If you want to make a big impression on social media or your website and anywhere in the world, you’ve got to have content. If your content can keep someone smiling, that’s even more impressive. In this episode, accomplished entrepreneur and The Umbrella Syndicate Co-Founder Ken Rochon talks about his journey to making a difference in the world. He started his professional career as a DJ but his mom’s declining health moved him to put family first and seek a deeper purpose in life. He talks about his passion for photography and social media to help amplify his message.
Listen to the podcast here
Keep Smiling And Amplify Your Message To The World with Ken Rochon
I am very excited to bring you an interview with a very special person. A self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur. His name is Ken Rochon of The Umbrella Syndicate. It is the most modern social media marketing company. The reason I say that is because there are many facets to Ken and The Umbrella Syndicate in what they do. It is not your average social media marketing company. This is a wide-ranging interview. I know Ken personally. I’ve known him for several years. I thought I knew an awful lot about him. In reality, I did but there’s also quite a bit that I learned in this interview that I still did not know about Ken. That was fun to uncover and learn some of those different things. For what I do know and did already know about Ken, there’s so much depth to him and purpose in what he does. He is the Founder and Creator of The Umbrella Syndicate, which you will find if you search on Facebook. You can see a massive amount of visual evidence of the social media reach and influence that it can have through The Umbrella Syndicate.
He is also the host of a weekly internet radio show called Amplified! on the VoiceAmerica Radio Network. There are things to learn about how he is having a show and recording a show weekly on VoiceAmerica Radio and what that is like. That’s the minority of this interview. The majority of our discussion goes to a little bit of Ken’s background so you can understand him and where he’s come from. This is where I learned some new things. How he created a real movement with The Umbrella Syndicate and what’s called the Keep Smiling Movement and the influence and reach he has through it. He’s a serial entrepreneur. He had many different aspects to his career. He is a DJ turned photographer and then became a social media expert. He’s disrupting different aspects of an industry that existed for maybe a hundred years or more.
He’s quite innovative. He’s also a good person, hearing what motivated him, what he experienced in his life, how he reinvented his career and changed it for a lifestyle choice. One quote he uses that I’ll share with you is, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” It is a big motivator or something that speaks to what he’s been doing for the last several years with The Umbrella Syndicate. There’s so much depth to Ken in this interview. There is a lot that we can all learn from what Ken has done by looking for ways to reach more people. That’s something Ken is a master at.
Ken, it is great to have you.
Thank you very much.
We’ve known each other for several years, but this is the first time I’ve interviewed you. That’s exciting.
It is indeed. It goes to show you the power of events, the continued frequency of us running into each other. We had to finally do this big step.
I have some questions about your business but you are using unique methods to bring your message to the world that not a lot of our readers know anything about. I’d like to start there. You have a radio show program on VoiceAmerica, is that right?
VoiceAmerica Influencers channel. I don’t know how many they have, but they have a lot of channels: business channels, women’s channels, wellness, etc. I’m on the Influencer channel. It’s a fun channel to be and you get to attract some lovely people like Jack Canfield.
Is that something you record at a certain time of day, on a certain day of the week every week or is it like a podcast where you record it randomly and then air it?
I wish it was that. It’s every Monday, 8 AM Pacific, 11 AM Eastern.
Everybody who does a VoiceAmerica Radio Show has a time slot.
It’s live. It’s once a week. Only Mondays at that time.
Can you share with everyone the subject of your radio show?
It is called Amplified! It’s about amplifying the life of leaders who lead with love. We bring in leaders that are in the stage that we think are making a great impact. We want to amplify what they’re doing on stage so they can stay busier and make more impact.
Your show is bringing those business leaders to your listeners and giving your guests, those business leaders, exposure. How long have you been doing that?
This is for several years now. That’s why I knew how long it’s been that I interviewed you because I went to CEO Space and interviewed David Corbin, Wendy Lipton, you and about another half dozen faculty members.
You are putting that out also as a podcast.
Yes, on iTunes.
Do you do anything with the radio show or do you take the recording verbatim and then put it out as a podcast?
It is modestly produced by VoiceAmerica. They take out the fillers and whatever else needs to be corrected.
The radio show does that for you. Do they syndicate it for you or do you do that?
It’s both. It is probably a little more of them, but I have more of the social media reach.
Your company, The Umbrella Syndicate is all about social media and exposure there. Do you promote the radio show on your social media channels?
We’re an automatic sponsor.
It’s a good lesson for podcasters because you have The Umbrella Syndicate and you have your VoiceAmerica radio show. Are you saying that your business, The Umbrella Syndicate, is a sponsor of the radio show?
Yes, you brought up a super good point. Your readers might say, “He’s looking for an opportunity to amplify.” That’s exactly our message for The Umbrella Syndicate. We amplify your message. If it’s a podcast that’s about leadership or authors’ speakership. Things that are related to leading, we would be happy to be a sponsor for syndication.
