. I just had like boxes. And I was like this the rest of the year, I'm going to take it easy. I'm going to chill. We have navigated so many things this year, a pandemic. And you know, like, I was not in the mindset to be I'm about to now go do something even more scarier than I've ever done in my entire life. And Amy was like, let's get on a zoom call. Oh, great. The only thing my calendar for the next week is a zoom call with Amy Porterfield but she was really lovely. And, you know, she gave me some time to think about it. I will honestly say I came very close to saying no. And that's partially because as a result of like, the Black Lives Matter movement last year, me and a lot of other, you know, folks of color in this space started getting a huge spike in speaking requests from people that, you know, we'd never heard from before. 

I wanted to be really sure that my space is going to take up at this event wasn't going to be an event of tokenism. It wasn't just, it was going to be dependent on my talent or like the quality of the content I was going to bring. I also was really curious to know how inclusive her events were going to be moving forward. I knew she was taking on a lot of that work and we had a really extensive discussion about it. But mostly also was good all imposter syndrome where, you know, I look to so many of my peers that have had these opportunities on their bucket list forever and I'm just like, why me and I don't deserve this. I'm not ready. I'm not a household name. And, you know, the other keynote speakers were like Steve McClaren, and Jasmine Star, Michael Hyatt. And like, everybody knew who they were and no one had any idea who the heck I was so I didn't feel like that was my space to take up. But I walked around in this clover growing new yard that we had inherited a bunch of times in circles, like chatting with my best friends, and they're all like, well, you're obviously going to do it, like there's no reason you're not going to do it.

And at no point in my life with anyone in my you know, in our circle ever say that, it would be a good idea for you not to take this opportunity. And so when I said yes, I also immediately emailed, Heather, 911 keynote help because I knew if I was going to do this. I had to really do it well and blow people out of the water but I had never delivered a keynote in my life. I had never spoken on stage in my life. I had been on panels and I've been on podcasts, but to then take up 45 minutes of digital space with like thousands of people listening at a live event just three months away, I was losing my damn mind. So I hired Heather and we really leaned into this whole concept of being weird and bringing it into our copy and translating that to speaking was such like a unique experience for me and it's something I never thought I could do and I have always been that quiet girl at the back of the room. I never even raised my hand. When teachers ask questions, my best friends used to like jab me and be like, you know the answer just say it. I'm like no, no, no. It's on my note, take it, you know and being everyone's copywriter and stepping into their voice. 

So it was really interesting like you said to do the thing that you do for everybody else but in a different way so like leaning into my own story and my own weird and having to translate that was so strange. I kept you know going in circles and I think it's when you helped me just you forced me to just be like you have to crank out a shitty first draft and you know as soon as that's done we can move forward and I think you know how much progress we made in a really short amount of time. But you know, stepping on stage again in the same office but with a bit more, I think it was like December or something. This is very weird sense of calm just like came over me and I think every time we have been given a speaking opportunity, I like freak out for every single millisecond up until I go live. And then I'm like, okay, I can do this. And so something I still do, like something that's still the same with copywriting speaking for me as a matter of prep I need to do. You know, I'm having notes, but also, you know, like we talked about leaning into yourself and leaning into flexibility and knowing that things are going to shift and evolve and the way you're going to show up might be different than the way you planned and just allowing for that. 

So I was definitely, I think more of a control freak with my messaging or with how I like to show before I did something like this. And now, I really feel like I can roll with the punches or I'm not going to freeze. I get asked a question that I wasn't prepped for or you know, I can have like a really organic conversation and know that my expertise is being valued and not to question that, so you're a really big part of helping me realize that everyone's really worthy of these opportunities. It's how you treat them and how it ends up going that really determines whether or not you want to do it again but now I want to speak all the time. Even being on podcast has shifted and pitching myself for things has shifted and I think it really became like more of a whole like self-worth journey than I expected, so that's kind of the cliff notes where we can dig deeper. 

