Creating Superfans Podcast Episode 203: James Shaw

The Power of Community and Identity with James Shaw

This week, I am joined by one of my dear friends, James Shaw. James is an accidental entrepreneur who turned an engaged Facebook group into a thriving  mastermind during the pandemic. 

In this episode, James shares his journey of building a connected community, providing value to his customers, and the key choice every leader must make. After listening to our conversation, you’ll understand the power of identity and belonging in order to create an army of superfans.

James D. Shaw, the founder of  the Inspire Collective – a thriving agent mastermind community – is a true legend in the real estate community. He has been a member of the Keller Williams family since 2005 and has consistently demonstrated exceptional leadership and expertise. From 2012 to 2015, James led the Northwest Tampa market, transforming it into South Florida’s most profitable region. Prior to Tampa, he was the Team Leader for the Cary, North Carolina division and helped it grow from #4 to #1 in the area. James is a distinguished member of the Keller Williams University international master faculty and continues to inspire and mentor the next generation of real estate agents.

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show notes

[00:02:17] How James turned a Facebook group into a business 

[00:03:07] How James responded to the pandemic and helped out fellow real estate agents

[00:07:01] When James realized the impact his Facebook group had, and what happened when he tried to shut it down.

[00:09:20] How Brittany heard of James through dozens of his superfans

[00:11:10] How James provides significant value for free to his audience

[00:12:00] Creating a paid mastermind community for progress and support.

[00:13:00] What community does for your business

[00:16:57] When you build your business, you can put your focus on one of two things: people or money.

[00:18:27] How to serve people who don’t need you

[00:20:37] Caring for people leads to business success.

[00:24:53] How to delegate as an entrepreneur and why it’s important to invest in a trustworthy team

[00:27:50 A creative way that James stayed in touch with his community while going on vacation and the 1-3-7 model he teaches to other entrepreneurs 

[00:31:11] Be obsessed with adding value and understanding your customer’s story. Then, find people that have answers to the problems and interview them.

[00:35:04] Position yourself as someone who can help. If your customer aren’t coming to you for help, ask yourself why they don’t look at you as someone to guide them.

The Inspire Collective
Pivot Shift Ahead Facebook Group


Brittany Hodak [00:00:02]:

Hello and welcome to the Creating Superfans podcast, where you learn how to turn your customers and employees into Superfans. I’m your host, Brittany Hodak, and I’m a speaker, author and entrepreneur obsessed with all things customer experience. Here’s the thing. We’re living in an experienced economy right now, and regardless of the size or age of your company or even the products or services you’re selling, one thing’s for sure if your customers aren’t telling their friends about you, you’re in trouble. If you want to create Superfans, being great is no longer good enough. You’ve got to be super. This is the show that teaches you how. 

My guest today is James Shaw. Now, James is an accidental entrepreneur. I know a lot of people use that title, but he quite literally started a company by accident. It grew out of a Facebook group that he quickly started as COVID, was shutting down schools and businesses and grew almost overnight to a community of more than 110,000 professionals. When he told people that he was planning to shut the Facebook group down six or so months later, people literally cried and begged him to turn it into a business. That’s how the Inspire collective was born. And in today’s episode, James is going to take us through the process that he went to build that engaged, amazingly connected community, how he turned it into a business, and the number one choice that every leader must make in their company. This is something that you’ve got to decide are you team A or team B? Because that decision impacts every single other decision you make. James is going to tell us about that choice and a lot more in today’s episode. James, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today.

James Shaw [00:01:57]:

My pleasure, Brittany. Thanks for having me.

Brittany Hodak [00:01:59]:

Yeah. One of the things that I find so intriguing about the business that you’ve built is not just the sort of Iron Man status. This is something that you’re doing every single morning. But this was a business that you started quite literally by accident, right?

James Shaw [00:02:17]:

Yeah. I had no desire to go build a business. It just happened. It took multiple people pulling me aside, going, do you understand you have a business here that you should lead and run and you’ve got something you should monetize. I just wanted to help people. That was really it. It wasn’t about, oh, I’m going to go build some business and make a bunch of money. I just wanted to help people. And that became a business. And so, yeah, here we are.

Brittany Hodak [00:02:42]:

Yeah. I know a lot of people say, oh, I was an accidental entrepreneur. I say that sometimes. But I feel like you are the textbook definition of an accidental entrepreneur. Take us back. Take us back to March of 2020. The world is changing. Everything is uncertain. Nobody knows what to expect. You’re at Keller Williams. What do you do?

