Transcript: #55: Building Success Using AI-Driven Market Research with Laura Morlando
[00:00:00] Juli Baranik: Welcome to the Seven Figure Builder Show. My name is Julie Berenik, founder of Seven Figure Builder, where we help high achieving CEOs connect with their dream clients to scale to seven figures and beyond.
[00:00:08] Juli Baranik: And I’m here today with my friend, Laura Morlando. Hey, Laura. Hi, it’s good to see you, Julie. Good to see you too. So first and foremost, where in the world are you?
[00:00:18] Laura Morlando: I’m actually in the Dallas, Texas area. So still a little bit hot right now, even though it’s autumn time, it’s just, it’s just hot. We’re in Texas.
[00:00:29] Juli Baranik: It is definitely hot this time of year. I was actually originally from Texas and then moved around the country to end up in Maryland. So it’s beautiful.
[00:00:37] Laura Morlando: That’s awesome. I’m not originally from here. So we were definitely the yin and yang to each other. Absolutely. The curly hair twins. Exactly.
[00:00:45] Juli Baranik: So for those that haven’t had the pleasure to meet you yet, can you tell us just a bit about what you do with your business?
[00:00:50] Laura Morlando: Absolutely. So yes, I’m Laura Morlando, the Stress Commando, and I help professionals and business owners work stress free with AI, network stress free, and look stress free so they can be more effective and confident. I love that.
[00:01:05] Juli Baranik: And just to dive in there, I think AI oftentimes strikes intrigue and strikes fear into business owners of like, okay, now I got to learn what?
[00:01:16] Juli Baranik: So can you like, walk us through how can this make their world easier? Like, what does this actually look like?
[00:01:24] Laura Morlando: Oh, that’s such a great question. You’re right. Fear and intrigue. So my corporate background, I have high tech sales background. So I definitely lean towards high tech things and I pay attention to them.
[00:01:34] Laura Morlando: And I know earlier we were talking about Jasper and some of the things that were in the AI space early on and I was watching it, but the challenge and the dots, I could not connect. We’re back to that, that one more thing that I need to do. I was already overwhelmed. I don’t need another log on the fire of overwhelmed.
[00:01:51] Laura Morlando: I just don’t. And I couldn’t connect the dots between the two. So to back up a little bit, so six and a half years ago, I had to pivot my business online due to two autoimmune diagnosis and a Lyme diagnosis. So. For 13 years, the Stress Commando was helping you work, live stress free. And then all of a sudden with diagnosis, my simple tips were not simple enough.
[00:02:14] Laura Morlando: So in the space of learning AI with the brain fog, the pain, and all the challenges cognitively that I experience, One more thing on the log of overwhelm was significantly a bigger overwhelm, a bigger PR, a bigger, heavier log than it ever was before. And so I was really curious, where could I connect those two dots?
[00:02:32] Laura Morlando: And I figured if I can do it, if I can connect the dots, I can connect it for my clients. And maybe I’m going to date myself, and I feel a lot of people say this, but when you think of AI, and you’re of a certain age, you think of the movie Terminator, you think of Skynet. It’s going to be evil, there’s that.
[00:02:45] Laura Morlando: fear. And so that was really me until I sat on a training that and I had sat on a lot of trainings. I’m like, Oh, this is nice. I don’t have time to learn this. I don’t have the brain power. I don’t have the capacity to learn this. And then I sat in a training where everything just clicked. My brain turned on, which was exciting, but I got it.
[00:03:01] Laura Morlando: And it was like Neo in the matrix and everything just laid out and all the paths and the steps. It was absolutely perfect. And I realized very quickly how this was going to help my brain work smarter, not harder and fill in the gaps cognitively that I was challenged. And I realized if in this moment before even trying it, just watching This other training, if I could get it and I could already see the ways to show people step one, step two, step three.
[00:03:26] Laura Morlando: Oh, and here’s all the stuff you can ignore the stuff you don’t need to pay attention to. I was like, oh my gosh, this is what I’m going to be offering everybody else. So my job is to help people, avoid shiny object syndrome, get. Super, super clear and leverage AI the right way. So it actually gives you more time and money back into your bank.
[00:03:45] Laura Morlando: And for what I say, and I hear this from one of my clients, avoid that blinking cursor of the white page, and you don’t know what to do. Next. So that is where for me, it was just super helpful. I then started utilizing it and experiencing in a real time, just shared it with all my clients. Hey, I am launching this new community.
[00:04:04] Laura Morlando: I want you to watch what I’m doing. I’m taking imperfect action, but I’m leveraging AI and I’m giving you permission to leverage AI to let’s figure this out together. And so that’s what I’ve been doing over the past six months.
[00:04:15] Juli Baranik: I love it. I love it. And what kind of response have you had from your clients?
[00:04:19] Juli Baranik: Like, what are they finding in their own businesses?
[00:04:20] Laura Morlando: I think a lot of them were like me. They were fearful, overwhelmed. I don’t need the pile of things. And so the way that I started doing this is I started doing a mini workshop to just show people. I felt that if anybody was like me, they needed to see it in action, not hear and learn and traditional, but actually see what it could do.
