Episode 47 – Social Media Marketing and Making Money With a Purpose
Listen to this episode here!
In this episode Rachel gets into the topic of social media marketing, ads and staying authentic in how you portray yourself in social media. She talks about her frustration with big corporations that take advantage of the yoga community to make big bucks and shares her own decision to never use her Instagram platform for marketing (and why that might be changing in the near future!). She also talks about the importance of making money to change the world, what being true in the online world actually means and how being real and vulnerable is the single most important thing when it comes to truly inspiring others.
Hi, and welcome to another episode of From The Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl. It is officially Valentine’s Day, as of this moment of recording. It’s Wednesday night. I am super cozy, actually. I’m recording this from home. Normally I’m at the office and I record in the middle of the day. But, I brought my equipment to the house this evening, and I’m recording from home on this super, um, I want to say “special” evening, but, honestly, I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day, personally. I don’t know, I think it’s super commercial and it’s just, you know, there’s always a lot of pressure on this day. Like, you have to have a partner, you have to be in a super relationship, if you’re not in a relationship you’re going to have a hard time, you have to find someone to go out with, or if you are in a relationship you have to do something super extra special and go out to eat … I don’t know, I just feel like it’s a lot of pressure for, yeah, for a day when it’s supposed to be about love. But every day should be love day. So yeah, if you love Valentine’s Day, no offense or anything like that.
[001:06] Actually, me and Dennis went out to dinner last night. We got a babysitter, had dinner, spoke about life. It was really … really really nice. And tonight, I don’t know if it’s in the spirit of Valentine’s Day … Normally he’s not a fan at all, he doesn’t like to celebrate anything, really. He’s not a celebrating type of person. But, today he told me he’s decided he’s going to cook dinner, which is … Uh, it’s just a little bit terrifying! I don’t know what’s going on. The thing about my husband is he’s very scattered and he’s very slow in his movements and his actions and his speech. It’s just, he takes his time for everything. He’s never in a hurry, never in a rush doing anything or going anywhere. And he’s the master of procrastination. I think it’s just the combination of him being a man, and from the Caribbean.
[002:01] So, whenever he actually goes grocery shopping, if he does, which is pretty rare, I have to, when I put things on the list, I have to list them in the order of how he finds them in the grocery store. At the very top I have to say, “Okay, this is the grocery store you’re going to.” Then I have to think about each aisle and how he will move through the store, because if I don’t do that, he just runs like a crazy person from one side to the other side of the store, just looking for things. He’ll walk back and forth a gazillion times, it just takes him forever.
[002:26] But tonight he’s planning some special sort of vegan dinner. He said that he’s going to cook, and he never cooks! So he says, “Okay, I’m going to the grocery store, I’ll be back in just a second. I have a couple of things to pick up.” That was two and a half hours ago. (laugh) The man is still grocery shopping. It’s 7:40 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, and he’s not back from the grocery store yet. That is just … Oh god, I love this man to death. We’ll probably eat at around 11, and uh, I know there’s going to be a lot of love in this meal, whatever he cooks me. But it’s good, because it gives me time and space just to sit here and talk to you. Also, I just put the baby to bed, so I have my monitor right next to me, in case you hear a baby crying, that’s Lea Luna!
[003:13] But for this podcast episode, damn, I have a lot of things I want to talk about, actually. I feel really scattered at this moment. These past couple of days, I’ve been kind of … Well maybe I should begin with, yeah From The Heart, I mean, it’s From The Heart, so in this moment in time, how am I feeling, speaking from the heart? Um, I’m feeling really good! Really really really good. I feel, oftentimes when I’m recording the podcast, I want to vent about something, or I want to get something off my chest, or I’m diving into some intense storytelling, or, you know, I’m usually pretty fired up when I’m recording these episodes.
[003:49] But right now, I’m feeling really content and really quiet, and kind of happy to be where I am. I have a pretty big glass of wine by my side (laugh). I drink sauvignon … We drink, at the house, sauvignon blanc from Marlboro, New Zealand, that’s our go to wine. I’ve lit candles, I’ve brought all of the dogs in the room with me. It’s raining outside. It rains in Aruba, it never happens. These past couple of weeks it’s been raining a lot. It’s been really grey, and lots of clouds, lots of rain, and I love it. It’s a really nice break when you live in a place where the sun shines 365 days out of the year. So, I’m feeling content. I’m feeling happy to be here.
[004:29] But the past couple of days, I have been sort of, not fighting, but I’ve been spending a lot of time dealing with some upset comments from some upset people, in a variety of different ways. I’ve spoken about this before. I mean, many times, this is a question that comes up a lot, like how to deal with negativity through social media, and things like that. But we actually have a policy here, over at Island Yoga and Yoga Girl headquarters, where every person that writes us gets a response. Every single person. Unless, you know, it’s like spam or just stupid brands wanting to do stupid marketing or ads and stuff like that. Everybody gets a personal response. We actually invest a lot of time and money and resources making sure that every person that writes us with a personal issue or a question hears back. I used to do all of this work myself, back in the day. I spent so much time every single day, just responding to personal inquiries. It could be everything from, you know, people wanting to ask advice, or wanting questions answered about the yoga practice. Things like that … To really intense, deep questions about life and loss and people moving through different kinds of pain. I get that all the time. I think there’s something about me sharing my pain with the world, people resonate with that, and then, you know, sometimes want to reach out and share their own story, or ask for help and support.