James Shaw [00:03:06]:

I was teaching, actually, for keller Williams, Mexico. I was in Mazatlan, Mexico, the day that Tom Hanks got COVID, which is the day that everyone took it seriously. I always ask people, do you remember where you were when you found out Tom Hanks had COVID? And Brittany, like, almost everybody remembers. And I go, here’s the thing about this guy. Like, he lived on an island by himself and still got it right. I mean, this is a big so I I was in Mexico coming back, and I had this thought of, now what? As you started to see the domino effect of things shutting down and stuff, I thought, well, how’s a real estate agent going to work with buyers and sellers if we can’t go anywhere? And I thought, well, someone’s going to figure out how to do that, and I want to help them. So if you rewind 2009, I was a team leader of a Keller Williams office in Cary, North Carolina. Team leader is the person who runs the office. They recruit agents to the office. They provide training to the agents in the office. They help people increase their productivity. And in 2009, the market was absolutely falling off the table. So I had already led people through a shift in a market before and using a book called Shift that came out that year. And so I thought, all right, let’s use that book again to help people. And so I’m going to do a little call every day for, like, 20 minutes to just make sure our mindset is in the right spot so that we’re focused on solutions, not problems. Right. So that we’re looking at opportunities, not limitations. That’s what we started to do. And I’m telling you, Brittany, that thing took off. I hadn’t the slightest idea that it would become what it became because in the just honestly, I was really talking more to me than anybody else. I wanted to keep my mindset going in the right direction. And so that’s how it started.

Brittany Hodak [00:04:51]:

Yeah, let’s talk about what it became, but first let’s talk about okay, so you said, all right, I’m going to do a call. What did you do? Where did you go? Where did you say? I’m going to let people know about this thing.

James Shaw [00:05:03]:

Yes. So I said, I’m going to do a Facebook Live. Like, at first, it was just going to be me doing this monologue and kind of reading from this book or sharing some ideas and strategies, but then.

Brittany Hodak [00:05:13]:

Somebody later personal Facebook page, right?

James Shaw [00:05:16]:

Well, I built a Facebook group. So I was going to build this facebook group that’s now called Pivot shift ahead. It’s got 114,000 people in it.

Brittany Hodak [00:05:25]:

In March of 2020, when you correct it didn’t exist.

James Shaw [00:05:28]:

Yeah, it didn’t exist.

Brittany Hodak [00:05:28]:

You’re like, I start from scratch.

James Shaw [00:05:30]:

Yes. So I created the group and said, I’ll just put everyone can come in this group. They can talk like type, and I’ll do a Facebook Live and read people’s comments. But when I did the first call, someone said, Check out this thing called Zoom. I didn’t know Zoom existed until then. I’m like, oh, I can interact with people on this. And so we moved it to a Zoom call almost, right. So that’s 08:00 Eastern. Every morning we do this thing, and it just grew.

Brittany Hodak [00:05:56]:

That’s really how it started this in the nicest possible way. You were not a celebrity. You were not an Internet influencer. You were not somebody with a huge following of people who were saying, oh, my God, when is James Shaw going to start doing a call at 08:00 every single morning, right? You were just someone who saw a need and brought a solution that resonated in a huge way and caught on like wildfire.

James Shaw [00:06:21]:

Yeah, I would say that’s fair. I mean, inside of Keller Williams, I was pretty well known from other things that I had done inside of Kw, but certainly I was no social media influencer by any means.

Brittany Hodak [00:06:32]:

And so you start this call, you say, all right, we’re going to figure this thing out together. We’re going to navigate this weirdness of COVID and what it means. You switch from a Facebook group to a Zoom call now and take me through the next several weeks. How quickly did it grow? How soon did you realize, oh, wow, this isn’t just me talking to a couple of dozen people or a couple of hundred people. There are thousands and thousands of people coming every single day for this call.