[00:04:38] Laura Morlando: Step one, two, three. So I did a mini workshop and so one of the things that I did is where cognitively and I’ve been on keynotes and professional speaking, but with this diagnosis, a lot of that really went away. The um, uh’s were back, the ability to think top of mind, I was relegated to scripts. If I could actually read them.
[00:04:59] Laura Morlando: And so, in this moment with AI I was like, I want to do a workshop. Hmm, can I do a workshop? Hmm, let’s leverage it with AI. So I used AI to craft the outline and all the things of the workshop. And then I used AI to craft the presentation. And something that normally would have taken me probably two weeks to create and feel comfortable to present, I did in four hours and I presented the next day.
[00:05:22] Laura Morlando: Wow. And so when I was on the workshop, so to get to your question, I’m telling everybody about what I’m doing. The presentation was imperfect. There were all of these things I could look at as a market and go, Oh, I should, I really need to change that. I really should, should change that. I went, no, I’m not going to shit on myself.
[00:05:35] Laura Morlando: I’m going to let it go. At the end of the workshop, I asked everybody. So my very first one, I asked everybody scale of one to 10. I don’t like hearing zeros. So this totally was worthless to you. Give me a one, but 10, I’ve knocked it out of the park. Where’s the value for you in this? And I got nothing but nines and tens.
[00:05:51] Laura Morlando: Wow. I was like, fantastic. Let me scroll back through this presentation. And I showed them what I didn’t touch. The things that were a hundred percent AI generated and were good enough for them to give me a 10. And I said, and these are the things that I did touch because I I’m a firm believer you don’t pull everything just out of AI as is, but I wanted to prove the point.
[00:06:10] Laura Morlando: So I just pulled the curtain back and showed everybody in that first workshop, one of my clients got back to me and they were saying, Oh my gosh, just seeing what you were doing gave me permission to do it in about an hour and a half. They were able to craft 30 days of social media content. They were thrilled.
[00:06:27] Laura Morlando: They’re like, Oh my gosh, I can’t even believe I’ve got all this work done. I’m like, awesome. And we were able to continue the conversation that has continued the pace as I’ve upgraded the workshop and learning what my clients have. What I hear over and over is the simplicity of step one, two, three, overcoming the overwhelmed, sifting and sorting and what they can avoid and not pay attention to.
[00:06:48] Laura Morlando: But it’s the impact on their business, the way they’ve been able to generate things on a much quicker level and have more time in their day back. Like they don’t even know what to do with this extra time. They’re blown away and being able to leverage, AI as their. Personal assistant as their thought leader and yet still have their authentic voice.
[00:07:05] Laura Morlando: So that’s kind of the feedback that I’m getting as I’m going through this and showing people, Hey, this is what I just did. Here’s what I’m doing. If you’re still getting value, one perfect. So you can, you have permission to take imperfect action. And like we all know, it’s done is better than perfect. So that’s what I’ve been hearing.
[00:07:22] Laura Morlando: That’s amazing.
[00:07:22] Juli Baranik: And before we get to the one, two, three steps, I know you wanted to share that, but what are a couple use cases of how people can actually use this in their business? You’ve already mentioned two of like creating your presentation from scratch, creating social media content. Like I know different ways I already use it in my business, but like, where do you find people are finding the most value with this?
[00:07:41] Laura Morlando: I think overall, when I sat and I sat on a lot of AI trainings, once it all clicked for me and I wanted to see what everybody else was doing and I’ve sat and I’ve always sat on a lot of marketing trainings and of the two trainings that I’m looking at, there’s always something missing. And the thing that’s missing is a clear connection of what an ideal client is and what are your foundational elements.
[00:08:04] Laura Morlando: So if you think of a puzzle and you think of when you’re putting a big jigsaw puzzle together, I don’t know about you or anyone listening, but I always like to do the outer edges because it makes the middle part easier. Right. And so what I find, and even all the clients that I work directly as marketing consultant for them, they lack that outer edge or they created it.
[00:08:22] Laura Morlando: It’s been 10 years. They don’t know why they’re hitting a plateau. And when I ask them about their connectivity back to these foundational elements are like, well, we did that when we created our original business plan and we. Basically haven’t looked at it since. And so what I find is a basic marketing principle of lacking connection, having a true sense of your mission, vision, core values, culture statement, and ideal client are typically are what missing.
[00:08:46] Laura Morlando: And when I talk about ideal client, it’s one of the things that I show in the workshop and ideal client is not. Anyone and everyone who has money, right? Cause anyone and everyone means you’re going to get no one. And an ideal client when done correctly is a deep dive into the persona. What do they love to do?
[00:09:06] Laura Morlando: How do they consume content? And so, for example, one of my clients, and this was pre AI, so, pre me creating this six months ago. So in the old days we were going through, they didn’t have a connection. They were very successful for over 10 years and they had hit that plateau. And we’re looking at their lead magnet and we had already done all their foundational elements.
[00:09:25] Laura Morlando: And once we had really dug into their ideal client and we’re editing and auditing everything, the lead magnet was getting downloads, but we weren’t getting conversions. And what we realized is her ideal client loves to watch and listen to content. They do not like to read. And so the lead magnet was a PDF that you read.
[00:09:44] Laura Morlando: So it was great content. We had the content validated, but we were attracting the wrong ideal client. So instead of just revamping and changing everything, I said, no, we already know that that’s good content. Add a audio and video component to this. Let’s just change the way it’s being delivered. And so we did.