That’s good to know.
The page is live all day on Facebook.
You got into the leadership space in a little different way. Your background is photography, correct?
It’s not. I was a DJ for 30 years. In those 30 years, I was a military officer. I was a physics and chemistry teacher. It’s been a wacky array of careers and interests.
That’s why I love podcasting. Even though I’ve known you for a few years and thought I knew a lot about you, I learned something new. That’s awesome. I never would have guessed some of those things, but the military thing I knew.
What caused me to be a photographer was my mom having Alzheimer’s. I became a caretaker. I had a DJ come in and say, “What’s more important, your mom or this career?” I let go of my DJ career, which I was making six figures a year. It wasn’t like a hobby. In doing the caretaker for my mom, I had a lot of epiphanies or conversations with the supreme being or in my case, God. I ask why is this happening to my mom? What should I be doing with this? All I could think of is I don’t want to die and have on my tombstone, “A great DJ.” After my mom died, I was thinking about what would turn me on to make a difference in the world? Gandhi has two quotes. One was, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” The other one is, “Your life is your message.”
In those two, I thought I don’t necessarily have the experience to be on stage to be a speaker, but I do have the experience to market and I love photography. I said, “I’m going to make a hybrid media company and go to 300 events for free and see what happens.” It took off so quickly that I was in the White House three or four times. I was getting so much exposure as a photographer and no one knew that I had a life before that period as a photographer. When I went to CEO Space, everyone thought, “He’s a photographer for 20 to 30 years. That’s how powerful social media is. It created that identity for me very quickly because it went viral so fast.
That’s a good point, Ken. I want to make sure we shine a little light on that because that is something we have seen with the power of podcasting. It’s the power of marketing. It’s the power of social media. There are many ways you could define this. In our experience, we’ve found that with podcasting, you can become an authority. If you want to pivot your career and become known as an expert in something tangent to what you’re doing, maybe different from what you’re doing. Starting a podcast is one way that you can do that and build that authority.
Tracy’s done it on another podcast she’s doing that I’m not a part of. It’s called The New Trust Economy, which is about blockchain and cryptocurrency. She was not a blockchain and cryptocurrency expert. From an interest in the summer of 2018 going to some shows and learning about it, she decided to start a podcast in December 2018. She launched it in January 2019. She was already seen as an authority in that field and was invited to be on a panel on Larry King Now, which is his current news panel program. She was on a panel with three other men who are cryptocurrency and blockchain experts. That gave her authority and credibility in that space very quickly. That relates to what your experience was with what you’ve done with getting into photography and then social media. I know there’s a great story I’ve heard you tell before about you photographing a wedding, then how you helped to disrupt the old school rules of photography and the value of that. Can you share that brief story? Then we can get into more modern stuff.
I’d be happy to. I do want to go back and comment on what you said about Tracy becoming an expert. You brought up a very valuable point to something that I was talking about that I became this photographer. Tracy may have had a podcast and it may have created an authority for her, but you didn’t hit to some things that were very important. She went to some events and she studied it. Tracy is a very smart person. She’s going to be the best at whatever she touches. She was committed to the knowledge, the influencers and the context going into the podcast, which was the fourth ingredient. Knowledge, context and going to the right conferences got her the right connections, then the podcast was the catalyst.Social media is so powerful. It can create an identity for you because it can go viral very quickly. Click To Tweet
Now that you said that, I’m reminded of something that David Corbin once told Tracy and me. He was one of these faculty members that we all have experienced. He mentored us. He coached us. When he realized who we were, he says, “You guys are experts at becoming experts.” I found that interesting because we haven’t done the same thing in our careers. I think we have this curiosity. We can learn about a new industry and then see the opportunity in it. How to do something different with it and make a name for ourselves or find a new market.
I want to comment on that. This is important because what you’re saying is so vital to why some people succeed. This show is about success. When Tracy and you became experts, you’re also looking at what is the unique selling proposition? What is so unique about you to become that expert that you stand out and you’re different. Anytime I started a business where there’s a DJ, I always said, “What are the three things that are different about me that was setting me apart from everyone, that makes it hard to compete with you?” That’s what you’re doing when you’re differentiating yourself and becoming this expert of experts.
That is the genesis of our Brandcasters business, which is Podetize.com and what Feed Your Brand is supporting. If we can’t strike some new ground, find something innovative to do and provide greater value then we’re not interested in doing it. Thank you, I appreciate that.
Disruption is a painful process. I will say that someone’s got to take the egg on the face in order to make a point. If I knew how much pain was involved, I may have rethought making this move because it was a lot of pain at the time. Here’s what basically happened. We have a photography career. They are the exclusive content capture of an event like a wedding. Here I am a marketer. I have a DJ company and there are all these other vendors that I know, the cake people, the limo people. I thought, if I want more referrals from these other people, I should help them with my skillset, which is marketing.