James Shaw [00:07:01]:

Yeah, the Facebook group had about 10,000 members in two days. I knew that there was definitely a need, and it was basically word of mouth, right? People saying, you got to join this group, the Zoom. I had to increase my Zoom to hold a thousand because we were getting a thousand on, and then we also live stream it inside to the Facebook group every day so people would watch in there. So I knew pretty quickly that it was definitely a thing that people needed, and so that over time caused me I had to put some structure into it. We had to not be so loosey goosey and put some structure and a kind of agenda for the calls. But it was definitely a thing. But what’s interesting is we started it in March march 16, 2020. In September 2020. I was out running one morning, and I just had this thought. I’m like, I’ve done everything I can to help these people. It’s now up to everyone who’s been on to go do their thing, and I don’t think I can offer any more value to this group. And so I got on the call that morning. I was out running at, like, 05:00 A.m.. I got on the call that morning, and I said, this is our last week. I think we’ve done everything we can, and now it’s up to you to go implement your stuff, and Friday is going to be our last call. And that’s when I realized we had built something, because people were literally devastated. It was almost like we were getting divorced, and the kids didn’t know what to do and where they were supposed to go and who they were supposed to hang out with. And so I didn’t know it impacted them at that level. And the last call the calls are 20 minutes, Brittany. But the very last, I put in air quotes because it’s not the last call anymore. But at the time, I thought was the last call took two and a half hours because all these people wanted to share the impact that it had on them. And they raised their little digital hands, and they were waiting to share. People weren’t leaving the call. They were sharing the impact. And I hung up, and it kind of started to hit me. So a couple of months later, I go into Publix, which is our grocery store down here, and they’re out of toilet paper again in November of 2020. And I thought, oh, here we go again. So I started the call back up, and we’ve been going now every single weekday since November of 2020.

Brittany Hodak [00:09:06]:

Wow. Well, what strikes me about your group okay, so just a little bit of background. I was speaking at a real estate event, and so many people came up to me and said, do you know James Shaw? Do you know about these inspire calls? You’ve got to be a part of this community. And, like, a dozen people, all independent of each other, said, you have to know about this community. You have to know about this community. So you and I got connected. And something that immediately struck me, because I speak to industries of all kinds, right? I’ve done 50 events this year. I’m constantly meeting people. I’m constantly meeting communities. The sense of family that you have been able to create amongst this group of strangers from all across the world into a group that feel like they need to talk to each other every single day to start their day is just incredible. And I think it’s a huge testament to you as a speaker and a presenter and a teacher and a leader, but also someone who said, I’m doing this to solve a need. Like, what is the need? And then the toilet paper shortage happens again, and you’re like, My people need me. Like, We’ve got to come back. We’ve got to do it. And so I think there are so many lessons here for people who want to build something akin to what you’ve built, something that people look at and say, I can’t imagine being a part of another group. There’s so many lessons because you gave the value first. You didn’t say, how can I get something from people? How can I charge people something? How can I create a business? You said, I want to show up and serve. And by doing that, you created a community of people who were not just there to partake in what you had, but said, how can we follow this example and serve each other? How can we help each other? How can we help further our businesses together? Which is the definition of a beautiful, organic, grassroots movement that sparked from a need.

James Shaw [00:11:10]:

Yeah, I mean, the word we use to describe us is community. We call it a community, and it’s really two communities. We’ve got Pivot Shift Ahead, which is the one I started in March of 2020 that’s got 114,000 people. And basically, I think, Brittany, you nailed it. 99% of what I do today is free. Most of the stuff I don’t charge for my morning call every day is free. Any real estate agent, any business professional could get on that call if they wanted to. I mean, we talk real estate, but it would apply to anyone. It’s 20 minutes. It’s free. Then we do stuff inside the community. Every Wednesday, I interview somebody who’s doing something at a high level to share what they’re doing with our community. That’s all free. Almost everything I do is free. And I was fine doing that until I realized I probably should make money to support my family and live out our dreams. And so people in the community became.

Brittany Hodak [00:11:57]:

More and more a part of your life, right? Like, I would imagine it was becoming.

James Shaw [00:12:00]:

