SLP Toolkit Podcast, Episode 16, Transcript
¿Cómo está usted?
That’s--that’s all I got. [Laughing] But I like how you shook it up a bit!
Yeah! You know how I got that idea? [Agreeal from Sarah] From our muy bueno guest that we have today. Muy, muy bonita.
Muy, muy... that's all I got too.
Um, and then friend? [That’s] amiga.
Yes. That I know.
I don't think so, uh--
Um, uh-- [“Therapist Who Speaks A Language” is said in elongated Spanish] that's SLP in Spanish.
That was so good!
You’re welcome. I just came up with that one and it's true.
That was really good, Lisa. Now introduce her in English, to all of the world. Who do we have in the confessional today?
We have the one, the only: Jenna Rayburn. I feel like we need to do a little --
[Both agree, clap, and woop]
Thank you! No hablo español. Y tacos. That's all I got. That's why you introduced that--because I was thinking about tacos before we started recording this lesson.
Yo hablo tacos y margaritas.
Speaker 3: (01:44)
Yes. Yo hablo margaritas y tacos.
Yes. I know we were saying before we started actually recording the episode--we were saying--we--that Jenna should be here, live in the confessional. And she was saying she wants to come out because we do have the best Mexican food, I think in all of the country. I think we can proudly say that.
Margaritas aren't bad either.
Right? We do. So one of these days, we're going to get you out to Arizona. But please only come between November and March.
Okay. That's great! Cause it's not great in Ohio between November and March, so.
We probably get a lot of people from Ohio!
Yeah. There's a lot of snowbirds that go that way.
Yeah, exactly right. So we're super excited to have you in here. When I had reached out to ask, if you would come into the confessional, I said: what's it going to take for me to get you to come into the confessional and do a podcast episode with us? And I offered you several things and you said, I'll just do it!
Be like your attitude--team player!
Yeah, team player.
Yeah. And actually, this is kind of the story of our life with you. We've known you now for a couple of years, at least. And anytime I've asked you to do anything, you're like, yep.
Well, I just think we have to support each other, in these small businesses. And it's a super cool opportunity. And I love seeing how people build a business out of nothing when they didn't go to school to be a business person. [Agreeal] I see that reflected in you guys, how I feel.
Yeah. It is kind of interesting. Like, and Sarah and I have had this conversation too, before how even with the whole, um, TPT realm or, or what we're doing the idea of, I think people think that it just appears magically and as super easy, because we show the fun things. We show the things that we're doing sort of behind the scenes, but there's so much work involved that people don't see? So, how did you even get started?
It's a great lead into my confessional that I--my confession that I--way to go, nice segment, nice segue, I'm… Running my website is harder than being a speech therapist, running my business. It's harder being a speech therapist. I went to school for however many years--it feels like forever--uh, six years and then all the extra stuff we've done to learn the ins and the outs of being a speech therapist. But there is no roadmap like that or what we do the--the--the startup businesses that have grown out of speech therapy. Um, and so it's been, it's been such a learning experience to kind of like explain it to other people while you're trying to figure out what it is for yourself.
That is so hard. I think even with family and friends who--they kind of have a basic sense of what you're doing, but I always find, like, it's hard enough to even explain what an SLP is, let alone what you're trying to do within that field from a business perspective? And then trying to convince people like--no, no, this is like a really cool thing. And I'm, I'm trying to build something even like, you know, in a different way, even bigger! And they're like, Oh, that's sweet, honey. Bless your heart.
It's so different. I think now that I do more professional development, if I lead with that, like I do professional development for other speech therapists? That's like, Oh, okay. I understand what that could mean. And then I can kind of go from there. And have that conversation like, oh--and I make products and I have a website and I--I mean, all the other things that we do. I use social media and all these different interactions to connect with other clinicians.
What year did you start your website?
2011. [Overlapping agreeal/chatter] What was that, like seven years? Yeah.
Yeah. We talked about this on our last podcast episode, um, where we were doing our recap of ASHA is, um, you are a pioneer in this. We went back before we had these great blogs and things. I think literally there was like--speaking of speech was the only thing I remember ever being in a forum.
And you would go look at the forum. It was--it was so different, but seekers have been doing this for a little bit longer than we are. And that's kinda what I modeled my business after. Um, because teachers are, or have been for longer, creating blogs that talked about just what they were doing in their classrooms. They were already connecting that way. And I don't know how they beat us to it, because I think we're just as bright. And we--we, even more than they do, don't have a team at school. There's no fifth grade team for the teacher. There is--it's like--well, you could travel across the district and see that other person, but you'll have to reschedule eight kids to do that. There's no--there's no grade level team meetings. Um, so the internet is perfect for that. And I think it didn't take long for that to catch on. And it was really cool to be one of the first people to do that. Um, I just think that's, it seems obvious now, right? We all, that's how we all communicate now. But when I started it, I even told my speech therapy friends: I think I'm going to start a blog about speech therapy. They're like, you're going to post? Cause that's not like a flattering term that nobody says, “Oh, you're a blogger!” with, like, reverence. They're like, you're a--what? A blogger? What's that mean?
