How to Impact Millions w/ Selena Soo | #01
Ever wonder if you could transform your experience into income while making a positive impact on the world? Experts Unleashed proves it’s not only possible— it’s certifiably profitable. Join host Joel Erway as he picks the brains of professionals and entrepreneurs who’ve successfully built 6 and 7-figure businesses using their arsenal of knowledge, experience, and talent.
We could think of no better inaugural guest than the lovely Selena Soo who went from “can my skill set be monetized?” to a rapidly thriving 7-figure business as a PR and publicity expert. She’s making millions by making connections and turning hidden gems into household names. Selena tackles how to scale self-doubt and uncertainty into $10K months doing what you love – and impact millions along the way. Get ready to be inspired by entrepreneurial success stories that are sure to unleash the expert in you!
Selena Soo is a publicity and marketing strategist for visionary entrepreneurs, experts, and authors who want to reach millions with their message. She has helped clients and students get featured in places like O, The Oprah Magazine, Forbes, and Inc., and land interviews on popular podcasts and national TV. Many of Selena’s clients have become industry leaders with 7-figure businesses, raving fan bases, and hundreds of thousands of followers.
How to Impact Millions w/ Selena Soo
We have our first guest, Selena Soo. You are in for a treat. Selena is a PR and publicity expert, and we talked about her journey for how she discovered how to turn her gift of connecting with people in this art of reaching out and making connections and turning it into a multiple seven-figure business fast. Pay attention to this interview. This episode is going to over-deliver, I promise. We talked about a lot of great things including her impacting millions program and you are going to love Selena’s episode. I can’t wait for you to consume this content.
Selena, welcome to the show. Welcome as our first guest.
Thank you for having me. I am so honored to be the first guest.
I’ve got a whole laundry list of questions. Selena, we’ve met a bunch of times. We’ve worked together, we came back from an event in New York City. We’ve talked a bunch and I know your story, but for those who haven’t heard of Selena, who are you? What is your expertise? What do you do?
I’m a publicity and marketing strategist and I help people who feel like hidden gems become household names. My journey started about a decade ago when I had a quarter life crisis. I found myself at this woman’s life coaching group. I was devouring all these books from thought leaders like Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson. Then later I got introduced to this amazing online board of experts and authors and coaches. I knew that I wanted to be that person who helps these people become more visible and reach more people with their message. That’s what I do and I basically have my dream job and it’s been amazing.
You help people become more visible and help them reach more people. That’s the ultimate goal. Take us back. This started about ten years ago. You have your quarter life crisis. What was going on at that point?
I was working at a nonprofit at the time. I was making about $42,000 a year and I was hard working, but I always felt like I never was good enough. A lot of it had to do with me and being someone that got hurt very easily. I also had this boss who had gone to Harvard Business School and she does have a high standard of excellence. I always felt like I wasn’t good enough, but I did a good job at my work. I dreamed of doing something else Monday, I didn’t know what I didn’t have role models to follow. I decided, “Let me apply to business school because more options will open up to me.” All around the same time I was in this woman’s life coaching group, figure out what to do with my life and learning about these different entrepreneurs. Once you learn about one of them, you care about their friends and then you get exposed to this whole community.
I felt so depressed and feeling so lost. Even though things weren’t even that bad, and I know that a lot of people feel like that at different points in their lives. Whether they feel like the relationship they’re in sucks or they’re at a dead-end job or they’re dreaming of launching something entrepreneurial that they have no idea where to start. I felt like people needed inspiration, not more information that people who embodied some message of possibility. For me, I resonated and connected more with people and their stories and I wanted other people to be exposed to them. Naturally, I would start forwarding receipts, emails.
There was one email I probably sent to 37 people being like, “You’ve got to read this email. It’s so amazing.” Meanwhile my friends are probably like, “What’s the big deal?” I’ve got so excited about this world and I wanted everyone else to know about them. That’s how I got started. I’m working on a nonprofit, “I like helping people. I’m good at helping people for free. I make introductions, I make connections but wouldn’t it be weird to charge for it?” I didn’t know if I had a skill set, I was feeling lost. For me, business school was my next step.