My identity and kind of who I was and what I was about. And I was getting asked to do speaking things and whatever, and they wanted in person events and all this stuff. So I said, all right, so there was a group of about 30 people that said, we want to do more than just 20 minutes a day. We want to spend more time. We want to go deeper. We want to learn from others. We want to dig in. And, James, we’re willing to pay for that. We’re willing to invest. And so that’s when I created what we call now the Inspire Collective, which is this paid mastermind community. And we’ve got about 800, a little more than 800 members of that that we meet once a week. And you’ve been a guest on that for us many times, seven or eight times, we’ve had you as a guest in that where I’ll go hire people like you to come in and pour into the community. We’ve had John Acuff on that call. We’ve had Ryan holiday on that call. I mean, we’ve had some amazing people. And then other real estate agents who are operating at a high level come on and share what they’re doing, and then we do bonuses and meet in person and do this stuff. But that’s when I realized we had something. But the key to that was and I think this is something people miss when they are building a business, and that is they miss how to create a community, how to create a space where people feel like, I can’t imagine myself outside of this. And I think it starts by understanding what community does. I think community does two things right. Community gives people hope. And then community also inspires and promotes progress. And I think that’s what we do. In fact, that’s how it started. It started as a place to come, to just feel like it’s going to be okay. The beginning of the pandemic, it’s going to be okay. They needed hope, but hope is not a strategy. It makes you feel better, but it’s not going to help you sell more houses. So we also have to inspire and promote progress. We have to take action. That’s kind of what we did, but not on purpose. None of it was on purpose. It was all very organic. And then when people say, well, I want more, okay, that’s fine, we can do more. But you have to invest in you from a financial standpoint and a time standpoint to come hang out. And yeah, we’ll go deeper. We’ll go way deeper. We’ll give you step by step what to go implement based on what other people are doing. And that’s what’s happened. And it’s been amazing. And Brittany, it’s fun because people ask what I do for a living now, and I say, I moderate a Facebook group. And I know you hate it when I say that, but that’s what I tell people. I moderate a Facebook group. My mom is so proud of me, right, that I went to Ball State and now I moderate a Facebook group for a living. It’s what I do. But what I really do is, I don’t know, I try to help people that people come into our community, and I want to be a resource to them. I’m not the answer. Like, I don’t have the answers. I’m the connector to the answer. I’m not the hero. They are the hero. They’re the ones with the answers. But I help them figure them out or connect them with the other person who has them. And that’s it. That’s what we do well.

Brittany Hodak [00:14:52]:

And I think one of the things that I say all the time is superfans are created at the intersection of your story and every customer story. And I think you have to have a story that resonates before you can build a community. You have to have something that people either say, I see myself in this, or I want to see myself in this. I want fundamentally change my identity in some way so that this thing is true. And I have seen it. You have superfans, James. You have people who make their own merch with drawings that you’ve done. You have people who create their own things that are callbacks to something that you have said on a call or something that you have shared in a presentation. And the reason that you connect is in part you. I mean, you’re a very charismatic leader. Like, I’m so glad that you’re using your powers for good and you didn’t go like, start some crazy cult or something. So there’s absolutely an element of that, but you don’t make it about you. And that’s something that I think is so rare, particularly in real estate. I think there are a lot of big personalities who want to be the celebrity, want to be the famous person who prints giant things with their face on it. And that is a very different path than the one you have chosen to say very humbly as you just did, it’s not about me. It’s about me being able to help you get to where you want to go. And so I think you sort of created this community almost like by accident, almost in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable that you are the figurehead. And that’s probably why you say like, oh, I run a Facebook group rather than I’ve created a community where nearly 1000 people pay to learn and grow with each other. And oh, by the way, I’m also the face of a real estate empire where over 100,000 people come every single day to get the inspiration and motivation that helps them move their business forward.

James Shaw [00:16:53]:

