On this episode of Leading Las Vegas, Jodi Harris joins me to discuss how to run a successful business while giving back to the community.

Jodi Harris – Running a Successful Business & Giving Back [Video Transcript]

Danielle Ford: Hey there. Welcome to another episode of Leading Las Vegas. I'm Danielle Ford of DanielleFord.com where visibility makes a difference. I am stoked to have my friend Jodi Harris here today. She's the owner of Sight and Sound Events. Her company does all sorts of different events here in Las Vegas. They've won a bunch of awards. Is it three? Three awards?

Jodi Harris: Yes, three. Soon to be four. Hopefully.

Danielle Ford: And it's going keep adding.

Jodi Harris: We're just going to keep going.

Danielle Ford: So, she's fantastic. The reason I really wanted to have her on the show is that not only does she do a lot of awesome, free type of training for business professionals, but she also gives so selflessly of her company and helps with things like the walk for cancer every single year. And I've seen you do things with animals.

Jodi Harris: Yup, the military and the Marines. We give back to the Marine Corps. So yeah, so thank you, Danielle, for having me on here. Like Danielle said, our company, our brand, has been around for going on 22 years. So we produce all sorts of amazing events and we really do believe in giving back to the community. That is so, so important to us. So we've hooked up with the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, and the American Cancer Society.

We're going into I think our fourth year. So it's four years and we volunteer our services. Twenty-five thousand people from the Las Vegas valley come to that event and we pretty much run the stage. We run all the entertainment! We work with the American Cancer Society and just make it a fun event for everybody.

Danielle Ford: I love that. So something I've heard a lot of business owners say is “Oh I wish I could help with this, or I can't give things away for free” type deal, but I know that you have been successful in your business by just being really giving. Do you think that that … is it a chicken before the egg type thing? Or do you just start?

Jodi Harris: Yeah, I think business owners and people in the community, if they want to get involved with a charity or an organization, should pick something that's near and dear to their heart. For me, it's obvious, Danielle, and the people listening and watching, we all know somebody, somebody in our lives has been touched by cancer. Either they lost the battle or they're fighting the battle, so to us that's just so important. It's a cause near and dear to my heart and everybody's heart, so it's very easy to get people on board. Find that one association.

Animals. My husband and I are rescue parents. We have two dogs and that's also another cause that's near and dear to our hearts. And then the military. I mean they're out there killing people for us and that's what a Marine actually said. So you really need to find an association, a cause that's near and dear to your heart. I don't do it for the money. I'm not doing it to get gigs. I'm doing it because it's my way to give back and it's my way to help an animal, to support our troops, to fight against breast cancer or all cancers.

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That's the main thing. Find that one association, that one organization that's near and dear to your heart and reach out to them. They are looking for volunteers. They are looking for people. If you're a photographer, a DJ, whatever. You're a PR person, a social media guru. Whatever it is, reach out to them. They're looking for people like you to help out. And it just makes you feel good.

Danielle Ford: And it makes you want to do better in your business, to make more money to be able to spend time on these things and be able to give your resources freely.

Jodi Harris: Absolutely, absolutely, yeah.

Danielle Ford: What about … I know you do a lot of trainings. I know you're starting to open up your physical location to even help others. I don't want to say your competition, but other people in your industry. Do you feel like, I know a lot of people are scared of helping other people or training, but you kind of feel like there's maybe enough to go around.

Jodi Harris: Absolutely. You know what, we all go to seminars, you teach amazing seminars, she does, she's awesome. But we all go to seminars. You got to take the information, the thing is, right Danielle, you got to apply it. You could listen to the most amazing speaker on God's green earth give you great business advice, but you got to apply it. I go to the DJ shows and I'm sitting in a room with some of my competitors.

But guess what, I'm actually taking that information and applying it to my business where they're like “Well, I don't know”. So I'm not worried about competitors being in the room with me. It's all about taking what you learn, taking what Danielle teaches you too. Because I've taken a lot of what Danielle's told me and applied it into my business and that's what it is.

When people say to you, “Gosh, you're everywhere.” Well, I'm everywhere because if I'm spending $300 or $600 on a seminar, I'd be a fool not to take the information that you're giving me and apply it to my business. Duh. You know?

Danielle Ford: I think that's so smart when I think of event companies in Vegas, if I was going to recommend anybody it would be you.

Jodi Harris: Thank you.

Danielle Ford: Because you're clearly the leader. And that's what this show is about, it’s showcasing what leaders are doing and kind of behind the scenes. I learned that. I don't have a skincare business anymore, but I did and I was … in my mind then, I was trying to get clients. But I was teaching things that were actually helping other estheticians, like how to wax eyebrows and how to do a facial. It subconsciously made people want to hire me because then I was seen as the leader of that industry, helping other people.

