Gwen Lane // Ep 98 // Transforming Content Creators Into Successful CEOs

Welcome to Episode 98 of the Asian Hustle Network Podcast! We are very excited to have Gwen Lane on this week's episode.

We interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asians to pursue their dreams and goals. We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.

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Gwen Lane is a seven-figure entrepreneur and business coach who helps impact-driven content creators and influencers transform into successful CEOs. With over 12+ years in digital marketing in LA’s entertainment industry, she launched her own travel and lifestyle brand and has partnered with companies like Disney, Facebook, Google, Nike, Target, Starbucks, and more. Through The Spark School, Gwen has helped over 5,000 students worldwide through her online programs. When she’s not creating content or coaching, she’s traveling, hiking, or backpacking with her husband and business partner, Luke.

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Intro: (00:00:00) Hey guys, welcome to Asian Hustle Network Podcast, My name is Bryan. 

And my name is Maggie 

And we interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asians to pursue their dreams and goals.

We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.

Maggie: (00:00:23) Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Asian hustle network podcast. Today, we have a very special guest with us. Her name is Gwen lane. Gwen is a seven figure entrepreneur and business coach who helps impact driven content creators and influencers transform into successful CEOs with over 12 plus years in digital marketing and Ellie’s entertainment industry. She launched her own travel and lifestyle brand and has partnered with companies like Disney, Facebook, Google, Nike target Starbucks. Through the sparks school, Gwen has helped over 5,000 students worldwide through her online programs. When she’s not creating content or coaching, she’s traveling, hiking or backpacking with her husband and business partner. Luke, Gwen, welcome to the show.


Gwen: (00:01:07)  Thank you so much for having me.

Bryan: (00:01:10) Of course, when we’re so excited to have you here. And to be honest, you’re leaving right. You know, like you’re having a cyber seven figure income, but before we get there, you want to understand what was their inspiration behind this? And what were you doing before?


Gwen: (00:01:25)  Good question. I mean, everything, uh, is a culmination of all the decades, right? Sometimes when I hear my bio, it’s like, oh, that sounds, it doesn’t sound like it’s me. They’re talking about someone else. And, um, this was, has been like my dream ever since. You know, I was little and I started businesses as a little girl. I think I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart. It runs in my blood. My grandparents were entrepreneurs. My parents were entrepreneurs. Um, and it started just by like selling arrowheads on the school bus and trying to compete with a student store that got shut down by the school right away. And then I started selling Pokemon cards on eBay. So it was just something that. Um, I love to do, I think I love to sell things and I love to give people something that makes them happy. And so, um, I’ve had a lot of different businesses and what I think what inspires me is being able to be creative and being able to create things and do things. I love the freedom of having an idea and turning it into something that’s exciting to me. I think as an entrepreneur and innovation is something that a lot of people. You know, uh, look at as a driving force. And so I think one day I want to invent something and go get into patents and stuff like that. And so that’s what inspires me and also, uh, being able to have impacted all these people’s lives in the past couple of years. That’s what helps me, like I get up in the morning and continue to do it over and over again, because it is a long game.


Maggie: (00:03:03)   Wow. Yeah, that’s amazing. I love that entrepreneurial spirit inside of you, and it really helps to, you know, have that foundation from your family because they’re able to instill that mindset that you can do anything that you put your mind to, and really, really inspiring. So we want to hear more about, you know, what was the inspiration. Behind the spark school. And, um, we know that you had experience a lot of experience in like content creation before that. Um, and you also worked in LA and, uh, you know, in, uh, in numerous jobs, we want to know like what that experience was like during that transition, um, and how you felt working in those jobs.


Bryan: (00:03:41)  I don’t particularly want to focus on your early days because no one will look at you or. Right. Wow. When you’re so successful that you create a seven figure business. Well, you all know that the first year in two years is a huge grind. That’s where you doubt yourself. That’s where most people quit. You want to put more emphasis emphasis on that because our community is very curious about that.