You said you hired a life coach. What was this life supposed to be doing for you?
It was a group program that I joined. It was called the Power Right Now. I knew I felt terrible but I didn’t feel like seeing a therapist was the answer. It was more about I wanted to create a future for myself where I felt more alive and excited. There are things that felt off. A lot of different things, I was in a great relationship either. At the time it was very simple. I want to feel better because I feel like shit. That’s why I went to see a life coach.
Was it inside that group where they said, “You should start to consider some entrepreneurial passions or maybe start your own business?” Where did that spark come from?
It didn’t come from there so much. That’s when I got exposed to all these interesting people and I thought, “Maybe I want to join a PR firm one day and work on experts if I believe in. Maybe I want to see if Tony Robbins has any positions that his company, work for a place like that.” When I was in business school I had more time and after a summer internship I was walking home and I saw my biggest role model at the time and still is in many ways, Ramit Sethi, on the street. I remember being on the phone with my mom and I was so excited. I was like, “I’ve got to go.” I hung up the phone and I walked up to him and he was letting his parents into a cab. I started talking to him and he was out of it. He didn’t even have his contacts on. He can’t even see. I’m an excited reader wanting to connect with him.
I was not like typical reader because at the time, a lot of his readers were like guys like him, dorky guys in their twenties. Here I was, this enthusiastic young woman. He was curious and we started talking because I had purchased his program, earn $1,000, I had read his book and he was like, “I got back from a cruise with my parents and two sisters.” I was like, “I remember you have two sisters because in chapter seven on savings, you talk about how they had Indian weddings on both the East Coast and the West Coast.” He was like, “You’re a stalker.” That’s how our friendship began. I started going to his local New York meetups, Derek Halpern, one of his good friends at the meet up. I started becoming friends with him and Derek.
One day, Ramit emailed me while I was in business school and he was like, “I’m redoing my website. I was wondering if you had a moment to take a look at these different mock ups.” I remember being so excited about the opportunity to help and I shut down my computer. I was in class at a time. I left the classroom, I went to a library and I organized a group of people as like, “Can you take a look at this?” I spent five hours doing market research and put together pages of notes and send it over to him.
He was blown away as I would do things like that for him to be like, “Maybe you should be a copywriter one day. You could do this.” He said to me at one point, because I was thinking at the time when I was in business school, do I work in HR or help with women’s initiatives or work inside another company? He was like, “Honestly, you could do anything. You have it in you to be an entrepreneur.” There are more things that came from that and people I got connected to. That was I think when my wheels started turning is when other people saw that Ramit saw the potential in me that at the time I couldn’t see it inside myself.
When you were hired around the same time, you were searching, a lot of us do. I was going through the same thing probably about five or six years ago. You’re searching for options. You’re following guys like Ramit and then you hired a life coach or that group coaching program.
I also work privately afterwards but started in the group coaching format.
It was Ramit’s recommendation that said, “You should really become an entrepreneur.” Correct me if I’m wrong, until that point, it wasn’t in your mindset to be like, “Maybe I can go out and start something on my own,” or you are waiting for somebody to say, “I believe in you, you can do it.”
At the time I didn’t think that I had the profile of an entrepreneur. I’m a naturally shy person. I enjoy being behind the scenes. I enjoy supporting other people. There are things I’m not good at. I’m not very good at finance and numbers. I thought like, “I can play this role behind the scenes helping people in this publicity promoter capacity.” I didn’t think that I can be an entrepreneur. The idea of drawing attention to myself made me very uncomfortable. Then he started to see that potential in me. I had a summer internship and I was working with an entrepreneur. She was incredible, very extroverted. She had built this multimillion-dollar media company and I was helping her with her next venture. I did both operations and business development and recruited several interns to work with us. I did a lot of fun things for her and added a lot of value and I’m like, “I’m basically doing these multiple experiences.” I started to realize I could do this.