Heather Sager  46:28  
Oh my gosh, I love that. It's funny, we've had little bits of this conversation but I actually never, we went right into creating content, creating your vision for it that we never really talked about that moment that happened when you got that initial email, so I love hearing that. And I think it's so relatable, right? We there's this thing where we throw these big visions, these big ideas out there and then when those moments come, like, it's like a mind game. We're like, wait, not yet or no, we can't possibly be ready. I just think so many people are going to relate with how you describe that. Oh, my gosh, I want to ask you around the personality piece and the putting your weird in it, right? So for a living, you help other people pull out their quirks and personalities and pieces to be able to infuse that their copy. How was that for you of essentially us sitting down for you to go like, oh my gosh, how do I put more Zafira into this and then share it with other people? Did you have a hard time with that or did you find yourself falling into some of the same, like, wait, I can't say that, or oh my gosh, I don't want to share that story? Did you experience any of that?

Zafira Rajan  47:36  
Yeah, absolutely. And that's where I think having like someone to really reflect these ideas back to you or like to validate some of it sometimes is really helpful and I understand now when my clients need this. But I definitely felt like oh, it's not too much and not too weird but certain things like we talked about my body here and that was how I opened the whole thing and

Heather Sager  48:02  
Will you tell a little bit right now of the moment when I told you like, we were talking about that and like you're telling that story, like your facial expression at that moment. Give a little synopsis of that. 

Zafira Rajan  48:15  
Yeah, I think you're asking me, we're trying to figure out something that would pair with the whole idea of, you know, trying to fit in with the cool kids and what happens when you don't and I used to thread my eyebrows too thin lions like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. And it took decades to grow that properly and they're still kind of struggling. We ended up going with that analogy, but I was telling you this and I was not thinking at all that this would be what we use to open the whole keynote, and you're like, that's the story.

Heather Sager  48:49  
That's right. You literally started with eyebrows. That was the first six minutes of Amy Porterfield's stage and oh my gosh, it was amazing to watch in the chat like

Zafira Rajan  49:00  
It crazy like till today like it's been what? Six months? I still get messages about people and their eyebrows and you know whether or not they learned any thing copy related from the talk, it's the number one thing people were just really resonated deeply with. And so we called it the eyebrows story when we were working together. We word vomited the eyebrow story a bunch of times and you know the scary lady that you still like thread them for me. I can still remember her in all the details. But yeah, you just really never know it's gonna resonate with people and it was definitely strange trying to figure that out and I found myself gravitating towards like, well, let me tell them more like a deeper story or something that is just you know, that maybe had like a little bit more pain involved or was a struggle but it was really this just light but also highly relatable thing that one does as a teenager that ended up laying down the foundation for the whole talk. And it was, I probably would have never chosen to go that route if I wasn't working with you for you to see that.

Heather Sager  50:11  
It's one of those things we all grow. I always ask that question like, what's your superpower and everyone's trying to figure that out. And I've really realized and it was especially working after a few clients this last fall that I was like, holy crap, that is my superpower. It's pulling out the most random story from someone's life and making it a killer opening story. So I worked with you and Tyler McCall back to back at the same season. And his same thing, his opening story, we called it the camp poop story which is about one summer he went to forestry camp and it was about compost and something. We also talked about the cool kids. There was like, overlap there. 

But anyways, like that, I think, let's talk about the bringing in the personality in the story piece. When it comes to storytelling in business, we don't have to just tell stories that are so like on the nose of going like, what's a good story to like make this point. I think a lot of times, what we need to do is actually pull on shared experiences we have that other people can relate to. I think from like our childhood, from like being teased as a kid, or wearing braces or trying to figure out how to put in a tampon. I don't know, that's terrible. Terrible, all of those things. The things are like easy, relatable, right? If you can instantly connect to another person and be human with them then you bring it into business. That is powerful. That's like my secret spoiler. There's a secret, people. That's how I open every keynote and teach my clients to do it too is you need a, I call it a sparkly relatable story. Something that's like sparkly and totally relatable but it seemingly has nothing to do with what you're about to talk about. You get people going, I love her. I don't know what she's going to talk about. But I already want to be her best friend.