[005:56] I don’t have the time, anymore, to personally respond to every single one, because we get hundreds of emails, every single day. So, I have people on my team that help me, that do really, really, really well. Some things, we have kind of, not a copy-pasted thing, but we have kind of like a base where if we want to forward people to finding classes online, if they’re asking about that, or if we want to … you know, someone asking us about a retreat, we forward them to the website, because that’s where you book that sort of stuff. But, when it comes to personal, personal inquiries, everyone gets a response, and it’s drafted by someone who genuinely cares, right? So, we have two girls on the team right now that do this pretty much full-time!
[006:34] Usually we get responses back, where people are just super grateful that someone is on the other end of this type of email exchange and actually responding to them from the heart. So, little bits of advice, or little words of wisdom, or just hearing from someone else saying that, “You know what? I’ve been there too. I know what that feels like. You’re not alone.” It’s, for me at least, it’s a really important thing, that we keep that connection. That anyone who is in this community who feels like they want to reach out and they want to ask for help, that they at least have someone at the other end of that line to connect with. That’s something I really want to expand upon. It’s part of a really big, exciting thing that we’re launching. Soon, soon, I can’t get into too much.
[007:16] But, the past couple of days I have been kind of dealing with some angry people emailing us. I don’t get that a lot, so it’s an interesting change. And then I have, you know, my girls on the team, they’re like, “Okay, wait, how do we respond to this kind of stuff?” For instance, there was, if you listened to last week’s podcast, I did the podcast with Dennis … Dennis is getting increasingly candid, increasingly not giving a shit about anything he says (laugh). Pretty much. So, we had a very, just, honest conversation, the same way we would have a conversation if we were sitting on the couch drinking a glass of wine. And there’s something about that that’s awesome, and that’s really how I want this podcast to go, and it’s also how we live our lives. We’re very transparent, and we’re normal human beings. We’re not going to get it right every time. There was a couple of things that came out of Dennis’ mouth in last week’s podcast that made people upset. I think specifically his views of being a man and him talking about the #MeToo movement, and talking about sexual consent, and these sort of things. He grew up in a very different way, and doesn’t always … Yeah, doesn’t fully get what it’s like to be on the other side of this conversation, as a woman. But he’s trying his best, right? He’s really, really trying his best. I thought he did a great job in the last conversation we had, and I feel like every time we talk about this, there’s a new side of him, or a new part of learning, or a new insight that he shares with me, as well. And he’s also, I can really tell, in his conversations with his friends, and if we watch something on T.V. or in a movie, he’s now picking up on things he never even noticed before. Little bits of speech, or how he talks to his guy friends when they chat with each other, or, you know, stuff like that that he just used to be pretty mindless about, he’s not very conscious with, so I’m really, really, really proud of him for that.
[009:01] But, we got a couple of emails from last week where people were upset about his idea of sexual consent and what it means. And just how he grew up compared to what it’s like, of course, having been on the other end of actual sexual abuse. So, I was responding to that and trying to really put myself in these women’s shoes and answer from a beautiful place without putting Dennis down in any way, because he’s just who he is, and he speaks from the heart, fully. And he’s an awesome human being. The best person that I know, with genuinely only good intentions. I think, at least from my perspective, it’s important that we have these conversations out loud. If we have to, there were a couple of moments in last week’s podcast where I was like, “Oh my god, I feel like we’re treading into politically incorrect water. I don’t know if these words are okay to use. I don’t know, you know, are we going to get all of this hate mail now?” And if we live our lives that way, like really have to be super, super careful not to upset anybody, we’re going to end up not saying anything at all, and we’re going to end up not having these conversations in public at all, and we’re not going to learn, and we’re not going to grow, and we’re not going to fix these things.
[010:07] So, we’re going to continue speaking From The Heart, and having these conversations the way we do. But I was kind of putting out a little bit of fires here and there, and I had to go a little bit deeper into some explanation of, like, no no no, that’s not at all what he meant. What he meant was this, or … And then I got an email from a woman that was really upset calling me an ageist? Which is the first time I’ve ever been accused of that in my entire life. And it’s absolutely not at all who I am. Like, at all, at all, at all. But I had mentioned something about, like, an older man who was at the side of the road who was selling coconuts, and he grabbed the straw, like, right where I had to put my mouth, and I was just really grossed out by it. But I was grossed out by the fact that, you know, he didn’t have a place to wash his hand, and I know he just pees in the bushes and then hands out coconuts. You know, I wasn’t grossed out by the fact that he was an older man, I was grossed out by the fact that he was kind of gross.
[010:59] But, I don’t know how many of these emails I answered just today and yesterday, about people that just were like kind of upset and kind of … about things. And here’s the thing, you know, you can not please everyone. There’s always going to be people that disagree with what you say, that are going to be rubbed the wrong way with what you say, and all of that is actually a good thing. I’m not so interested in being in a community of just yea-sayers, you know? Where we all agree with everything that we say, and we just don’t have any real discussions. It’s just this kind of vanilla conversation. That’s not exciting, that’s not interesting! I want this discussion to have some fire and some passion and for people to be able to voice their opinions and have this growth happen.
[011:43] So, it’s a really interesting place, at least, for me to be in, because I’m also really bad … This is speaking very much From The Heart. I’m really bad at people not liking me. I’m bad at accepting the fact that not everybody is going to like me. And I have had many moments in my life where I have bent over backwards, like, tried to change so many things about who I am, for someone else to accept me, or for someone else to invite me to the group, or for someone else to like me and be my friend, only to realize, of course, that’s going to come back around in the end that I’ve betrayed myself in several ways, just to fit in, or to kind of arrive at someone else’s expectations of who I should be.