[00:10:01] Laura Morlando: So fast forward to AI, we’ve already been able to upgrade it even more on what the languaging should be on the video, fine tune it even more so that now we’re getting the conversion rates that we would have to do more in a trial and error A B testing the old fashioned way. AI was able to really stream that and get it into a much faster sense.
[00:10:19] Laura Morlando: So whether, like I said, you’re kind of auditing your existing brand, this could be a really good solution to look at your ideal client. Now, in one of my companies, Down and Dirty Networking, we did exactly that. The minute I saw what was happening and I started launching my new working with Stress Free with AI community, I simultaneously switched gears and did an audit with AI on Down and Dirty Networking and what I realized instinctively I knew where we started.
[00:10:46] Laura Morlando: And we’d been two years since we had started. I felt like our ideal client had shifted, but I didn’t know for sure. And so thanks to AI, within a matter of a week, I was able to get it verified and say, okay, here’s our upgraded ideal client persona. Let’s upgrade everything that we’re doing in our business to have greater impact and reach.
[00:11:05] Laura Morlando: So those are just a couple examples of where you could either start from scratch and start correctly. Or you could do an audit using AI to make sure you’re talking to the right person. Once you know you’re talking to an ideal client, everything gets easier just like the jigsaw puzzle doing the outside in.
[00:11:22] Laura Morlando: It’s so much easier for you to know what’s an easy yes, what’s an easy no, and what’s an easy not right now. Absolutely.
[00:11:29] Juli Baranik: And you hit on so many good points with all of that, but, you know, if you don’t know who your ideal client is, or so often it does shift over time and you need to have those periodic reevaluations to say, okay, we did this a year ago or six months ago, but it feels like I’m not quite hitting the mark.
[00:11:43] Juli Baranik: Let me take a look again. You know, things may have been refined over that time and I didn’t even realize it. And the more you have those things in alignment, the more everything’s going to click and just really work together. So I think that’s
[00:11:55] Laura Morlando: really powerful. No, thank you. I appreciate it. You said a really.
[00:11:58] Laura Morlando: keyword that I want to build on. You said alignment. That’s the other thing that I felt was missing and it was something that was lacking when I first started in my career years ago. I would employ coaches and marketing coaches and business, um, consultants and what have you. And they would tell me what they thought I needed to be, but it never felt true to me.
[00:12:14] Laura Morlando: It never felt aligned to me. And I always felt that was like, well, yeah, but, and I would wrestle with the idea. And my, uncoachable, or is it that they just don’t get me? You know, which is really true here. And I started realizing, no, they really just didn’t get me. And so through trial and error, I realized there was an alignment philosophy missing in the marketing space.
[00:12:35] Laura Morlando: And so I started really applying that with my clients and that was all the difference in the world. And thanks to AI, I was able to distill that philosophy down into a three step method. And it’s very, very simple. You identify. You create and then you love. I believe if you do not love a solution or situation, whether it’s an automation, an idea, messaging, if you do not love it, you do not execute on it.
[00:12:58] Laura Morlando: Because things that you do not love are not sustainable and you will not be consistent. And why should you work in an environment that we get to create that we don’t love? We should always love what we do, who we work with and how we do it. So I’m a big proponent of the alignment method. If you don’t love it, you go back to the drawing board and you re figure things out until you love it.
[00:13:18] Laura Morlando: Uh, and then you move forward. And I think that’s another piece that’s been missing from marketing in general. People will stay aligned to you, but they don’t tell you what those steps are and how to actually do that. And so I feel if you can leverage that and use the love metric, if I don’t love it, we’re not moving forward.
[00:13:34] Laura Morlando: I might like it. I might like, like it. I don’t love it. I sit still for a second until I do. Yeah, I agree. And if
[00:13:41] Juli Baranik: you don’t love it, there will be a pause, right? Like you will, people will feel that cause there’ll be hesitation. There’ll be uncertainty. There’ll be lack of confidence. Like something will come out consciously that you will
[00:13:53] Juli Baranik: get in your own way because you’re not a hundred percent fully behind whatever it is you’re trying to communicate.
[00:13:58] Juli Baranik: And people read that from you. So if you don’t have those in alignment, like personally, I find it, it helps. And you mentioned it to just Take that step back. Like we become so emotionally connected to what it is that we’re doing in our business. I’d like to take a step back fully, like forget everything that I’m doing and say, okay, who is my dream client?
[00:14:17] Juli Baranik: What are we trying to accomplish? And oftentimes I come back really close to what I was doing to begin with, but instead of, you know, trying to evolve it from where it was, it’s, it’s just confirmation of, okay, I’m heading the right direction, but I got to tweak it just a little bit. So that’s, I found really helpful for me too, you know, as I’m doing that.
[00:14:34] Juli Baranik: Periodically in my own business. It’s really, really powerful.
[00:14:38] Laura Morlando: Oh, I’m glad. I’m so glad you shared that. And that’s absolutely proof of the right way to move forward. I had a client I started working with a year ago and in the first month she told me her mission. She had all her core values. She had all her foundational elements.
[00:14:49] Laura Morlando: But the way she said it to me. The energy was off in my opinion, and I’m very empathetic and I pay attention to energy and it was, it was just off. So I started asking questions, diving deep. It’s not surprising that she was thinking what she should do, right. What would be available to the market? And I had to really.
