You need to have a content plan and a business plan — both are equally important. Content marketing is no longer the way of the future, it’s here and it’s staying so you must get comfortable connecting with your audience in that way. And obviously a business plan (with your financial goals included) will help keep you focused on where you need to go.
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rosh Smunt.
Rosh Smunt, Founder of The Disruptors Circle, is not featured in Forbes 30 under 30 and isn’t an award-winning copywriter but she does help everyday entrepreneurs annihilate boring copy in their case studies, eBooks, and presentations. Through her work clients have seen that destroying boring copy will lead to awesome things — like meetings that don’t double as soul sucking vortexes and ad copy that doesn’t trigger dormant narcolepsy. On rare occasions, as rare as a Bigfoot or Yeti spotting, you can find her outside taking in a few moments of sunshine in Everwinter, aka Chicago.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I was born in Riverside, CA but grew up in the suburbs of Northern Virginia. My childhood was spent hiding stacks of books under my bed — because I’d rather be reading than doing anything else in the world, especially homework (to my parent’s dismay). I was so devoted that one summer I read through our entire family library, and then bookless I resorted to reading our encyclopedias.
Fun Fact: Did you know that Al Capone kept a 24-volume, 14th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica in his jail cell? No correlation here, by the way (I think).
I eventually moved on from just reading books to writing them. Like any normal kid I begged my parents to let me attend a camp for “talented children”. We were hand picked from our schools around the country to study any topic we wanted — taught by real college professors. And so, from 6th grade to the end of high school I spent my whole summers attending a camp dedicated to writing.
Some kids pined over ending the school year to go off on fabulous vacations to Disneyland — and I lived for my summers spent with professors who understood my thirst for books and helped me hone my writing craft.
I think that sums up everything you need to know about my childhood (from this you can assume I had a “Never Been Kissed” type of experience at school — eating in bathroom stalls, getting horrendously bullied, and of course never being kissed).
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite “life lesson quote” isn’t really a quote but a word. It’s Abracadabra or avra kehdabra, which means I speak it into existence.
Words are very powerful — I know, every writer in the world says that but the fact is that your words literally create your existence. If you want to be happy but you’re thinking negative thoughts all the time, then how will you be happy?
If you want to start a business or do something daring in your life — then how can you do it if your mind keeps putting you down? You cant — and you wont.
Commitment starts in the mind, then the body follows suit through action.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
My favorite book is, “Wherever you go, there you are.” My life from adolescence to my late twenties was spent running away from who I truly am. It turns out being called a “weirdo” your whole life does something, go figure.
And so, I developed anxiety and depression — to the point where I was having multiple debilitating panic attacks a day. I could barely leave my house. I tried multiple “normal” therapist and psychiatrists and then stumbled upon hypnotherapy.
Within a couple of sessions with my hypnotherapist I was no longer having debilitating panic attacks (and haven’t to this day) and she also gifted me with a book, “Wherever you go, there you are” by Jon Kabat Zinn.
This totally changed my outlook on life and its message is right in the title — wherever you go, there you are. It basically means that you need to accept yourself because you’re always there.
If you don’t like the person you are then you’ll do anything you can to fill time or space and forget about being with yourself. But it’s really amazing to just be able to sit with yourself and be happy being you.
P.s. I’m not perfect after reading this and still have bouts of anxiety and depression, but this book is always something I refer back to.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
Before the pandemic began, I was a real estate agent and working full time as a sales and marketing specialist for a big-name beer company.
I knew I wanted to transfer out of the corporate world and so that’s why I started in real estate in 2019 — I thought it was my ticket out. My new years resolution was to earn enough money doing real estate in 2020 that I could resign the following year.
Well, that plan obviously flopped.
The pandemic hit and no one (understandably) wanted to look at houses or sell their house. I didn’t even want to go out and risk my health or safety of others at showings. I was barely making any money from real estate at this point — and so, I decided to become an assistant to a veteran real estate agent.
I’ve always been a devoted writer and was in marketing for 9 years, so I knew I had those skills to offer. While I was a real estate assistant, I drafted up marketing materials, email campaigns, and property descriptions. Then the praise started to flow. People were so impressed by my writing.
So, I thought, there’s probably a job for this and I should probably be getting paid more to do it.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
I never knew what copywriting was but stumbled upon it by doing a simple Google Search. And holy smokes! I never knew you could be paid to be a writer for anything other than being an author and journalist.
Even though I spent years of my life reading and writing — sales writing was another beast, especially digital sales writing. So I started taking course after course until I felt comfortable enough to take on paying clients.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
My “Aha moment” occurred when people started giving me praise for my writing. You see, I always loved writing, but I never shared it with anyone because I didn’t think other people would enjoy it. Hearing the praise was a bit of a shock and it was enough of a jolt to get my head turning about the possibilities.
How are things going with this new initiative?
Pretty good, so far. You know, there have been scares of will I have enough money to do this? Will I be able to get paying clients?