You get paid for that? Like, is that just a hobby, something you do just for fun? Yeah.
I do think that has changed though. I do think now people do have an appreciation, an understanding of how it is a business and the benefits of having that blog for your business. Even--we are not technically bloggers in the sense of, you know--that's just a part of it. But we knew we had to blog to be able to get some credibility and to be able to share the education pieces of what it--our product--did. Um, and so there was a huge benefit to having the blog. And so you started with the blog, um, and then that kind of just developed into products?
Into products, yeah. So like the first--when I was in graduate school, I had a supervisor who used a website--and it was basically a blog, but he called it a website--and he shared reading resources. He was a speech therapist who worked really closely with the teacher and he was doing a lot of professional development about reading resources and how speech therapists can be involved in those kinds of “Working with your team better to support our students across those literacy areas!”, which was a really up and coming kind of topic at that point 10 years ago--we weren't doing a whole lot of, um, literacy instruction. So the--the idea kind of came from there because it would be really cool to go to a conference and watch him present and see him interact with people who had used his website as a resource. And--and just the idea that, if you have a conversation with a speech therapist next to you in your office, that information stays in that room. But if you post it on the internet, now everybody has access to it. And it becomes a much bigger conversation than the two of you in your office. And so I thought that was really cool. So I started my--my blog. I just was like--I Googled “How do you start a blog?” and figured out that I could use this website called Blogspot. And I started a blog on there and I was like, well, what in the heck am I going to call it? Luckily, somehow, I knew to look up the trademark names because when I first--whatever my first name was before Spectrum News--I can't remember now, it was something related, um… that was taken. And I was like, Oh gosh, good thing! I didn't go through all this work in designing this website that then couldn't be published. So I settled on my name and started writing some stuff and pinning it to Pinterest. And then it really took off, I started getting a lot of feedback. Um, Heidi from PDEA source was one of the first people that emailed me--and I didn't even have my email on my website anyway. She's like, “I just Googled your name. And then I looked you up on the ASHA registry and I found your email. Is the person who writes this blog?” And I was like, “Oh, I should probably put my email on my website if I want people to email me!” Oh, and I should probably get a business email and all these other things!”
Isn't that how businesses go though, is you kind of, that's a--you're learning as you go along.
Yeah, I was just a person in her second year of working in a job who thought they should be doing more for this, um, more of this type of communicating. So.
Wait, you had only been an SLP for a couple of years at that point?
I started my second year as an SLPA by working here-- [Barking in the background] My dogs are-- [Overlapping Laughter]
I--I--I--I am so much--even more impressed then, because I love that. Like, I know how I felt like in my second year. First of all, I still felt like I needed like 10 more years of schooling. I don't know if I would have had anything to share with anybody at that point, but that's actually the best time because that's when you know what you don't know, and you're asking questions and you're looking into things.
That’s exactly what it was. Trying to find an idea for--for what to do it's so...
And sharing that idea, I imagine.
Yeah! It was great. And I was--I was already making materials every night at home because that's what you do your first year. You are like, I don't know what to do with this kid so I'm just going to make a whole new material to do it tomorrow to target this one kid that’s working on communication. I couldn't just whip out a board game and figure out how to work on it. They gave you--they don't have those clinicals--that clinical flexibility, as strong. I felt like that was always a good strength of mine, but still, I--compared to today, when I can turn anything into anything, I didn't have those skills yet.
And that makes so much more sense because I think we all were doing that. I mean, first of all, we don't have a curriculum, you know, not like I could go to the teacher resource store and find what I needed. [Agreeal] So I've been making stuff and just never even thought about the fact that I should be sharing the things that I'm making with people.
Today I spent the last half an hour of school cleaning out some materials from our school; there's four speech therapists so you can only imagine the amount of stuff that is accumulated from previous therapists who used to work there. And I was throwing away all these like hand--I threw away hand-drawn plate pictures. Like I drew on a plate, laminated it, wrote “PLATE” on marker across the front, and saved it. There are four of them they matched, um, because that's what you did 15 years ago. That's eight to 20 years ago. And it made me laugh because I was like, well, if we need a picture of a plate, we'll Google image search again. We're not keeping this. I did like a dumpster haul today of all this stuff.
Yeah. I'm still thankful for when I got to start this career, super lucky of me. So I started my blog and then after six months--I--I--that--I had added a donate button on the sidebar of my website. And I was just uploading these resources for free on my website. I didn't even have like a counting tool on it so I could see how many people downloaded it. I had no idea if anybody was even using it. And I like the same week I was working in an after-school job in a clinic trying to pay off my student loan. And I went to the clinic printer and my resources were there. Somebody had printed them out at a Speech and Hearing Center in Columbus. And I was like, Oh my gosh, someone is using this resource--it was like a popcorn grammar. That, and I was just dying because I didn't didn't know if anybody was using anything. I didn't have a social media account. So I had no idea. I was just basically writing for my own self and putting things out into the universe. And then that same week, my old supervisor, he was like, let's go to dinner and talk about your business. And so he did, and he's like, first of all, take down the donate button and start selling these things! And I was like, really? I don't think anybody would buy these. I don't know.