Gwen: (00:04:01)  Yeah. Those first years were the worst. It was not what it looked like on Instagram. I’m going to tell you that. So I, uh, started working at a college in, uh, advertising and marketing. So I did have a background in digital marketing, which really helps transfer into my business. And so what I was doing was movie marketing, planning for movies. Specifically for Sony picture films. So they would have a huge advertising budget and we get to pick like which channels and which shows to put the spots on. If we were going to buy a Superbowl ad. I remember I was a one part of my job was to be able to choose which billboards or what placement of billboards in LA. I’m at Santa Monica Boulevard and you can do this, you know, like the billboards on sunset that you see on the buildings. Like those were those placements. And I got to be able to strategize, um, which markets we wanted to hit and, um, where to get those eyeballs. And so that was kind of like my. Foundation on the career side of what I was able to translate into to my own brand. And when I was, uh, working, that was kind of the evolution of like the bloggers and the mommy bloggers. I think those were the first influencers, right? Besides celebrities who were getting celebrity endorsements and brands pay, you know, Serena Williams to wear exclusively Nike or, uh, you know, someone to wear a watch brand or to drive a car. Those are influencers, right. That what they call influencers now. Um, and so celebrity, endorsements were already thing. And then bloggers became a thing where they would create, um, content for their audience. And then they would get sponsored by like a stroller company or a car seat company. And so that’s kind of where I started is in the blogging world. And so I created the LA girl and I came up with that idea because I, um, originally from born in the Philippines and grew up in LA. I pretty much been NLI. Most of my life and people kept asking me, what should they go do? What are the food festivals? And so I was just sharing all the things that I loved about LA. I also wanted to remove the stereotype that everyone in LA sucks and, you know, bougie or snobby or whatever. And I was like, it is a big city. It’s hard to connect with people. And that’s why I created the LA girl and the LA girl community. So I did events with people. We did brunches and then people loved it because they were. Friends, which you both of, you may know it’s cause it can be hard in LA, especially if you’re new there or you just moved. Um, So why did you create that community? And I think that’s, what’s really important here to think about if you’re building a business is, uh, thinking about the community that you’re trying to build and making sure that you’re clear on why you’re building that community and not just have a bunch of followers or to have all those likes and those vanity metrics. But what are you trying to. Some do so it was very clear on that goal of the LA girl. And that’s when I started getting approached by brands. And so like Disney reached out to me, Google reached out to me and it was because I was creating content for a specific target audience. And that was women. Specifically with millennial women in Los Angeles, which they wanted to reach. And that’s kind of where the boom of Instagram influencer marketing. And then utuber started getting, um, sponsored content and that’s where that kind of whole thing started. And so I was doing that for two years on the side, and then I was able to make enough money through brand sponsorships. And then people were like, how do you do that? How do I start working with brands? How do I get sponsored? How, how do I start? You know, a lot of YouTube. They make money from ad sense, but it’s not enough money for them to be a full-time content creator. And so people kept acting in the same things. And I was like, you know what? I can. Answer these all one-on-one, that’s not scalable. So I’m going to start a school, the sparks school and academy for, um, for content, creators, and influencers to help them build their brand, grow their following and monetize their channels. So that’s kind of the evolution of from working and then the LA girl and then the spark school. And most recently, because I moved to Minnesota. About a year ago. I just recently exited the LA girl. And so I was able to sell that company to a friend and, uh, one of my business besties in LA. So she’s going to be able to continue that community and continue to provide value for that market.


Bryan: (00:08:30)  Awesome. When can we expect the Minnesota girl?


Gwen: (00:08:35)  Everyone’s asking you that they’re like, are you going to start doing that? And right now that’s not in the plans. I am like super focused on my students. I think I’m just like a teacher at heart. Um, and I’m going to tell you building the LA girl was not easy. Like I had to go to events. I had to cover events, which is a lot of time. Um, and then, you know, Uh, hosting events is a lot of work and creating content. And so I feel like doing two things right now would be distracting. And I think like focus is one of the things that was able to lead me to being successful and to growing my company right away is having a focus on which thing you want to do. Cause most of us entrepreneurs, we have so many ideas. Like I have so many unused domains that I just tell my husband, you got to buy this domain. I have an idea and it just sits there. Um, and it’s not a bad thing, right? Creativity is great. Innovation is great, but it’s really about choosing what you’re going to focus on and making that run by itself first until you move on to the next.