[00:15:07] Laura Morlando: What do you want to do? She goes, Oh, well, there’s not a market for that. I go, let’s forget that. That’s what you’ve hired me for. Let’s, let’s set aside. Let’s assume there’s a market for everything. What do you want? And she had to really sit silent for a second. And this is someone who had just gotten out of corporate and it took a while because it’s not something that they asked her in corporate.
[00:15:25] Laura Morlando: So she had never really contemplated these things. So the short answer is we ended up changing over the first three months, her ideal client persona and her focus. So many times, because she would put it to use and she goes, Oh, I don’t love this. And so we would go and do something. Oh, I really don’t love this.
[00:15:41] Laura Morlando: So very quickly, we were able to identify what she did love. And now she’s going gangbusters. And it’s not even a year since we had started working with her business just exploding. And it actually took probably five months once she did the stop, start, stop, start for her to realize this is really what lights me up.
[00:15:57] Laura Morlando: We’re like, great, let’s run with that. And so I feel like it’s really important that, yeah, you’ve got to love it. And it’s okay to take that step back and avoid the should. I should be doing this. Don’t shit on yourself. If you catch yourself saying that or should, should be removed. The other one is just, Oh, I’m just doing this.
[00:16:17] Laura Morlando: marginalizes and minimizes the impact on the work that you are doing. I’ll never forget, I had a nurse that was talking to me and we were having a marketing consultation because I’m just a nurse. I was like, okay, hold on a second. We need to unpack what you just said. I was like, you’re not just anything and especially not a nurse.
[00:16:33] Laura Morlando: Are you kidding me right now? And so I was able to talk her through it. So I would encourage people, that’s what you’re saying. Pay attention to the words going through your brain or coming out of your mouth. Just and should need to be deleted and they open up space for so much more creativity of what you need to do and where you can create impact with purpose.
[00:16:51] Juli Baranik: Absolutely. the gut check, right? Like if you have hesitation in your gut, it’s kind of like
[00:16:56] Juli Baranik: your pricing, like if you’re in the market and trying to sell somebody and it’s like, oh, that either is too little too much again, that’s going to come out in your energy and people are going to feel that.
[00:17:05] Juli Baranik: So yeah, I love that and get rid of the just get rid of the should and you’ll be so much more powerful what you’re trying to communicate.
[00:17:12] Laura Morlando: Agreed. Absolutely. I’ve lived in that hesitation, lack of confidence, imposter syndrome space. It’s not effective and it’s a horrible way to exist. High stress. So trust me, as the stress commando, don’t do it.
[00:17:24] Laura Morlando: Resist. It’s all you can. It’s simple to do. It’s not easy to do. At least I didn’t find it easy, but it is simple to do. And it’s a practice, just practice for moving should and just.
[00:17:34] Juli Baranik: Yeah. So would you say that this applies more to people that are trying to start their business or people that are trying to upscale their business or both?
[00:17:43] Juli Baranik: Like, where do you feel this applies the most?
[00:17:44] Laura Morlando: I feel anything can apply wherever you are. So should and just needs to be removed, period, across the board. Where, upgrading AI and being focused into your ideal client. It doesn’t matter where you are in your business. I think one of the bigger mistakes is that most people do it, forget it, and they don’t ever connect it.
[00:18:02] Laura Morlando: Your foundational elements, your ideal client, are an organic, ever evolving document. They should be your best friends that you’re constantly talking to and nurturing and upgrading. Which is why with Down and Dirty Networking, two years in, I knew I need to be a better best friend. Ideal client, I’m hearing things that are slightly different.
[00:18:19] Laura Morlando: Um, and so where can I upgrade? Where can I evolve? With some of my clients that have been around for a while, and they’ve hit the self imposed ceiling, and they don’t know how to get over it. 100%, the minute we reshore up that outer part of their jigsaw puzzle. All of a sudden they skyrocket through. So in the example of my client that actually upgraded their PDF, they had cobwebs on their YouTube channel.
[00:18:42] Laura Morlando: And so I said, okay, let’s phase an approach of where are your ideal client? And I said, before you get on YouTube, are they there? She’s like, well, I know I should. I’m like, hold on a second. Where’s your ideal client. Come to find out. Yes, they’re on YouTube. So we’re like, okay, let’s phase this in.
[00:18:55] Laura Morlando: And once we launch YouTube, we’ll be very targeted, purposeful. This is what we’re going to do. Okay, great. She loved the idea. We execute on the YouTube strategy and we were able to monetize her channel. That was something we were able to do in less than a year. And only 1 percent of YouTube channels are monetized.
[00:19:12] Laura Morlando: So it tells you how significantly you can impact and create growth. Once you’re clear on what is aligned to you and your foundational elements. And that’s what they were missing. I could see it. And I knew that’s what they were really missing. They were trying to originally, they wanted me to create a product for them.
[00:19:28] Laura Morlando: And when I started digging in deep, I said, I’ll create this product. It’s going to be amazing. It won’t sell. And it won’t sell because everything is. diluted and convoluted and a confused mind says no. And right now your clients are confused. It’s like being at a buffet table. The eyes are really big and they don’t know what to choose.