I just keep seeing that picture of Kristen Wigg from bridesmaids where she’s like “Feed me, I’m poor!”.
Right, exactly what it was like! Some people were so nice and they would donate, like, $2, $3 to me was like, Oh, sweet, I'm rolling in it. So I--I got a little more serious. Like six months, I gave everything away for free on my website. And then--then I realized, Oh my gosh, the amount of time that this could take or is taking is significant. And I need to be compensated for that. And I think, if I want the quality of my resources to improve from what's on the printer right now, then I'm going to have to make it more of a business. And so I started my Teachers Pay Teachers store and that's been a really great avenue because a lot of people find me through that website rather than finding me first. Um, which is cool. And a great thing.
Yeah. I actually think that's been a huge advantage, um, because of the marketing, by being on Teachers Pay Teachers, because for a long time, I'm not going to lie--part of me always questioned why you guys weren't selling directly from your website so that you could get more of the profit. And so I did--I always thought, why would, you know, why use a third-party source, your guys's materials are bomb, throw them on your website, throw some kind of Stripe or PayPal or something on there to collect the payments. Um, but, so is that why. One, it, it does, you know, make the business part of it a little easier. You don't have to deal with all the accounting and collection of money, but also wasn't there the benefit there then? Because of the marketing.
Yeah. And I use Stripe and do that kind of stuff for my online PD courses that I host. I have a two courses, SLP one-on-one for people who are switching from medical, um, to a school-based position. So it's just an online course, three hours. Like here's what you need to know that you didn't even know you don't need, you don't know those kind of things that they really need to know. And then a C of course the same idea. And so those courses I do sell directly and I use Stripe. And so I, that part is not the non-management part of it. It's the tech support. You guys know you're running a tech business, the amount of emails and messages and questions I get for help with digital resources is too much to handle on my own. So I would have to pay somebody. Yep. So there's that commission that TPT gets like--when you look at it from a business perspective, that's what's worth it for me. I also don't have to worry about upgrading the website and when the website crashes and all that kind of stuff. So for me, the number one reason is the tech help. The number two reason is marketing. And I think I'm in a little [bit of a] different position? I started my blog first. I have a large social media following, so I'm sure I could get buyers to my website if I wanted to sell that route. But for me, the tech support and the opportunity for marketing on TPT is just greater. Because if somebody searches AAC, you know, classroom support, there's my stuff. It pops up. And I think people use Teachers Pay Teachers and Pinterest more than they use Google to search for therapy material. So I want to--I want to show up there in those searches.
That makes a lot of sense. Let's talk a little bit. I know we--and we mentioned this again on that podcast, we did last week when we were talking about all of you, um, entrepreneurs in--about the, um, I don't think people appreciate the amount of time that you are spending on this. First of all, you do work full-time in the school.
Speaker 3: (16:52)
Full time in the school so that, you know, I'm not--I don't want to complain about this. This is my choice. This is my life. I wouldn't do it if I didn't absolutely love it. I think the biggest thing is people say, “I don't understand how you have time to do all that”. Well, I have to let something go, right? We can't do everything all the time. So before we started this, I showed the girls my pile of junk that I had to move off my chair because my house is a wreck right now because I published three new items on TPT this week. And I have a cleaning person who comes and cleans my house. And at my last house, I had a yard person. So you have to make sacrifices and decide what's going to be most important and then decide how--how much you can do in your business. I think, related to how much time you actually have--then have a social life, have a happy husband, have a family that sees me.
You're still kind of in the newlywed--you just hit the year mark yeah?
Yeah, yeah just a year. So that's so supportive of it. And I think I really, there are seasons in our year where I am working a lot in my business. Like right now I've been working a ton. And so, um, you know, I have to let other things go, but yeah, I think people don't don't understand the amount of time it takes even to post something like Instagram. That shouldn't be that hard, but it is, it's hard if you don't want it to look bad or you want to make sure you're providing content that's helpful and not just a picture of your dog every day.
Or just fresh, that's what Sarah always talks about. You kind of need need fresh and unique. And you know, your feed is always really great because it's always super authentic. It's fun to follow.
That's why it's still working. That's what, that's why I'm still working because I produce as much content. I think I have over 430 resources on teachers pay teachers out. And if all of those, when you think about the amount of time it takes to take, to make a resource, like let's say, I just posted, um, AAC, recipes that are core word focused. So there's seven recipes. It's a 45 page document. I've been working on that for two months. Like it's a lot of work. And I think people don't realize how much, how much research and planning goes into that and to try to make it work it's editable. So you can open it up, take the symbols I have out and put any of your students,or AAC symbols in. So the technology behind, how are we going to do that? And just the, I don't know, just the background, part of that, and so much more than an idea to make recipes with core words. And so when you think about that times all my different products, it's kind of staggering, the amount of time.
Yeah. Have you considered trying to go part-time even or just quitting?