[012:25] And I’m really done with that! I’ve really arrived at a place where I can genuinely say, I’m done faking it. For anyone! At all. And, that’s a really hard thing to do when you live your life in the public eye, and when you live your life sharing so much of your life through social media and to the world and people who don’t actually know you. Because it means … Sometimes there’s going to be a side of me that comes through that not everybody is going to like, right?
[012:52] I had another podcast recording a couple of weeks ago where I was talking about jealousy and cattiness, and I shared sides of me and how I worked through some really hard stuff in my past, when I was catty with other women, when I was jealous, and where I was trying to kind of keep everything for myself. Those are not attractive qualities. Those are not things that I’m proud of to share, at all. But I feel really good opening up about them. I feel really heavy and full of pressure if I have to pretend to be this perfect person who says the right thing and does the right thing all the time, because it’s just not who I am. It’s not who anybody is.
[013:26] I get the feeling a lot that that’s the side of ourselves that we portray, always, to the outside world and through social media. Like, “Look at me and how great of a person I am!” Or, “Look how great I look when I wake up in the morning.” Or, “Look how adventurous my life is.” Or, “Look how much I’m donating to charity! Look how much I’m … I’m so exciting and awesome and beautiful and perfect in so many ways!” And then there’s parts of our vulnerability, there’s parts of, um, let’s say the less beautiful sides of us that are easier to share than others. That’s also definitely true. My least favorite thing right now, and I have a lot of triggers on social media, oh my god. So many of them! I’m really, ugh, I’m really not, like, a commenting person. I’m not a scrolling, commenting, looking through other peoples’ stuff like crazy, but as things pop up in my feed, like, you know, that’s how things come my way.
[014:21] Something that’s triggering me like crazy now, that I’m really trying to work with on my end, is this trend of kind of vulnerability or honesty or, you know, whatever, that’s kind of around, which is great, but when it’s not 100% genuine. Let me give you an example. So, there’s a girl that I follow. I don’t know her personally, she’s just some sort of influencer person. She seems like a fun person. I have nothing against her. But she’s clearly, like, a super gorgeous model. Like beautiful human being. Like, really beautiful, I mean, physically attractive, like, super attractive girl. And she posts a photo of herself in the morning, and she has this perfect beach hair, and perfect flawless skin, and she just, she looks awesome. Super awesome. And then she has a caption about, like, “Oh, you know, I wasn’t going to post this, because I wasn’t wearing makeup, you know? But, go women! Go being natural! Go showing your imperfections. Here’s to being brave.” Or something like that.
[015:20] I look at this photo and I’m like oh my fucking god, like this … I don’t see what’s brave about sharing that. At all. And then I feel bad for thinking that. I’m like, “Well wait, maybe that is a huge moment for her. Maybe she’s only posting photos of herself when she’s super made up in makeup, and like, this was a big thing. But … It didn’t feel genuine. I don’t know. And then I’m wondering, is that my own inability to always be genuine that comes up in me, and that’s why I feel triggered? I just had this feeling of, like, oh my god, look at what a beautiful photo I just took of myself. Let’s emphasize the fact that I’m not wearing any makeup, and then use that as a way for me to, like, be a crusader for natural living, and flawless, no makeup life.
[016:02] Oh. That’s my baby, crying. (laugh) One second.
[017:27] Yeah, I’m back. Yeah, so I don’t know, there’s something about that that I find … The thing is, true vulnerability is always hard. It’s always hard. It’s always going to mean sharing a piece of your heart, or a piece of yourself, that’s difficult to share, that you’re not used to putting forward. It’s going to require this intimacy and this rawness. At least to me, it has so much more to do than just, you know, posting a photo of yourself without makeup even though you look clearly, like, perfect and awesome, you know?
[018:04] So there’s certain people that I follow on Instagram and that I follow on social media that are just totally rocking this raw, like total truthful vulnerability. One of them is one of my favorite people in the whole world, Jen Pastiloff, if you don’t follow her already, please do! And she’s always an inspiration to me. Specifically, she has a hashtag called #NoBullShitMotherhood. We also did a podcast, one of the first podcast ever, a pretty long time ago. She will post the true, genuine, like, “Look at the fucking mess that is my house right now.” You know? Or, like, “Look at my belly hanging over my jeans right now. Look at this kind of like unattractive part of my life.” Like, “I wish I had a bigger house that wasn’t a super mess. Like, I wish I had all of this stuff, but this is what it is right here, right now. It’s messy. It is what it is.”
[018:50] Of course those types of posts are not going to generate a whole bunch of likes, they’re not going to generate this huge engagement of, like, “Oh my god,” you know, random people that see that post are not going to start following her because they feel inspired by what she’s saying, unless they already know who she is, or unless they actually take the time to read the fucking caption.
[019:07] That’s the thing. We live in this society, especially in the online world, where we don’t take the time to read anything. We don’t take the time to actually pause and stop and drop in with anything. I know when it comes to Jen, when she shares stuff like that, she just loses followers. That’s just what it is. And for me, I struggle with walking that fine line because, and here’s also the thing, there is parts of my life where I don’t have that mess, at all. Like, I’m messy in other ways, but I don’t have that space of, like, oh …
[019:40] You know, because here’s another thing that I don’t actually talk about a lot because I’m a little, or a lot, ashamed of it. We have a full-time maid at the house. Holy shit. I’m saying it out loud. We have a full-time maid at the house, and I’m always, like… I don’t know, I feel very privileged to have that, because we never ever ever lived that way when I was growing up. Dennis definitely did not live that way growing up. Dennis comes from super humble beginnings. Me, I was raised by a single mom. My dad wasn’t present. She super struggled my whole life growing up, and then I had this other side of life where I had a dad that was wealthy that I never saw. You know, we didn’t come from a space like that at all. Now, me and Dennis, we do, we have a girl, her name is Yoheida. She’s super sweet. Super unorganized. She drives me crazy sometimes, but she’s here at the house five days a week, a couple of hours every single day.