The other thing is Ramit connected me to Marie Forleo. She was looking for someone to help her with publicity and Danielle LaPorte who had wanted to introduce me to Marie years ago also reconnected. I talked to Marie and she became excited about my work. She believed in me and I’ve helped her with some things and Daniella LaPorte with things over the years. They became my ambassadors and it was surreal to me because back then and even today, I have massive respect for them. I look up to them so much. I’m like, “If they’re so excited about me and they see me as one of the best with what I do, I do have something here.” That’s what gave me the confidence.
At what point during this journey did it stick with you, “I think I’ve got something here with publicity and PR?” Did you always know that you had a talent for connection?
I knew once the people that I admire like Marie, Danielle and Ramit were enthusiastic about my work. I can remember since maybe college as being this natural connector. I’m good at reaching out and connecting people. Even in business school I found myself to be entrepreneurial. I was good at getting ideas off the ground quickly, making things happen, being extremely resourceful. There were other areas where I struggled so much. It was so painful, certain classes. There are certain things that I’m not good at. Then there were certain things I found that I was so good at making things happen.
Along the lines of making things happen and be a connector. Opportunity is everywhere and in my mind if I’m going back a few years ago I’m like, “Joel, maybe you could be a connector and make money from connecting people.” Immediately my mind will be like, “There’s no way that would happen.” I did some research for this podcast. You set up a dinner with one of your idols, Pat Flynn. Tell the story about that because if I’m trying to piece this altogether I’m like, “There’s a lot of value in reaching out.” Make that effort to tell the story about how you connect with Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income.
I love telling the story because this is how I operate. I was on Pat’s newsletter. I admired his work. Then one day he said, “I’m coming to New York City.” He was saying this to the hundreds of thousands of people. “I might have some time to grab coffee with some readers if you’re interested in meeting up, let me know.” I’m excited that Pat’s coming to town, but I don’t want to take his time and who knows if he would even want to meet with me. What if I can create a special experience for him organize an influencer dinner party in his honor. I reached out to Pat and I introduce myself to him. He was also a little bit familiar with me because I was also on my mentor Ramit Sethi’s leader board and things like that.
He might have heard my name, he didn’t know me. I introduced myself. I said, “Since you’re coming to town, I would love to organize a dinner party in your honor. I was thinking I can invite some of our mutual friends like Derek Halpern, Ramit Sethi, Kimra Luna as well as anyone else you’d like to meet. Let me know.” It is what you have to do, that’s what it was about. The point was I was going to create this experience. He could hang out with his favorite people and meet new people. It was definitely namedropping, but not superfluously. I think it was appropriate for the occasion.
When I saw it I’m like, “Wow.” There’s nobody that thinks to do that. When anyone sees opportunity, one of the biggest ways to seize the opportunity is figure out how are you going to do it that most people are willing to do it. If you were to sit down, if I were to ask 100 people who are in our space, “Have you ever connected with Pat Flynn? Or how would you go about connecting with Pat Flynn?”
There’s no way I could connect with Pat Flynn unless I knew somebody know in his immediate circle. “We’ve got your email, which you post it up on your own blog. I read you’re going to be in New York. I’m going to host a dinner party. Do you want to come?” It was that simple. Nobody’s going to go out of their way and invite Pat to a private dinner party but it worked. Ironically, that’s how we first met personally when you invited me to your event in Las Vegas. Your influencer party in Vegas was slightly bigger than your party.
It’s how I live my life. That story, I know that it sounds unique but that’s what I do all the time. I do things like this every day. I have lots of stories like that. The main takeaway is don’t wait for great opportunities. I do think I have a knack for connecting the dots between people, ideas and opportunities. I think it’s because I care so much about people. The people that I choose to help and develop relationships with are people that I feel genuinely so excited about them, so inspired by them. I want to make an impression. I winded up a relationship. The only way to stand out is to go above and beyond and do the things that nobody else will do. My mind naturally goes to that place of doing things in this interesting and meaningful way.