The district I work in that I really love. Um, that's not a choice, so yeah. It's going to be, I'm sure it'll be a choice. Eventually. I love what I'm doing, but I would love to be able to do more professional development. And I would love to be able to work a couple of days in a clinic and do this kind of on the side, because I don't think the schools in my area are super flexible with their ...schedules, I guess, for lack of a better word. So I'll probably do that eventually. Um, but right now, so I work full time and then probably every evening I sit and do a couple hours of work in front of the TV. Luckily it's Hallmark season right now. It's the holidays. So I'm really good. And all of my characters and my stories that I write on TPT have hallmark character names.
I was just hazing somebody last night who said that they sat around watching the Hallmark movies. I go, I think you're the only person I've ever met in real life that watches this. And now it's two.
No, no one can tell on the internet that I'm raising my hand right now. I can't tell that it's a podcast, but I'm raising my hand. I watched that. Yes.
Um, I, ahe just asked if I did and, um, I haven't lately probably 'cause I've seen them all. Um, but I was a big Lifetime movie person forever. So no.
You watch Lifetime movies too??
There's a lot of judgment coming from that voice right now!
The thing with Hallmark and Lifetime, both though is no, I don't feel the need to continue to watch it because once you've seen a few they're all the same.
We might play this game where we turn it on and then we see who can guess the plot line the fastest. There's the firefighter the firefighter they've got to fall in love with now. What's the, what's the problem they're going to overcome together. That's it then. We play that game.
Am I going to marry the rich businessman or the boy from my small town?
But TV in the background is a great way to work and destress at the end of the day. Yeah. That's the thing, I'm more driven in my own business like as my own boss than any boss at my school would ever be, because I believe they can't make me work like I make myself work.
We said the same thing I think, I don't think I've ever worked as much in my life as when we first, I mean, even now, I mean, even now we still pull really, really long days, but it is so rewarding when you're doing it for yourself.
Yeah. And you feel like you're growing your own business. And I think for me, the thing that's awesome about it is clearly I like making products or I wouldn't have made 400 of them. So that in my business is my joy, like making a product and I'll come home some days literally jumping up and down because I finally figured out a way to get to one of my students and I have a caseload of 50 and I might be just working on a product for this one kid who is such a hard cookie to crack. Um, and so when I get that excited about something I've made for my own student, I know that it will help support other people. And they idea that a thousand people could have that same reaction with a really hard kid for a resource. They're not going to find anywhere else because it literally came out of my brain this week is just something you can't replace. I'm so thankful to have found that because speech therapy can get boring. I mean, you can only do so many phonograms in a row for so many years without being a little bored, I guess, of doing it. So for me, that challenge and finding our job, finding the things that help us grow within our job is really meaningful. It's been, it's been my favorite thing. I can't imagine what kind of speech therapist I would be if I didn't have this business.
Well, and I was going to say, not only, not only do you have to be a really great therapist to be coming up with these ideas and these resources, but you also have to be kind of like an artistic creative person too, because aesthetically and technological, I mean, there's a lot of that's going into to making one product. Um, they are not all created equal, not only in content, but also in appearance.
Yeah. And I've grown so much in my ability in that realm. I think we all do. So I look back the stuff I made at first and I'm just so embarrassed.
I like to see it. Send me a copy of Vintage Speech Room News, please.
I have it. It's terrible. I take a screenshot before I remake something.
I could send you some of the screenshots that Sarah mapped out for our initial landing page, our initial website. It's so disgusting. So disgusting. We're not even that old and we already have had that experience,
But now that I've been doing this for like seven or eight years, what I know now is that everything I make now, I'm going to hate and five years too. Just learn that, oh gosh, nothing stays current forever. So you're gonna, you're not going to like this font five years, either, Jenna.
So we know you're ASHA famous and we want to hear about that and like your fans and everything, but have you had hazers too?
Oh yeah. Internet is full of trolls,
But we imagine you all, you know, with a lot of love, there's going to be people who don't feel that way.
Yeah. There are people who are not nice then that's okay. I mean, every--every field has that. I think, I think we're really lucky in our field. I bet the percentage of negative feedback I get compared to positive feedback is like, gotta be so different than I think about like, I don't know, a football player, somebody who's just like always putting themselves out there the same way, but a totally different field. Or I can't even think of anybody else who's got an actual skill who's famous. But like, when I think about like athletes or something, you always see comments that are just so negative. Um, and I really have been really lucky that, that doesn't, that's not my daily occurrence.
And sometimes I think people are, think they're coming from a good place too. So if it comes out in a funky way, they really think that they're helping you which is so much fun.
Yeah. And I have a bunch of editors and I always tell them like, of course correct me, but also remember I'm a person, I'm a person who's doing her best. And just, I feel like I'm giving a lot of myself to grow my business, but just to connect with other people and to help people connect with each other and find each other and grow as clinicians. And I see that in my groups and in my, um, even in my like blog posts, people will comment, reply to each other. And I--social media has changed that so much. It's just exploded. So if that's my end goal, I have to put a lot of myself out there for that to happen. And so of course, you're going to get some negative feedback, but I always try to remember that for, for--if I was in that position again, where I'm in my second year of working as a speech pathologist, not confident, really a lot of what I'm doing, I would want to see what would I want to see. And so I think it's worth putting myself out there. And the negative feedback is not, it's not the thing that sticks in my brain.
Okay. That's what I was gonna ask you is, is, does it not just roll off your back?
