Welcome to our Bright Sparks series with Sharyn Sheldon, CEO of Content Sparks, and Sarah Arrow, Team Sparks. In the Bright Sparks series, we interview savvy, successful online course creators who are using Content Sparks' brandable (PLR) courses to grow their businesses. In each interview, our customers share their experience and insights on how you can get your courses online faster, so you can get those courses working for you to increase your income. Today, we’re interviewing Al Jensen to find out more on how speakers can create online courses like lightning!
Sarah Arrow (00:07):
Hi everybody. It's Sarah from Team Content Sparks here and I'm with Sharyn Sheldon. And I'm also here with the fantastic Al. Thanks for coming. And we're going to be picking Al’s brain and talking about how he uses brandable content. My first question to you is, how did you discover brandable content?
Al Jensen (00:38):
Ooh, how did I discover brandable content? Hmm that's a real good story. I've been writing my own content for years and years. And I have always been searching the web, and even before the internet was a thing, going down to the library and pulling books off the shelves and reading other people's content for ideas, for starting places. And that's really how I've created my own content. I would take a little bit of this and a little bit of that and figure out where this person is coming from, what their angle is, what their view is. Oh, and then there's another person who has another view. So I would just kind of compile everyone else's thoughts and their views. And then I would take a look at it from my perspective, I would go, you know, I kinda like this person's angle on this, but I don't agree there, but I do like that person's angle on this.
Al Jensen (01:40):
So I have always liked to look at other individuals’ perspectives and then kind of create my own universal perspective based on everything else that's out there. So, when the internet came along, it just made it so much easier to find other people's perspectives. And along the way, I found this brandable content where someone else had already done all that research. They have gone out and they have found a variety of other people's perspectives and they've kind of compiled it and done that work for me. So now when I have a new topic that I want to write on that I want to teach on, I want to make it a component of my programming, I can grab that brandable content. I can quickly go through it and now it doesn't take me weeks or months to do it. I can literally do it in days because you know, all the legwork has been done for me. And in a matter of just a few hours, I can take that brandable content and turn it into my own work. And man, it is a lifesaver, a time saver, and a huge money saver. So, I don't know, does that answer your question?
I think it does. And of course, my next question is, what is it you do Al? How does brandable content help you? And I can understand you've mentioned writing and I know from writing myself and Sharyn knows from course design, we have to do a tremendous amount of research in order to get the perspectives, and then translate them to our audience and show them why it's the right way to go down this path or the right way to go another path. So, what is it you do that requires all of this research?
Al Jensen (03:40):
Well, to be honest, what I do does not require anything because I retired from the real world in 2005. My definition of retired simply means I don't set an alarm clock and I don't require a paycheck at the end of the week or the end of the month. I get up in the morning and I do whatever I want to do.
I like to think that I'm at that self actualization portion of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, that when I get up in the morning, I want to make an impact on the world. I want to do everything I can to utilize the skills, the abilities, and the talents that I've been given to make an impact to make the world a better place without regard for making an income. So literally since 2005, I've been doing what makes my heart sing.
Al Jensen (04:40):
I have been doing comedy. I created a comedy magic show, and I have been literally a professional public speaker since 1976. And for the last several years here in the Las Vegas Nevada area, I have been a speaker coach, a speaker trainer. So, I work with aspiring and emerging speakers to help them become more effective communicators and storytellers from the platform, moving their audiences to action. Now, along the way, I get a lot of these people who say, listen, I'm an entrepreneur, and I want to help people to understand they have a greater ability to get in touch with their inner self, for whatever it is that they want to do. But they're building their own business. I've been an entrepreneur for most of my life.
Al Jensen (05:41):
I've built businesses, I've sold businesses, I've managed people. In addition to the speaking, the communicating, the storytelling, I have business building skills. So, people ask me, how do you decide if a business is viable? Do you decide if you're going to hire people or if you're going to outsource things, if you're going to do it yourself. I get all of these questions.
In addition to helping people with their speaking skills I have added to my company, kind of a motivational inspirational business building component where I'm providing that kind of content to our clients as well. So, if you just want to know how to tell a story, that's cool. We'll work with you on that. If you want to know how to turn your storytelling into a business, we can help you with that as well. We want to make just a broad variety of information and training available to our clients.
Al Jensen (06:43):
If they want a broad variety of content, we'll make it available. If they just want one small little piece, we'll make that available. We do that again without great regard for making millions and millions of dollars, because we just simply want to give back. We want the community to be a better place. We want to perpetuate the entrepreneurial spirit because we believe that, you know, it's individuals who make not only our country, but our world a better place. So, if we can help them learn from the lessons that I and my business partner have learned along the way, then we've done our job. We've made the world a better place.