Yeah, well, thank you for that. I agree with you. I don’t like the attention you’ve been to my events. You didn’t see my picture anywhere. My picture was not on any slide, on any poster posted anywhere. None of the stuff is named after me. It’s really about the community. And I think this is a piece that people miss in business. And we think that we’ve got to be the problem solver. I don’t think that’s the case. I think the people that we’re supporting have the answers to the problems, but we help them bring them out. And the other thing is that we spend a lot of time looking for the sale instead of looking for the people. I think you have two choices. When you build a business, you can put your focus on one of two things. It’s either people or money. That’s it. Those are the only two options. I don’t know that one’s better than the other. But you get to pick, I’m going to go build my business. Is my business going to be about people or is my business going to be about money? Now, if your business is about people, then you pour into them and you help them. And that in turn generates money, right? That money then comes in and you get to then use that money to help more people. Now you can make your business about money, which is fine, I want to go make X number of dollars. But see, now you’re using people to make more money and I would rather use money to help more people. So I think you have a choice. You get to decide, is it your business going to be about people? Revenue comes in, you use it to help more? Or is your business going to be about money? Where then you have to use people so you can make more money. It’s up to you. You pick I pick people. I pick porn into people all day. And so here’s what I teach a real estate agent, and I think this applies to any business owner is that if you look at your database of people past clients, people you know, people you’ve run into anywhere, whatever your email list. All that group, if you look at it, there’s two groups inside of there people who need to work with you for some reason this year and people who don’t. Now, in real estate, I would say 90% of the people in your database have absolutely no real estate need whatsoever. They don’t need you. 10% do. Most real estate agents wake up every day going, how do I find the 10%? How is it I can go through the database and find the people who need to do business now so I can list a house or work with a buyer? You’ve heard the cliche looking for a needle in a haystack. That’s exactly what it is. But I would argue, by the way, that is, I have a business built about money, and I use people to make more money. But I would say, no, make your business about people and use money to help more people. Look at the database like this and go, all right, I have 90% who have no need for real estate this year. So I’m actually going to pour into them. I’m going to add value to them. I’m going to check in on them. I’m going to update them on what’s going on, the value of their house. I’m going to tell them what’s going on in the community. I’m going to invite them to an event that I’m hosting. I’m going to connect them to a local business. I’m going to pour into that group that 90%, so that when they become the 10%, they call me. I’m their person. And see, here’s the thing. You’ll get all the needles if you have all the hay. So if you’re just pouring into all the entire group, then when they go, I need you, they’ll reach out to you. And I think that’s a thing we’ve missed. And I learned it by accident. I poured into people and they came to me and said, Please take our money. It’s a thing John Acuff taught me a while back that says people are trying to give you money. People are trying to give you money, but you have to be willing to receive it. And the way they want to give you money is if you add so much value to them that they go, I need more. And that’s all we’ve done. Is that? Yes. I want as many people in my Inspire community as possible. But I get that by adding value for free. Not by taking away, but by adding value to them constantly. They go, I need so much more. And I go, Great. Come over here. Come over here to our Inspire community and we’ll give you so much more. That’s what it’s about.

Brittany Hodak [00:20:37]:

Well, and I love the two paths. And that is true in every single business. You’re right. You can have the money and the people if you start with the people, because people will always lead to the money or lead to the profit. This is all so good. This is, like I said, applicable in every single industry. And I think that a lot of people not only don’t focus on the Hay or the 90%, but they feel bothered by that. It feels like an obligation of, well, why should I worry? Why should I care about these people who have no money to give me? And I think in any business, the quickest way to make someone care about you and what you care about is by showing that you care about them and what they care about. And that happens before they’re ready to make the sale. That happens before they have the need that you can fill. And so making yourself a resource, exactly as you said, for all of the things that people who own houses or maybe don’t even own a house, but rent a house, don’t know. The other day, my husband and I heard a sound at like 11:00 at night, and we were like, Was that a gunshot? What was that? And best we could figure, it was like our HVAC in the attic. But I don’t know about an attic HVAC. He doesn’t know about an attic HVAC. Like all of the things that as a homeowner, I realize I don’t understand how any of this stuff in my house works. I just know that when I hear something that sounds like a gunshot, I need to call a guy. So if you work in real estate, you are positioned so well, not only because you can help people understand this huge asset that they’ve just acquired, but also make the recommendations and introductions and referrals to the people who are going to do a good job helping them protect this investment. So then all of a sudden, they don’t just need you or think of you again when it’s time to buy a new house in six or seven years. But when they’re like, oh, I just saw on TikTok people saying that a fire started because there’s lent in the dryer. Like, I don’t know how to get lent out of the dryer vent. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know how to disconnect this. You want to be the person that they think of because of all of that value that you’re adding for free. That’s relevant to them.

James Shaw [00:22:47]:

You got to think you just pour into your people pour into the community, create a space. And by the way, everybody has every industry has the one that’s figured that out. Every industry has the people that are so loyal to a particular brand or person because they feel a part of something. You talk about that in your book, too, where when you create that, you get people who are super loyal to you. You have to pay very close attention to what you’re doing to support that group, because that’s the first one who might feel slighted when something doesn’t go the way they want. And I’ve learned a lot from you about that. Once someone chooses to go deeper in the community, I can’t pull back from that group. I actually have to do even more for that group because I’m more likely to make them upset than the new person that comes in. And so, again, it’s just creating this sense of belonging. The other thing that’s great about community, Brittany, is that then you have other leaders who step up within your community, so you don’t have to be it all the time. Others will step in and they do this. Well, you know, James says such and such. Well, don’t forget, James says you should probably do blah, blah, blah, or hey, give James’s team a chance, they’ll make this right, stuff like that. Like, I’ll have people that will step up and kind of have our back when something gets a little bit wonky. And I think that’s part of community, too.