Bryan: (00:09:40)  Yeah. That’s really, really good advice doing one thing at a time and killing it, you know, because they all sort of build on top of each other and they all sort of develop new skills that you didn’t know you need for the next venture. So definitely focus on one thing at a time. Earlier you mentioned community, and we’re huge on community here at Asian hustle network. And I know you mentioned that it’s extremely important to cultivate a community, but on top of that, be very intentional community. Do you have any tips for those who are building community or themselves and how intentional and how clear should it be? And what happens to a community when the intention isn’t clear.


Gwen: (00:10:21)  A great question. So I think that first of all, knowing who that community is that you want to build, oftentimes, um, everyone wants to have like, oh, anybody can join. Right. There’s no niche, there’s no focus. And when that happens, it kind of just becomes muddled and people are not clear of like, is this for me? Or is that not for me? And I think that that works with marketing and sales as well. Right. When people don’t understand or are not clear. Clarity on if this, if this is for them or not, um, then it’s going to be a slower growth. And so I think you need to be very clear. And so I think, um, having something like your values somewhere or who your brand is about who you’re for and who you’re. Four should be visible on your social media channels on your website, on, you know, if they’re signing up for something on your Facebook group. I know Asian hustle network has their large Facebook group and being very clear on what it’s for and what it’s not for. Um, when I started talking about social justice, like I repelled a lot of people and I think that was a good thing because we didn’t want any racists in our community and I didn’t want, I wanted to make. Space for everyone. And so I feel like sometimes people are afraid to exclude people, but that makes it more inclusive for the community that you do want to cultivate. And so I think being very clear for that. Um, the second thing I want to say about community is that community is built on. Right. Community is about relationships and it’s built on trust and something that a lot of people, when they say they want to be a content creator, I tell them that consistency is very, very, very important, because the only way you can build a relationship is if you invest time and effort into it, right. You can’t have a relationship if it’s just like once in a while, texting someone once a year, that’s not a relationship. You’re not real friends. If that’s all you do. Um, and so for me as a content creator, I actually, um, try to train my students to show up if not every day, especially in the beginning, just so that they can like get to know their audience, their audience, and get to know them and knowing how social media. Not everyone sees everything right? And so sometimes you want to be able to just show up and be present as much as you can so that your people will see your message. And they will see it at the right time. Um, as far as like not building the community the right way and not being intentional about it. That is one thing, um, which I talked about earlier is if you’re not clear on the values, sometimes you attract the wrong people and you’re gonna have. The Val and I’ve had to do that on multiple times. And that’s why it’s very clear to be, to set those boundaries and kind of set those, set those guidelines in the beginning. And so if you are creating a Facebook, a Facebook group or an email list or something like that, it’s being very clear about who you are, what you value. And I believe that you’ll attract the right people and repel the people that you don’t want in your world.


Bryan: (00:13:20)  Yeah, I think you bring up a really good point too. Um, unfortunately, and that is pretty normal in terms of like booting up people who don’t fit your mission, because what you realize is that building communities it’s a lot like building a company because you have to maintain it culture, right? Because if you have people who are destructive in general, the ruin their community with everything they built. No. So sometimes it’s actually better to remove them, but obviously there has to be a system and a process to that. Right. You have to be clear this, this is the reason why I’m removing you, because this is clear because you’re in violation of this. You know, um, because he started moving people without telling her why it’s actually also very detrimental as it’d be like after this group. And they’re just kicking people out. The founder thinks he or she is all that, you know, so there is some politics to running community that you had to sort of be aware of and overcome. And those, I think a lot of people who want to start to meet are not aware of that because everyone comes into that. For positive intention of the world is a very rosy place. But unfortunately it’s very far from that at the same times that you have to maintain your vision, your goal, your intention, and, and foster a safe media. Otherwise people never come out there never speak up. That’s really sad.