But I took a big leap and invested in my business by hiring business coaches to get me from A-Z. They’ve helped me brand, find clients, and establish authority in my field. Since hiring them in October my business looks completely different and is lightyears ahead of where it was. Instead of cold emailing (yuck) clients are finding me and requesting my services. It’s still scary but that gives me reassurance that people need and want my services.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I’m grateful for a handful of people in my life — like my parents, my sister Toni, and my hypnotherapist — but I would say the person who has helped me the most this year is my friend, Haris. When I met him, I was pretty depressed — I just wanted to stay home, in my own safe bubble, and was perfectly okay if I never went out again.
In the first couple months knowing him I was still depressed and untrusting of him. I don’t trust many people — because most people have wanted something from me before dropping me. Or they think that I’m too lame, too weird, too boring. But he never said any of those things. And then we started doing more things, and I wanted to go out more, and I was making friends again.
The first year I knew him I barely had the motivation to work but the second year was life changing. The pandemic started and I live in a city away from family and close friends. I thought I would be alone the whole time — but he essentially “took me in”. I have my own apartment, but he actually wanted me over every day since it started.
We’d do things to work on ourselves, like schedule full workdays on the weekends — which sounds horrendous, but we’d turn the space into a mock coffee shop and work on things we loved. It was really motivating.
That’s when I started writing again and at first, I’d spend the workdays just writing in my journal. But then, I got the motivation to go beyond real estate and start copywriting. And then you know the story from there.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
The most interesting thing that happened to me is that I haven’t felt any depression since starting my journey into copywriting. It was always something looming in the background of my life but now I can say it’s been a good while since it’s popped up. I really think that when you’re living life in your purpose then things fall into place very easily.And so, that’s what I’d like to think happened here.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- I wish someone told me that most people would think I was crazy for starting a business. Even my biggest supporters have cast doubt when it comes to my new venture and it’s totally understandable because I’ve already put a lot of money into it. But when the support gets scarce, I always visualize this quote by Jeff Bezos running through my head, “When you receive criticism from well-meaning people, it pays to ask, ‘Are they right?’ And if they are, you need to adapt what they’re doing. If they’re not right … you need to have that long-term willingness to be misunderstood.”
- I work on my business all the time. I’m completely obsessed and in love with it! I’m not someone who loves hard work — I’m of the mindset that you should work to live and not live to work. But I do think that if you are trying to get an idea up and running then you have to put the work in before it gets easier (and I wholeheartedly believe it does get easier). To quote Jeff Bezos again — and, just being honest here — I’m not a huge fan of the guy, but he does have some killer sayings, “To get something new done you have to be stubborn and focused, to the point that others might find unreasonable.”
- You will do a lot of scary things with your money. If someone told me a year ago that I would spend 10,000 dollars of my hard earned cash on a business coach — I would’ve laughed right in their face while looking up ways to spend that 10,000 dollars on my next exotic vacation. But here I am — a sad sucker who bought into a business coaching scheme. But is it all that sad? As I mentioned before I’m untrusting by nature — especially when it comes to people trying to sell me things. So, I wasn’t immediately sold on a business coach (I was the person laughing at those sad people purchasing it.) But I finally made the leap into coaching when I realized that I can’t follow in someone’s footsteps if I don’t have the blueprint. And yeah, I guess I could do it — but it would probably take a lot more steps to get there. Through my business coaches — and I’ve only been with them for 2 months — I’ve already tightened up the branding and focus of my business, I’m on the way to gaining more authority, and I’m able to gain clients with very little effort on my part. I’d say that’s worth it when I still have 10 more months to go in the training.
- You need to have a content plan and a business plan — both are equally important. Content marketing is no longer the way of the future, it’s here and it’s staying so you must get comfortable connecting with your audience in that way. And obviously a business plan (with your financial goals included) will help keep you focused on where you need to go.
- It’s okay to feel like an imposter. Everyone in business feels this way and I don’t think people ever get over it. Just remember, an expert is just someone who knows more than most of the people in the room.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
I can talk all day about my mental health strategies and what keeps me sane and motivated all day– but I’ll keep it short and sweet:
I have a daily meditation practice which involves deep trance hypnosis.
I practice positive self-talk techniques.
If I’m exceptionally anxious then I take a low dose of CBD oil (7mg)
I make sure to drink 64 ounces of water a day, and take my multivitamins
Okay, extra woo coming up: I make sure to connect with my ancestors and speak with them through tarot (I warned you). I also spiritually cleanse my space and body to make sure I’m attracting only positive things into my life.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would inspire a movement to teach underrepresented girls that they are enough. They don’t need to be wives or mothers to be enough. They can support themselves and make their own story without being selfish. I think if more underrepresented girls heard this then we would inevitably have more minority female entrepreneurs.
I would also love to establish programs to teach them about business basics and let them know that you don’t have to be extraordinary to own a business. Everyone has something to offer the world — you just have to own it and do it.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
I would love to have lunch with Padma Lakshmi because I’m a total food snob and would love to eat good food and talk about her insights on the world. She has so much wisdom and experience to share and I think that would be wonderful to hear about over some tasty food.
Note: I’m a total food snob but also very clumsy. So hopefully we’re having good food in a very casual environment because I’ve been known to accidentally break plates and glasses in restaurants!
How can our readers follow you online?
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!