My friends text me about it and that makes me laugh a lot. Like be like, what is that person commenting on your post for?
What's the, like, worst thing. Can you think of anything off the top of your head?
I can't think of anything off the top of my head. I have a folder in my computer that's, like, hall of fame. I have a good one too. I don't want to make it sound like I'm like stuck on the negative. I am super lucky that most of them are positive. So I have these two folders in my computer that are like reserved for really good letters that are like, oh my gosh, I was really struggling and you helped me in this way. And I have the do not engage folder for people who I'm not gonna--not gonna give them my energy.
And so we've talked about this. I would actually, I think it just, this last ASHA I was telling you that I am not very good at it yet. I hope that'll change maybe over time. Um, but I can get 99 compliments and one negative and I do hyper focus--hyper hyper focus and overthink that negative. It really gets to me. And when Lisa does, Lisa's very much like get over it. It's no big deal who cares, you know, blow, bleed that blow off. Um, but you can't, you can't let it get to you because you're like you said, you won't put yourself out there if that's, you know, going to cause that kind of anguish.
[Unintelligible, possibly "And, like, nobody super duper"] cares when you don't like their product and you post about it on the internet? Like probably somebody in quality control's like, oh, we should check that. But really nobody's losing sleep. Nobody's talking to their husband about how everyone on the internet hates that. No, no.
I don't think Sharon Weber cares about anything if she's able to walk around in a neon zebra Stripe suit.
That works. That was, that was a lot of confidence involved in that. I think she's not worried about it.
What about super fans? Have you ever had like anybody crying?
I don't think anyone's ever cried. I was at a football game though. The Ohio State, um, big 10 championship was in Indiana that's again. And I went with my mom and someone came up to me and was like, are you an SLP? I was like, yes. And she was a speech therapist too and recognized me. It's really weird. I can't imagine being Oprah where literally everyone knows me. 'Cause like zero, zero, zero, zero point five percent of the population might know me. And it's weird. Yeah.
It's weird because you're like, I'm just watching a football game, shoving a hot dog in my face.
Does Scott get it? Does he understand kind of the magnitude?
No, I don't think he's never been to ASHA with me.. And that's where it is really evident. Like I'll meet people in the bathroom who say hi, or all times really at all times. So ASHA's funny because I'm like, Oh my gosh, someone will follow me. You follow my resources. Thank you so much. Um, I spend like the whole week just smiling ear to ear, but I'm also an introvert. I like to be extroverted. I like to be outgoing, but I don't get energy from that. I have to go to my dark hotel room and to recover from that. So, um, he thinks that part is funny. Scott thinks that part's funny. Cause he's like, these people have no idea. You're actually an introvert.
Can we talk about that? That we love people, but we just need a little bit of time because I mean, it doesn't mean that you don't let people, if you just need to like step away for a minute. And just because I don't want to smile or just need a little bit of time to not talk for a minute, because especially for us when you're in that booth all day long and you're, you have to be on like, you know, jazz be on the whole time. And so yeah.
I mean, I hid between your booth and my booth at ASHA, so I could sit quiet with my sandwich and that's super cool. It's like, there is no feeling like the feeling you get at ASHA when someone knows you, when you're washing your hands in the bathroom. Like that, it's crazy. But it does make me a little uncomfortable. Cause I just don't know what to do with that. I don't know, like, I think my friends who, like I have a couple friends who, um, knew Feature News before they knew me. And I think they're a little bit shocked about how I am in real life. I mean, I'm like this, but I'm also cursing and being hilarious and I want to be the funniest person in every room. And I just think I'm not that serious. And I'm not thinking about speech therapy, a hundred percent of my life, which is what my brand portrays, is on my business Instagram. I'm not posting about the cool nail polish I found and what hair, well, I do post about hair products, but, um, that's because of the frequently asked question, but I'm not, I'm not sharing the rest of my life there. So people kind of have a different, I think interpretation of me, I'm not a total nerd, I guess is what I'm trying to say.
Very funny. Very, very funny.
That is like only one I care about is that.
You are very funny. We always have a good time when we get to talk to you. I also love that you are very real and very down to earth and just like say it, how it is, which we very much appreciate.
I think that's why we already get along so well when we haven't known each other that long. Right.
What about, um, other co-worker workers? Like where you work? So you've talked about like the SLPs that you work with, um, which may have some context for what you do, but do you have any other coworkers that you work with? Feel because we've had some mixed reviews sometimes when we were starting our business. So I don't know if you've encountered any of that.
Yeah. Um, the building I work at right now, it's not like, I don't know. We don't talk about it. I think everyone knows, but we don't--it's not like we talk about it. You know, it's not like, I don't know. It's not really an issue in buildings where I worked before. I never like came out and told everyone. But when I first started my blog, I sent an email to my boss just so she would know. And my SLP coworkers in that district, I was like, hey, I started this blog. It's got five entries in case you want to read it, but let me know what you think. And so those people knew, but then I moved to a new district and um, one day I came in and someone printed like, uh, I think I had done an interview on TPT, like for their email blast and someone had printed it out and just set it in the staff room. And I was like, so like, is this like, you're proud of me or you hate me or I'm the new guy? Are you just making sure everybody knows I do this thing? Or I don't know. It made me feel weird.