[020:30] So, that’s a decision that I made for myself about a year … I don’t know, two years ago. We were super busy, traveling all the time, working super super super hard, and I realized we would have … Oh, no, it was one year ago. We would have someone come once a week to help out with the big cleaning of stuff. The big, kind of, cleanout of the whole house, once a week. But we could afford to have someone every day. And we also live in a country where the culture, it’s totally normal to have a live-in maid. Most people we know have a person that actually lives in the house. Which I really didn’t want. So, we decided to make that investment for ourselves because, one, it gives me a lot of peace of mind. It gives me so much peace of mind to know that I can go work my ass off, or lead a 23-day teacher training, and that the house is not going to be a goddamn mess when I come home, because my husband is the messiest person in the universe. It provides me with a lot of space to just really focus on what I really want to do. Which isn’t cleaning, everyday.
[021:28] And yes, I spend a lot of time picking up after Dennis and the baby, always cleaning, organizing, putting stuff away, fixing something. But we have a person who is here every day. For me it’s been kind of like, I feel so ickily privilized. Privileged. Privilized. Oh my god, is this glass of wine bigger than I thought? I feel so privileged that I’m kind of embarrassed about it. So, I don’t say anything. And it’s a conscious thing that I kind of don’t like about myself, right? So, whenever I’m sharing little Instagram stories or snippets online, if she’s in the house, I consciously don’t show her, because I don’t want to get bull shit comments from people saying that I’m stuck up and rich and snobby because I have a person who helps us clean the house.
[022:14] So, there’s parts of that where I don’t … Then I’m thinking, like, well fuck, why can’t I be more like Jen and just be honest with the sides of me that maybe aren’t super attractive to the outside, but they make me who I am, right? There’s a part of me that really enjoys having that privilege, otherwise I wouldn’t have it. I wouldn’t be exercising that privilege right now, if it wasn’t something that felt valuable to me.
[022:43] And I want to go way deeper toward that space in my whole life, and also in what I portray to the outside world. But showing an ugly side of yourself, or showing a less attractive side of yourself, whether it’s this privilege that I’m embarrassed of, or whether, you know, for Jen, if it’s like a messy house, or whatever.
[022:57] For someone else it could be just showing your body the way your body is. That’s something that I try to do all the time, like, all the time, as much as I can. Just showing my body the way it is. I used to be so conscious about, you know, only posting the perfectly angled photos where I looked the skinniest or the fittest and whatnot, when I just started posting to social media. Then I let go of that pretty quickly, which I’m happy about. Specifically after having the baby, I try to share that normal side of my body, that it isn’t super fit anymore. I’m probably 10 kilos, whatever, 20-something pounds, I don’t have a scale, so I don’t know exactly, but yeah, I for sure don’t fit into the jeans that I had pre-baby, and I’m probably never going to. Sometimes that’s a struggle for me. Sometimes I wish, like, I look at a photo of myself from before, like, “Oh god,” like … It was kind of a nice feeling to just feel super fit and thin and all that stuff. Then I need the reality check of like, hey! I am pretty awesome the way I am, right in this moment, right here, right now. And showing a photo of myself where I’m in this super flattering angle, you know, it’s not real.
[024:05] So, a couple of weeks ago, actually, Dennis took a photo of me and the baby. We were at the pool, and it was a really flattering angle, I think. I don’t know, I was having like a good body day. And I got so many comments from people that were like, “Oh my god, you look so amazing! Flawless! Wow, what an inspiration! You lost all of the baby weight! Holy shit!” You know? And them I’m looking at myself, like, in the mirror, and I’m like, “Well, I don’t actually look like that photo.” (laugh) Like, that’s cool and all. Doesn’t really feel awesome either to get hundreds of comments from people saying, “Oh my god, you look amazing, now,” … in a photo that doesn’t actually reflect how you look. That also means that, oh, well everything else that I share, does that mean you don’t think that I’m amazing then, but now I am, because I look skinnier? Like, no! Fuck that noise.
[024:49] So, immediately following that photo, I had to post like a normal photo of my belly with stretch marks and scars and belly flab and whatnot, just to kind of set the record straight. Because it didn’t sit well with me having people think that I have this, like, super fit body now. That’s just not the case. Then, of course, I know there are going to be people listening now that are like, “Oh my god, you do have a great body, compared to me, blah blah blah.” Like, the point is not how we look, physically. The point is not how much we weigh or step on the scale, what the numbers on the scale says, the point is just how we feel about who we are.
[025:22] So, for me if I compare myself to my pre-baby body, or a couple years before that, yeah, like, I was super toned, super fit, abs and the whole shebang. I still didn’t think that I was good enough, body-wise. Even my skinniest days, I kind of always thought that I should be a little skinnier, like, I wasn’t really good enough. I would still hold my belly in for photo shoots and shit like that. You know? And I would look at those photos, and I’m like, “Oh my god! I was so skinny! Why did I not appreciate this pre-baby body that I had?!” I didn’t! And maybe in a couple years from now I’m going to look back at this moment in my life, this exactly moment right now, recording this podcast, thinking, “Damn! I was so beautiful then. Why didn’t I appreciate it then, in the moment?” So, I’m totally super working on that. One, really appreciating my body the way it is now, and finding that self love for the way I am in this moment in time, right here, right now. And also being vulnerable enough to share my body in the ways that I don’t find the most attractive all the time. To not always show those, you know, the better angle or the better lighting, or the better filter or whatever. But just to be totally real and transparent.