I’m going to take pictures of the cake and send them the pictures of the cake right away in a day. That’s the way marketing works. It’s relevant. Not to put down photographers, I do love them. I have a Keep Smiling book that’s called the Photography & Videography Color Edition. Most of my friends are photographers, even though there are certainly a lot of them that don’t like me. Here’s the deal, photography was not social media-friendly. It was not relevant and timely friendly. It wasn’t marketing friendly. They didn’t have the impact. If you go to the average social media page of the photographer, it blips for the wedding and then died. It wasn’t constantly alive. When we went to events like CEO Space and Secret Knock, every day we’re doing a big event. That page was always alive and people would say, “If you come back tomorrow, there’s going to be another cool event to see.” What I find about this is that I was amplifying in marketing the photographer. I never took credit for doing the photography at the wedding. I just wanted to say, “I helped create this magic day. I’m a DJ. Here are some photos of a full crowd. Here’s them doing their first dance.”
There were three things that came out of this that’s absolutely bizarre. This one photographer got so mad. She was going to sue the bride and groom because I was there. They had an exclusive contract. One is the exclusivity clause. Imagine you’re a guest at a wedding. Your sister is getting married and you’re told to put your camera down because the photographer is going to sue your sister if you keep your camera on. That’s what an exclusivity clause means in the contract. They were going after my clients. My clients said, “Could you throw away all those photos that you took? They’re gorgeous, but we don’t want to get in a lawsuit with our photographer?” I said, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” The photographer couldn’t sue me because I didn’t sign that. The bride and groom did. That’s only part one. Here’s part two, I was giving credit to everybody and I was never taking credit as a photographer. I was just a marketer. The third part is that everyone in that event, created it. Guess who didn’t create the event?
He or she was just capturing it. If it wasn’t for us, they wouldn’t have a full dance floor. If it wasn’t for us, they wouldn’t have a cake to shoot. We’re taking pictures of the stuff that we did. I’m taking pictures of the stuff that helped me make my event more positive. A wedding is like a car. If you go out to your car and you started up and you’re missing a wheel, you aren’t going anywhere. If you go to a wedding and there is no DJ, there is no mood. If there’s no limo, there’s no transportation. Everything is connected. Everyone is needed on that day. If the limo is an hour late for the bride, the bride is not only late, but she’s stressed out of her mind and you have got a lot of the medicine balls to fix. The photographer is the only person that not only doesn’t create anything, except that they’re capturing what they are going to create later. They are the people that have their own agenda and schedule that stop the food from coming out on time because they’re taking pictures, etc.
I do wedding photography a little bit. I am more cognizant than ever that the chef needs to know. I didn’t know the chef’s schedule, so I make him shine. I’m going to say, “Whenever this is, I’ll be ready for you.” That’s the thing that’s so interesting about this. A photographer is benefiting from everyone else. When he’s taking pictures of the bride and groom, he’s not thinking, “Tomorrow I’m going to send the picture to the DJ thanking him for creating this full dance floor. I’m going to send pictures of the cake to the cake person.” You don’t get the photos for months. Sometimes you don’t get them at all. When you do get them, they’re watermarked right in the middle as a proof that you can buy and they are low res. It’s like, when you get me to open on this, that was the disruption.
As I was saying, this is not a photography moment. This is a media moment. Everyone is here. They’re all capturing it for social media, for their part of this thing. I moved it to something positive because I didn’t want it to be negative. I call it the Freedom to Capture Love. I believe that the exclusivity contract prevents the freedom to capture love. I am against the exclusivity clause. I had a photographer asked me, “What if I brought in my DJ equipment and started playing DJ equipment?” I said, “If the bride and groom said, ‘Okay,’ I’m good with it because then I just sit back.”
That’s the thing that not only you disrupted, but modern social media changed the wedding photography industry in a profound way, in a short period of time. It was very interesting that photography as a whole since the late ‘90s or early 2000s, when digital photography started, has had so many amazing technological changes anyway. They bring social media and all sorts of things into it. When I think back to my wedding, there were no social media. There was barely an internet. When we got married in 1992, there were only five sites in the World Wide Web. At our wedding, we had a photographer we hired to take formal pictures, but we put at that time the disposable Kodak in a single table and encouraged everyone to take candids. It’s nice to have formal pictures. All the pictures are in an album that you don’t see unless you pull them out and want to reminisce. The one that gets pulled out more and looked at are the candid pictures with all our friends and family who are having a fun time.
Now, a wedding is an event that is celebrated on social media and so many more people can share it and experience it in real-time because it’s out there. Any photographers that we’re trying to circle the wagons to say, “I’m the exclusive photographer of this event,” are on the wrong side of the reality of the experience that people want to have. It’s cutting up the nose to spite their face because they could get more exposure.