[00:19:44] Laura Morlando: I said, so we can create it, but let’s set the expectation. I don’t think it’s going to sell. And that’s exactly what happened. We created it. It didn’t sell. We went ahead and shored up everything. They came back to me. We shored everything up and launched intentionally. That’s where we were able to monetize the YouTube channel and the product sold.
[00:20:00] Laura Morlando: And we found. Other opportunities for products as we were talking to ideal client. We’re like, Oh, these are actually better. Let’s. Push this one that you’ve created here. This is low hanging fruit. Let’s go after this. So to answer the question, it doesn’t matter where you are in your business, whether you’re pivoting, you’re just starting to, or you’ve been in business for a while, anytime that you can get clear on your message and get connected to your foundational elements and your ideal client, it’s going to be a game changer for you.
[00:20:26] Laura Morlando: And now with AI, it takes so much less time and energy to do it.
[00:20:31] Juli Baranik: That is amazing. You mentioned earlier about the down and dirty networking that you did a brand audit for it. What did you share with us kind of how that happened? And what did that evolution end up looking like?
[00:20:44] Laura Morlando: Yeah, no problem. So when I started down and dirty networking, the thing that I did is I started asking people. What is their thought process on networking? And so down and dirty networking is based on 100 percent relational networking. It’s a term I created, as an alternative to traditional networking.
[00:20:58] Laura Morlando: So in traditional networking, it’s all about. Hi. My name is by my stuff. Here’s my elevator pitch. Hire me for the job. Promote me. Give me that project. There’s something transactional, and that’s why traditional networking is also known as transactional networking. And so , I realized that, and depending on what your experiences with lead clubs or what have you, if you’ve ever done any of those things, there’s industry exclusivity.
[00:21:21] Laura Morlando: So once a community of networking is already available, nobody else can have that category, for example, or someone with AI, no one else can have that category. And so I wanted all of that gone. I wanted to be able to have meaningful conversations to learn from and about people to have lasting and authentic relationships.
[00:21:37] Laura Morlando: I felt this was the missing piece and the thing I had been training corporations and entrepreneurs on for over 16 years. So in the pivot that I was making, how can I just give people the experience and keep it very, very simple, help me feel connected and not on the island of alone. So when I launched down and dirty networking, I reached out to people that I knew used to network, but they don’t like it anymore because they don’t like all of the pitches.
[00:22:00] Laura Morlando: And I was very diverse. I made sure I talked to academics, corporate professionals. I talked to entrepreneurs. I wanted diversity in down and dirty networking. So that’s important because that’s who I went in and I talked to you after the first three people. I heard everyone say when I said, what is your experience and your, your reaction to networking?
[00:22:19] Laura Morlando: I didn’t get necessarily a word. What I got was a visual and an audible sound. It said everything you needed to know as a marketer, like, I don’t know how to articulate that, but keep going. And so it was, yeah, exactly. I’m like, Oh, okay. But it just, I mean, that doesn’t do it justice. Right. And so I was like, describe, what do you mean?
[00:22:40] Laura Morlando: And those first three people went from, uh, to, I just don’t like the silence fluff. And I said, okay, what do you mean by fluff? And so they started telling me what they meant by fluff. And it was all this stuff that got in the way of a conversation. For each was something different. Like I would go to a meeting.
[00:22:55] Laura Morlando: I hear a speaker, we exchange cards, but I talked to no one. And I said, yes, I hear that. And then I have to spend all this extra time doing one to ones to talk to people. Why can’t it, why can’t it just be something simpler? And I said, well, if I created this community, that’s a hundred percent relational, would you consider it?
[00:23:12] Laura Morlando: Most of them are like, no, even though I, I love, know you and adore you. That is how disillusioned to networking they all were. And I said, would you be willing to look at it and just give me. Your feedback, just give me your feedback. They said yes. So, first three people fast forward to answer the question so now I can tell I need to I reach out to my members and I’ve got people in the community I’ve been listening to what they’re saying fluff was what was the initial word, and that’s the tagline, cutting the fluff of traditional networking I just put the language.
[00:23:42] Laura Morlando: I put it all in anything they told me. If you look at our mission vision, all the words came straight out of those interviews. And so with AI, I said, okay, let me, I already knew what my persona was, but I crafted a really detailed, persona prompt. And with the help of my coach, we had that prompt. And I said, okay, what’s a persona, an ideal client avatar for down and dirty networking today.
[00:24:02] Laura Morlando: And so I took that persona and compared it to the one that I had and figured out, okay, where is there a shift what’s missing based on what my members are telling me. And then I just dug deep into AI and I realized that what I was intuitively thinking was 100 percent accurate. Yes, people don’t want the fluff, but what people want is a 100 percent supportive community and a mini mastermind experience.
[00:24:24] Laura Morlando: They want to be able to have networking on the go as it relates to relational networking 24 seven. So where’s that professional easy button where I can ask people, Hey, what do you guys think about this? I need a sounding board. I need some feedback. I need to overcome a challenge. So not that transactional by my staff networking, but really, how do I do that?
[00:24:45] Laura Morlando: , if you’re a corporate professional, how do I be seen, heard and valued? How do I show up powerfully if you’re dealing with ageism, whether you’re too young or too old? How whose experiences? How do I do this? So you started to see real the fine tuning was of the challenges people were faced with the overcome and saying, Okay, we’ve been off for two years with the pandemic.