[026:32] It’s a really challenging thing to do, but it’s part of what I’m really committed to doing. For some reason there’s parts of it that are easier than others. So whenever I’m experiencing a moment of pain, like, deep, genuine, real pain, I can always share that in the moment. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been doing it for so many years, it just, it’s a part of my healing process now, that when I go through something really shitty, I write about it, and writing helps me heal. And when I share it, I connect with people that have gone through or are going through the same thing, which is another big portion, another big aspect of healing. So, that type of vulnerability, for me, is easy.
[027:14] So, I also have this very sensitive radar for when people are faking it, and I can’t deal with that shit! I don’t know! And I know just saying that there’s going to be people that are going to be all upset and like, you know, we should accept everyone for who they are, lalala. Of course, everyone should be accepted for who they are, definitely. But it’s up to me, you know, who I follow on Instagram. I don’t have to follow people that trigger me, or that, at least in my point of view, aren’t sharing a genuine side of life. So, yeah, what I just said was one trigger is that kind of semi-fake vulnerability, that semi-fake, like, look at how real I’m being now, but actually I’m not really? You know? I’m just wanting to be real, but, you know, it’s not really what’s truly real here. That’s a super trigger for me which for sure means I have shit to work on there, definitely, I know that, I know that.
[028:08] Another trigger for me, which I know you already know, is the … The perfect looking yoga person in their perfect looking yoga pants sharing their perfect looking advanced yoga poses paired with a perfect quote, perfected and written by someone else. That shit drives me fucking insane! It drives me up the wall! I don’t know. I’m really trying to breathe acceptance into the space, and like yes, you know, because I was also part of creating that movement years and years ago, the yoga Instagram thing, and I get to some people that’s super inspiring, and you know, what if I can take my body to that place? I just think it’s bull shit! Oh my god, am I drunk? No! (laugh) Wait, let me … Let me have another sip of wine, and then I’ll tell you.
[030:48] I call bull shit. I honestly, genuinely call bull shit, because I think we have a bigger responsibility to the world to do really good things with our influence, and to do, at least, better things than to every single day post an impossible photo with your impossible looking perfectly skinny body, in your perfect yoga pants that a brand is paying you to show, and then copy paste some fucking Dalai Lama quote. Like, honestly … And I don’t know how to inspire that change with other people. I really don’t know. Maybe there is no change needed. I don’t know. Maybe I’m the only one who is triggered by this, and who like to see another trend take place, and for this to kind of die out.
[031:38] I am really triggered by perpetrating this idea that yoga is only for certain type of people, right? You have to be really skinny to practice yoga, you have to be super flexible. You have to be able to put your body in advanced poses, you have to be white, you know? You have to be this yoga person to do yoga. Which is total shit! It’s just not the case. Yoga is genuinely for everyone. And the more of that shit that we see on the covers of magazines and in social media, and everywhere, the less regular, normal day to day people are going to make their way to the mat, because they’re not going to feel included in this super valuable practice that everybody needs so deeply, so badly. And yes, of course, some people just happen to look the way they look. Like, yes, I am a white person, I am a flexible person, I can do advanced stuff with my body still, I am the way I am. But I think at least I try to bring fourth a little bit of, you know, humanity into what I share.
[032:40] Which mean it’s not all fucking butterflies and rainbows. It’s not. No matter … It’s just not. There’s going to be shitty times in life that I can genuinely speak about knowing that me talking about those difficult things is going to inspire other people, and they’re going to connect to that, right? And then sharing that, yeah, I use yoga as a tool to overcome heavy shit. Whether it’s pain in my body or pain in my heart, I use yoga as a tool to get there. I couldn’t touch my toes when I started. Some days right now I have to struggle fucking touching my toes. But there is a raw, big, beating heart hear that struggles. Like, all the fucking time! I struggle with so much. The more I make myself look like this struggle-free person, like, “Oh, look, how life is so easy for me, because all I do is live this perfect life, and travel, and I’m so content and fulfilled,” at least to me, in my book, the less inspiring I’m going to be.
[033:35] So, I just want to surround myself with people that have that ability to be truly genuine. And it’s going to require this big moment … this big leap of faith, right? It is going to require losing some fucking followers. For sure! Like, I’m at that place right now where, I mean, the past year I think, I used to have this kind of insane social media growth, because I really focused on showing only the really beautiful, positive stuff. I mean, this is years ago. But still. And now, I know if I share something truly genuine and truly vulnerable, like, everything goes down in terms of social media numbers. But my heart goes up. The community goes up. The true connection to why we’re all here doing this together, that’s increased. Because we need more of that vulnerable space. There’s just no other choice.
[034:22] Part of this is, and this is also … I want to do a whole episode on this topic, but I know I’m going to get so much hate mail, and I’m going to have so many upset people, and I’m kind of a little … Yes, I just said, I know, I just said it’s good that we have these conversations, but I also don’t like to be attacked. But, as we all know, there is, I don’t know how many … There’s an infinite amount of big corporate brands out there in the world who are willing to pay influencers big money to promote their product. I’m sure, you know, if you’re alive and you have any form of presence in social media, you’re going to see this stuff around. You’re going to know that this is the case. I share, sometimes through Instagram story, I’ve shared a couple of instances in the past months, one was a #MeToo story that came up about an owner or a founder of one of the really big, very hip yoga apparel companies right now that’s being promoted just left and right by fucking everyone, and at least to me, it doesn’t sit right, the fact that the founder or the owner of that company is, like, a ginormous douchebag. That just doesn’t feel good to me. At all. I am also not at liberty to talk about that, because that company has now, currently, right now, sued several influencers and yoga teachers across the world, because they didn’t share the message that they wanted to share. Something like that. I don’t know. I’m not involved in this, I’m just kind of tooting the horn a little louder to raise more awareness.