Let’s go back a little bit. I want to rewind back to when you got endorsed by the blessings by Ramit and Marie Forleo and Danielle LaPorte. Your confidence is there. “These super successful entrepreneurs and business people think that I can make it. There’s got to be something here.” Take us through the journey of life because it’s one thing to have the skill set of, “I’m a connector,” but you have to figure out how are you going to monetize it. When was the first time that you actually sold this as a service or an offer?
I was in Laura Roeder’s Facebook group. I joined that right about the time that I had started my business. There was somebody inside that Facebook group who saw me commenting and I had introduced myself and wanting to hire me. That was the first time. I don’t remember even what the dollar amount was, but I was getting started. That was my first client and then I had my first more traditional PR client and that was $4,000 a month.
The first person who hired you, was that for PR or was it a consultant?
It was like marketing. She was launching a book and she wanted to get my feedback on some different marketing ideas. It does fall into the PR category and I was doing a little bit of outreach for her. It was like a whole combination of things.
Then two months later you had your first traditional PR client. How did that come about?
I was at an event and I bumped into this person who was an acquaintance of mine and she asked me what I was up to. I told her that I had this PR business and she was excited to hire me. I think one of the reasons why she wanted to hire me is because she didn’t want to work with a big agency where she would be one of many. She wanted personal attention. That’s how I got started there.
You said on her behalf, you’re going to reach out and try and make some media connections.
She had a book coming out too.
For $4,000 a month, one client, you basically replaced your salary.
I didn’t think about it like that but yes, I did.
More than what you’re making $42,000 a year, that’s less than $4,000 a month.
I did my first workshop and it was a two-day workshop. I promoted it on Facebook. This was about six years ago. I wasn’t using Facebook ads. I posted it. I’m doing this workshop and I had maybe 150 people on my email list that had come through a Forbes article I’d written. Then also people seeing like, “She’s got a website, let me opt in.” I marketed it to those people and I got seven people coming to the workshop. At $600 each I was making in two days more than the amount I was making working with a client for a month. I had my first taste of what leveraged income could look like.
$600 workshop and seven people show up.
The exciting thing is I talked to a friend about this and in her eyes she saw me as this huge deal even though it’s getting started because I had these endorsements from Marie and Danielle and all that. She said, “Why make it just a two-day workshop? Why don’t you make it a two-month program and what you can do is add two one-hour calls.” I was like, “How would I lead these calls?” She was like, “Do Q&A.” I was like, “Okay.” It was four additional hours approximately of my time.
Then she was like, “Then you can double the price of $1,200.” I was like, “Really?” I did that and I had my first $10,000 a month when that happened. Then the next time I did it, I turned it into a four-month program and I doubled the price again. I like sharing this story because I think a lot of entrepreneurs, they burn themselves out because they’re creating so many different kinds of programs. With this, I was adding another layer that was very easy and I’m increasing my revenue that way.
You land your first client through a Facebook group. Then two months later, you had your first one-on-one $4,000. You made more that month than you do in a month at your regular job. Then two months later, you started growing your list, 150 people on your list, which isn’t all that great. Everyone’s got to start somewhere.
I was getting started. It wasn’t my priority. Honestly at the time, I was like if I already have one client at $4,000 a month to clients and I’ll have a six-figure business, do I need all these people on my list? Later I realized I do want to grow the list but it wasn’t my priority at the time. It was definitely a small list.
Doing the math, it’s so crazy. I’ve got one client at $4,000 a month and if I have one more, I have a six-figure business. Many people, when they think about this world of building an expert-based business, many people who came through the webinar agency are like, “Joel, I’ve got this $500 course. I want that to be my seven-figure business.” Do you realize how much effort that takes? I’m not saying it’s not possible, it’s absolutely possible, but they don’t understand the amount of work that that takes.
We’ve done a lot of them. We have done seven figures, but then you go, “If I get two clients at $4,000 a month, that’s a six-figure business right there.” That’s more than what most people comprehend. It’s fascinating. This is pretty much essentially what I teach all my students. It’s like you take your one on one clients and then you start to leverage that down. Whether you do a workshop, a coaching program, you literally went down the perfect expert model which is what we teach. You start high and then slow down.