Brittany Hodak [00:24:00]:

I think that’s a huge part of the community, and you have that both with your team and with your members, and I want to talk about that. So in my supermodel, R stands for repeat. And this is something that I think you are so good at, because you’ve got such a great background as a teacher and a trainer of saying the things and teaching the things that allow people to operate in a way that you would operate even when you’re not around. You just went on vacation for three weeks to Europe, and we were talking before we started recording and, you know, how stressed out were you? And you said, not at all. And I said, how much did you have to check in? And you said, not at all. So talk to me a little bit about, as someone is building a team or leading a team, how they can create the structure and the systems and the processes that allow them to know that things are going like the train is going to stay on the tracks even when they’re not behind the wheel anymore. Wheel? Do you say wheel when it’s a train?

James Shaw [00:24:53]:

I guess you do. I don’t know. But here’s the thing. I think it matters who you hang out with or who you work with and the talent of the people that you have around you. I would put this out there first, though. We are very. Much still in startup mode. In fact, in our last team meeting, I said it’s time for us to move from startup to legit company and we’ve got to kind of figure that out, but we’re still very much in startup. The blessing of part of this is as I built a business, I’ve been able to add amazing talent and so I’ve got four wonderful people that I work with every day, nadine and Anna and Vicki and Grace. And all of them came through different avenues and an honor to work with them every day. When we sat down and met, we talked about, all right, we’re going on this trip. It was like this COVID carryover trip that everyone did over the summer. Right. So we’re going to be in Europe for 23 days and how are we going to make things going? Because remember, I host a call every single day.

Brittany Hodak [00:25:48]:

How are we going to make 23 days that you’re not there?

James Shaw [00:25:52]:


Brittany Hodak [00:25:52]:

Or it would be like the middle of the night for you.

James Shaw [00:25:55]:

Yes. Six hour time difference. So we walked through it as a team on what are we going to do to be able to pull this off. And first was we had members of our Pivot shift ahead community again, that’s my free one. And just regular people who were on the call every day. We had five of them that we said, hey, would you be willing to host calls while I’m gone? And they all said yes. And we walked through and the calls carried on in the morning. And then for the inspire side, our paid community, I can’t tell them, hey, by the way, you’re going to pay for this month, but there’s not going to be anything going on this month, so you just pay me. I’m going to go to Europe for 23 days, you figure out what you’re going to do and be frustrated that the market is down and then I’ll come check in with you when I get back. Like, that wasn’t going to work either.

Brittany Hodak [00:26:33]:

Thanks for the money, guys.

James Shaw [00:26:34]:

See you. Yeah, right. Thank you. By the way, the look is really bad. Right. Thank you for the money. I’m going to it for 23 days. I always tell people we did it on miles and points, that’s the only way we could have pulled this trip off was with sky miles and high up points. But either way, we got the team together and two members of my team ran one of the inspire calls. Again, this is our paid mastermind, where we interviewed members of the community about their business. I got text messages while I was gone going, hey, James, we don’t need you, like, from members of the community, we don’t need you, because Vicki and Grace just led a great call where we learned about Lee and Paul’s business and how it works. I took more notes on this call than I’ve taken in forever. So I love that.

Brittany Hodak [00:27:20]:

Stay in Europe.

James Shaw [00:27:21]:

Exactly. Yeah. I love it. And then you hosted one for us because we’ve done a lot with you. I’ve had you speak at events in person, which, by the way, anyone listening, you need to have Hodak come and speak to your group, period, the end. And you’d done some other calls for us. And so I reached out to you and you led a call with them. That’s an extension of your book. And the feedback I got on that was great. And then we had other stuff in play, right? They get updates via email and they get special bonus stuff. During that time, you sent a card out to some people with a summer playlist. So I did the same thing and went and said, I asked in Facebook, what are the songs that inspire you? Right? Because the group’s called Inspire, so what songs inspire and motivate you? And I took their list and made a playlist and sent out a card with a QR code so they could get it. So we’re still interacting with each other. But I was gone, and we had an amazing time. We had an amazing trip.

Brittany Hodak [00:28:10]:

Well. And I think that’s a lesson to anyone. That even if you are in startup mode, even if you are quite literally the face behind something that happens every single day in your business, that does not have to prevent you from living your life, that does not have to prevent you from being able to unplug and go on vacation.