[035:53] But the moment I started speaking about that, and I was only speaking about this company that I really just think is not practicing what they preach in any shape or form, just making a shitload of money off of people wanting to practice yoga. Suddenly I had all of these teachers that are promoting their brand getting really, really, really upset with me, because they felt attacked by me. Which wasn’t at all my intention, at all. Honestly, when I shared that, I didn’t even think about those people at all. I was just talking about their brand specifically. But, of course, anyone who is promoting that brand, then, is going to feel like they’re attacked. Which, to me, just feels like, hey, maybe it just means you should do a little more investigating in what goes on behind the scenes of this product that you’re promoting like fucking crazy, right? Yeah, I’ll save this for another, bigger episode, in a couple of weeks.
[036:44] But, something that I share a lot, and that I’ve been really serious about since I started this whole social media whatever thing you’re supposed to call it is I steer away from that type of marketing, and I always have. Always always always always have. It was just a decision I made really early on. It didn’t feel genuine to me to turn this platform into this big add or this big space for marketing. It just never felt genuine. Then I had, I don’t know, a couple years into doing this my best friend passed away. I’m sure many of you listening took part of that whole journey for me. So, what was already a very personal, intimate thing that I was sharing from my life everyday became this total, heart-opening, gut-wrenching process to survive, basically. And I shared all of that very intimately through social media.
[037:31] Since that time in my life, especially my Instagram account, it’s become this absolutely sacred thing. It has nothing to do with money, because one, I don’t do ads. I don’t do marketing on my Instagram. I don’t think you’ve ever seen … I’ve done some, like a couple of, you know, very small things here and there. If it’s been furthering a really good cause, for instance, or if it’s been like a friend who has a brand, I’ve done little things here and there. But I never, like, you never see ads and marketing on my platform.
[038:03] I could do a lot of that. I don’t know how many of those requests we get every week. It’s too many to count. It’s absolutely insane. I could make a lotta lotta lotta money if I chose to use the Instagram platform as a marketing space, but I don’t, because it never felt good. Especially after Andrea, after my best friend passed away, it became this thing where, like, Jesus, I’m never going to turn this into a marketing platform for anything, because this is my avenue to connect with people who have walked with me and held my hand through this intense pain, right? Honestly, the community that I had at that time and that’s still present in my life today, and I know I’m speaking directly to many of you, like, you carried me through that grief and through that pain. So I deeply deeply cherish this community. All of us, together. You know? If you’re listening, you’re a part of that.
[038:54] I took this very strong stand, anyway, yeah, again. It’s like, no marketing, no ads, lalala. So I turn everything down, all the time. And that is something that I have decided to change this year, for a really amazing amazing amazing amazing reason. So, let me get a little bit deeper into that.
[039:17] I’ve kind of hinted now for a couple of weeks that we’re about to launch something super epic, super big, super cool. It’s coming in a couple of months. You have to be a little more patient, but … So part of this big, new, exciting launch is a really, really, really amazing initiative to help change the world. And that’s the foundation of everything that I want to do. It’s really 100% true. If you’ve ever practiced with me, if you’ve ever met me, if you follow along on everything that we do, if it’s not furthering a positive change in the world, whether it’s for individuals, or for the greater good and for humanity and for mother earth, then I’m not going to do it. There’s no point in that. So, being of service is absolutely at my core, and this new launch that we have, that’s everything in the foundation of that.
[040:06] While we were developing this whole new thing that’s coming that I’ll share more about later, I got a couple of really big offers from some big companies. I have an agent that I’ve worked with for many years who just kind of casually forwarded it, like, “Hey, I’m guessing this is a no, right? And this is also a no, and this is also a no?” Because we always turn everything down … Then I was in this meeting with the team, like, ah damn … We were talking about just how much money it’s going to cost to set this new project up that we’re doing. We have another initiative for kids here in Aruba that I’m starting this year. I want to open an orphanage here, after a really horrific situation that happened on the island a couple months ago, where two kids died of abuse in their own home. Yeah. A lot of big causes, big picture things that I really want to do to help change people’s lives.
[040:47] And it requires money! That’s the thing, it requires funding. It requires a lot of money! Changing the world doesn’t happen for free, right? It requires influence, it requires people getting off their asses, doing the work, it requires community, it requires funds and energy and time.
[041:04] I was just casually mentioning that, like, “Oh geez, can you imagine if we would just do this stupid ad? You know? Then we could use that money and put that here.” Then someone on the team was like, “Well, like, fuck! Why is it the case that all of these big, semi-shitty companies, or maybe companies that aren’t super focused on being of service, that aren’t super focused on doing good things, or wellness or healing or self love, like they’re in a totally different space, but they’re the ones that sit on all the money, right? They’re the ones that are sitting on these ginormous piles of cash. That’s also why the world looks the way it does, because money rules the world, and right now the people that have the money are not the people that are doing the best things for the world. That’s just what it is.