I believe so strongly in that. I think that’s been a big part of my success early on. I started working with these well-known, high-end established personalities. I was initially helping them out for free because I wanted to do, but then it built my brand and then their followers want to work with me. Then I would have them and one on one coaching or a mastermind. I built this reputation and then the people that followed them wanting to work with me and then I had my next offer a lower price point. I’ve always started at the higher price points and then move my way down after I had more revenue from the one on one and masterminds to invest in more mass programs.
That’s absolutely the way to go. Of course, you built up the credibility and it didn’t happen overnight. You followed Ramit for a long time, but you seized the opportunity. You saw him in New York City putting his parents in the cab. You approached him and that led to the connection with Marie Forleo and Danielle LaPorte. Your enthusiasm and your passion, it spread to all three of them. They all supported you, so that all started to snowball.
It doesn’t happen overnight, but that is the way to go because once you’ve got the endorsements, you’re gold pretty much in life. In terms of this field, you’ll always have their endorsement and their support and that’s a huge thing in terms of value and positioning. You’ve got this program called Impacting Millions. You’ve taken this and all of your experience, which is to continue to build what you’re working with. You’ve done multiple launches now and you’ve got tons of success stories and tons of students that are now having success learning through your program. Let’s talk about that for a little bit.
Impacting Millions was my third online group program. Right before I launched that program, I’d been running my mastermind. I’ve been testing a lot of the content with my mastermind clients during group calls and at retreats. When I decided to launch that program, I stopped my masterminds. I wanted to give it my full focus and making an amazing program. One of the reasons why it’s been so successful is because it’s different from what’s out there in the marketplace. For example, my very first course was on getting clients and while that did well, it’s difficult to be the number one program in the market place because everybody has a program on that. Whereas with Impacting Millions, not everyone can teach about how to get TV and magazines and all of that. Maybe they can talk about guest posts, but not all the different types of publicity.
I had also hired different experts, people who had worked at the Today Show, people that write for Oprah Magazine, to look at my content, help me fine tune it and contribute to it. I paid them for their support and helping me make it the best program ever. The other thing is I teach the program live, at least I do right now. I taught it live, this will be the third time teaching it live and I always pay attention to the questions that come up during Q&A. Also all the questions are posted in the Facebook group. Then I use that to fine tune the content to strengthen it. It definitely is my number one focus. The other thing that is so exciting about it is the results people get because there are a lot of courses where people don’t open up the program and that’s the last thing I want to happen with Impacting Millions.
There’s a lot I do to facilitate people being involved and engaged. For this particular course I do it live. I find that when I show up, other people show up. The very first webinar we did, we had it up about 70% attendance rate for the live training. That was interesting to me because I knew that there were people from all around the world. Then with the second live Webinar, maybe it was 50% and then it dropped down. Learning that I was like, “I want to put all the best off close to the beginning as possible.” I learned that and I also knew that some people don’t crack open their programs, but they are hanging out and networking in the Facebook group. I took a lot of the big ideas, I was teaching all the lessons and I made like these mini posts in the Facebook group and got people to engage in that. There are lots of things I did and we would send them emails with some of the content. That helped people consume the material because everyone has a different approach to learning.
What are the core goals of Impacting Millions? If somebody were to sit on your webinar or to go through your launch, where are they currently and where do you want them to be after they complete your program?
The people that are joining Impacting Millions are people who are experts and they’re good at what they do. They have clients, customers or maybe it’s pro bono clients who rave about their work, but they feel like they’re this best kept secret. There are maybe ten people or twenty people that are excited about them. There’s a whole world of people that they could help you have no idea who they are. Meanwhile they’re seeing other people, their industry colleagues are maybe a couple of years ahead, getting booked on deals, speaking on big stages, being invited to all these influencer events and they’re like, “I have something important to say but I’m not being noticed. I’m being overlooked.”