Zafira Rajan  51:58  
I already want. Yes, I'm already like in her corner. And this is slightly unrelated maybe on a tangent, but actually, really, I haven't shared this with you. But I'm working on a book right now and part of it is because I realized that, yeah, okay, I have way more of these weird stories to tell. And it helped me also realize that, you know, the value in entertaining and also offering opportunities for people to just, you know, connect with you on these different levels through all these experiences as well, we're just all looking for more of in the world. So I've started working on a collection of like memoir, like stories based on my time growing up in Kenya. And I don't think I would have really done that if I hadn't taken a stab at sharing just something little like this on a bigger stage and seeing the impact of it. You never know. And now it's so natural to get into that and tap into those types of things. I'm so much more excited to share that kind of stuff than I was before. I'm not questioning if it's too weird, is it too this or too that? So yeah, the whole idea of like, how are you too much? You know, once you just start with one, you hit the ground.

Heather Sager  53:14  
You open up the box of all the things I think. So I know if anyone's listening, they're like, oh my gosh, how do I come up with a sparkly story or like what you said earlier, I'm boring and I have no stories. We all have our weird, we all have our stories. If y'all head back to, I can't remember the episode number so we'll link to the show notes where I walk you through activities to unlock your own vault of stories. So how do you come up with a bank of stories that you can you come up with overtime and then you can pull from whenever you need to create a story so you can go there with the story bank. Zafira, you also have, you have some really, really incredible resources for coaches and course creators to help them unlock some of these things for themselves too. Would you share for a moment a little bit about that where they can get some resources from you?

Zafira Rajan  54:00  
Oh, yes, so number one is my email list. If you're not on it already, get on it. I have a free quiz that's called, What's your brand's core essence? And that helps you create a custom marketing ritual just for you so that you lean into those stuff that only feels good for you. And then my signature like group offers are my Intention and Fusion copywriting program, which is really to help folks master their brand messaging and all elements of their copy from your About page, all the way to your sales page and infuse their real use in it. And for a bite-sized version of it, I also have my Sales Page personality kit that tells you how to do it on your sales page which again is also a result of doing this talk and seeing how much people really needed this kind of content. That the ripple effects just keeps happening.

Heather Sager  54:53  
Yeah, it's wonderful. I love it. Okay, so the quiz piece here. We'll put the link to that and to get on your list in the show notes to make sure people can connect. Zafira is one of the, I'll be very honest, one of the very few emailers that I actually open up and read their newsletters each week. We all know like, people send newsletters, gotta love them, the templates and whatnot. But I don't ever really get a lot out of the newsletters, I'm air quoting that people send. Zafira is like she serves her heart and her mind, like together in this really provocative thought that makes you go, I'm better for reading this. Like how cheesy did that sound, but I feel like, every time I read one of your emails, I feel more powerful. I feel more insightful. I actually feel like they invoke something in me which is, I mean, huge, like kudos to your writing skills. So y'all need to be on her email list because it's a really great example that you don't have to be so formulaic and transactional in your emails to get people to join your waitlist or whatever else is the CTA. We all know we need it but you really can have heart. I want to end on this piece here. Zafira, you mentioned this briefly earlier around in 2020. Thinking about the conversations around diversity and the Black Lives Matter movement, you mentioned to me earlier that your voice and how you started speaking up really shifted and I see that come through your newsletter. But can you talk about that a little bit because I'm sure there's other people who are listening who either are women of color, who are trying to figure out how to use their voice and have more of an impact in the space or it's a conversation that more people need to hear. So would you share a little bit about your experience with that and using your voice and bringing that into, it's not really a personality thing, but it is who you are and you're really bringing that to the table.