Maggie: (00:14:51)   Yeah. And I think like all, I think a lot of people who try to create communities and build communities, they actually don’t recognize how much work has into building a community. I think a lot of people think, oh, it just runs by itself. Right. But there really are people behind the community who are leading it and actually managing it on a day-to-day basis. And I think what you’ve done with LA girl, You know, it, it became so successful because you were so intentional with the vision, with the values, with the mission, the goals, and, you know, just wanted to commend you for that because we know it’s not easy, just running Asian hustle network, you know, content creation, you blogging consistently. It ha you have to be really disciplined about that. And, you know, uh, doing events, events, Brian, and I always joke about how, like, we felt like we were getting married, right. You know, 10 times in a year, because you really have to. Yeah. Because it’s like you have this whole checklist, you have to make sure everything goes well. And it’s like, man, I’m like, why didn’t I think about that? Oh, I forgot the garbage cans at this event. Like the smallest things. And so like, you really, really have to be very, very intentional about everything and community building. Um, and it just, it just it’s like amazing what you’ve built with LA. And, um, I know you earlier mentioned that, you know, when you were, uh, building LA girl, you were getting a lot of brand deals and sponsorships. Right. Um, and we know a lot of content creators who have a following and they want to, they don’t know how to make money. Right. And then that’s one thing. A lot of content creators. They know how to build a following, but that’s very, very different from building a community. You can have a lot of followers, but then what does that mean in terms of building a community rail? The thing, a lot of content creators don’t know how to communicate with their followers, you know, making sure that they feel like there’s a safe space for them to talk with the content creator and the influencer. And that makes all the difference. Right. And it seems like you were very intentional with LA girl. Building that community hosting events and everything, but I want to know, like, how were you able to, um, determine like your rates? How, how did you determine your value for LA girl orally?


Bryan: (00:16:57)  Not how do you, how do you get people to pay for stuff? Because there’s a huge disconnect right there. Right? So has a lot of followers assume that. A lot of people with large volumes to seen that, you know what, I’m going to put out a product it’s going to automatically sell people are going to love it. But the sad reality is just people have to follow you. It doesn’t mean that spend money on your service or product. And I know that you’ve been very successful in doing my time. You know, you create a seven figure business. Um, so I was wondering if you had any tips and advice on how to get sponsors, one thing and how to make successful sales and the second thing. And third, how do you determine that?


