Make Marketing Suck Less

Finding Joy in Marketing & Life with Shannon Hernandez

On today's episode, we are talking all about joy in business, marketing, and life with my guest M. Shannon Hernandez.

Before we dive in, let me introduce you to Shannon. She is all about that joy in life and business, and specifically is known around the globe for her joyful marketing methodology. She works with online coaches and consultants, teaching them how to market and sell from a place of joy first and build a profitable business that includes abundant time off.

She understands and has cracked the code of the importance of joy in your marketing. As you listen to or read today's podcast, think about what's not bringing you joy in your business and your marketing and how you can make it more joyful.

Listen in or read through the transcript below:

Resources mentioned in this episode

M. Shannon Hernandez
Atomic Habits by James Clear
Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Marketing and Selling for Coaches and Consultants Facebook group
Marketing Uprising Waitlist

Hey, hey, rebel. Last week was my birthday -- September 8th --  and growing up, I always hated when my birthday fell the day after Labor Day because it was also the first day of school. Meaning, I was starting something completely new. I was surrounded by strangers. No one knew my name. No one would be wishing me a happy birthday. There would be no cupcakes for me. And not only that -- I was shy, so it was anxiety-producing. So my birthday was a complete bummer. 

And I swear, only people born on September 8th, like P!nk and Senator Bernie Sanders can know my pain. But even though my birthday fell on the first day of school -- and that sucked -- my mom always made sure to do something that would bring me a bit of joy on that day. Maybe it was a surprise, extra birthday present, a cupcake, or even ordering pizza and chicken wings on a Tuesday night. 

On today's episode, we are talking all about joy in business, marketing, and life with my guest M. Shannon Hernandez, and she understands and has cracked the code of the importance of joy in your marketing. As you listen to today's podcast, think about what's not bringing you joy in your business and your marketing and how you can make it more joyful.

Before we dive in, let me introduce you to Shannon.

She is all about that joy in life and business, and specifically is known around the globe for her joyful marketing methodology. She works with online coaches and consultants, teaching them how to market and sell from a place of joy first and build a profitable business that includes abundant time off.

I will be back at the end of the interview to bring you some of my big takeaways and give you some questions to reflect on. Enjoy this conversation.

Michelle: Hi, Shannon. I am so happy to have you on the Rebel Rising podcast. Welcome. 

Shannon: Thank you. I am fired up today. 

MM: Why don't  you just take a quick moment and introduce yourself and then we'll dive into the 3 Word Rebellion questions. 

SH: I am Shannon Hernandez. I am all about joy. If it ain't joyful, we ain't doing that shit. That's the motto that runs my life, runs my marketing consultancy, runs every single action that I take and make and how I choose to live my life. 

MM: That leads very naturally into our first question:  tell me all about what you're rebelling against. 

SH: I am rebelling against anything that doesn't bring me joy. And not just me, but everyone else. Over the years, I've cracked the code, if you will, of boundaries and living joyfully. And I am really excited to say, I am here to help people get into the zone of joy

MM: Can you say a little bit more about what doesn't bring you joy? We'll start in business first.

SH: What doesn't bring me joy in business? Shitty marketing. I hate it. I hate it. I hate the word “should.” I do not want to write a book. I already did that. It ain't joyful. Not right now. So I'm not going to write another book.

Other things in business that don't bring me joy are low prices, so I don't charge low prices. You want to work with me? You're going to pay for great joyful marketing, strategy, and consulting.

Creating graphics doesn't bring me joy, so I don't do it. I pay someone to do it for me. 

MM: It sounds like you are very, very clear on what gives you energy, what doesn't give you energy, what brings you joy. How did you come about that clarity? 

SH: Well, I came about it by being in such a state of unjoy that I didn't even know I was there. I was sitting at my apartment in Brooklyn, New York at the table and I literally looked up at my spouse and I was sobbing. I had been journaling and I said, “I don't even know what to do that's joyful anymore.” I’ve been on robot-mode for so long that I don't even know what brings me joy. It's Saturday and I'm sitting here crying because I can't think of anything to do that I would enjoy unless it was work, and I'm burnt out and I don't want to do work. And my spouse looked at me and said, “We're going to the park to throw a Frisbee.” And that was the moment that changed everything for my life. 

MM: I love that. What a gift. That's such a great five-second moment of transformation. 

SH: Now kicking and screaming to the park. I'm like, “I suck at Frisbee! This is not going to be joyful,” but what it did is it disrupted my pattern of what I had been doing and it opened my eyes. And the next day, Michelle, I made a list called “my joy list” and I have lived off of that list, added to it, had fun with it. Things like sunset, sunrise, massage, going to the spa, my morning cup of coffee. And I find joy and I find things to do that are joyful from my list. And that list literally saved my life.

MM: What inspired you to create a joy list?

SH: Well, I was scared because that moment before the Frisbee, I could not think of one thing that brought me joy. And it was really like a reality check. And what I realized is that I just wasn't connected to what brings me joy. I didn't even know how to answer that question.

