Creating content and growing your online presence with purpose and authenticity.
Today, I have Steven ‘Pop’ Lewis here; I’m super excited to interview him. I connected with him on Instagram, and we don’t know each other that well, but I just immediately vibed with his content.
He talks about content marketing and content creation, and he’s got a really straightforward, loving approach, but like in your face, real deal, not apologetic. And so I just really wanted to talk to him about how he’s marketing and creating content. I wanted to know more about his story. I think you guys are going to love it.
Follow us on…
So with that, I’m going to let Pop introduce himself a little more in depth, and then I’m going to ask him 1 million questions and then we’ll go from there.
Well, let’s go. First of all, Alison, thank you so much for this opportunity and privilege. I’m so glad that we finally got a chance to connect, because of course we’ve been liking each other’s stuff on social. So the beautiful power of social media, right? It’s just an amazing thing. So here we are.
So yes, I am a content creator, a content mindset coach, and I’m teaching new entrepreneurs with less than a thousand followers, how to create impactful and purposeful content so they can grow their Instagram presence to be able to now build out their brand or business and begin to start monetizing it.
And where that really comes from is because I know all about that. I know the struggles of creating content, trying to get to 1K followers, I know about the posting three to five times a day, not getting any growth, and it doesn’t seem like anybody cares. So I know what it is to try to build something with your own hands while you’re working your nine to five. And I’m married, I have three children. So it’s just been a lot. My journey has been been…well, I call it my beautiful struggle.
Getting Started as An Entrepreneur
What’s interesting to me is even though the account is newer, I can also tell that you are not a new entrepreneur.
I don’t know your background, but I’m like, this guy already knows what he is doing. Even in how you described what you’re doing now, it’s really sophisticated and specific. I can tell that you have a lot of things that led you to this point. Why don’t you walk us through how you got here? What is your background?
I was always entrepreneurial as a kid. I got it really from my parents. My mother was a travel agent for like 30 years. She had her own travel agency. My father, he promoted parties. He had a car wash. Anything that you could think of, he had his hand in it, and he had me there holding buckets and washing cars and drying off cars since I was a kid.
When I grew a little older, I played basketball. And my coach actually was an entrepreneur himself. So, he introduced me to the world of entrepreneurship, where he ran his own company. He was really successful; he took us out on his yacht, had a nice home. We had an All Star team, so he bought us our apparel and all of that type of stuff. But he opened up a car wash. About four or five of us that were on the basketball team, he brought us in to run the car wash. Of course he had managers over us because we were teenagers, but it was pretty much a free for all.
I mean, we learned how to detail cars. We learned how the car wash business worked. And on top of that, at 16, 17 years old, I mean you’re getting cash, hard cash. When you work a weekend, you’re making a couple hundred dollars. So the whole idea of money, the whole idea of having the flexibility of working for yourself. But on top of that, the work ethic that goes into working for yourself, it was really instilled in me from a very, very, very young age.
So, I draw. I’m an artist. I actually have a degree in visual arts. I have family that’s in the arts, music and things along those lines.
So entrepreneurship, art, right?
Now, transition that into what I’m doing now, where I really look at creating content as art.
And I look at content as being the art of who you are, right? You being able to paint this blank canvas with your expertise, your information, and your experience to now be an answer to somebody’s prayer and able to provide them with key ingredients for them to now level up their life.
I understand so fully what it means to be able to get some information that can change something – that light bulb goes off, and that doesn’t just change the person, it has a potential of changing the person’s environment, their family, and every other thing that comes along with that.
So how I got here is I’ve always kind of been entrepreneurial. I’ve always been artistic, so to speak. And I’ve been able to have been blessed to have people along my way to say, “Oh, this young guy got something. So let me put him underneath my wing.” So I’ve learned so much, and now all I’m doing through my content is just sharing it. And it’s just an honor and a privilege for me to be able to do so.
Business Planning: Working Backwards from the Goal
So, you just started this account a few months ago, and what are your goals with this account and this business?