Gwen: (00:17:39)  Yeah. So I mean that right there is like the questions that I get asked all the time and that’s why I started this spark school. And so, um, yeah. So when I started working with brands on the LA girls, some of this stuff was paid and some was. So, I just want to be honest with everyone listening that it’s not all paid and it’s not million dollar deals. Like I’m not occurred dash in. That’s not how it works. Um, and so in the beginning, when you’re just starting out, a lot of brands are probably going to reach out to you. And so they’re going to be like, Hey, um, there’s a couple of things that they can ask for. They can ask you to, you know, Buy a product at a discount and promoted. So that’s one of the most popular ones that people are trying to do right now. The second one is like, oh, we’ll send you product. Can you share and promote it? Um, so to them, that’s like a cost of inventory for them, but they’re not paying for the average. And then as you grow, and some, there are agencies and brands that have influencer marketing, people that are looking for content creators who create good content and some of them are willing to pay. And then another way to do it is by joining an influencer platform. And they have like listings of like, you know, you get paid $50, we’ll send you a lipstick. Do content and then that’s the whole deal and you get the pay pallet you for $50 or whatever that is. So those are kind of like the basics, a little bit of how brand deals are. And so for you, I think. If you are taking this seriously. So that’s number one is decide, is this a hobby for you or a business? So that’s the number one thing I tell my students to do. If it’s a hobby and you just like getting free stuff, you like getting tickets, you you’re okay with that. You have a job and you’re not planning to do this as a full-time thing then. Great. Right. Make it a hobby. You can do it whenever you want. You could, you’re not relying on the money, but if this is what you want to do as a living, then you kind of have to. Serious chat, right? Serious conversation. Because if your goal is to replace your money or the money that you got from your job, or you have a goal of like, okay, I need to contribute $3,000 a month for our lifestyle and into our household, then you have a different conversation than the person that’s just like, I just want to get free makeup. Right. And so that’s the first thing is like getting into the mindset of, is this a hobby or if this is a business, now once you have a business. Goal, let’s say it’s $3,000 a month, then you know that you can’t just say yes to all these people asking you to promote stuff for free. So I think half of it, Brian really is putting your foot down and saying, I don’t work for free. Right. For example, a lot of people have services or they do consulting, or they do social media management. Like if you did that for free, you would not be able to eat. And so it becomes a different shift in the mindset. I think when this is like your job, this is your life. I’m I, I don’t just do this for fun. This is like, if I don’t do it, nothing matters. It’s like, no, I have to put food on the table and I have nowhere to live if I don’t do this. So I think that’s like the biggest distinction I have from successful influencers and the people are just like playing in the collaboration world is what I call it. Um, and so once you’re there, then you’re like, okay, How many brand deals do I need to, to do, to be able to make my goal. And so some people are very passive and they just wait for brands to reach out to them. And that’s fine. If you are optimizing your content, if you’re doing your tags. I get enough. I’ve been doing this for a long time that I get enough inbound leads from brands, but if you’re not, then you should be actively pitching. And so part of what I teach in this spark school is actually pitching to brands. And so if there is a brand that you use on your hair and you’re doing a hair photo shoot, then I reach out to those brands. I always reach out to brands on my travel, uh, when I’m traveling. So for example, I had a trip from before the pandemic to go to Arizona. Uh, to Sedona. And so I emailed and pitched to Sedona hotels and to Sedona companies. And since the doughnut restaurants, if they want to be featured in my channels. And so when you position it as a way as that they’re paying for ads, just like they would pay for a TV spot or a radio ad, you know, a billboard, like I talked about, it’s a, it’s the micro sense of advertising, right? You’re you are advertising on a channel with 11,000 people. Let’s say you have 11,000 followers, and this is the placement that you get. And so I teach people to package their services, their content creation services, and actually the advertising viewership part of that. And so it becomes more of a professional presentation and a professional pitch rather than just, okay. I’ll for $40, I’ll post your product. And so you have to think about it in that kind of mindset. Um, and so that’s the brand deal part. And so, um, there’s other strategies that I teach, like, for example, instead of just doing like one post, let’s talk about a three-month partnership, right. And that’s a bigger dollar value. Your, your followers will see the brand war, which we all know that right. Customers need to see brands over and over again for them to actually purchase. And then it builds a longer relationship, right? It could be like you’re posting once a month or twice a month for the brand. And so I was able to do like 12 month plans with brands. And so I don’t have to worry about trying to get new brands every time it was a long-term partnership. And then for me, for my business, it’s more sustainable because that was guaranteed income coming in every year. So it’s building those packages and positioning yourself as a business person versus just a content creator. And I think it’s also educating the brands on your value and communicating to them like what your content and your services is going to provide for them. Cause they would have to hire a photographer, a model. They would have to like find a set to shoot everything. And we as influencers, we do all of that. Right. We have. And my husband do that in my kitchen. Right. They’re not paying for like a set fee. I do hair and makeup and all of that. So you have to think about it in that way and communicate that. And, um, I think that that’s like the difference between the people who are doing successful sponsorships and those who are,


Bryan: (00:23:52)  yeah, that’s a really, really good point. And I really want to point out to you that these brands need you as much as they need them. And it’s not like a one-way thing where it’s like, oh, they have so much people to pick from. And you’d be surprised how hard it is in the hospital the whole is to choose from. Right. So,


Gwen: (00:24:13)  and they’ve got money and they’ve got money coming from the advertising side. I know how much. Then they spent hundreds and thousands of dollars on production and for an influencer to ask for $10,000, it’s like a drop in the bucket for them. And so it’s up to the influencer to stand their ground and put their foot down and be like, this is how much I charge and this is what it is and that’s, and they will find the money. Right. They will find the money. That’s not it’s they will take it from TV, from radio, from print ads. There’s an advertising budget there.