Do you feel pressure? I always think too are they watching you, like, let's see how good her therapy lesson is today. Does she know what she's doing?
Today she brought little people toys. That's what I did and took, and took language samples because it was time we needed a language sample day. Um, yeah, I think there's some pressure to that. I also feel the pressure actually in the opposite, to share the real on social media. My colleagues, I think get it, they understand. And I don't think they feel self-conscious about it. I don't, I don't--I think that's not really an issue where I work. I'm really lucky and I don't think, but I do feel the pressure. I think even yesterday I got four messages. Like I don't understand how you have time to laminate this stuff. I'm like, well, first of all, you're looking at 10 years of speech therapy materials and I post a picture I'm grabbing off a shelf full of stuff. Also I run a business where I work 20 hours to 30 hours, sometimes 40 hours a week outside of school hours doing this. So while you're taking your kid to soccer, I'm laminating something so I can share it on social media. So my, my side business, my side gig supports my school job because I have all those materials. And I think people start to feel bad about themselves. And I know this has been talked about a lot, but I don't think, I don't think it's fair to have a conversation about my business, without me saying, I'm aware that sometimes it doesn't help. Sometimes it just makes people feel bad about what they're doing. So I just try to really encourage people to slowly build up their resources and, and think about one new product every couple of months you can create and store and print from TPT and you know, you'll have it for next year. You just pull it out. I'm still pulling out today. I was, when I was cleaning out, I pulled out a book and painting and it had the book, all the materials I needed in file folders in a, in a Ziploc bag. And it had my notes from my very first year because the kids that were listed in there were all my first, first year of a speech therapy. And I was using that resource. So you gotta be smart about it.
I was wondering why she threw up his laminated plate.
I'm glad you said that about the comparison thing. I do think, you know, not only in our fields, but in general, I do think there's kind of two camps. Those of us that get inspiration from things like Pinterest and Instagram and those of us who feel like a sense of defeat or that we're never going to be able to Mount up or, or that we need to be doing these things. I know I saw a lot, especially when it comes to like the room, some of us genuinely love to decorate our speech rooms and find pleasure in that. And so that's where it's coming from. Do you have to have a perfectly decorated speech from, to be a good therapist? Of course you don't. Yeah. So I do think that that's really important point to make is that, you know, you've got all of these things that you're sharing because it's, that's what you do. You create them and you've had them collected over time. It doesn't mean you're not great therapist if you do not laminate 10 hours a week.
It does not matter. Literally. And last year I was getting married and I didn't make a new TPT products or even use any TPT products I think for like three months, like I was [unintelligible overlap]. He kept my account open. It was great. That's the whole point of this business. You have, you can do it when you want to do it. And then when you don't have time, cause your husband's like, maybe we should have a wedding. Like I got a lot of people coming, I guess I should plan something, then you don't have to do it. And I think the reason I started this business is obviously because I'm inspired by that, like you said, I get inspiration and drive from something that I've seen. My very first posts, one of my very first post was this candy corn game on my blog. And it was horrible looking, but you like cut the candy corn across. And I had seen that on a teacher's page. And I was like, Oh, well, I could use that for, for categories. And I, you know, made something and I shared it. And obviously that seeing somebody else do that gave me inspiration. That's why, that's why I started the whole business where I'm trying to inspire other people to be excited about going to work. And so I don't scroll through Instagram and feel bad about saying that, but I know other people do. So I try to really be sensitive and talk about those things too, because I don't want anyone to ever feel like that's the point of my business is to make them feel bad. The literal reason I'm killing myself every year for this business and working crazy hours is to help other helpers.
You never reply except to say suck it up.
Probably the reason I would get fired from my own business is that I don't reply to emails. Well, I like once a month sit down and I'll have like accumulated thousands of emails and I'll be like, and he's like, okay, all right, I'll feed you in three hours. I'm like, okay, great. I'm going to try to get the inbox down to 1200 by. And I'll just like crank them out. That's because I have to make a decision. If I get home from work at five o'clock, we had this conference call at five o'clock. I got home at 16:55. And so I'm doing the same thing every night. I get home, I make dinner. I decide what I'm going to do for the next couple of hours. And I'd much rather make some crazy cool therapy material that I know will help my kids and help somebody else's kids than answer emails. So that's going to be my fire-able offense within my own business. I don't reply to emails time.
Well, it's not affecting your business that much.
Yeah. People are forgiving. I think I often reply with, wow, this is three from three months ago. I'm really sorry. But if they really need the00I feel like they'll track me down in another way, because I reply to Instagram stories and Instagram posts. Yeah.
So big takeaway DM her don't email her.
If you want to talk to me, DM me.
Show up at her doorstep in Ohio.
Maybe don't do that. That's creepy. I am often found in Target and Dollar Tree.
Now you--I am always so impressed with, I mean, first of all, like Lisa had already said to your Instagram is fantastic because it's real
Because I live there, I like that.