Zafira Rajan  56:44  
Yeah, and I will say, you know, kind of like, with the whole Amy thing, like getting a call and then freaking out and then leaving into it. At the same time, when all of this started happening and suddenly, I gained thousand more followers, and I've gained thousands of more subscribers. I'm like, nothing's changed. I haven't been doing anything. Really, it's just like people are noticing my skin color now and they want to learn from more folks of color in this space. So I will say to anyone who identifies as a person of color and maybe is trying to navigate this is that we were not equipped for this sudden rise in visibility and it's okay if it's taking some time to find your place in all of that. I suddenly started feeling very overwhelmed to be, you know, an expert or to suddenly have these very profound thoughts to share because now everybody's listening and maybe I only have them for a certain amount of time. But really, and I will say that, a lot of that I saw a spike and then I saw a dip. And it's just, you know, being really cognizant of who's going to be with you for the long run and why they're there and identifying that is really crucial, really key. But what I have learned out of all of it is, as cliche as it sounds like people really do care about what we have to say and what they should hear, is not just what everybody else has been sharing for so long and they care about how you view things and how you navigate life experiences differently. Even down to little things like I don't know, like for me, SPF 50 is always going to look chalky on my skin. And you know what, that's an issue. We need to talk about it some more. Reading, like my book list that I always try to be get like diverse authors. And maybe those are things that you have already talked about other people are already part of your life, you just haven't realized those are things that maybe other people want to bring into theirs too. So start paying attention to where you have made intentional choices to be inclusive, to be engaged, to be aware and to just be a better person in this space. Let's just let people into that world and let them know what you're doing and what you're up to. No one is expecting you to be an expert. If they are, they're just putting the labor of that work and the burden of that on you but it's not fair unless you want to be call yourself an expert. But you know, just to start opening up in your own way when it feels right and in a platform that feels most aligned with you like I love Instagram, but email, like I hate that word count limit and it will always get the best of me and that's always gonna be better at writing notes because I have to squeeze it all into this tiny post and it's never gonna work. And, you know, find your community of other folks of color in this space too because we're all in navigating sudden shifts and setting expectations all at once and people are looking to us in a different way. But you know, I mean, it's actually, it's cost me money right to suddenly now have to level up and really use my voice like I didn't budget to have a speaking coach last year, you know. I didn't budget to then bring more people on my team to help me manage what would happen after a big event and getting on stage and there's a cost to this for us too. So being aware of your energy and your resources and being really mindful of that, so you're not just writing a temporary wave but you can maintain momentum, I think is really important too. So that was just a bit of a ramble but it's what I've been feeling. It's what I've been navigating personally and still continue to do so. But I think that we're still always going to have the extra labor of sifting through things and seeing what feels good for us to share, what doesn't, what feels good to say yes to. I don't see that going away anytime soon. But yeah, just it's gonna be like an evolution.

Heather Sager  1:00:57  
I can only imagine. I love that you ramble about it. I just love your thoughts on it and it's one of those things. It's like I said that, I shared with you before I love when you share from the heart in your newsletters. You somehow always eloquently tie things back to like your audience even when you're speaking. You're always speaking from the heart but I just love it I'm so appreciative for the work that you've been doing this I've been for always but really this last, the last year has been really beautiful watching your business grow and watching you step into that spotlight. Like it or not baby, you have owned it and I've just so proud of you and thrilled to see the direction that you're taking your business. 

Zafira Rajan  1:01:41  
Thanks so much, Heather. 

Heather Sager  1:01:44  
Alright, so the best place you mentioned this before for people to hang out and get more of you and talk about spas and eyebrows and all the other weird things that they can send you. Now we shared our weirdness. They could maybe Instagram you theirs. Where's the best place for people to connect?

Zafira Rajan  1:01:59  
Yeah, so my website, zafirarajan.com, where you'll find my quizzes, where you'll find links to all the places they hang out online. Feel free to slide into my Instagram DMs anytime or get replied to my emails if you end up on my list and those are really best places to hang out. I often try to reply to everything even if it's not all at once so I just love to hear and connect with all folks and everyone's community and everyone in yours is amazing.

Heather Sager  1:02:28  
Thank you. We will link to all of this including the awesome quiz we talked about in the show notes. Zafira, thank you so much for sharing your heart and your weirdness with our audience today. Thank you all for listening and we will see you on the next episode. 

Zafira Rajan  1:02:43  
Thanks, Heather.