Impacting Millions is about how to build their brand and get credibility through the power of publicity, but also use it as a platform to reach more people. Because if you’re on a podcast, there could be thousands of people who are ideal clients for you listening to your message. Even if it’s 500 ideal people, that’s a big deal. Other times some of these publicity opportunities allow you to reach a 100,000 or even a million people at once. Some of the biggest people that we know or these household names have this publicity behind their brand. People like Dr. Oz, Martha Beck, Gabby Bernstein. I wanted to teach other people how to do this for themselves.
I’m a huge advocate. I’ve gone through your program, I’ve met you in person, I’ve learned at your live event in Vegas. I know how well connected you are in the arts of connecting with people. I don’t want to say it’s a lost art, but it is extremely valuable. People will get you further in life than anything in the world. They’ll get you further and faster. It’s helped my business being connected to the right people and I pay a lot of money for that exclusive. I’ll pay people tens of thousands of dollars to be connected with them and be able to ping them or to get into their circle. It is extremely valuable to know how to do that and I can’t recommend your program enough.
The one thing I want to leave with is when we have our businesses, we’re the ones speaking to people about our services. We’re trying to convince people that we’re the best, but if there’s someone else who is endorsing you, it makes you so much more credible. Rather than speaking to people one on one, you want to create leverage in your business, and there are different ways. Webinars are a way to create leverage during that sales presentation to a group. Publicity is like an elevated form of content marketing where you’re sharing some of your best ideas on these platforms. There are people who are so excited about your message and they’re willing to open up their platforms with 10,000, 100,000 or a million people to you. It is such a valuable skill for you to have if you’re looking to reach a lot more people to work.
Selena, I already know how much momentum you’ve got going towards it being at your event in Vegas. I’m excited to be a part of it. Where else can they check you out?
They can go to my website, SelenaSoo.com to learn more about me. They can opt in to my three-part video workshop on getting publicity. Also something fun that we’re doing is once you opt in, after the first of the three videos, you’ll have a chance to fill out a little questionnaire to show me that you have watched the videos and you can win a trip to New York City, all expenses paid. We’ll get to hang out and I’ll mentor whoever the winner is and the area of publicity, and also introduce them to some cool people at a big influencer dinner party.
I’m going to make it a point to come to one of your dinner parties. It’s on my hit list. I want everyone to go to SelenaSoo.com/blog and you’ll also find a lot of the topics that I brought up on here. Which was the email that you sent Pat Flynn to hook up with him and you get to see all sorts of influencers there in that photo? Is that Dan Meredith’s? Do I see him on there?
Yes, he’s there too. Dan Meredith, Ryan Lee, Ramit Sethi, Todd Herman. It’s a great mix of people.
It’s a great little cell sheet to check out for. Selena, I had a blast. Thank you for being our inaugural guest on the Experts Unleashed Podcast. We talked about a ton, your entire journey and how you discovered your passion and how you discovered how to turn your expertise into leveraged income. The journey of your entrepreneurial career. I had a blast. Any parting thoughts?
This was amazing. Thank you so much for this opportunity.
I want to thank you for listening. We’ve got more episodes coming up and be sure to go check out Selena’s program Impacting Millions. I’m a huge advocate for it. I have gone through it. I personally vouch that it is gold star platinum. I give it my highest recommendation. It’s very powerful. If you’re looking at your message out to millions, if you’re looking to get publicity, PR, credibility, the whole nine yards, Selena is the expert and the go-to expert to it. Selena, thank you so much for being on our podcast and everyone else. I will talk to you soon.
About Selena Soo
I’m a publicity and marketing strategist who helps experts, authors, and coaches go from “hidden gem” to admired industry leader… and even household name.
They bring the talent and the hard work. And I open up doors and help them reach millions with their message.
You know, deep down, that you’re meant for bigger things, too.
Perhaps you overcame challenges with your career, health, or relationships – and now you’re dedicated to helping other people face those same challenges.
Or maybe you’re the kind of person who comes alive when speaking on stage or leading groups – and you’re ready to take it even further.
It’s not just about the money. Getting your message out into the world is something you’re compelled to do. This mission may even feel like a spiritual responsibility.