I'm the same way. Instagram is my happy place. I rant on Instagram than any other social media outlet because it's my personal favorite. I will say I have dry spells where I literally am racking my brain for something, because we're the same way, we won't post if it's not going to add value, whether it's funny or therapy related or whatever, I'm not just going to post for the sake of posting. So how are you always coming up with new stuff?
Well, I just take pictures of what I'm doing. And I think because I have the benefit of working full time, I, I, that's what I post, you know? Cause I think that's what people want to see. Now I have super Instagram envy over those people with like beautiful posts like that all match and they're cohesive and they're all lighten and airy and ethereal and so I'm like, here's my Dorito bag in front of my computer where I'm working on a product or ,I don't know, whatever it is. I, I don't get real caught up in like this aesthetically beautiful. With your, your feed is pretty beautiful. I'll admit that, you guys are doing a good job. I aspire to that, but that's not Authentic Jenna. And I think if I tried to do that, you guys would laugh. It would be so like secret. It would be not me, so.
But you aren't, your picture quality is good. And like I said, it's interesting, one of my favorites was when you were laying on all your little minis.
Also they all got trapped in my curly hair. It was like so funny. I made Scott hold a light over me. I laid on the kitchen floor on a whiteboard, hundreds of little mini objects behind me. And when I sat up, they were all in my hair. Oh, also I took 400 photos and I had a horrible, like, no one should take a photo laying down. That is not flattering. No good angle for that. So I ended up like finding one I didn't hate so much. And I posted it. That's one of my favorite photos and I'm obsessed with mini objects. I love [unintelligible] and that that's one of the ways I do it.
I would take authentic and fun over ethereal and perfect any time, though.
Yeah, anytime I try not--I try to be inspiring in my posts, but also not to make anybody feel, feel less than so I hope, I hope they find it inspiring today. I was starting to take language samples for kids and they all kept telling me their Elf stories. Secret Elf that moves at night. I work in with four and five-year-olds so they were very into that. And so all of my data sheets today said, I tried to write a language sample on them and they all were talking about elf stories. Which is good, 'cause it was kind of in context, but kind of out of context. Cause I have no idea what happened to their elf. And uh, so anything like that, that's funny that happens. I try to post that. I posted about that today. I like Instagram. It's fun
I like Instagram too. And I do feel a sense of, um, that it's the best for community is I really feel like these are our friends. Like I am talking and engaging and watching my friends.
I have people who reply every day to the Instagram stories I post that is so kind. It's amazing. Sometimes it feels like I'm talking to my self on Instagram stories and people when people reply, that makes me feel really good. Yeah.
Yeah. I know. I'm always thinking are you really listening?
I know how many people are watching because there's analytics at the bottom, but it's there's--unless someone replies to you, it's weird
Because we already, okay. There was another thing I was thinking of too. And Lisa and I have been talking about this a lot lately. Our market's very tiny, very niche. Um, and obviously it actually, what brought it up too, is somebody was asking about blogs. And so I shared the list that you compiled. There's a lot, there's a lot of blogs out there right now. Um, and there's a lot of, uh, more people getting into TPT and, and selling products and materials. Um, do you have issues with, um, competition in the sense of, you know, anybody taking products that you've created or, you know, misusing products or imitation or, um, you know, that side of things, which is the fact that it's--it seems to be getting more saturated.
Yeah. It's really interesting how fast the market has grown. I would say, um, there's kind of like the core group of us who all started at the same time and then there's been these waves of other people doing it, which I totally support and continue to believe that there are more ideas to be had. Right? And our field is not old. We have no young field, we have more and more talent being thrown out of grad school with more technology skills than we had 10 years ago. Yeah. I remember listening to your podcast with, um, Meredith and thinking about, and having her talk about the research being young, you know, like not very deep into the research. And I was like, yeah, I know. I don't think I ever thought of it before that. And I thought that was a good point. And I, but I do feel like in the depth of our field, we're not that deep. And so there are so many different areas of study. Like I don't post anything about voice because I haven't done that since graduate school that wouldn't be, you know, ethical for me to post about. Um, and so I think there's plenty of room for other people who have great ideas to continue to grow and start businesses and see if you like it. And if you don't like it, stop doing it. And if you love it you'll know there are people started just in the last two years who I watch, who have blossomed, who are doing so well, who are natural at this. And I think you'll find out very quickly, if you are not the first time you sit down to try to take something you made for your own student and turn it into something you can publish, you will quickly find out, wow, this is kind of fun. I thrive on this and it feels good when I get it done and I get a high from finishing something or you'll find out, whoa, that's not what I thought it was. This is not the same as making materials for my own students with Boardmaker. Um, and I didn't like that. That was too much work.
A hundred percent agree.
Totally agree, too. And in the light of it to you made, you know, have great product, but then running a business--
So different. Yeah. So the copying thing like copyright, I don't know, it's really hard because ideas are ideas and it's hard to copyright an idea. There have been a few instances where someone, um, used something that was obviously mine or like copied the actual free poster and tried to sell it for something. But those instances don't come up that much. I would say. Um, I'd say there's a bigger issue in the market of, of if you've got there first, does that mean you own that space? And I don't really think so. I think, you know, every speech therapy company I know makes art worksheets. Right? That's a really good example. Every company that I know has something like that, where you use the paint dabbers and you do activities with those paint dabers. So you can't say that that's your idea and that's your whole thing. Um, and so I think there's a lot of talk within the community about that kind of stuff, which I think is an ongoing thing. We're only figuring out as we go, we haven't been doing this that long. I think I was, I don't know if I'm the first, but I feel, I didn't know anybody else doing it when I started TPT. So in my own brain, I'm the pioneer, I don't know. I've got a cold, wait, sorry about that cough.