Sarah Arrow (07:26):
Wow. That's really inspirational. I feel really humbled to be talking to you and grateful simultaneously. And I know the people watching this, who've heard me and Sharyn talk on a regular basis will be saying Sarah, humbled and gratitude in the same breath? They’ll be falling off their chairs, laughing!
Sharyn Sheldon (07:51):
Oh, I heard that alarm clock bit and I was like, yeah, that's me… I don’t ever want to set an alarm clock.
But everything else, to not have to worry. About waking up and doing what makes your heart sing. I love that.
Al Jensen (08:10):
Exactly. In fact, you know, you can see behind me, I have an inspirational saying, and I've got a number of them. And another one that I live by quite frequently is that the answer isn't more money, but the answer is really living life on your terms. And there's a lot of people who have more money than I do, but I've been very fortunate to be able to live life on my terms to be able to wake up when I want to wake up and to go where I want to go when I want to go there and to be able to have a happiness and joy in the life that I lead.
And that's my hope, my dream, my prayer for everyone that you can find a joy in your life. You know, the answer, isn't more money. The answer is truly in living the life that you want to live.
Sarah Arrow (09:01):
And that's incredibly wise advice to all the people watching this. So, my next question is, what's your favourite piece of Content Sparks? What was the one thing you opened the zip file to and went ‘Wow, that's fabulous.’ What did you unzip that made your heart sing that day?
Al Jensen (09:24):
You know what, that is a totally unfair question! Okay. I'm going to answer it, but you're going to be disappointed in my answer because there is no one piece of content that has made my heart sing more than the last one that I opened. Literally, every single one that I open up brings me joy.
I think ‘I know how I can use this in a new way!’ It just brings joy to me. So, it's not the actual content that excites me as much as it's new content that excites me. It's a new direction that I can go. It's new hope and it's new information that I can bring to my clients. It's nothing specific. It's just the newness that comes along. That is very, very exciting.
Sarah Arrow (10:24):
That I do understand. And each month I undo mine and I get upset with my husband. If he puts me on a ban, he says, you've got to write 10,000 words before you can get your next Content Sparks. Now I do understand where you're coming from because it's that sheer delight of being able to think to yourself, I can help somebody really make a difference with it. I can help somebody change their direction or tweak and adjust their direction. And instead of being stuck at the point of entry, they can now move at the pace they wished to. And that's, I find quite exciting.
Al Jensen (11:10):
Sarah Arrow (11:13):
And if somebody was using brandable content for the first time, what tips would you give them?
Al Jensen (11:21):
I would suggest that you listen to everything that Sharyn says, because she gives you such great ideas on how to use it. At least I came into this with an idea of, this is exactly how I'm going to use it.
And I'm going to go down this road and it's going to be cool. And it is, but then you get those emails from Sharyn and she says, well, think about using it in this way. And you go, I never thought about that before. That's an awesome idea. And yeah, I'm going to do that.
In fact, one that I got recently from her I was think about doing, and I can't remember the exact term, but kind of like a drip feed, turn this into like a six week or a 12 week program where you give them one chapter, one component this week, and it's going to be like three, six, nine pages and then a little bit of an activity.
And then they get a week to work on it and then next week you send them the next chapter and then they get it and you can give them this over six or 12 or 18, however, number of weeks it is. And you can just drip that out and make a 12 or 18 week course. Instead of just giving it to them all at once, that's a cool idea. You know, I've never thought of that before, but yeah, that's awesome.
And I could do that with so many of the products. I'm thinking about going back and turning many of the programs that cause so many people to become overwhelmed when you give them the whole thing at once. There's a lot of people that want that dripped content and I've got to find, you know, the right word and I've got to figure out, you know, the right messaging to deliver the right packaging.
Al Jensen (13:07):
But that concept just kind of opened my eyes. And so that was a really cool thing. My advice is to open up those emails and be open minded to the suggestions that she gives you every single week on how to use the content, because there's so many more ways that you can use this content than you ever imagined before. She's got some great ideas and now she's going to hear ideas from other people and she's going to pass it along. It's just a great big community of ideas. And she's gonna make certain that you hear them and, you know, that's the great thing about this community is that you can find out what's working for other people and she'll tune you into those ideas and you can use those.