[041:45] Then, I had this idea, and the idea was, what if we would create a whole, brand new movement when it comes to marketing and ads, and we could call it, like, Karma Marketing, or we would call it Karma Ads. We would call it something super specific where I, on my platforms, once in a blue moon, or once a month, or whatever, however often it presents itself would choose to very consciously do product placement or marketing or ads or something through social media, and be able to be really transparent with that, right? Completely transparent. So, instead of saying, like, “Oh hey, hey, be the change you want to see in the world #namaste, these pants are from XYZ #ad.” (laugh) You know? Like, that post that you see, that you’re super inspired by where this girl in some sort of handstand, wearing some sort of clothing, tagging that brand, and if she maybe, you know, hides it in some sort of other caption, or talking about something else, it’s still ad, right? You’re still looking at an ad. So when you’re scrolling through Instagram, you’re scrolling through hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of paid for ads, by companies and by big corporations. And some of these companies are fucking shitty! Some of them are so shitty that it just fires me up that I can’t tell you everything that I know about how shitty they are, but some of these companies are really, really, really shitty. Some of them, yeah, you kind of know that they’re not great. There’s companies that you know don’t do great things for the world. There’s companies that pose as if they’re doing good things for the world, or they pose as being a wellness company, or into health, or a yoga company or whatever, but in their foundation, it’s just, they’re from a purely commercial space, to make money. That’s it. They’re just taking advantage of everyone who has found love for this practice.
[043:36] What if there was a way to actually use the marketing money behind the companies? Not the shitty ones, definitely not the shitty ones, because you don’t want to support them in any way, but by the ones that have the money but don’t necessarily resonate with what we do? That was my initial idea. So, and I’m going to be super transparent, and I’ve been a couple of times before. If I were to do ads on Instagram, or on another platform, or Twitter or Facebook or whatever, I would be able to, not within the ad-shared, because it goes to … this brand messaging and how all of the companies decided they want to do their messaging. But I would be able to every single month say, like, “Hey, we did this many ads for these types of companies that maybe aren’t companies that I normally would share or talk about, because maybe they don’t do epic things for the world, but they’re also not horrible, right? Because you liked that ad, because you elevated that ad, that super transparent marketing, we were able to donate this much money to this cause.” We were able to start up this project, to fund this initiative, to support this foundation, to help people make a real change in the world and actually change people’s lives. Would that be a possibility? That was kind of my initial idea. Would I be able to say, like, “Hey, here’s an ad for” … Okay, I’m going to make something totally random up just by looking around my bedroom.
[044:55] Okay, so what if I would do an ad for dog food? Ringo is lying on my bed. An ad for dog food. Maybe it’s not the best dog food brand. Maybe it’s not a dog food brand that’s, like, it’s not organic, maybe they’re not really super sustainable, and they don’t have this holistic feel. It’s not, like, a natural dog food brand. It doesn’t really resonate. It’s not something, maybe, that I would feed my dog. Maybe. But it’s also not, like, a horrible company. It’s not a company run by, like, a rapist. So, what if I would do an ad for that dog food, and I would share it through social media, and I would say, “Hey! Make sure you super-duper extra like this post and engage with this post, because this post gives us $10,000 towards this foundation!” Or “This post gives us XYZ to put towards this initiative, towards this project, toward making a change in the world. So, instead of being fed this kind of secret marketing, this marketing that poses as something inspirational but it’s not, it’s actually just marketing … And yes, it’s good that influencers and normal people and yoga teachers can put food on the table at the end of the day. That’s good and normal, I’m not at all hating on that. What I’m not loving are these big corporations behind all of that shit, you know? What are they actually doing with their money? What are they actually doing within that company? What if instead of that hidden marketing, it was something that’s super transparent, totally right there, you know, here is what we’re able to do with the funds generated by this ad. Right?
[046:21] That’s kind of a decision that I’ve made! (laugh) Recently. In the coming months, like, not tomorrow, but hopefully sometime soon, because I’m going to start evaluating these things a little bit deeper now … You might see some ads, or some form of marketing pop up in my feed, right? Or in my posts. It’s never going to be hidden. It’s never going to be fake. It’s never going to be, you know, pretending like this isn’t marketing. Never, ever, ever. And hopefully, if the brand that we’re promoting in that moment agrees, I will actually be able to say in the specific post exactly how much money that one post will generate. So it will be literally asking every single person who follows to like and engage and support that post, even if necessarily, you know, you’re not a big fan of ads. Who the fuck is a fan of ads? No one likes ads in their feed! No! But, if you know that that ad does something good in the end, it generates money that does good things. And I want to also start having conversations with these brands. Like, “Can you be more conscious about how you promote your product? If I am donating all of the money that you provide us for this ad, whatever, say that’s $5,000, are you able to match that donation from your end? And then in the end we can give double that toward the foundation, or towards this new project, or toward whatever it is that we’re furthering and promoting.”
[047:40] I think that’s a really important conversation to have. And also to have with influencers and with the people who are posting these kind of random ads left and right, and there’s no harm in marketing on your online platform, like that’s all okay. That’s a personal choice. I have chosen my whole life not to. Other people do it all the time, like, that’s okay. But how conscious are influencers about what they’re actually promoting, right? Are you promoting a company that does good things for the world? If you have a choice, can you choose a more conscious company? Can you choose something that actually, you know, generates something good? And can you do that in a really transparent way and not try to think that, you know, people following you are dumb and stupid, because they’re not. We can be really conscious as consumers, and also as consumers of information.
[048:30] So, if you see, yeah, a post by me, I don’t know when, because I don’t have anything lined up, but also if, you know, any interesting companies are listening right now, and you want to do super-conscious marketing, where money is donated towards awesome things and awesome nonprofit causes, hit us up. I don’t know, I’m hoping that maybe this … what if this would start like a whole exciting new type of movement in terms of marketing and social media? Like, I would love that. What if every influencer out there just looked for companies that do good things, and just used the money that the ads generate to actually further really amazing projects? There’s ways to do that. There’s ways we can all get together and make a change in the world. I really really really, truly truly believe that.