If a photographer comes over to you and says, “Stop shooting,” Is that a possible client? Not anymore. Why would I take a picture of a wedding that the photographer is taking the exact same picture? That’s no value to the bride. I always took pictures when the photographer didn’t see stuff. My vantage point is behind a DJ booth. There’s no way they’re behind my DJ booth. That’s a different vantage point. When I took these shots and the bride loved them, it wasn’t my fault. It was that I had a unique view and a unique way of getting the story told.
You ended up moving on from the DJ business. You’re a social media evangelist for events or a social media marketing company. How do you describe yourself?
I like the way you described that, but I call myself a serial entrepreneur with a very high interest in photography and publishing.
Tracy and I go to a lot of different events around the country. I am surprised that it always puts a smile on our face when it’s like, “Ken Rochon is here.” We will then go over and give you a big hug. You are always so busy though. We never have a lot of time to talk because you are everywhere. You’re making the rounds, taking all sorts of amazing pictures. It always blows me away. You must not get any sleep because in the evening you’re downloading all the photos from your card and putting them up on your Facebook page for The Umbrella Syndicate in record time. I was like, “How many minions does he have to do all that?”
That’s the way my life was. That’s my life for several years. It is a grueling day. It’s between fifteen and twenty hours. Unfortunately, the twenty is more realistic than the fifteen. For every hour of shooting, if you’re serious about shooting, it’s about roughly an hour of post-production if you’re really serious about putting out artistic work. If you’re going to shoot and throw it up, no one’s going to look at it. If you make it disruptive from a standpoint that it’s not perfect, but interesting and causing people to think, then you have to do some work on the photo. That’s the deal.
There are so many facets to what you do and it’s exciting to get a glimpse of it. Everybody reading this is in business in some way, shape or form. They are either a personal brand or a business brand. They’re trying to be seen and heard more. They’re trying to get exposure. They’re trying to grow their brand. There are so many things that you do that are very effective and are modern. I don’t think a lot of people are using these techniques. Not only are you taking photographs and using your social media channels, especially Facebook. Is that your primary social media channel?
You are also turning a lot of what you do into books.
I want to interject something. Facebook is not the place everyone goes anymore. I give the photos directly to clients, hosts, people I meet the next day as if it was Facebook. I used to give it only to Facebook and people had to blow my page up. It doesn’t make sense to do that because Instagram is powerful. LinkedIn is powerful. There are so many platforms that are powerful. Why do I want people to be stopped by going to Facebook if they’re not Facebook fans anymore? It’s a 50/50 shot. 50% of people say, “I like Facebook and I use it.” The other 50% would be, “I don’t use it at all.” It’s a passé like voice mail. People say, “My voicemails are full.” That is the normal deal now.
I’ve listened to a lot of voicemails that say, “The best way to get to me is to text me.” You subscribe to that belief too or at least you did.
I want to because in texting you know someone will read it. It is a documented communication. I’ll tell you a pet peeve. I may do this as one of my books. I have a book coming out called Reset. It’s my 27th book. I’m going to put this in there because it’s a little bit of a pet peeve. Let’s say you are in Starbucks and we’re supposed to meet. You’re waiting fifteen minutes for me and you’re like, “He’s running late.” You text me and you say, “Ken, where are you?” I said, “I emailed you about twenty minutes ago. I’m not coming.” My pet peeve is that don’t email if you’re taking the business seriously, email and text. In other words, “Tom, I’m sending you this thing, it’s a proposal or this is an idea that we can work together,” then text, “Tom, I sent you an email that will spell out how are we going to work together.”
I’m always careful at the beginning of a relationship with a prospect because you don’t know what their preferred communication method is. Some people prefer to get emails. Some people prefer to get texts. Some people prefer Facebook Messenger. Some people prefer Skype chat, then there’s WhatsApp. I have to be tuned in to all these different communication channels in order to communicate effectively.
At least Messenger, WhatsApp and text does say, “Receive, delivered or read.” Read is the one you have to keep track of.
Sometimes I’m like, “They don’t have an iPhone.”
Do you know the 360 technologies? I bought it. I have KeepSmiling360.com. If you go there, it shows my YouTube videos, my radio shows and all my Facebook pages. There are six blocks. You hit the button and it takes you to the way you like to communicate with somebody. It’s a mini-website that is on the fly. If I don’t like my Facebook pages, I can go to the back office and take it down.A wedding is no longer just a photography moment. It is a social media moment. Click To Tweet
Let’s talk about Keep Smiling. It is your thing. I don’t know if you consider it your brand or just your belief.
It’s my purpose. I’ll actually trump that, it’s my calling.