James Shaw [00:28:27]:

Brittany, I’m going to interrupt you because I think what I’m trying to do through that is to teach these salespeople that they can do this. The thing that’s important is you’ve got to have this disconnect from business, from times, and you’ve got to go hang out with your family and go on trips. We teach this strategy that I learned from my coach, Jordan Fried, that’s this 1371 non real estate day every week, one three day weekend every month, and one seven day vacation every quarter. And then you run the business around that. You put the one, the three and the seven in the calendar first and run the business around that. And I think I’m just attempting to actually teach that it can be done, that, look, your experience, even while I was gone, was really positive, and that can be true in your business, too.

Brittany Hodak [00:29:15]:

I love that method. That one, three, seven. So that’s Jordan, who I know. I didn’t know that he was your coach, but, yeah, I think that’s brilliant, saying, I’m putting it in my calendar, I’m scheduling it, and I’m going to let my life dictate the business I want to have rather than the other way around. It’s kind of like the people and the money. Like, it can be about the people and the money. You can have a business that supports your life, or you can have a life that dictates how you run your business.

James Shaw [00:29:40]:

Yeah, and I would pick the second of that. My life is going to dictate how I run the business.

Brittany Hodak [00:29:44]:

Yeah, because you’ve got vacations and dance competitions and all kinds of fun things you got to schedule.

James Shaw [00:29:52]:

If you’re wondering who’s going to these dance, my eleven year old daughter is going to these dance conventions. Not me. Although I’m pretty good dancer, too.

Brittany Hodak [00:29:58]:

Although I’ve heard a rumor that there was some show choir in your past.

James Shaw [00:30:01]:

There was, yes. Four years of show choir in the 1990s. Yes, ma’am.

Brittany Hodak [00:30:05]:

So as a business that is still in that startup phase, that is still learning, that’s still iterating. I mean, you’ve done live events, you’ve done virtual events, you’ve done all of these calls. What are some of the things that you have found to really make a positive impact on the experience? What are some things that you would offer up to anyone listening in any industry? If they’re trying to create a sense of community, if they’re trying to create a wow moment at an event that’s happening either in real life or virtually, what are some of the things that you would recommend that they implement?

James Shaw [00:30:36]:

Well, thank you for asking that. I think it’s two things. One is where’s your focus, which we talked about earlier, is your focus going to be on your community and the people inside of it and adding value to them? We joke that people say, james, will you quit asking did you get value from this? Because I ask it all the time. I am always overly focused on did they get value from whatever we just did? Was it of benefit? Was it of value to them? And I pay way less attention to I don’t even know how many members there are of our community, like the paid community. I haven’t the slightest idea. Anna could tell me, but other than.

Brittany Hodak [00:31:09]:

You said 800 and something, it’s around.

James Shaw [00:31:11]:

800, but I don’t know the exact number. And Anna will update me. Hey, this many people have joined and this many have left. But I’m not hyper focused on getting to a certain number. I just know that it’s going to grow as we continue to add value. So I think the first thing is you’ve got to be obsessed with adding value to your community, your group. Number two, the only way you can do that is if you know what it is they need. And so you’ve got to be so connected to them to find out what their challenges are, where they need support that piece. And then third, you go and find out who inside the community has already solved for that. So I ask all the time, what’s the biggest challenge you’re facing in the business right now for a real estate agent? Right now, you’ve got buyers who are concerned about interest rates because the perception is that interest rates are really high historically, they’re really kind of about where they’ve always been, but we’ve got to teach that. But that’s the perception. Rates are high, and so buyers are going, I want to wait. There’s a perception that buyers think a market crash is coming. It’s not because inventory is historically low and we have more households in the US. Than we have houses. But that’s okay. It’s a different day. So we go find out what those issues, and then I just go, hey, who’s solved for this? Who’s handling this the best? And then I interview that person, share it with the group, and that’s it. That’s what we do every single day. I learned that from Gary Keller. Go find out where the challenges are. Find out who solved for the problems. You interview that person so you can pull out what they’re doing. You share that with your community. And look, here’s what I like about it, Brittany. It takes away the stress of me having to have the answer. I don’t have to have the answer to any stuff. I just need to find the person who has the answer and do an excellent job of interviewing them to figure out what the solution is. That’s it. That’s what we need to do. The last thing on that oh, go ahead.