[049:19] Since making the biggest change requires having a lot of funds, I have also dedicated this year to making more money, definitely. Definitely. Trusting that will be put to amazing and epic epic epic use. Let’s see. Let’s see where this social media marketing stuff … I’m kind of … I’m nervous about it, because I’ve never done it before. But I’m excited about it too, because … It’s kind of insane. It’s kind of insane. We have so many nonprofit foundations and missions, and you know with 109 World, our social mission foundation, we have missions going all over the world, all the time. We have one in Puerto Rico coming up super soon. And it’s just all we do is try to raise more funds, right? Because all of these projects, saving, like … Communities in need, and helping change people’s lives, it costs us money. We’re fighting and fighting and fighting because it’s really hard! It’s really hard to get people to donate to the right causes. It’s really hard to make these foundations run. There has to be people working full-time in the back of every foundation or it’s not going to work, and these people, of course, need to get paid. It’s a really challenging thing. And here I am, you know, turning money down, every day.
[050:30] When I had that realization of like, damn! That’s kind of insane. Maybe there’s a really balanced middle ground to walk where you can be transparent about it and not fake and totally genuine and whole, and actually put that money to really good use. It makes me really excited.
[050:54] So, yeah, that’s where we are on that. I actually, I can hear Dennis downstairs now, which means it only took him three hours to grocery shop. It’s officially 8:30 pm on Valentine’s Day, and I think he’s now getting groceries out of the car. I’m … Damn, I’m so in love with this man. And I think I’m going to go help him cook as well.
[052:50] So, what I want to kind of end with, I mean, this is a really long ongoing conversation. Especially the part about influencers and marketing and ads and all of this stuff. Honestly, I don’t think I’m drunk (laugh). Half a glass of wine. But this really fires me up. If anybody listening is fired up or excited by this conversation, or triggered, or whatever, I would super invite you to talk to me about it. And actually, it’s much easier if it’s not, like, a private email conversation. Also for my team, if someone else, if you send us an email and someone else answers you, please trust that it’s a real human being writing you a real answer. But also to make it a little bit easier for everyone, I’m super open to having these conversations and discussions in the comment section on Instagram. Wherever I post the podcast, for instance. Because I know this podcast, it’s an hour of me talking very candidly into the microphone, you know? I’m not filtering or editing or doing anything here at all.
[053:53] That’s another piece as well. The only platform ever, until now, that I have ever chosen to have any types of ads or marketing is this platform that you’re that you’re listening to right now. It’s this podcast. That’s also been a really interesting, interesting concept. Because when I first launched a podcast, the very first time, you know, it costs money to produce. That’s just what it is. It kind of costs a lot of money to produce this podcast. It was either go out of pocket, or include one ad. That’s how we started. The producers that I work with, they were super surprised. I was like, “Well I don’t do any type of marketing. I don’t do any type of ads.” They were like, “Well that’s …” They didn’t really understand the concept of like, why? Have you ever heard any podcast that doesn’t have ads? It’s really common. So we started with one or two, and no most of these podcasts have three to four ads. That’s the max space, and I fill it every single month, and the ads in this podcast actually help pay for this whole entire new launch of something really cool that we’re doing that’s coming in a couple of months.
[054:48] I feel really good about that, because I started this platform out that way. The first episode that you ever heard, there was an ad in there. So you’re going to be totally trusting and knowing that okay, here’s … There’s going to be some marketing involved in my listening here. But you’ll always be able to go to the Yoga Girl platform on Instagram and trust that it’s completely genuine, and that it’s just unfiltered, candid, and really, really true and not going to be a platform full of ads. So, I chose that, and actually we haven’t had any … I don’t know, the ads and the sponsors of the podcast, and I choose and handpick them every single month, and it’s only products that I use, it’s only products that I stand behind. Of course, you know, it’s not like every single company that’s ever been a sponsor of this show is my best friend and the most epically conscious company in the whole wide world. Of course, it’s still definitely very much a commercial thing, and just by listening to this podcast, you’re aware of that, I know that. But it’s transparent, right? It’s real. It’s very clear, like, here is an ad coming your way. If you want you can skip the 15 seconds, skip ahead. Two clicks on your phone and the ad is gone and you just continue listening. Or not.
[056:03] It’s not an easy thing, walking this line. Finding this balance between everything. Specifically I find in yoga, it’s a really hard thing, to be an entrepreneur and be a business woman, and do all of this within yoga. It’s not easy. But at least I’m under the impression of at least being honest about the challenges and talking about the challenging stuff helps, I think. Everything that’s transparent and real and genuine, even if it’s not always pretty and perfect, and even if it’s not going to please everyone who listens, it’s going to actually take us genuine places. Even if those places sometimes are difficult conversations that we need to have.
[056:42] So, if you’re listening, I love you, I’m grateful for you, whether you’re a person who sometimes sends me aggressive emails, I love you anyway! I love you all the time. I love the fact that I’m present in this community, and that I have this ability to do good things now, thanks to you listening. If it wasn’t for you taking part and listening and, you know, liking my posts and being here and taking my class, and all that stuff, I’m not taking that for granted, and I see you everyday and I fully acknowledge you, and I’m really grateful. So thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope maybe this podcast has inspired you to be super conscious about what you see and what you consume and how you consume it. Especially when it comes to social media and things that come our way online, because it’s a lot of stuff! (deep breath) Oh my god, okay, I’m going to finish this last half a glass of wine and go enjoy Valentine’s Day with my husband. Wishing you a really beautiful week, a really beautiful day, and I will see you next week.
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