Friday, October 29, 2010

Ms. Beauty Notes

Reinvention can be terrifying. I receive a lot questions about compartmentalizing career transitions or new business ideas and services. For this addition of ASK JOY, our question comes from a singer capitalizing on her beauty:

Hi Joy,

I've been a singer my whole life and love being on stage. I also understand what it takes to feel gorgeous in front of a crowd under the hot spotlight. I'm now launching a new beauty line for women but I can't seem to talk about it. I have some kind of disconnect. Everyone knows me as a singer. How do I talk about this beauty line without having one take away from the other? This line is my dream. I don't want to mess it up.

-Beauty Notes in New Orleans, LA

Ms. Beauty Notes,

From where I'm sitting, being a performer with a beauty line is brilliant. You spend lots of time getting made up just to sweat and possibly clog your pores with all of that beauty while you perform under bright, hot lights. If you've been able to maintain smooth, supple skin inspite of your schedule and career demands, that is a secret that needs to be shared.

First, realize that singing is "what" you do and the beauty line is something you have "created." Neither of these things are you as a whole, they are simply extensions of you and your overall goals.

Second, instead of focusing on the disconnect, telescope the connections. As a performer, you understand the pressures of beauty on women. Let others know that you understand that pressure. Talk about how you overcome the societal obsession with perfection. Define what beauty means to you. Tell women how your products will make them experience their own definition of beauty.

Your key will be consistent personalization, not disconnections. These personalizations will birth connections to other human beings seeking your products. The fact that you have enjoyed a career that also comes with a lot of scrutiny about appearance is a strength and huge advantage for your new business.

Keep rising!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mr. Dollar Short

We all love free money. Any time you can raise funds that don't have to be paid back, it feels like heaven. Today's ASK JOY column deals with running a successful crowdfunding campaign for any type of project or venture:

Hi Ms. Joy,

I’m really frustrated! I’m an Actor/Director and I’ve been trying crowdfunding to get seed money for a horror film I’d direct and star in. Nothing is happening it’s just failing. I’m trying to raise $5,000. I’ve emailed all my entire address book of over 600 people. I Facebooked, Twittered and all that for 60 days but only raised $200. What am I doing wrong? How many more ways can I get the word out?

- Dollar Short in Marina Del Ray

Mr. Dollar Short,

Crowdfunding can be a great way to announce a new project to your support network and gather monies that you don’t have to pay back. It
can really work. Based on what you’ve told me, it’s possible that your problem falls into one of four categories: Contacts, Campaign Length, Return on Investment, or Method of Outreach.

Contacts are the first cornerstone of a crowdfunding campaign. You need to have enough friends, family, and associates to reach out to. Do the real math on your campaign. If you need $5,000, are your 600 contacts really enough to raise that kind of capital? Let’s say everyone you know gives a dollar, that’s only $600. Perhaps most of your contacts are having money woes from the recession and you don’t know 50 people who can each donate $100 or, even $10.

You have to know who comprises your contacts. If your network is only relatives, a few friends from college, other actors and filmmakers, you may be barking up the wrong trees. If your relatives or college buds aren’t in the biz, there’s a strong possibility they didn’t understand what your project is and how the crowdfunding works. On the flip side, your actor and filmmaking contacts may be too preoccupied with their own projects to care about yours. In LA, even your mailman has a screenplay. Know your contacts.

Your second issue could be campaign length. You let your campaign run for 60 days. Someone asking you for money for over a month can become annoying. Having 60 days to donate doesn’t create a real sense of urgency. Fundraising efforts have to light a fire under someone’s butt quick, fast and in a hurry. Shorter is better.

The ROI, or return on investment, has to entice your target audiences. You can’t just send “thank you” notes or offer a dvd. Be imaginative and fun so that your benefactor gifts stand out and strike a cord with most of your immediate contacts.

Now, if none of these are the problem, it could be your outreach methods. It’s great that you put your campaign on Twitter and Facebook but, if those groups aren’t that big, that can be a non-solution. A Twitter audience of 70 followers and a Facebook friend list of 134 folks isn’t cutting it. Just blasting people with generic emails won’t work either. Few people like to be “generally” asked for money even if they like you.

Don’t send Facebook email blasts that will only get lost amongst other Facebook email blasts. Take the time to personalize. Reach out personally by phone or letter to your aunt that sends you money for every holiday. Take time to directly contact your friend that made a bunch of money online. You know who your whales are. Cater to them in a way that would put Vegas to shame.

Make sure there’s more than one way to donate and that people understand this. Ask the people who love you to help spread the word. State all of this in your video (and you should create a video to complement your campaign).

Look at these categories and see if you can re-strategize to give your campaign some momentum. On a side note, don’t forget to actually ask for the money. People need to understand that you actually need cash and that even a dollar will make a different. Say it! Don’t assume they know it.

Keep rising!


Ms. Here To Stay

Hi Joy,

Once upon a time, I moved to NYC and got involved in the improv comedy scene as well as a major Off-Broadway theater. I then got pregnant via a fast and furious romance, got married, gave birth to a beautiful boy and became a full-time mom.

At 3.8 years old, our son was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive cancer in his nerve tissue. I had the rare gift of care taking 24/7 for the next two years while he was in treatment. He was almost six when he passed away.

My heart stopped beating. I literally lost a year of my life. I changed my career path for years and didn’t pursue acting. Yet, acting never left my soul- especially independent film. I’ve now found my way back and realize that my gift is artistry that enables others to identify their experiences. I’ve jumped across the country again and am in LA acting, writing, and creating.

This is all a part of me but, should I share my story? If so, how do I do it in a way that lets people know I’m here for the long haul and devoted to acting? And, since I’m not a spring chicken coming to this town, how do I package myself?

- Here To Stay in LA

Ms. Here To Stay,

What an amazing life! To answer your first question, Yes. If it would have helped you to hear a similar story then, you should share (if you want to). As a woman, a mother, an actress, a writer and all the other nouns that make you unique, it’s reasonable to think your experiences have informed your life and your work. They’re not shameful or embarrassing. If anything, moving forward after such loss affirms your commitment to living a passionate life.

You never have to bare your total soul and you have the power to stop talking about it whenever you choose. You never know what will happen. Your journey, strength and generosity might just change someone else’s life.

If you tap into the reasons why you are pursuing your artistry again, the truth of that will be what you need to express to others. The passionate reasons driving you are what you use to let people know you’re devoted to acting and here to stay. These passionate reasons will also help others see and feel your humanity.

Don’t worry about spring chickens or any other seasonal fowl. The fact that you know some real things about real life is your advantage. Look at sharing your story with women’s lifestyle media such as “Woman’s World” or “More” magazines and lifestyle TV formats such as CBS’ new show “The Talk” with Julie Chen and Holly Robinson Peete.

Also, if you get a moment, take a look at Benu Mabhena’s case study here. This is an actress whose past informed her work in Blood Diamond and her social outreach has been a complement to her work and life.

Keep rising!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Change is good. For the past 6 months, I have been collaborating with my fabulous team to perfect what Do It In Public is all about. The fruits of this labor will include relaunching my speaker website in November 2010, launching a private, by invitation-only PR consulting club for self-promoters entitled DO IT! and, maintaining a wonderful calendar of international speaking engagements.

Starting tomorrow, my blog will become the home of my PR advice column, Ask Joy. Here, confounded self-promoters will have their PR questions answered. If you have questions that you want to send in, please email them to with the subject line, "Ask Joy"

Please understand that due to volume, I can't answer every question that I receive. Submission of your question relinquishes all rights to your question. Thank you for joining on me on this beautiful journey of self-publicity power.