My goal right now is creating content to build a catalog of work that, even if no one ever purchases anything from me, they can go to my page with all that free content and be able to literally build out their dream, or build out what it is that they’re trying to reach toward. So I’m focused on really sculpting out and building out a significant quality body of work, so people will be able to be blessed by.
I’ve actually partnered with another phenomenal creator by the name of Mario Armstrong. He teaches people, particularly with even smaller accounts on how to get themselves in this micro influencer space, where they’re able to go after sponsorship deals and things along those lines.
My next step is to start pitching companies to start to engage with and start to have them monetize my content, whether that’s product placement, things along those lines. I actually also have a show. A friend of mine and I, we co-host a show called The Lunch and Munch Meetup.
I’m looking to ultimately build out an entire media company.
So that is what we’re working towards. Right now, we’re creating content, building the community, building awareness, and just really establishing myself as an authority in this space.
And then, leveraging that to now get some sponsorship money. So, this way, I can begin to kind of see how that world works. When it’s time for us to go ahead and package our show and then start to pitch it so we can start building out our network, I’ll already have the expertise already in place.
Going Full Time
I love that. So you have a plan, you started at the end and worked backwards. And so your real goal is to have a media company. Where is the income in your business coming from now? Do you have a full-time job or is this the only thing you’re doing?
Up until December, it was coming from my full-time job.
Very recently, I quit that job – on the 17th of December, after 16 years. I was there for a very, very, very, very long time; loved the people there. The actual job itself didn’t feed me anymore, though. And it hadn’t been feeding me for a very long time. But when I started there, I was single and then I got married and then my first son came, then my second son came and then my daughter came. So it became something that I stuck around with for way longer than I intended to, because I needed to provide for my family. So up to the 17th, that’s what it was.
Now I’m taking on clients. That is fueling my business.
I do video editing as well. What has allowed me to actually kind of gap starting this new chapter is the fact that I do video editing, and I have a client that has me on retainer – I help them create their content and things along those lines.
And, I’m doing a little bit of managing of their YouTube, a little managing of their personal IG page. And they happen to be a pastor. So I’m also helping out with content creation for his church as well. That has really allowed me to get the things that I need to continue to grow the business while I’m creating content, digging deeper, and really building something that is going to be special for my audience and those who I serve.
That’s a struggle for a lot of people that I work with. And as clients, all the time are like, “What is the point? What’s the point at which I quit?” Or they’re making a little bit of money and they’re like, “Should I quit now? Because then I’ll have all this time and I’ll make so much more money? Or should I wait?” I’ve had former coaches who waited until had a really big nest egg, and then they quit. But I’ve also had coaches who didn’t have anything and they quit – they needed that push off the ledge basically. How did you decide? What was the tipping point for you?
I’ve been feeling this way, that I needed to leave, for maybe about five to six years. I’ve stuck around for that entire time, because I just wasn’t clear. I knew that this was not what I wanted to do.
I wanted to take advantage of the social media space, because I did see it was still young and coming up. And I was like, man, that looks good. You know what I mean? And it looks like if nothing else, it gives me a creative outlet because that was one of the things with my job, it wasn’t a creative outlet for me anymore. It was never a creative outlet. It was more so just to get a check. And me having that artistic background, I needed a creative outlet.
I was going to work, going home, going to work, going home, and I couldn’t be creative. It didn’t give me the space to be able to just get into my head and really kind of create things.
So for five to six years, I was like, man, this is suffocating. I feel like I’m suffocating here. Even though I love the people. I’m brain dead, at this point. Being there for 16 years, I do it with my eyes closed. You know what I mean?
So it required no additional thought for me or anything like that. Finally, what ended up happening was I decided I was going to start taking social seriously, and I started to actually see the results of me taking it seriously.
I’ve found myself becoming more clear, and this was only in the last maybe year and a half, two years, really, since COVID hit that I really started to say, you know what, I’m going all in on social. I’m going to invest what I need to invest. I’m going to get the necessary coaches that I need to get me clear. And so that’s what I did.