Jodi Harris: Absolutely. Absolutely and that's what I do with the Weddings Done Right show. As you know, I have a podcast about planning a wedding. And it's not necessarily planning a wedding in Vegas, although the information applies, it's about planning a wedding period. So we have people from all over the country that

listen to our show. As a matter of fact, we're really big in Ireland, don't ask me why. I don't know, but we're really big. When I look at the numbers, it says Ireland, I'm like woo, that's awesome and I'm Italian, what's up. But Irish people love weddings.

Danielle Ford: That's true.

Jodi Harris: I guess I like to party but yeah, so but that is definitely established me as an industry expert when it comes to weddings. And like you said, no matter what your business is, you can establish yourself as an expert. There's so many tools out there that you can use. My gosh. Social media, I'm talking to the queen over here. Woo hoo, woo hoo. I mean social media nowadays, you can do so much.

No matter what your business is, you can establish yourself as an expert. -Jody Harris Click To Tweet

Danielle Ford: There's no reason not to be getting clients, putting yourself out there, creating a brand.

Jodi Harris: Yeah. And don't feel that you have to look a certain way or you have to be a certain way. It doesn't matter, I mean people want to know what you know. Twenty-two years in the special events industry, I've kissed a lot of frogs. I've seen the good. I've seen the bad. And I've totally seen the ugly.

So it's taking that and helping the new people, because the new people are just so excited. Even changing the mindset of some of the old people. They have to get with the times, if you want to get into business and you want to be a leader, you've got to get with it. You have to embrace technology.

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Danielle Ford: And I think it's really interesting, I see this with people like millennials, so there's millennials and then there's your old timers. I remember your DJ group got offended when I said, “a lot of you are old school” and they're like “what?” But really, when you're old school you remember when you had to pay to be in a magazine.

Jodi Harris: Oh, absolutely.

Danielle Ford: And now you can take that content and post it for free online. You can give it away. But now we have these millennials who are coming up and they don't realize how valuable it is to be able to just give freely.

Jodi Harris: Yes.

Danielle Ford: And they say things like, “I should be charging people for that, maybe they can pay me to learn that” and it's like no, just give it for free. Give. Then if somebody really needs to hire you or wants something more in-depth, they can come pay you. And you do that, you get that with your podcasts and everything.

Jodi Harris: And people have to understand too that you are volunteering, so you have the opportunity to say no to certain things. Like well, I am working … I mean think about it the cancer society, the Making Strides event is in our busiest month of the year. We have weddings. It's October, that's a huge month for events in Las Vegas. I mean we just know our limits, you know? But we hustle and we make it happen.

So if you feel like they're asking too much of you, remember you're volunteers. You can always just say, “I can't do it this time” or “I only have this amount of time to give to you”.  They will understand, but the more you say yes, the more you'll be pushed. It's just up to you, it's up to you.

Danielle Ford: That's really interesting.

Jodi Harris: But you should, you should totally. I mean, you'll feel good about yourself. It makes a difference. It really does. My team, I work with a lot of millennials. It's the biggest thrill. It's their biggest thrill to be on the stage, playing music for 25,000 people and to see the cancer survivors come up to us and just thank us. It's really cool.

Danielle Ford: I love that. I've seen your Snapchats and it's so fun.

Jodi Harris: They're raw.

Danielle Ford: You guys, you have to follow her on Snapchat.

Jodi Harris: They're really raw.

Danielle Ford: Yeah and when you're from the stage and showing everybody in the audience, that's just amazing. You feel like you're part of that experience.

Jodi Harris: Oh, absolutely, I always try to go out there and again, embracing technology. You got to. If you want to win in this world, you have to just do it. You can't go “Well, I'm too old to tweet” or “what's that?” You gotta do it. No “I don't look good enough to Snapchat!” Who cares! Like Danielle said, if the content is great, it's great. They'll watch you.

Danielle Ford: And sometimes people want to see when you don't look good or when you just woke up because then you're showing.

Jodi Harris: You're a real person.

Danielle Ford:  …you're a real person. Yeah I'm super-relatable.

Jodi Harris:  Absolutely.

Danielle Ford:  I love that. What are some of the things you're going to be covering in your new, is it monthly, classes?

Jodi Harris:  Yeah, we're going to talk a little bit about branding, tools that you can use to increase your business, that's the first one I'm going to do. And I'm going to also talk a little bit about the power of LinkedIn. I think a lot of people don't understand how important LinkedIn-

Danielle Ford:  That's probably the one that I don't ever get on. I should come to your event because I just do not understand LinkedIn.