Brittany Hodak [00:32:55]:

Sorry. I was going to say, and I think a takeaway there for every single person listening, even if you aren’t creating content, even if you aren’t leading calls and interviewing people, is making those connections, focusing on that 90% like you, James, were talking about earlier, knowing the people in your community, the people that you’re connected to so that you can say you’re struggling with this problem. I know someone who was struggling with that problem a year ago. Let me see if they’ll get on the call with you. Let me see if they can talk to you. Every single leader out there has people in your community that you can connect to, enrich both of their lives or to enrich many, many lives. And if you focus on those people instead of that profit or instead of that money, you will naturally start to see those connections. You will say, oh, this person needs to meet this person. This person needs to know this person. And by making those connections, you’re improving. Quite literally. Everyone’s lives around you, right? You’re building more of that sense of community, but then you’re also making yourself more indispensable. You’re that person that people then think of when they are like, oh, who do I need to go to for help? Or who do I know who can do like, you become the one that they think of because you’re known as that person who collects interesting people and then shares them generously when a need arises.

James Shaw [00:34:03]:

That’s it. I get texts every day going, James, I had this happen. Who could I talk to? Or, who do you know that’s experienced this before all the time. And then we’ll take that to the larger group. Because if one person’s having that as an issue, then other people in your community are having that as an issue, and you go solve for it and help people out. You’ve nailed it. That’s it.

Brittany Hodak [00:34:23]:

And I love that you say asking people what’s going on, even if you’re not in a position where you’re getting text messages from your customers. The second pillar of My Supermodel You is understand your customer story, asking the questions to figure out what it is that they’re struggling with, what transformation they’re hoping that they can undergo. Because you nailed it. If one person vocalizes it, you’ve got many, many times multiple of that of people having the exact same problem who just haven’t said it out loud. So it’s so important to ask your customers, what are you struggling with? What can I do better? What is it that I can help you solve? And then using that as a catalyst for the content that you create or the conversations that you’re having, because many more people will benefit from that same knowledge.

James Shaw [00:35:04]:

Yeah, your customers aren’t texting you or emailing. You asking for help because you haven’t positioned yourself as somebody who can help them. So what we’ve got to do is position ourselves first as somebody who can help, and then they’ll come out and reach out to you. Because three years ago, people weren’t texting me going, hey, James, I’ve got this problem. Can you help me? But once I started helping them solve their challenges, then they started reaching out. So if you look at it and no one, none of my past clients, ever reach out to me for help, well, that’s because they don’t think of you for someone who can help them. So become the person who can help them through your newsletter, through what you do online. If you’ve got a Facebook community of some whatever it is you’re sending direct mail, become a resource to solve for people’s problems. Talk about them. Talk about what your customers are experiencing. Highlight what people are doing or learning or how you’re solving, and then become a resource for them. That’s it.

Brittany Hodak [00:35:54]:

That is a mic drop. I had a couple other questions, but I think you just summed it up. If your customers aren’t coming to you for help, you need to do a little bit of a deep dive and ask yourself why. Why aren’t they thinking of you as someone who can help solve their problems? James, thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing all of this wisdom. Where can people find out more about you and the Inspire Collective?

James Shaw [00:36:15]:

Oh, thank you for asking. So is the website, you can find me on Instagram. James D. Shaw on Instagram. If you want to join the Facebook group, if you’re a real estate agent out there or somebody you want to join our free Facebook community, just go on Facebook and type in Pivot Shift Ahead. That’s the name. Pivot. Shift ahead. And we’ll let you in, and you can hang out with us and watch our calls and get on them.

Brittany Hodak [00:36:40]:

Amazing. And I highly recommend, even if you’re not in real estate, check out this community. James drops so much knowledge. He has so many interesting guests, probably people who you will follow and fall in love with and consume all of their stuff that maybe you’ve never even heard of. So join the community. Get involved. Set your alarm every morning for the calls. You don’t want to miss them. Thanks, James.

James Shaw [00:37:01]:

Thank you, Brittany. Appreciate it.

Brittany Hodak [00:37:03]:

All right, that’s all the time we have for today’s episode of the Creating Superfans podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in. Now remember, if you’re a Superfan of today’s episode, you can help us out in a big way by leaving a review and a rating wherever you get your podcast. It may seem like a little thing, but it can make a huge difference in helping others discover the show. Now, until next time, remember, Superfandom is a two way street. Show your love for your customers and your employees, and they’ll love you. Right back. We’ve got an exciting show lined up for next week, so I hope we’ll see you right back here. Bye.

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