Let me tell people my experience getting to meet you the first time. We were at a five-day business event. You’re there for the whole time. You were taking pictures everywhere. You’re putting them up on social media, on Facebook and helping promote the event as it’s going on in real-time. You hand up these very colorful business cards that say, “Keeps Smiling.” They held them up. You take their pictures and they’re all smiling. It’s a great motivator. You also have these books that are called Keep Smiling books. From my perspective as I didn’t know you and hadn’t heard anything about you, I thought, “I don’t know what this is about but it’s fun.” I see that they’re getting a lot of exposure for this event. I thought maybe that’s the main point, but then there are the books. Will you explain the Keep Smiling Movement and your goal for it? What are you doing with these books?
I’m going to break it down a little bit. When my mom did pass of Alzheimer’s, I was looking for something that could be a calling. I thought God needed me to do something to make the world better. That’s what I believed. The Umbrella Syndicate seems to resonate with me. I was showing leadership. I was showing that there are great events and great people in this world so there’s hope. That’s what The Umbrella Syndicate did. It gave me some media authority and it gets me in the doors. Barry Shore handed me the card at a March 2015 forum at CEO Space.
He gave you the card that said, “Keep Smiling?”
Yes, that was his attendance at the forum. That was the one time he came to CEO Space. I went into a lobby area and he was sitting there with this big cane. I made eye contact and he had his card out. I didn’t know what it was. I go over and I think he’s handing me a business card. I look at it and it says, “Keep Smiling.” I said, “That’s cool. Why are you giving me this?” He said, “To remind you to smile.” I said, “I love smiling.” He says, “Here’s another one to give to somebody else.” I said, “Okay, great.” I could not move. I’m always moving and jumping around.
I instinctively grabbed a chair, sat down and looked at him right in the face and said, “Tell me more. Why are you doing this?” He said again, “To remind people to smile.” I said, “Do you have a social media page?” He said, “No.” “Are you taking pictures of people when you hand the card to them? Do you have a campaign?” He said, “No.” Most of the things he asked me was, “What is that?” There’s a big gap. I said, “After this forum, I’d like to call you and I want to think about this. I think I found out what I want to do with my life. I want to create a movement for you.” I could not stop thinking about it. I called him up and I said, “I’m willing to ditch my Umbrella Syndicate card and use your card as my only card. The only request I have is that I don’t want the definition of a smile on the back of the card. I want to put, ‘We amplified goodness.’” That was going to be my new tagline. I was modifying, “We amplified message,” to “We amplified goodness,” and have my calling be concrete and really resonate. He said, “How many cards do I need to mail you?” I said, “A lot, if you can send me 100,000 cards, I could make an impact with these cards.” He sent me 42 boxes.
How long did it take you to give out all those cards?
One year and almost every one of them were photographed. Almost every single person was photographed. Here’s what’s crazy. The cards showed me something I’d never seen before. Generally speaking, people don’t always remember to be happy or grateful. When I take a picture of someone and I say, “I am going to take a picture of you.” They smile a little bit. When I say, “Think of what you love and think of what you’re doing.” All of a sudden, they light up. Here’s the other phenomenon. Every single person was willing to hold the card. That’s crazy, Tom. In the branding world, if I told you to hold up this bottle here and it just says Kirkland on it, you’d say, “I can’t.”
You don’t want to be associated with that, but Keep Smiling is a universal thing.
That’s why it wasn’t a business. That’s why it’s not my brand. That’s why it’s correctly named a movement. I detached my name from it. You’ll never see my name on any of the cards, nor my contact information. You can’t even contact me from the cards.
The thing is everybody who meets you and you give them that card, they will never forget who you are.
One more important thing is that out of all the cards they’ll keep, they’ll put that card in front of their computer. I can’t tell you how many people tell me that the card is on their mirror. It’s on their dresser or in their workspace.
I have the last one I got from you when we saw each other at an event. You took a picture of me and Tracy and we held the card.
You guys inspired me to create a new book because of how dynamic the two of you are. I say this sincerely to you, I’m creating a Keep Smiling Power Couples edition.
You mentioned that.
You are my first shot that actually caused the idea. You guys stay together. You belong together. Everything you do is powerful together. That’s really amazing.
I’ll have that book done. I would like to segue to the book question you asked. You know that when you put photos up on Facebook, they dissipate after a day. You’re lucky if they stay a day. I realized all these gorgeous shots of people that it was their best shot ever. They use it as a profile shot. If they’ve got tons of that, it still goes bye-bye. I said, “If I took 100 photos and put them in a book and call it Keep Smiling: Shift Happens.” I’d done an experiment that when I have the Keep Smiling card in front of me, no matter what mood I was in, I would shift to a better mood. Even if I was happy, I would shift to a happier mood. I said, “That is going to be the play on words instead of crap happens.” Keep Smiling is about the positivity causing the world to shift to a more loving, accepting and beautiful world. That’s what I love so much about it. There’s not another expression that you can look at that causes more pleasure. If I go to a Chinese person or an African person, I smile. They’re not saying I don’t know what he’s doing. I don’t know what this means. They will say probably one of three things. They will say, “He is friendly, he loves or he cares.”