[00:25:07] Laura Morlando: We’re coming back into the workforce. How do I have conversations with people outside of the virtual space? And so I just started changing the messaging ever so slightly, and I’d already been doing that, but with a 100 percent confirmed it. And so we’re in a complete brand upgrade right now. And so even in the way that for our virtual sneak peek events that we have, the way that we promoted it changed because of this audit of ideal client.
[00:25:30] Laura Morlando: And so we started out with interviews way back when kept listening to our members got the AI. Audit done and then I went back to my members and I questioned them to verify the data to say, okay, is this accurate or is a I sending me, on a left hand turn to Albuquerque like Bugs Bunny would say, you know, where am I right now and validate what was true and then live with that.
[00:25:52] Laura Morlando: Whatever I validated to be true. That’s what I live with and move forward with. And that’s what we’re updating. So, yes, how we roll out the sneak peek, how people registered all changed because I could hear what they were looking for and needing. So that’s what we provided. I love it. And I,
[00:26:05] Juli Baranik: I heard some really key things in that, that you first started with market research, which is near and dear to my heart.
[00:26:10] Juli Baranik: And I think it’s so crucial. And in an AI driven business that you have, there’s a huge human component to it, where you started with humans listening to what they were saying. And. Truly heard what they were saying and incorporated that into the data. You used AI to really dig deep and crunch a whole lot of data to, validate your hypothesis and really, validate what you were trying to do.
[00:26:35] Juli Baranik: You then verified it again with humans, which I think is amazing also. And then ultimately created a safe space where, people trust each other’s opinions and want to be there because it’s what they were originally asking for. So you have that alignment between. What their request is and what they need, which is a beautiful thing.
[00:26:54] Juli Baranik: And, destined to be successful. So I think that’s really, really awesome.
[00:26:57] Laura Morlando: Oh, thank you for that. And with down and dirty networking, it’s a very specific person that can join the community. , you will never see on social media, join down and dirty networking. You will never see that. We do have sneak peeks and there’s only there’s less than a handful a year that anyone in the public can attend and the requirement to get an invitation for down and dirty networking is you must attend a sneak peek because no matter how many different ways I tell you were different until you experience it.
[00:27:24] Laura Morlando: You don’t know, and I need to make sure that you’re a fit for us and we’re a fit for you. And I want to protect the culture of the community and the integrity of the community. My members so appreciate that. They’re like, Lord, now I see why you launched it this way to keep it very intentional and purposeful.
[00:27:38] Laura Morlando: And that was the one thing that remained consistent from start to today was Lord, no, please. We’re okay with slow growth. As long as it’s intentional and purposeful growth. And so that was something that was really helpful as a case study for my AI community to say, where are you wanting to grow? I know we all want money.
[00:27:56] Laura Morlando: Let’s set that aside, but let’s talk about impact. What’s the way that you want to show up and impact and how are you going to love to do that before we even get into AI? And so once you’ve identified that now let’s put some really great content into AI so that we get really. Great suggestions back. So the better the input, the better the output.
[00:28:16] Laura Morlando: So what I have found is my clients that said, oh, I’ve got my ideal client. I’ve got my mission vision, I’ve got everything. When they see my mini workshop, that’s before they even get into the details and the deep dives of the community, they’re like, oh, this, this was so much better. Yeah. They’re like, my results are so much better.
[00:28:34] Laura Morlando: I said, yes, if you are getting results and you love them, but you’re not getting conversion in the real world, something’s off. You need better input because you’re not getting the right output to create the conversion. You need to talk to your ideal client. And so whether that’s AI, whether it’s market research, it doesn’t matter.
[00:28:50] Laura Morlando: It’s the same challenge. Good input means good output. So you have to get really crystal clear on what it is that you need. So I’ll leave everybody with this because this is the perfect example for AI and the perfect example for marketing. So there’s a story going around. I might get it wrong, but I’m sure people have heard it.
[00:29:04] Laura Morlando: So maybe you’ve heard it, Julie. It’s the peanut butter and jelly sandwich experiment. from a high school science teacher. Have you heard this before? I have. Do tell. Okay. So the way that I remember the story, and people can correct me if I’m wrong, but here’s what it was. They had their big lab table and all the classes there.
[00:29:20] Laura Morlando: I think it was like a high school level class. And so the class sees all these ingredients for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich all laid out on the, on the lab table. They’re kind of wondering what the heck is this? And so the Teacher gets up and says, okay, talk to me and give me direction to create a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
[00:29:37] Laura Morlando: And so the class is like annoyed. Like, why is this? Why are we doing this? And they go, we’ll just get the peanut butter and put it on top of this, of the bread. So the teacher goes, gets the big jar of peanut butter, turns it and puts it on top of the loaf of unopened loaf of bread, which it’s squishing the bread.
[00:29:52] Laura Morlando: And the student’s like, no, that’s not what we meant. And they’re like, okay, open the peanut butter. And so he tries to figure out how to open it versus the lid, meaning you have to be very specific. Take your hand and twist open. I mean, you have to be really specific. Anyone who’s a technical writer listening to this is like, no kidding.
