Alexandra Greenawalt – Book Journeys Author Interview Transcript – March 22, 2018

Book Journeys Author Interview – March 22, 2018

 

Pleasance Silicki with Alexandra Greenawalt, author of Love What You Wear: Mastering Your Style in Multiple Homes.

 

“If you’re going to join it, don’t join twenty other things at the same time!”-Alexandra Greenawalt

 

Pleasance:

Hello! Hi! This is Pleasance. Can you hear me? Alexandra, are you there?

 

Alexandra:

Yes, I can hear you.

 

Pleasance:

Hey! All right. Welcome, everybody, this is Pleasance Silicki, and I am the author of Delight: Eight Principles for Living With Joy and Ease, published in April of 2016, and I’m delighted to be here today with my guest, Alexandra Greenawalt, and I’m super excited because I was looking at your website and looking at all of the wonderful pics that you have on styling, and can’t wait to chat with you about the writing process, so, welcome!

 

Alexandra:

Thank you!

 

Pleasance:

So, let’s jump in, I noticed on your website that you have a few books already. Is that true?

 

Alexandra:

Yes! This is my third book.

 

Pleasance:

Awesome. So, tell me a little about the writing process for you, writing your other book, and then moving into writing with Angela. So, why did you decide to work with her, since you have other books? This is unlike some of the other authors that I’ve talked to.

 

Alexandra:

Yes. So, it was really during the period when I wrote my second book – it was actually in the marketing, I was actually post-writing it. Then, I realized that I really needed help in – in marketing it and getting it in the right hands, and also having it … have the right impact. And so, originally – for me, writing is very easy, so that book was easy to write, it’s just the rest of the project turned into a monster, and I got very caught up in perfectionism and trying to make it perfect in the printing, and that was a huge time suck, so when I met Angela, I actually wanted just to hire her for marketing. My dream come true would have been to just hire her to market my book, Vetted by a Stylist. But I realized that that Vetted by a Stylist, as great as it is as a resource book of my – my favorite top places in New York, it wasn’t great at lead generation. So, in – in a sense, I figured out, “Well, I wrote the wrong book.” Not really the wrong book, but I – so, I really wanted to write a book … Angela, because I knew she would help me write a book that would – … a potential client would open up and be … so excited, and be … “Oh, my God, I have to hire this woman, she totally gets me and she’s my gem.”

 

Pleasance:

Okay. So, tell me a little bit – so, you said, with the other two books about not – … quote unquote, not writing the right book. Tell me a little bit about – … a little bit more about what you mean about that, because I think people who are listening are thinking, “Well, how do I know if I’m writing the right book or not writing the right book?” and … what was that like for you?

 

Alexandra:

Well, I – I don’t know if they were really the wrong book. The first book was a book for budding stylists who wanted to become stylists. And reality is – is, my second book is very helpful for my clients, and it was born out of the idea of … – I found myself saying to all my clients, “Here’s my favorite hairdresser. Here’s my favorite laser person. Here’s my favorite massage therapist. Here’s my favorite place to eat.” And I found that I was telling them all the same places, and I found that they were asking me for the same resources. And so, I figured, “Well, If I put all of those in one book, and then I just give it to them, they don’t have to pick my brain.” So, it wasn’t necessarily that that was the wrong book, but when – when it printed, and we did the party, the launch party, and people saw it, they picked it up and they were just …, “Uh, that’s nice,” …. There wasn’t … a next step, … the book didn’t really lead them to a next step, it was just … “Oh, that’s nice to have.”

 

Pleasance:

Right. Right.

 

Alexandra:

So – so, yeah. So, with the third book, Love What You Wear, it felt like I was able to communicate my special zone of genius and my special sauce, but also .. entice people to another step, to discover more about you.

 

Pleasance:

And that – okay. So, that’s what you learned from Angela – or, learned from going through the Author Incubator process, right?

 

Alexandra:

Yeah, I learned that I had to – I had to speak my client’s language. And I had to give her something that she was really gonna want but also self-diagnose herself. … ‘cause in a sense, my second book was just … – it – it acted like a solution, … here’s a resource guide, like a Zagat. Great, you have this Zagat now, your style problem is fixed, but in reality, it’s not fixed, ….

 

Pleasance:

Right. Right.

 

Alexandra:

Versus … writing a book where people …, “Oh, my God, I have this problem and I need to solve this problem, and Alexandra’s the one to help me do that.”

 

Pleasance:

Right. Right. So, how did – was that a real difference of impact on your business? A difference in Book Two and Book Three?

 

Alexandra:

It was so many domino effects to doing the book. … I changed the way I structure my programs, I changed the way I charge, I changed the way I interact with clients. I … love them more, they’re … – I’m … closer to my clients, they’re more friends. … more fun, … more fun.