I remember the lyrics of a Crosby, Stills & Nash song, which is, “If you smile, I will understand because that’s something everybody does in the same language.” The song is called Wooden Ships. I think that’s what it is.
Music is a universal language and smile is a universal expression. Imagine the two together. I don’t know if you know a guy named Paul Hoffman, but he wrote a jingle called Have You Driven a Ford Lately? He’s done a lot of other jingles. He’s a jingle guy. He writes powerful songs because he understands the dynamics of a hit. He’s writing the Keep Smiling song. It’s supposed to be released. That’s what I’m being told. The book came out of the fact that Facebook and any other social media channel have the content dissipate because of interest. The book was to memorialized in some cases, to create a memory of a beautiful moment.
I put the book together and I noticed another phenomenon. When someone hands you a book, you typically will give it one minute to be respectful. You’ll look the front cover, you immediately look at the back cover, then you grab the preface and introduction and you just flip through to see if there are any pictures. That’s pretty much your minute. Then you will say, “I’ll look at it later.” This is going to jolt you a little bit. If I’d give the Keep Smiling book to someone and I don’t ask them anything, I just hand it to them, they will typically spend five to fifteen minutes looking at it. It’s usually closer to the five, but they want to see three things. They want to see who they know. They want to see why they don’t know who they know and they want to see if they’re in the book.
That makes perfect sense to me. People are inherently visual. They can take in so much with their eyes quickly. We should explain the book.
It’s 6×6, 120 pages. 100 pages are the photos. 99 of them are the photos of people that are their mentors, their friends, people they support and then one is them. The chapter, which is the magic of the book, is the exclusive chapter of the person’s story of how they became who they are and how they created their why in life or their purpose. How they create abundance, solve problems, inspire hope and smiles in the world. It’s a nice little 2,500-word chapter. It’s the only chapter in the book besides the chapter about Barry on how he started the Keep Smiling card.
Is that in every book?
Barry starts every single book because without him giving me the card, there’s no movement and there’s no book. To honor Barry and I do every single day, he changed my life. Why wouldn’t I honor him every day?Music is a universal language and a smile is a universal expression. Click To Tweet
I definitely wasn’t questioning that, but I didn’t remember that was in every book. How many books do you make when you do this? What do you do with them? How have you monetized your business?
I’m going to break that down for you. Have you read Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell?
That would be a great first thing to know something about before I answer the question. I’m glad you do. For those of you reading, if you’ve not read Tipping Point, you almost need to understand the answer I’m going to give. It’s about becoming successful by pushing the envelope until it will be successful. Here is my theory. I have monetized the Keep Smiling Movement, but it has not been a long time. It is definitely still in the rears. It’s definitely a negative financial, but signs are looking extremely good. We’re getting a massive attraction. When I did my first book, it took about eight or nine months before I did my second book. We’re dealing almost a book every couple of days. We believe it’s going to go every day. This is a big gift to you and your readers. This is a declaration.
We are sending 100 books to Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah and to Steve Harvey. Every one of those books will have a different author on the front cover. We already have Dr. Ivan Misner and Dr. Greg Reid. Frank Shankwitz just had his movie premiere. His book comes out soon. Let me tell you how we’re able to do one or two a day. It’s about a three to four-week cycle. You’re putting someone in the cycle and it’s coming out 30 days later. It takes roughly one hour to do the chapter. Tom, I wouldn’t have to ask you to tell me your story. You know your story. You download your story from your mind and your heart. It tells the journey of all the obstacles, challenges, failures you’ve encountered to become who you are. Have you had any failures?
The more failures you have, would you say that creates a bigger who?
The bigger your who is, allows you to probably create a bigger why?
That’s what the book is about. Most people do not know. If you ask my closest friends about my journey, I would say only 1% or 2% could do it. It’s a very small amount. With the book, I get to read you. I get to read who you really are. I get to support you by sending it out. Everyone gets an eBook of their book ready to go. I emailed probably between 1,000 to 10,000 books. We’re sending more and more books. It’s probably going to be about 10,000 books we’re going to be sending out every quarter. We give the eBooks away for free. We don’t want money for them. We want the movement to live. We tell people, “I’ll give you twenty of the books. If you’re not going to read them all. Let me send two. If you want more, tell me you want more.” We have 37 books and I only need 63 more. Here’s my challenge to you and Tracy. You guys can write your book together and can be the first power couple or you can write independently as a podcast edition. I don’t care what you pick, but you guys get a gift. It’s like giving a $20,000 gift. I’ll tell you why.