So even with my clients now, and with the work that I do, we all start by creating a joy list -- 20 things that bring us joy that don't cost money and 20 things that bring us joy that could cost money -- and then we always have that moment where if we say we're bored, if we're upset, if we are restless, if we are overworked and burnt out, we say, “Go to the joy list, find something just for this moment that you can do that brings you joy.”

MM: That’s awesome. It reminds me of one of my friends (she's a past guest of this podcast, Tara Newman), she talks about creating a thrive list -- what do you need in order to thrive in your life? And it's so amazing that some of those things don't have to cost money at all.

SH: No. One of my clients, her favorite thing is the smell of orange when she peels it. That's on her joy list. So she gets agitated, upset, restless, whatever. What's she do? She peels an orange. Amazing, right?

Joy is so personal. This is one of the things that you asked in the beginning -- What is not joyful in marketing? This is why my marketing company is thriving. Because we actually live, all of us, by the slogan, “If it ain't joyful, we ain't doing that shit.”

So I took the joy list concept, if you will, in personal life and we just transposed it over into business. What would bring you joy here? Podcasting? Great. We're going to do that. We're going to make it joyful in the process.

I don't want to diminish it because when you wake up everyday and you focus on joy, your entire life changes and it's available to everyone it's accessible, but it's a new way of thinking about joy. 

MM: Yes. It often reminds me when I talk with my clients and we're doing their marketing plan after we've created their message. I had a client and she doesn't need very many people to run her business successfully. She said, “I don't want to be on social media.” And I'm like, “You really don't need to be on social media. You don't have to. There are, like, a million other strategies that you could use that are more aligned that can still get this message out into the world, that can still get your work into the world without you having to show up on Facebook every single day. And she said, “Really? I thought I had to be on social.” No, you don't have to do anything you don't want to do. 

SH: Yeah. And the back end of rebelling is like in the work that you and I do with marketing, we rebel against what everyone says you have to do, marketing or otherwise. No, we're not doing it! It's not joyful. We're not making people do it. And we're certainly not wasting our time and energy doing it either. 

MM: And that is freeing. That's ultimately liberating. With that, what kind of changes do you want to create in the world?

SH: I am working on a new project, if you will, all around joy. And one of my ideas -- you're going to be the first to hear this breaking news, get ready -- I want to create a joy meter and this joy meter helps you see. How you can increase your joy just by 1% every day. 

MM: Oh, I love it. 

SH: So it would be like using the joy list, practical tools, whatever it is. But imagine how the world would change if we all increased our joy by 1% every single day. 

MM: That'd be huge!

SH: Huge, right? And by the end of the year, you'd be 365% or more joyful and so would I, and could you imagine how the world would change if everyone was more joyful? 

MM: It's mind-blowing to think about because in some ways it reminds me of James Clear’s, Atomic Habits. He always talks about that 1% improvement in your habits and how that compounds over time and how this joy would compound over time. 

SH: That's really the change -- to help people see not only how does your whole life improve with just a 1% increase in joy each day, but then how does the world change if we're all operating from a place of more joy. And guess what? I don't have the rest of it figured out yet. I just know I want to call it the joy meter.

MM: I would also think even from a place of resiliency, it would make people more resilient when they're going through difficult times. Because it would give you more tools in your toolbox to deal with those times. 

SH: And, one of the things that hopefully we have time to talk about, is this compelling and often combative phrase I use, which is “joy is a choice.” I really believe that. I believe that I get to wake up every day, regardless of what's going on. I had a surgery that went way, way bad. I almost died just a couple months ago and I still chose every day to do something to increase my joy or to find the joy in the situation. Not saying it was easy, but it was a choice and I felt better because of it. So this idea that joy is a choice is really important. I just think humanity and the world we're in, we can actually have control over our joy, even in the worst circumstances. 

MM: I might be totally wrong about this, so I'm going to preface that, but back in my graduate school days, some of my colleagues were in health communication. We're doing some research on  laughter and happiness and medicine. And they found that people who could access joy or laughter actually had better healing outcomes, there was a correlation.

I know correlation is not causation, but there was actually a health benefit for being able to access joy or happiness as you're healing. I think there's some science out there for you to go and research into as well as you're starting this project. 

SH: We hear it, right? We often hear that people are healed from things that we wouldn't think people could be healed from just by their mindset. Guess what? That's a choice to believe that or not too. Everything comes down to what you choose to believe in the end.

I can tell you that I went in March 5th for a hysterectomy and it went really bonkers -- they found way more going on in there, that was the first thing. Then I went home and then I had complications and I didn't know it until I went back for the week follow-up, but I was almost dead. I had kidney failure and it was horrible.

But every day I was like, “Oh, I'm getting better. This is just part of the journey.” One, because I didn't know. And, two, I can't go to the bathroom like how I would want to go to the bathroom, but I can sit here and look at the sunrise. That's what I'm going to focus on right now. When I had more information and I realized things like I’ll need a catheter and all this other stuff, I still found joy in getting the catheter.

I still chose to find joy with a week at home with a catheter. I focused on not the catheter, because that was actually not joyful, except it was saving my life. But I focused on the other things that created joy. And I'll tell you, I was in and out of the ER two times over the next two weeks because things just weren't right.