 

Pleasance:

Okay, why – … specifics about why. That’s awesome, I’m super excited about that, and tell us more, … how did you make that change, and where did that come from?

 

Alexandra:

Well, it came from … a year of unfolding, it was – year of … being in the mentorship with – with Angela, and just all of her teachings, … so, it’s so rich. So rich. ….

 

Pleasance:

Is there one that … really stands out?

 

Alexandra:

One what?

 

Pleasance:

… one teaching that really helped you have more fun, have more joy, love your clients more, … is there a specific example, or maybe something she taught that then you translated that really made an impact?

 

Alexandra:

Well, she talks about pretending they are human and then treating them like a human and loving them. And I – I was always very nice to my clients, but I also … need to be a distance or … this – this – this bou – this boundary – I felt … it’s really important to set boundaries, which – I think boundaries are still so important, but it allowed me to show myself more, … be more myself and be more loving towards them, and just give me permission – just give me permission to love them like a – like a sister or like a best friend.

 

Pleasance:

So, did you – right.

 

Alexandra:

… more fun, … just – … I took my client to a show – showroom the other day, to show her there’s a line that she loves, that we just bought a bunch of their clothing, and the company reached out to me, … “Do you want to look at the preview?” and I was …, “Well, this would be fun to do with my client, my Euro-style client.” And … did I tr – … was this part of the original dream? No! I just thought … this would be fun and she would like this. And we went and we had so much fun! We took goofy photos and we posed and we saw the line, and it was just crazy, and I – I think, in the past, I would have been …, “Oh, but I – I didn’t charge for that,” and … “That wasn’t part of the thing.”

 

Pleasance:

So, how – let’s back up a little bit. How did you meet Angela, or how did you get introduced to the Author Incubator? And then, what were … those first, initial steps, how did that feel for you?

 

Alexandra:

I met Angela because we were both speaking at a women’s conference for about a hundred and fifty women, and we were both … did our little talks, our stage thing, and I went to her dinner – she organized a dinner, so I went to that dinner, and honestly, my initial reactions were …, “What? Who is this Angela?” … I’m … – ‘cause I think she was wearing a really dramatic coat, and she … just some crazy clothes on, and she was talking about a castle, and … “What castle thing?” And … who is this crazy woman, …? And then, I thought her – I think they had a giveaway, where they gave us a magazine, … magazine, and I got at home and I read it … cover to cover, and I was …, “Oh, my God, this is amazing!” And I literally read it, … every single word in the – in that – in that magazine, and then I for – I think I forgot about it. And then, I don’t know, something – a bee got in my bonnet and I contacted her a bunch of times. And then, finally, we had our call, and as I said, when I met her, I really – I wanted her just to do my marketing, and I didn’t really wanna write another book and so, it was … – it was definitely interesting journey. It was definitely … journey. And then, yeah, I joined the – I think it was called something different, but I did the – the book writing program, and I loved it, I loved the homework, I loved the structure, and I just … leaned into the whole thing in a – in a big way. And then ….

 

Pleasance:

Did you have any resistance before – was there any resistance at the early stages of the process?

 

Alexandra:

No, ‘cause I was …, “Well, I’ve done this before and gotten lukewarm results. Imagine if I do this again with a powerhouse.” I just – I knew that it was … – be a winning combination, …. ‘Cause I … love to write, I’m good at writing, … have always told me that, so it was – yeah, for me, there wasn’t – I didn’t have any resistance. I was …, “No, let’s do this.”

 

Pleasance:

Did other people in your cohort?

 

Alexandra:

Have resistance about what?

 

Pleasance:

The writing process and going – … believing they were gonna finish? Becoming published authors and –

 

Alexandra:

To me, there’s definitely always a squeaky wheel in the group, but I just tried to stay in my lane and focus on what I needed to do, and … kept my blinders on, so if there was a lot of Negative Nancys, I just was … – be …, “I’m not listening to that.”

 

Pleasance:

Well, I just think, too, that … in our – not everybody in every cohort has written multiple books and feel confident and just goes all in and surrenders ….

 

Alexandra:

No! No.

 

Pleasance:

In our cohort, there was definitely people who were … – not necessarily Negative Nancys, but just fearful, because they had not put themselves out there and they had not structured their lives and their businesses in ways that were gonna be very successful, and so, that was a big part of the author-in-transformation process for them. And I think the cohort is one of the things that makes the group so magical, ….

 

Alexandra:

But I was coming – … I was coming into it with the – sixteen going on seventeen years as a personal stylist. So, I knew where my area of genius was, I knew what room I wanted to be in, I knew my party, …. I – I knew it, I loved it, I was passionate, it was all in. And the thing is, there’s definitely people that come in, and they’re …, “I don’t know, should I write about divorce? Should I write about this,” … – and … I was already … super clear, … I wasn’t gonna … stop and all of a sudden become … a … e – expert. So, there was … that clar – that clarity, so I think I got a lot out of it, because it was … “Okay, well, let’s take off now.”