To make one book is why I’m in so much debt. When you make a book and you get all these influencers, it might take two years to make a book. It’s nothing short of $100,000. We mathematically figured it out, it’s closer to $250,000 to make one book. That doesn’t mean that every book costs that. My most expensive books cost that. If you take the legacy book, the speaker book and the influencer book, those all cost well over $100,000 to make. That doesn’t mean that I owe all that money because I made money too. I have other businesses. How did I monetize this? It is very simple. I said, “What would it be worth to be positioned with all these amazing people?” I have a $1,250 price point to make any book with a template. You don’t get to alter it. I have a $2,500 where you get to customize it. I have a $5,000 one that I do a campaign for you. I do a party mixer for you. I take all the pictures. We make the book out of it and we turn it into a campaign. The price points are still very low because I’d rather have lots of yeses and not a lot of push back. After Ellen and Oprah, one of those becoming a success and hopefully more than one, my venture is that it will be realized at a $20,000 price point.
Your passion has become a business and it helps others get more out of their business, promote their brands. It’s all a win-win-win with smiles on everybody’s faces.
The part that makes the movement so unique is that Andrea Adams-Miller, she is not just my publicist, but she’s the executive director of the movement. She created this nonprofit. That’s a game-changer. We can have a donate button. We can have people say, “You didn’t want to buy our Keep Smiling books, but how would you like to donate and have a tax write-off? How would you like to generate more smiles?” My goal is to literally make more smiles happen. People that have something that’s going on that I actually have funding that changed their lives. I did this the first time. This is a gentleman who did some time. He made some mistakes in his life. He had a gold grill.
He’s not a professional. You wouldn’t necessarily say, “You have a gold grill. Come to my wedding and do my photography.” This guy had decayed teeth. For several years, I have a dentist, “Would you please solve this problem? I don’t have money for you, but I’m a great marketer. I’ll give you $30,000 in marketing if you’ll do this.” I knew it didn’t cost him $30,000 even though it’s about $30,000 of work. I have the estimates. I had the dentist do it. It took about a month to get it all fixed up. He had this gorgeous white smile and all of a sudden, his career took off. I did my first book. My first book was Keep Smiling. It was his story.
You’ve given me a whole other idea for a book that I’m going to have to text you about. That’s exciting, Ken. I’m pleased to see where things are and to understand more about it. I’m sure all of our readers are going to be fascinated to hear your story and to learn from it. It’s not just about you because it’s interesting as Mr. Serial Entrepreneur. That’s how you’ve gone from that thing, then found something that you’re so passionate about. You’re loving life every day. That’s wonderful. I think it’s a great lesson for people about what you can do with the power you have to market what you do and achieve your own passions. Thank you so much for coming and sharing your story.
This is not a bait and switch situation. There’s no price tag. If you want to buy books, that’s your choice. If you want to be part of the movement, if you want us to add your book to send-off to Ellen and Oprah, you can attest I do. I have all these reviews. It is a real deal.
I completely believe it. I know you well-enough to know you’re a person of integrity. That is a sincere offer. I know Tracy and I will take you up on whether it’s the power couples or something in podcasting. We’re going to talk about that. Ken, thank you so much for joining me. I can’t wait to see you at the next event.
Thank you very much, Tom. You’re awesome.
Keep Smiling And Amplify Your Message To The World – Final Thoughts
I hope you enjoyed as much as I did doing it. It was certainly very fun for me because I know Ken. I learned so many new things about Ken with you. I cannot overstate how powerful what Ken is doing with the Keep Smiling Movement and with what he does at events. Even his methodology of what he does on social media. I bumped into Ken at events because he does so many events every year. He travels all over the country and even the world to be at these events to document it through photography, put it on social media on The Umbrellas Syndicate and help give that event so much exposure. That’s just one aspect of what he does. It is powerful. I can’t believe how much work he does every day.
He does the majority of this work himself in terms of taking the photos, downloading them from his digital SLR camera to a memory card, puts it on his computer, edits all the photos in Photoshop to make them what they need to be. He’s branding them for The Umbrella Syndicate, putting his logo on them, and uploading them all on Facebook event that he’s at. This is one dimension of this incredible entrepreneur and brilliant marketer. He knows how to get things done. He’s a tremendous example of that. Everything that he’s doing, he’s super passionate about. He is a person of tremendous integrity and passion. He wants to help others and bring out the best in what others are doing. That’s part of what I love about him.
When you think about all the things he does, he’s a master at creating content and getting the absolute most out of it. That’s what he’s doing with social media and everything that he touches, photography or otherwise. He has a radio show and podcast on VoiceAmerica called Amplified! He uses that content. He’s reaching people with it. He’s going to all these events. He is taking original photos and that’s something that can’t be under-emphasized either is taking original photos. If you’re going to make a big impression on social media or on your website and anywhere in the world, you’ve got to have content. The original photos are incredibly a valuable content. Google images will index them. They will come up and search for it. You can put keywords within the metadata that are related to the image so that it comes up in the Google image search.