For anyone listening, this was also during the very first outbreak in New York City of the pandemic. It was crazy. Everything was bonkers. And when I went back to my doctor, he said, “Everything that could have gone right wrong with this surgery went wrong, yet you are one of the most joyful people I've ever had the pleasure of working with. And you've healed so fast, despite all the things that could've gone wrong, went wrong.”

And you know what, that was all I needed to hear that the shit that I'm doing is working. 

MM: I think that's a really powerful message, especially, as we're recording this and we're still In the middle of this pandemic, in the middle of the stay at home orders, and it really is the choice of looking at the little things. Like I'm still grateful for going out on a walk and seeing the trees bloom. That brings me joy. Or hanging now with my cat and petting him, that brings me joy. It's finding those little moments every day and cultivating those, otherwise you can get into a really dark place really, really fast if you're not actively finding those moments.

SH: I think that one of the things that I'm going to be talking about is this idea of total immersion, and here's the difference: if you are petting your cat and checking Facebook and responding to texts, it's not joyful. Because it's not total immersion in petting the cat.

There's this book that I'm reading called Flow, and it's a beautiful book about the psychology of getting into the flow, which I would call joy, getting into your joy. It's all about the brain. The brain can get into the flow and you can find that euphoria, that happy moment, whether it's three seconds or three days, three hours, whatever it is, but you have to be in complete immersion. It's mindfulness essentially. You have to give attention to the one thing that you're doing that brings you joy for you to actually experience joy.

And I think that's a really important thing that we're talking about here because you can't find joy doing three things at one time while petting your cat because your attention actually isn't all into the flow of petting the cat. Does that make sense? 

MM: It does. It makes complete sense because your attention, your energy is split and you can't really enjoy the feel, the texture of the fur, the vibration of the purring, or take notice of the whiskers, or all of that very sensory information that informs the experience and that produces that feeling.

SH: So immersion is really important. Sole immersion into the one activity. And right here, I'm going to use soul as an S-O-U-L immersion into the activity.

MM: We live in a society where we're so distracted by the pings and the Facebook and the Instagram and the endless scroll.

With that, I want to ask you one final question and this one's always the doozy. So if everyone acted on your message that joy is a choice, what do you think the world would be like? 

SH: Oh, it'd be the most amazing place to live in just on so many levels, right? We could just look at one tiny thing. Everyone would have food -- now that's a big stretch -- but seriously, there's a lot of people who are really passionate about making sure everyone has food. If they lived in their joy of that and we came up with solutions…

We have a lot of food waste in this world, right? How can we actually solve that problem? Can you imagine? And then all the people who are literally starving and don't have food and can't access joy because they are starving then have a chance at having joy because their basic need of food is met. 

So in the end, this is all to me about elevating the consciousness of the people and the planet through choosing joy. That is really what this project is about. 

MM: I'm excited to see how this project takes form and shapes up. Tell everyone where they can find you on the interwebs. 

SH: There's two places I primarily hang out. The first is my very awesome Facebook group called Marketing and Selling for Thought Leaders, where we only do things that are joyful. 

MM: I'm a part of that group. It is very joyful! 

SH: And the other is my website -- I'm there. All kinds of cool stuff there, and people can reach out to me there if they want to chat.

MM: Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Shannon, for sharing your joy with us. 

SH: Thank you for letting me talk about joy.

I'm so grateful that Shannon talked about joy, not only in her business, but also how it helped her navigate a difficult health challenge. Because feeling that surge of joy can really help bring an energy to our business that attracts the right people to us. And that helps grow our audience and our business. As a rebel thought leader, my friends, that's what it's all about.

Here are a few questions and one challenge for you to think about.

The first question is, where in your business are you shoulding on yourself? And can you let that go? One of my big takeaways from this interview with Shannon is that we are constantly thinking we should be marketing in certain ways and we don't necessarily have to market that way, especially if it doesn't bring us joy. So where are you shoulding on yourself?

The second question I have for you is, how can you create content that brings you joy? If you're looking at how you're currently putting yourself out there in your marketing, how you're creating content, is it lighting you up? Podcasting lights me up! Your content creation should light you up. So evaluate it. Is it bringing you joy? And if not, how can you make it joyful?

And finally the challenge: create your own joy list. I love this activity from Shannon. List 20 things that cost money that would bring you joy and 20 things that are completely free that bring you joy because the happier you feel in your business, the more ease you'll create in your business.

Before we sign off, if you want to learn how to market your business in a way that is simple and capitalizes on your unique strengths (and that, my friends, will bring you joy), I'd love for you to get on the list for my upcoming live, virtual workshop Marketing Uprising: create a 30-day marketing plan that actually results in sales.

This workshop will be happening the week of September 28th. During the workshop, we are going to connect your marketing with your sales so your marketing actually leads to people paying you. 

We'll also be creating content that people will want to engage with. So people will think, “Wow, you're reading my mind!” and “Get out of my head!” And finally, we're going to develop a simple, simple marketing plan that you'll be able to stick to and that you can rinse and repeat each month.

So if you're interested, get on the waiting list for Marketing Uprising at and you'll be the first to know when I open the 30 spots for enrollment. Until next time, here's to your joy.

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