[00:30:11] Laura Morlando: This is how you do this. Any of the project managers that have to outline steps and processes are like, of course, this is the big duh. And that’s true for AI. You have to talk to AI like you’re making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with those high school kids. The more specific you can be, the better that output from AI is going to be.
[00:30:31] Laura Morlando: Absolutely. Yeah.
[00:30:32] Juli Baranik: And you have to know what you want to be creating to begin with.
[00:30:35] Laura Morlando: Yeah. You don’t know if you even want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Should it be a ham and cheese? Should it be, you know, what is the thing that it needs to be? I mean, that’s a valid point. And you can have fun with it and laugh at it and think about it.
[00:30:45] Laura Morlando: And then, oh yeah, this is what I want and put it in.
[00:30:47] Juli Baranik: Totally. So you’ve done amazing things with your both businesses. How do you define success? Like what does that look like for you?
[00:30:55] Laura Morlando: Success is how purposeful, how powerful, and how present have I been with everything that matters to me. So first and foremost, am I.
[00:31:06] Laura Morlando: Moving forward in faithful action and my being present and available to my family, the bottom line is what is your why we’re not in business or why is never to make money or why is something bigger, deeper rooted and I’m a firm believer if your why is strong enough to how will follow, but we sent we tend to lose that connection to why.
[00:31:25] Laura Morlando: And so when there are health challenges or I’m dealing with a family emergency. I’m blessed to know the boss. Okay, me to be able to change things. Okay. I feel I need to do all of these things, but I’m the one that created the need. What can I do right now? So I can be present for what’s necessary. Where can I create balance in my business?
[00:31:46] Laura Morlando: Not balance, excuse me, harmony. So there’s the thing. Work life balance doesn’t exist, but work life harmony does. And so where can I create harmony in my business? And so on the days and the moments that I need to have greater focus for family, self or whatever is monkey wrench has been thrown into my world when life’s getting lifey as one of my other coaches, Jen says, okay, where can I give attention to it and still do things simply with impact and purpose in my business?
[00:32:13] Laura Morlando: And how can I create a culture of that with my team members? And so if you’re constantly asking how to simplify and amplify it makes it easier for you to move forward free of stress. And when I can do that, that’s how I know I’ve been successful when I’ve been able to be present. I’ve given permission for other people to do the exact same thing.
[00:32:31] Laura Morlando: I’ve given them creative culture license to just find a way to figure it out and be able to move forward for themselves. Purposefully and powerfully and passionately. Then I know that, that’s where I’ve achieved success. So if you ask me that today, I would say I’m already there. And tomorrow I’ll be like, yeah, I got another level of success for X, Y, Z reason.
[00:32:51] Laura Morlando: And so for me, it’s always moving forward, moving onward, moving upward and increasing the impact that I make. That’s
[00:32:58] Juli Baranik: so powerful. I love it. And we talked about alignment, but that’s building a business that’s in alignment with your life, right? Which is missing by so many people where we feel chained to our business or, over time you realize I need to make a shift here.
[00:33:10] Juli Baranik: So I think that’s, that’s incredibly powerful.
[00:33:11] Laura Morlando: Oh, thank you. Yeah. The two trajectory changing moments were tied to stress in my life. The first one where the stress commando was born is when my father was diagnosed with two rare forms of cancer at a time he was the most stressed out. And I don’t believe that was a coincidence.
[00:33:26] Laura Morlando: And so I am grateful for that journey. I’m grateful for that experience because I inherited my dad’s curly hair and his work ethic. And at the time I was doing the exact same thing he was doing. So he was a mirror. For me reflecting back this is what my future is going to look like if I don’t adjust my ways.
[00:33:42] Laura Morlando: And so I started that process way back when I took on my role as the financial breadwinner when my father got sick and said, great, moving forward, we will figure all of this out. Little did I know, 13 years later, I’d be dealing with my own health diagnosis. And like I said, it was when simple wasn’t simple enough when stress had a significant impact and still does on my health and my cognitive.
[00:34:03] Laura Morlando: So, okay. What does that need to look like and where can I move forward with everybody else and the blessing out of that for me was two years later, everybody was locked in and homebound and I had already been homebound and virtual for two years and was able to share, but well, here’s what I’m doing to help people out.
[00:34:21] Laura Morlando: So you never know what you can do to make your best, your mission and where the blessing is and anything that you’re doing. So I love to tell people if you’re listening to this, right, and you’re like, Laura, my plate is full, I’m in overwhelm. Stress is driving me crazy.
[00:34:36] Laura Morlando: Just know you’re in control. Take a breath. Focus on what you need to do, not what you should do and just listen to your inner guidance. You know what to do to put one foot in front of the other. Trust me. You know, you are smart. You are your best coach. You know,
[00:34:50] Juli Baranik: absolutely. And it’s so important to listen to yourself and that, and listen to your body as it’s telling you slow down.
[00:34:57] Juli Baranik: Cause so often we don’t until we hit that brick wall. It’s like, you gotta listen.
[00:35:02] Laura Morlando: You do. My father used to tell me I love to burn the candle at both ends and I would be defiant. Like, no I don’t. Okay. Yes I do. I love to burn the candle at both ends. But what I learned was to not run out of wick and wax.