Even with what we do at Brandcasters with producing podcasts, converting them to blogs, we create unique graphics for every episode. If you as a podcaster have relevant images, especially the original ones, that either you or your guests shot that you can use in the blog post, they are always more powerful and have a positive impact on SEO so much more so than using stock photos. You always should do it if you have that opportunity. When you’re preparing for a podcast interview or episode you’re going to record, if you have relevant photos or can take some, it doesn’t take that much time if you think of it ahead of time. Sometimes it can be tough if you’re getting ready to publish an episode and you realized you don’t have any photos. The original photos are currency in the social media world. Ken is the wealthiest man on social media when it comes to that because he takes all these photos, but he doesn’t let the grass grow under his feet.
At these events that he attends, he takes photos that evening, downloads them, does what it needs doing Photoshop, uploads them to Facebook and they’re done. I don’t know how the guy gets any rest. I don’t think he really sleeps. It works for him. I’ve seen him doing it for several years and that’s impressive. Think about it, live broadcast on radio, syndicated broadcast on podcasts, photography and social media on Facebook. Primarily, Facebook is his main platform, but it can be used anywhere if you have photos. You can go on Instagram and LinkedIn and then the books. He’s taking that to the next level of creating a book that admittedly is a short book, a different book. It is mostly photos, but has such a positive message that he’s spreading through the world. It is heavily visual. Everybody reads his book. Nobody takes it home and sticks it on a shelf and sits in permanent potential. It is bringing smiles to people’s faces.
It is accomplishing his goal of spreading positive messages and illuminating great stories to the world. I don’t have a whole lot more to add to that great journey of an interview was with Ken. I’ve got a lot to learn from it. You can look Ken up. The Umbrella Syndicate is pretty easy to find. His radio show Amplified! Is out there. You can find that as well. I am recharge and reinvigorated. I’m looking forward to being part of that power couples’ book with me and Tracy participating with Ken. It’s a wonderful opportunity. I’m very excited to see how things go with him going forward with his movement and it is a movement. Thank you so much.
- The Umbrella Syndicate
- The Umbrella Syndicate on Facebook
- VoiceAmerica Influencers channel
- CEO Space
- Amplified! on iTunes
- New Trust Economy
- David Corbin
- Keep Smiling
- Keep Smiling
- Keep Smiling: Shift Happens
- Tipping Point
About Ken Rochon
It’s one thing to have event photo coverage; it’s another to have Viral Social Proof that Your Event was Amazing! You see, it’s not about whether you need an event photographer or not, we all know you do. However, when you hire a photographer, do they Understand the Value of Social Proof Capital Live the Concept of Branding Done Right Master the Skillset of a Marketer Create and Capture Attendee Smiles Reflect a Sense of Community Reveal the High of Your Event Experience You see, anyone can take photos Proving an Event Happened, but ONLY a Celebrity Event Photographer Markets and Sells Your Current and Next Event, Services, & Products by Sharing Proven Social Capital.
You want Ken Rochon, the Celebrity Event Photographer that Hand Edits Every Photo to Enhance Lightening and Framing has over 995 5 -Star Reviews has over 35+K Social Media Followers that Share Your Event Photos with his List as well as Yours that will Brand Your Photos with Your Logo that will Post Your Event Photos within 24 to 72 hrs. that will Partner with You to Generate Massive Social Proof If not, you just are having someone take photos and Your Missing Out on the Value of Your Experience? A Celebrity Event Photographer, like Ken Rochon, Captures the Love, the Knowledge, the Wisdom, the Key Plays, the Rapture, and the Joy of Your Audience that traditional photographers just doesn’t get…
But, don’t just take our word for it, check out a few of his past events: Ken Rochon, proud returning sponsor for A Bug Free Mind Mastermind, owns the celebrity event photography business, www.The Umbrella Syndicate.com. He has traveled to over 104 countries, written over 22 books, and also owns a 30+ year professional DJ business, Absolute Entertainment.
Additionally, this serial entrepreneur owns Perfect Publishing which has published over 70 books, hosts Amplified with Ken Rochon on www.VoiceAmerica.com, and recently he launched www.BigEventsUSA.com (BEU) which features the Top 1% of Events that attendees should go to in order to change their lives for the better. After Ken’s mother died of Alzheimer’s in 2008, he shifted his focus to be more philanthropic and to amplify goodness.
As the Founder of the www.KeepSmilingMovement.com, a 501(3)c and 509(a), Ken along with Executive Director Andrea Adams-Miller, are one a powerful international mission to change the world one smile at a time. The passion to publish 100+ Keep Smiling books this year that capture smiles all over the world is further motivated by Ken’s 5 yr old son. K3 is Ken’s greatest joy which is generated by love and K3’s contagious laughter. This love pushes Ken to be of service as a leader generating a legacy for his son to model.