Maggie: (00:24:44)   Yeah. Yeah. I think what a lot of influencers and content creators don’t realize is that these companies have a budget that they have to spend by a specific date. And if they don’t spend that money at a specific date, they can’t even roll it over to the next fiscal year. So I don’t know. Because she used to work in finance. I used to work in finance, had like a marketing budget. And if we couldn’t spend it by like the end of the fiscal year, we couldn’t roll it over. So by the end of the fiscal year, we’re just like pouring out money to these different companies and influencers. So I completely understand. Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, it’s, I, I do want to know, um, you know, before people with like very little followers, I think, you know, we know a lot of, a lot of influencers and content creators who don’t have a really large following. But they do want to get brand deals as sponsorship. I have heard that it is definitely possible, you know, it definitely is possible to kept rantings on sponsorship, but I don’t think that they know how to do it without telling us too much. Cause I know like we would have to pay for the sparks score and everything like that. But I do want to know like what are the things that they can look at to make their, their package or, you know, um, how they present themselves more valuable? Um, how do they stand out more with like very little following.


Gwen: (00:26:00)  Yeah. So I’ve been able to help, uh, some of my students get paid brand yields with less than a thousand followers, so it’s totally completely possible. So that’s the first one is like really understanding that it’s possible. I’ve had someone who I think had like 600 followers and was able to get like a $600 brand deal. So it’s, it’s completely possible. So. The first thing I would do is I always tell my students to focus on ABC is, and so audience, brand and content. So audience knowing who they are is really the brands just want to know, are we targeting the same people, right? Are the people that you’re talking to the same people I want to talk to. And I have that have them put that in there. Influencer portfolio like who their demographics are, the age, the location, the gender, because that’s what they’re looking at. They’re they’re marketers. They want to see that there’s a return and why they’re paying for this. The second is your brand, right? They want to know who you are, your values. Like I talked about earlier, brands. Love to hear values because they have values and they need to make sure that it aligns because they’re not going to invest in an influencer who goes against everything that they talked about. For example, like just a simple thing is like a vegan brand is not going to sponsor probably. Eating influencer. And that just makes sense, right? Yeah. You’re a vegan, um, in your vegan blogger and all you talk about is being vegan and why it’s so good for the environment and why you’re doing it and why it matters to you and why you want to spread your message. You will probably be a great fit for beyond meat or morning star or something like that. Right. And so that makes sense. And so, but if you’re not talking about it in your content, which is the C part of ABCs, then you would miss out on those partnerships because they wouldn’t know. Right. They’re looking for people to work with. All brands are looking for people to work with. They know what influencer marketing is now. You know, it’s been like six years, so they’ve been looking for partners. They just need to help. They need your help to determine if it. So your content is a thing that they’re going to judge, who is who they want to work with. And so always looking at your feed. Um, I think that even if you have a small following, if you have high quality content, that’s something that they’re really going to look for. Right? They don’t want blurry pictures. They could hire a professional photographer. They want authenticity, they want creativity. They want to see. Lay products in a way where it doesn’t look salesy or just like posing with the product. That’s right. Like Vanna white. It’s not like that. Right. But it’s like, how are you using product? How are you incorporating into your, into your lifestyle? How are you putting it inside your videos? So they want to see that uniqueness that, you know, they, they don’t have to hire someone to do that, but it’s someone, a real person that’s actually talking about it. That’s incorporating the product in their life. If you were a small influencer or at least someone who has like a smaller following, um, I would actually start looking at the products you’re already using. So I always say, take a brand inventory of yourself and your life. So it’s like, what are you using on your hair? Your face, all of that, because those you’re already a fan, right. You’re already a customer. And they would rather work with people who are already loyal to the brand. Yeah. Bought the product without them giving it to you for free. And so I would start working with those products and naturally putting in my content. And then I reached out to brands after I’ve, I’ve posted that content and let them know, Hey, I just, you know, featured you on my channel. Um, I’d love to talk about. Upcoming product launches you have, or any campaigns you have and start the conversation from there. And so even if you don’t have a media kit or influencer portfolio, you can start damming with a brand. And there’s someone there managing the account. Most of them are in the marketing team. And so I always say, you know, about 30 days before you send an actual pitch, it’s like sales, right? You kind of need to warm and nurture the lead. I make sure that. I mentioned them. I’m interacting with our content. I’m commenting on their own content. I’m replying to their stories. And so doing that warm up before you pitch and be like, Hey, I’d love to work with you is going to make a difference between someone who’s just like an influencer that doesn’t even use their product and they want to get paid, you know, thousands of dollars to work with.