 

Pleasance:

Yeah. Yeah. And that’s just – I think people who might listen to this podcast, where I interview the authors regularly, is that’s not always the case. A lot of time, people are saying, “Okay, I’ve been running this type of business for this many years,” and there’s a lot of different angles that they could take, so I think part of that – the initial process, for them, was trying to figure out what to really write about, given there’s a lot of topics they could write about, …. But again, the structure of what you talked about, the homework and the … process about it, is – is really meant to help you be successful in the end. … and not to let you pick the wrong topic, ….

 

Alexandra:

Yeah. The visualization really helps, … the – the meditation exercise really helped. But – … I’ve noticed that, in the Quill, we’ve got a hundred and seven members and there is definitely people that are super, super active, and then, there’s people that I’ve never, ever seen, …. And I do think it’s one of these things – you get what you put into it, and … I was …, I’m gonna go all in, … ‘cause I signed up for it. And I – I’m just not the sort of person, where I join ten groups.

 

Pleasance:

Right.

 

Alexandra:

I just join this group, and then I had a lot of offers from people that were …, “Oh, join my coaching thing, join my thing! Join my – this thing,” and I would – or, “Come to my …, come to my retreat,” and I was … very clear, I was …, “Nope, I’m just doing this one thing. … I’m not gonna have … multiple messages in my head, and I’m just gonna … – I’m just gonna choose and lean in.

 

Pleasance:

Yeah. And it’s so smart, ‘cause then, … it – you just have so much more laser focus, so much more attention geared, and I think it’s just such a – a really focused and intensive and smart way to work.

 

Alexandra:

Yeah.

 

Pleasance:

… live in a world full of distractions and more, more, more and more groups and this and that, and so, I know, for a lot of people, it’s really challenging for them to stick with it.

 

Alexandra:

Yeah. Yeah.

 

Pleasance:

So, kudos to you and kudos to you for doing that and seeing the results that you’re seeing today. … you’re more likely to continue on that path and choosing one thing and being all in on something because you’ve had so much success by doing that, right? So, … spot that for yourself, yeah.

 

Alexandra:

Right. But also, I have to put my own – I had to put my own benchmarks, because I knew – … Angela talks about … getting it ten times … return on your investment, and she actually to… turn me away from the Quill, ‘cause she’s …, “I don’t think you’re gonna get a ten times return,” and I – … and I was … “That’s fine with me,” and … did I turn … that investment into ten times? No, but I felt like the progress that I did make, in the timing that I did, was as good as I could do. So, my own benchmarks were my benchmarks, …?

 

Pleasance:

Yup. Yeah. Which I think is really important, is that you get to set that for yourself and you get to really take ownership of that, especially if you have other things that are that high priority for you. I – I just have a similar experience with my little ones at home and my desire to spend time with them and really building a business and a life that feels good to me, and spacious. It means that I’m making decisions and choices for my business and my life that other people wouldn’t necessarily make. But as long as I’m good with them, it’s all good, … if you know what I’m saying?

 

Alexandra:

Yeah. Yeah.

 

Pleasance:

So, I think that ten times investment … – to get back … depends on how your calculated at, really, ‘cause it’s not always monetary, and I know that – that is a big part for a lot of people to get into the program for a number of different reasons. People wanting to move, people leaving relationships, … there’s a lot of financial motivation, but I also think that, going through the process, and now, also, you’ve gone through this process, you’ll – part of this other – this other group and learning and going deeper, you have so many skills to bring forward from here into all the work that you do, …? It’s a real gift.

 

Alexandra:

Yeah. Plus, I met – I met another stylist who has become one of my best g’s, and we … mastermind and trade secrets and talk shop all the time, and I – I never, in the past, thought that I would enjoy that, and I – I do enjoy it, and we’re actually forming our own little … power stylist brigade mastermind, because I feel … we – we wanna continue with Angela’s principles but we also wanna adapt them for our market and our industry.

 

Pleasance:

Okay. So, you talk a little bit about the homework, the visualization, that was really awesome for you. Was there anything else, specifically, in the program, that you felt … was really powerful?

 

Alexandra:

I … in the book writing program, or -?

 

Pleasance:

That you learned from her that really made an effect on you?

 

Alexandra:

The process – … just – I felt like her process really worked, in terms of …, you write the book basket, and then … you ask yourself … of everything that’s in the book basket, like, “Does my ideal reader,” is this gonna … – is this something that she really needs to hear, … and having that structure is … – just the – the process, is … – I was …, “This is fricking genius!” It just really works for me, having all that, and then – and then, when she created START, which was late in the game, … that was something that I had been craving since the beginning of joining the Quill, and it made me realize that I really like structure and I like deadlines and I like … putting it on my calendar, ‘cause I feel … that’s how I make the most progress, is that mapping it out and being …, “Okay, this is a big task, but then, how am I gonna get there?”