Oh, that's brilliant. And I really do enjoy the emails. And, you know, normally when Sharyn's traveling, I sort of get to live the world through her emails, but we've locked down. We're not doing any traveling. My next question to you would be, where is the most unique place you've delivered Content Sparks content? Is it on top of the Eiffel tower? Because you mentioned you are near Nevada. So, I know you've got an Eiffel tower there somewhere. Is it in the desert? Did you do something live or is it from your office with Zig Ziglar in the background and the ocean inspiring people?
Al Jensen (14:43):
Well, you know, the truth is all of the above. I have traveled to each of our United States. I've traveled all of North America and I've delivered over 6,000 presentations since 1974 from a small campground in in Iowa to the largest ballroom in Las Vegas to New York city, to Hawaii, to a cruise ship, just all over the place, I've delivered presentations. And I'm not going to say every one of them has included content from this program, but many of them, in fact, most of them have been influenced or included some content because all my programs, you know, pull a little bit from here a little bit from there, and I am nothing more than a conglomeration of everything that I've done in the past. And Sharyn's programs have been a big influence for quite some time on all the programming that I've delivered. So, to answer your question, literally all of the 50 United States ballrooms, campgrounds, cruise ships, theaters, nightclubs all around the United States have been some of my venues.
Wow, that's fantastic. I thought I might get the desert and the campfire, but I didn't imagine ballrooms and cruise ships. Thank you for sharing that with us. And before we wrap up, I really appreciate the time that you've given us here to talk about your brand content experience with Content Sparks. Tell us about you, tell us where we can find you on social media, what we can expect when we find you there. And if there are any aspiring speakers who want to get better at speaking, how can they find your own work.
Al Jensen (16:51):
Okay, well, let's go back to the beginning. I was born in a poor agricultural community in central America, Iowa, but I grew up in Northeast Iowa. And my first speaking gig was thanks to Denise dede Biller Beck. Now she was a pretty young thing at that I met at the four H County fair, and she inspired me to join the four H County council. I had to give a campaign speech, I got up on stage for three minutes, my knees knocking and my arm pits sweating. I don't remember a single word that I said until the last four words, which were please vote for me, which they did.
Al Jensen (17:52):
And I became the president of the County council and then the area council, then the state council. And in the last two years of my high school, I went around to each of the 99 counties in Iowa speaking on behalf of the four H program. So over 200 messages between my sophomore and senior year in high school, which really started my love of speaking to groups. And since that fateful day in July, 1974, giving that first speech, I've now done over 6,000 presentations, literally in every one of the 50 States. And that has given me the opportunity to understand what moves audiences to action. And through the years I've developed a great storytelling skill and the ability to help other individuals become master storytellers and master speakers from the platform. So, for the last several years, right here from Las Vegas, Nevada, I've worked with aspiring any emerging speakers to help polish those skills.
Al Jensen (19:00):
Now, since we have come across this worldwide pandemic and had to shelter in place, I realized I had one of two choices I could curl up in the fetal position and just cry myself into oblivion, or I could take advantage of this. A technology called the world wide web and Zoom. And I could start to connecting with people virtually all around the world. Over the last three months that we've been dealing with this situation, I have picked up clients all around the globe where people have now started to connect with me to help them develop their storytelling and their speaking skills. We literally now work throughout the entire English speaking world. And if anyone is interested in finding me, you can find me at https://nextstagecommunications.com. That is my company name, Next Stage Communications. You can find me on social media, Al Jensen, all over, just all the social media places, Al Jensen.
And I would be delighted to accept any inquiry. We'll get on Zoom, we'll chat. We've got all sorts of programming for those individuals who are just as nervous as can be, who have never been on stage, never been on camera. In fact, that's really my specialty is those people who say, I'm so nervous, I can't speak in front of anyone. In fact, I took a young man from Senegal, just not more than a couple of months ago, who was just way too nervous to speak in front of anyone. And I have this particular technique that I use. And literally within 15 minutes, I had him speaking in front of a group of 15 people with all the confidence in the world. So, we can take people from really no skill, no experience all the way up to the experienced speaker and make them even more effective. I'd love to talk to anyone who is interested in becoming a more effective storyteller, more effective communicator, or if someone wants to talk about how I have used the Content Sparks materials to become a greater communicator and a greater trainer. And just how I use that and be happy to talk to them. One-On-One.
Al Jensen (21:52):
So, I literally am never disappointed. When I click buy, I've never been disappointed when I've opened up the content from your company. It's always either met, and in most cases it's always far exceeded, my expectations, especially when I get your emails with the suggested methods on how I can use that. So yeah, I have never, ever been disappointed with the content that I get from Content Sparks.