Maggie: (00:30:25)   Right. Well, that’s really helpful. I love how you’re just kinda like laying down the tips for, you know, just turning that mindset from like, okay, I just want to have brand deals and just like send them my rates rather than actually considering it as a real business. And I think that makes all the difference. And you know, you really do have to put your foot down and be like, Hey, I. Looking for a budget for this. And then like, I I’m, I want to get paid for this deal. So, and I’m not gonna take no for that. Um, it makes all the difference because you automatically switch that mindset to become more business oriented.


Bryan: (00:30:59)  Yeah, definitely. Um, I know you dropped a lot of nuggets in today’s podcast, right? So I want to hear what’s next for you. Like what is next for spark? What do you want to do, man?


Gwen: (00:31:11)   Oh, man. There’s so many things. Like, as I, as I said earlier, I’m an entrepreneur. So I have so many ideas, so many things on the back burner. I’m like, you know, uh, restraining myself because I need to focus on. The spark school right now. Um, we have the seal of the brand deal program. That is how to get brand deals. And so I am know, working with my students on that. And once you create a course or, you know, some sort of program to it, doesn’t end, right. It’s we have to update it. We have to keep making it better. New things come up on social media all the time. So we want to make sure our students are getting the most updated information. And some things that may be worked three years ago, didn’t work. It doesn’t work anymore. And so right now we’re restructuring and kind of re updating that program, um, and making sure we’re providing the best value for students. And then I’m also launching a new program called creator to CEO. And this is after brand deals. I do want. Uh, influencers and content creators to launch their own digital offer. And when I say offer this could be, um, you know, a program, uh, workshop, a class or something that’s digital, that’s packageable online that they could sell 24 7 because in between brand deals, right. When you don’t have deals coming in. You could be selling something to your audience. So some of my, um, my, a students or clients in that program, they do like styling sessions. Cause they’re like a style influencer or it may be their beauty influencer and they do beauty and confidence coaching. And so I’m helping them create their own packages as far as the product that they can deliver, um, and sell online. While they’re sleeping and doing other things and doing content creation. And so I feel like brand deals are great, but it’s just one revenue stream. And we talked about monetization earlier. I feel like there’s so many different things, right? There’s affiliate marketing, there’s advertising, which is sponsorships there’s products or services. There’s events, there’s partnerships with other influencers and other businesses as well. So I feel like. So many great things that you can do once you have the audience. And that is why it’s so important to focus on building a community that trusts you and knows you. Like I’ve had people who’ve been following me for the last six years and they trust me because I’ve built that trust I’ve showed up consistently. I share my values, I share my story and a lot of them have been along for the journey. So I’m super grateful.


Maggie: (00:33:43)   Wow. That’s amazing. We can’t wait to hear of all of the great things that you’re, that you haven’t planned for the next year. When I do want to know, you know, over the last, you know, couple of years just building, um, spark digital and. The LA girl, how have you grown? Um, individually and personally, cause I read a couple of articles that I know that you are super big on, you know, like self-affirmation, um, I did read that you look at yourself in the mirror every morning and repeat self affirmations to yourself. Um, but I do want to know, you know, you’ve, you’ve grown so much in the last couple of years, but I want to know personally how you see yourself have grown.