[00:35:13] Laura Morlando: And in this health journey, this pivot, I’ve learned the power of rest. Rest is doing something. Rest is not doing nothing. Rest is not sleep. Rest is something very, very different. You have to rest your brain. So having your laptop, doing work with your feet up is not resting. Your feet are up. That’s great.
[00:35:34] Laura Morlando: But that’s not resting. And so I’ve had to learn. And really account for rest and recovery. And so what I would tell the people that are learning right now, it there’s two phrases that have really moved me forward that I feel are really important. So number one, my, physical trainer that I watch, and I was finally able to start working out after six years of not being able to, and I love what she says, if you’re an all or nothing kind of person, which is totally me, she goes, it’s actually all or something, just do something.
[00:36:04] Laura Morlando: Not everything, you know, just do something so that you’re moving forward and you’re something could be one one thing. And I thought, Oh, my gosh, that is so good. I love that. What’s my one thing I’m going to do today. And there were days I could barely make my bed. That was that was my one thing. And then I got consistent without what’s my other one thing.
[00:36:22] Laura Morlando: Okay, take a shower. Great. Did that. Okay, next. And so you just string together that little thing over time consistently done is where you get the big impact. And so, all or something is definitely what I would say would be. Something to kind of really consider and then the power of rest and make sure you got rest to recovery built in.
[00:36:40] Juli Baranik: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And that needs to be an ongoing basis, not just a once and done and I’m guilty of it as well.
[00:36:47] Laura Morlando: I think we all are. I mean, it takes one to know one. It’s where the stress, I mean, the stress, Amanda was created out of stress. It’s just how I learned it. But I realized I really listened to my body now.
[00:36:57] Laura Morlando: And if I don’t, I’m not going to like what my body does to stop me. And sometimes you have to slow down to slow down. speed up. And it’s okay to slow down. It’s okay to do that. But I’ve seen what happens to a body when you’re really stressed. I’m experiencing, I witnessed it with my dad. I’m unwilling for things to get worse.
[00:37:15] Laura Morlando: I am unwilling to have things be harder or more painful or more challenging. I do not want more hard. I want things easier. I want things limitless and effortless. So I will listen to my body and rest when I need to. Absolutely.
[00:37:29] Juli Baranik: And if you had the attention of the whole world for five minutes, what would you tell them?
[00:37:32] Laura Morlando: I would tell them to breathe and be present, present with themselves, present with the people in front of them and be purposeful and passionate about whatever it is that you’re doing. Be open to receive information. Don’t be around. Like you’ve got to fight where your fists are closed. My coach did this for me.
[00:37:48] Laura Morlando: It was a great exercise. She’s like, Laura, I want you to close your eyes right now. And you got your hands in a clenched fist. And I said, yes. Okay. She says, okay, I’ve got a thousand dollars and I want to hand it to you. I would have to open my hand for that to happen. And so she says, right now you need to be open to the challenges and changes and things that are happening right now.
[00:38:06] Laura Morlando: You’ve said no to everything. So there’s no room. There’s no room. You’re saying, no, I can’t do that. No, I can’t do that. No, I can’t do it because you need to say yes to opportunity. Yes. To being coachable. Yes. To things being easier. Yes. To the possibility that easy is available. And the only way you can do that is if you’re present with yourself.
[00:38:23] Laura Morlando: So that you can be present with everybody else. You can’t give what you don’t have. So I would tell everybody, your loved ones want you around. And it’s what I used to tell my mom. I was like, mom, if you don’t take care of dad’s caregiver, who’s going to take care of dad. It’s a whole oxygen mask thing.
[00:38:39] Laura Morlando: You got to put it on you first. So I would say be present. You can’t make impact as a CEO. You can’t help your employees. You can’t help your clients. You can’t do anything with your family. If you are not centered and everyone pays attention to how you treat you and that gives them permission of how they treat themselves.
[00:38:54] Laura Morlando: You could tell them. Hey, I want this to have work life harmony in our culture, in our space, but if the CEO is working diligently all day long, seven days a week, they feel they need to, so they can look good. You’re creating a culture of toxicity unknowingly, unknowingly. So be intentional, be purposeful, be present in what you’re doing, and it gives permission to everybody else to do the same.
[00:39:17] Juli Baranik: I love that. Love that. Love that. So how can listeners support you in your work?
[00:39:20] Laura Morlando: Where can they find you online? Awesome. If you search stress commando, you will find me stress commando. com. I’m on all the platforms, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube. You can find down in dirty networking. And I do have Linktree.
[00:39:31] Laura Morlando: If you know what Linktree is, you can look up stress commando on Linktree and all of my links are there and all ways to connect with me. If you need to find one platform, if you’re like, Laura, that’s great, but I want one way to connect with you. Find me on LinkedIn, find Lauren Rolando, the stress commando on LinkedIn.
[00:39:46] Laura Morlando: And I’d be happy to connect with you and we can coelevate and collaborate.
[00:39:50] Juli Baranik: Amazing. Thank you, Laura. This was so much fun chatting with you today. Really appreciate having you on
[00:39:55] Laura Morlando: today. Thank you so much for having me, Julie. And thanks to everyone who’s been listening. Yeah,
[00:39:59] Juli Baranik: absolutely. And if you found value in this episode, please do share it.
[00:40:02] Juli Baranik: That’s how people find us and you can find me at seven figure builder. com and I look forward to seeing you on the next episode.