I know we didn't even say yet. You've got a cold, which is great. I don't think anybody's going to notice.
Plus I have my headphones in, so I sound real weird to myself. I try to let that go, not get stuck on it. And so I think that our, this little niche, this own little thing that we're growing, will certainly different in 10 years. Will it still even be a thing, right? I don't know. Maybe it won't be maybe, maybe it'll have grown, we'll outgrow it and then we'll move to something else. I don't know. But I do think the copyright, that kind of stuff is, is a hard issue like within other TPT sellers.
Yeah. I love that you said that too, where we feel the same way. There is enough room in the world for all of our ideas. We are always encouraging others to do things. I mean, again, this all comes back to, I think both of us feel the same way we are in this to help and make a difference in this field. And so if you've ever--and anybody out there has anything, please share it. But again, not everybody, it might not be something you're interested in doing. I never, in a million years thought I'd want to run a business. It's probably my favorite thing I've ever done in my life. It's also the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. So yeah.
It's so hard. It's so hard in ways you don't think will be hard. Um, and I think obviously we both love it or we wouldn't do this to ourselves. Right. And it's so rewarding. And that's the part you don't know when you first start it. Like it, obviously some kind of rewarding because you're like, well, I'm going to build something. I'm going to grow something. I'm going to design something and it, and you grow and grow and you start getting feedback and it it's, it's self motivating and rewarding, but you don't know how invested in it. You'll become like it's part of your identity. I'm sure you guys feel the same way. Like, you know, when you introduce yourself, you probably say I'm a mom and I'm a business owner. Like those are your things. Or maybe you're a wife and go fill that in there. But like the, the things that are important to you are your business because you've spent so much time to build it. And I think, I think that's admirable. I'm so--I'm proud of you guys and proud of so many people who used to think that they think of themselves as just a therapist and in our field, there's no room for advancement, maybe lead SLP, maybe clinic manager. Not really, most people don't want to go be a special ed supervisor cause that's terrible job anyway. So there's not a lot of room for advancement. So when you change your thinking to, I can do more than this, I could take this same idea I have here and apply it to a lot of different people. I think that's so admirable. And I love the fact that there's hundreds of other speech therapists who are doing that through TPT. Um, and I think there's lots of different ways they can do that. It's not just TPT. So if you have a good idea, make the product self publish it, you know, do make new cards, make, you know, there's still room for things that aren't digital. So I hope people will continue to start businesses because they help the helpers and, and that's yeah.
I don't think we could leave on a better note.
I think agreed.
Other than saying you are a boss and we really, really heart you and thank you for sharing. I think, I think people want to know these things and, and I, you know, I'm sure we've hopefully inspired somebody to like do something.
Wait I have one more question!
How often do you perm your hair?
About once a week, that's how often I wash it. Wait, did you say, how often do I permit? No, I wish this was like a box perm, wouldn't that be cool? [Unintelligible]
If you guys out there listening start your own business you can have somebody curl your hair every morning, too. Just like Jenna.
To be clear. It's Speech Room News is not doing that well. We have not yet hired beauty.
That's your signature thing.
I know you have branding but it's your hair, it really is.
It's memorable. That's for sure. I can't wait. That's my new business goal. You guys, you just made my new business goal is to have someone curl my hair. I used to say my first business goal was to get enough money to get guacamole on my Chipotle, without thinking twice. To be able to charge for guac. That's all needed. I wanted to be just to be able to get guac without having to think about what else I have to give up.
Now you want that side of how they added the margarita is with the Patron. So now you want to upgrade to that.
I just don't want that terrible queso they tried to put in there.
I like their queso.
You like the queso?! We went right back to Mexican food. I like how we tied it up with that.
Yeah, we did! We went right back.
You judged me for queso, I judged you for Hallmark, we're even,
Okay. ...Don't get the queso, people. Don't get it.
But you also didn't like the Mike's--um, uh, what was that thing? Oh, in cannoli!
I did not like it, I think I just don't like cannoli.
I don't think it was, I didn't like Mike's. Cause I think I don't like, I've never liked cannoli before I thought I was going to be so wild and magical that it was going to taste totally different.
No, no. It was not.
You were like I paid $27 for this cannoli. I better like it.
You can have the haters, those sweet, but very forceful women at the cannoli place were very aggressive to me and I, it overwhelmed me very much. It was not for introverts. It was a lot. If you weren't ready to scream out your order you were in trouble.
It was, it was intense and I didn't really enjoy it. Okay. So we will have no cannolis when you come out, just tacos.
Well, we love you. We're so happy that you joined us today.
So proud of you!
Ditto friend. We'll talk to you soon.