Jodi Harris:  Yeah, a lot of people don't and it comes up a lot. Like all of the seminars that I took at the MobileBeat Conference. I kept hearing LinkedIn, LinkedIn, LinkedIn, LinkedIn. A lot of people don't know what LinkedIn is, so I think it's time to just give a little crash course on the power of LinkedIn.

Danielle Ford: I actually have a lot of connections, I'm one of the top rated in my field and I get all sorts of messages, but to me it feels very corporate-y. Is it like that?

Jodi Harris:  Well it is, because if you want to know who the person is that may be planning the charity fundraisers that you might want to get involved in, I think LinkedIn is a great way to find out who is where. So yes, it's a very powerful tool. Like I follow WWE, right, I'm a huge WWE fan and hopefully one day I will get to party with the WWE, maybe next year. But going on LinkedIn and finding that information, I could find out who's where, if that makes sense.

Danielle Ford: Oh, yeah, like the who's who-

Jodi Harris:  Yeah, the who's who, yeah, exactly because every business professional has a LinkedIn.

Danielle Ford: Right. It's kind of…

Jodi Harris:  They should.

Danielle Ford: … like having a resume.

Jodi Harris:  Exactly because your employers or even your clients are Googling you.

Danielle Ford: Yeah, and it ranks. I love Google and I know that LinkedIn does rank there, so you want to be on it for sure.

Jodi Harris:  Absolutely, absolutely.

Danielle Ford: I love it. So can you tell us, the audience, if they want to reach out to you, connect with you, where they can find you?

Jodi Harris:  Absolutely. As Danielle said, I'm all over social media, just like her, but I think she's a little better at it.

Danielle Ford: No. You're great!

Jodi Harris:  By the way, I did love Periscope. I say I “did” but It's still out there, but it's not as,

Danielle Ford: There's like so many more options now.

Jodi Harris: There really are and I really feel that a lot of people are really on the Instagram bandwagon, Sonny [Ganguly] from WeddingWire he talked about it. So Instagram, Jodi Harris Vegas, Sight and Sound events is our company. Our website, Sight & Sound, you could find us on there. Just Google. Just Google “Jodi Harris, CEO of Fun” and you will find more information than you really want to know about me. But it's all good, it's all good.

Danielle Ford: I love how you claim the title of CEO of Fun. And you are.

Jodi Harris:  Yeah, it was given to me. A friend of mine was CEO of Rock and Roll, Jeff, out of Florida who you might remember from our Think Tank. He was the CEO of Rock and Roll and years ago a photographer that I shared my office with said, “Well, if Jeff is the CEO of Rock and Roll, you should be the CEO of Fun” and I always tried to get rid of that title, I didn't want to be the CEO of Fun.

Danielle Ford: It just stuck?

Jodi Harris:  I love it though.

Danielle Ford: You can't control what people say about you.

Jodi Harris: It's my brand now, it's my brand. I mean everywhere I go, CEO of Fun, that's what they remember. So it's cool. I guess there are worse titles you could have, right people?

Danielle Ford: That's who you want putting on your events.

Jodi Harris:  Yeah, you don't want Debbie Downer.

Danielle Ford: Yeah. CEO of Sadness.

Jodi Harris:  Exactly, it's like “I hate parties”.

Danielle Ford: I love that. Okay. Thank you so, so much for coming on the show, I really, really appreciate it.

Jodi Harris:  Thank you, thank you.

Danielle Ford: You guys check out Jodi if you want to learn anything about running your business, check out her events, find her online and definitely check her out when she'd helping-

Jodi Harris: Yeah.

Danielle Ford: What is it, Strides for Cancer?

Jodi Harris: Making Strides-

Danielle Ford: Making Strides?

Jodi Harris:  Yeah, Making Strides, it's going to be October 29th at the Red Rock. I know you said not to push anything but,

Danielle Ford: No, no, that's cool, yeah.

Jodi Harris:  It's good, we've got some time, so yeah. And like us on Facebook, like the Facebook page too. But if you guys need any help, I'm more than happy to talk to anybody in your audience, so reach out to us.

Danielle Ford: Hit her up.

Jodi Harris:  Hit me up. I said I might regret it, but hit me up.

Danielle Ford: And you say that now.

Jodi Harris:  Yeah, I say that now, hey. But thank you for the opportunity, I appreciate it.

Danielle Ford: Yes, it was great. Alright you guys, this has been another episode of Leading Las Vegas, I'm Danielle Ford, this is Jodi Harris, and we will see you in the next episode.

Jodi Harris:  Woo.

Danielle Ford: Bye guys.

Jodi Harris:  Bye.

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