Gwen: (00:34:21)   Yeah. So I do believe that entrepreneurship is a journey of self-development. I feel like it’s a, one of the hardest things. I think anyone ever goes through, because you’re forced to really get to know yourself. You, you are faced with your greatest fears, right? You, if you, when you put yourself out there, you, you get all these like doubt and you get all these fears of like, what if no one buys it? What if no one, you know, likes my posts? What if no one says anything? What if I get haters? What if I fail? What if it doesn’t work? Like all those thoughts. I still have those thoughts. I just want to tell you, like, it doesn’t go away. Right? It does. If you just get better at it. And so, um, coming from, you know, a background, like I have always been a, an advocate for mental health. Um, I did not have a, uh, easy childhood growing up. I had to overcome a lot of trauma and abuse, and I think that there’s a lot of as Asians, I feel like there’s a lot of generational trauma as well. Um, it was very hard to kind of, um, break from the stereotypes of like, I need to have a job. Stable. And I need to, you know, people were like, you should just be happy. You have a job and you get to, you know, pay the bills. And, and I was there unhappy thinking like, is this my life? Is it till I’m 60? And so sometimes like all those blocks that, you know, we picked up growing up, those mental blocks, those money blocks of like, you shouldn’t want more, you shouldn’t be grateful. Money is not, um, you know, money is evil and having wanting more money is greedy. Like I had to unlearn a lot of that. And part of the reason for the success is because I focused on making sure that I, um, dealt with those beliefs and I had to come to terms with it. But. Knowing what they are. So I think it’s like knowing what those beliefs are and like, figuring out how you picked it up, because sometimes it’s like, oh, my grandmother used to say this and that’s not true. And maybe she said, it’s, you know, to be protective or maybe, you know, sometimes they grew up differently. And so they’re, you know, they have. Right beliefs that they put on us. And so we have to choose like what we choose to believe and we get to decide what kind of life we want to have. And sometimes it’s really hard to unlearn all those things that we learned, like the first 18 years of our lives. And so I read a lot of books. I do yoga. I do meditation. I listen to affirmations in the morning while I’m walking. My dog, I journal. Recently, I’ve been tapping a lot. I’m doing emotional freedom technique, and that has helped me in my anxiety. Um, and so you have to find the tools that work for you as also been in therapy for. Many many years. And I think those are things that sometimes in the Asian culture, it’s a stigma to go to therapy and ask for help and to tell people your problems and your dirty laundry. Right. Um, and so I think that as I grew older, I knew I had to overcome these things if I wanted to be successful. And so I made the decision to, you know, rewire my beliefs. I’ve had to cut off. Family and friends, even though that was really, really hard. Um, because sometimes, you know, that’s what holds you back is people telling you that you can’t do that, or you shouldn’t do that. And so I think that I’m still in this journey and every day is a challenge. And every day I try to think about what I want to do and the people I want to impact. And that’s what has kept me moving forward.


Maggie: (00:38:08)   Well, very inspirational. And I definitely agree with you. I think we, you know, especially in Asian culture and Asian families, um, our parents just want the best for us, but a lot of the times they don’t know what that is. And especially because they come from a different generation. Right. But, um, um, I’m so inspired by you because you were able to really like unlearn everything that you had learned before, and really know now, you know, what is good for you?


Gwen: (00:38:36)   Yeah. And it’s still every day, like sometimes I catch myself, like I catch myself like being cheap for some reason. It’s not that I can’t afford it. It’s like, oh, but that’s, that’s expensive. And it’s like, it was wired in my head. Like, you don’t want to do that. I’m like, wait a minute. But that saves me time. And time is more valuable. And money right now. And so was the, I had to catch myself and it’s like a moment to moment you don’t. It does not just like, oh, it’s gone now.


Maggie: (00:39:06)   And yeah, exactly. So Gwen, we have one last question for you and that is if you could give one advice to. And aspiring CEO, who’s currently a content creator or influencer. What would that one advice?


Gwen: (00:39:21)   Yeah, I think, um, I want advice. It’d be like to make a decision and that decision is, you know, what is it that you actually want to do? And are you willing to pay the price to get there? Because everything has to be. And for, uh, this kind of life, like, you know, it’s investment in time and it’s investing in yourself, it’s in facing your fears and like having these hard conversations with yourself. Um, but if that’s what you want, Are you willing to do it? And every day I ask myself that question, like, do I want it and am I willing to do it? And so if I were you, I would have that conversation.


Bryan: (00:40:01)   I love that. That is amazing advice. Thank you so much for that good advice. Um, so I guess the final final question is how can our listeners find out more about you and reach out to you online?


Gwen: (00:40:12)   Yeah. So you could go to Gwen and then on social I’m everywhere at Hey Gwen.


Bryan: (00:40:19)   Awesome. Thank you so much for me on today’s podcast. We really appreciate it.


Maggie: (00:40:23)   Thank you so much, Gwen. We’ll leave all of that in the show notes of this podcast, but thank you for coming on. It was amazing learning and hearing about your story today.


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