 

Pleasance:

Yup. Totally. So, now – you went through the process – when did your book come out?

 

Alexandra:

It will be out in stores on May 1st.

 

Pleasance:

Oh, out – so, it’s May 1st, okay, so it’s not out quite yet, and ….

 

Alexandra:

It’s on – it’s on Amazon already, … for pre-order right now, and it’s – yeah, and it’s digital and … you can get an e-book from me or from Amazon.

 

Pleasance:

And so, what was the difference – so, you said around – you had – you had these other books. This time, now that it’s out already on Amazon and coming out in print, what are some of the other … rewards or benefits, or what do you notice, now that you have this book out?

 

Alexandra:

Well, just being in stores. Because Book Number One was just e-book, and that’s great, but … some people will say, …, “Oh, that’s just an e-book,” …. There’s that stigma, and then, Book Number Two was in print, but I really did – because I didn’t know the ins and outs of Amazon and how it works, I had it printed with IngramSpark and then I sold it as a product, and because it wasn’t really – wasn’t really selling as a book, it didn’t get – it didn’t even get promoted in any way on Amazon. And so, it doesn’t sell, organically, the way my third book sells organically on Amazon, ‘cause other – other people are searching for something, and also, knowing that I’m gonna be in stores, that’s – that’s pretty valuable, having Morgan James –

 

Pleasance:

And so, how are you … in your – yeah, are you using that in your marketing now, or how is that – what do you u – how are you using that for your benefit, in your business?

 

Alexandra:

… it just added … “best selling” to my description. It’s not a – … I – I think credentials are very important, but these days I focus more about how can I talk about the problem in the language that my lady … wants to hear it, ‘cause it’s not really about me. A lot of these things are … ego-based, … book is an ego-based thing, so, it gives people is, “Oh, well, she’s really an expert, she’s really … good.” But I still have to go out there and create clients.

 

Pleasance:

Yup.

 

Alexandra:

It’s not a magic pill.

 

Pleasance:

So – right, there’s just ….

 

Alexandra:

It’s great, … it’s great, it’s great. So, … I still have to do the footwork.

 

Pleasance:

So, do you – yup, absolutely. Create the offers, have the conversations, get on the phone ….

 

Alexandra:

Pick up the phone. ….

 

Pleasance:

Pay the bills, right.

 

Alexandra:

Like that expression: “Trust in God, but tie your camel to the tree.”

 

Pleasance:

Yeah. Right. Okay, so, someone’s thinking about writing a book, someone’s thinking about joining Author Incubator, what is your advice for them?

 

Alexandra:

Do it, if it’s a good fit.

 

Pleasance:

How will they know that?

 

Alexandra:

Oh, gosh. I just knew in my gut. I just got … – my gut just tell – just kept telling me – I kept having big “a-ha” moments, … Jill would say something, and then something else in my brain would go, “Oh! Is that why that didn’t work?” or “Oh! That’s why that worked!” … I would have these “a-ha” moments, and I – they were just – they were … – it was … pieces of the puzzle falling together, and I just knew – I just … – there’s just – something resonated for me, but I will say, I think, if you’re going to join it, don’t join twenty other fucking things at the same time! I see people get in the group, and then, they get this and they get that, and they sign up and then, they’re … enrolled in six other things, and then, they’re – when are they gonna have time to work? All they’re doing is programming.

 

Pleasance:

Yup. I think you’re right! I think you’re spot on there, so I love that. Okay, so, people listen to this, and they want to learn more from you and about you. So, where can they find you?

 

Alexandra:

Oh. Super easy to find, alexandrastylist.com.

 

Pleasance:

Okay. And you do … –

 

Alexandra:

That’s my web presence.

 

Pleasance:

Okay, cool. And do you do live events? They can obviously get your book in the store and on Amazon.

 

Alexandra:

Yes.

 

Pleasance:

Any live events or places they can see you, outside of New York?

 

Alexandra:

Well, I’m doing a – a – in-house … finance company, but it’s not open to the public. But I do run – I do style presentations. I am for hire for style presentations, and then, I do one-to-one – I do one-to-one styling, and women fly in from all over the world to work with me, and discover their true self.

 

Pleasance:

Okay. So, that’s in person? ….

 

Alexandra:

In person, in Manhattan, yes.

 

Pleasance:

Cool!

 

Alexandra:

Yup. Yeah.

 

Pleasance:

Wonderful! Well, thanks so much for chatting, and wish you the best of luck!

 

Alexandra:

Thank you so much, this was super fun!

 

Pleasance:

Take care. Thanks, Alexandra! Take care.

 

Alexandra:

Right. You, too. ‘Bye.

 

Pleasance:

‘Bye.