Once I started using social media as a tool and not a toy, things started to change for me. As I built up my following and built up my message, and I was clear with my message, companies started actually reaching out to me. I did affiliate programs, was in commercials, and I was able to also get my sons a check, because they were in the commercial with me.
There is vast opportunity in this space if I was willing to actually take it serious. So I said, you know what, it’s time now, now that I have clarity, now that I know who I’m talking to, now that I know how I’m going to serve them and how I’m going to show up, now it’s time for me to make that transition.
Building Your Mindset around Creating Content
Working with people who are under a thousand followers or trying to get to a thousand followers – what are some of your tips for growing the account and then monetizing it when it’s that small? Without giving us your secret sauce…well, maybe just a little bit of secret sauce.
The very first thing that I do is mindset. That’s the first thing that we have to deal with. My coach told me when I first started working with him, that you can only build your business to the extent that you grow you, right? Because everything, as far as your business, everything builds on you. If you’re not building you, then you’re not realistically allowing your business to be built on a solid foundation.
I find with a lot of the people who reach out to me, and a lot of people that I’ve been able to work with, the very first thing that they say to me is, “Oh, I’m not good at creating content, that’s why I don’t do it.”
Oftentimes, that’s just a carryover of something else of a deeper, more deep rooted belief that they have in themselves, or unbelief that they have in themselves, right? And their unique ability, their uniqueness. Their one of a kind-ness, if that’s even a word. The very first thing is I deal with any limiting beliefs that you have in regards to creating content.
So what I say to them is, well, who told you that you’re not good at creating content? Was it the internet? Did Zuckerberg email you, hit you in the DM and say, hey, listen, man, this is not for you. So you need to go ahead and figure something else out. Did somebody else climb your DM’s? Was there a comment?
Ninety… Well, no, I’m going to go ahead and say a hundred percent of the time, that’s not the case.
What it is that we have told ourselves for whatever reason, that we’re not good at creating content. And what I’ve also found is it’s because we’re comparing. Because this person is doing this on this caliber, and I can’t do that, then I’m not good at creating content. And the reality of it is that that’s just not the truth, right? We don’t always take into account the fact that that person had to build up to get there. That person started at square one as well. Even if they started off at square five, maybe they had some connections or something like that. They still had to work to get there, to know what that looks like, to know how to create that consistently, that’s a skillset in and of itself.
So the very first thing that I say is you have to agree with yourself and give yourself permission to tell yourself that you’re great at creating content.
Tell yourself that your expertise, your information and your experience is good enough to be able to take somebody from point A to point B or wherever you are in your journey, you are skilled enough and an expert in how to get from point A to where you are now. So all you have to do is figure out content, which is already wrapped around who you are and what you already have working for you. And all you then do is tell that person that was where you started, how to get to where you are.
Content is simply the vehicle by which you package your expertise, your information and your experience, right? But you are the creative engine. You are the creative engine. All you’re doing is taking what you already have, and you’re telling somebody else how to do it.
It’s like you figured out how to get some bread. So all you doing is you’re just telling somebody else who hungry, where to find the bread.
So when I work with my clients, I get deep into mindset. I get deep into the coaching of you first and then once you have gotten in your head that you can do it, then I find that it unlocks the creativity, it takes the anxiety out of it, it takes the overwhelm from it.
I’ve seen my clients begin to reshape and reframe their own understanding of what creating content is. And then they start to fly.
I think about Brock Johnson; look at his content. I’m like, oh my gosh, I’m never going to be that funny. But you know, but I don’t have to be that funny. I can just be myself. And then the other thing you said that I think people get confused about is they’ll get on Instagram and they’re like, okay, I need to create three to five pieces of content in a day. So they’ll just make a bunch of like quote cards or share memes, but the best kind of content is the content that educates and inspires.
So if you can just think about what do I know that I really want someone else to know? And it’s just as simple as that. I love that.
Yes. And you know what? What you’ll find is you’ll become more comfortable, because you’re giving yourself permission to be you. How much more comfortable can you be being you?
You’re not trying to imitate anybody. And what I tell my clients as well is that you are a special, unique, beautiful, original. Even if you copy somebody, you can only be a great replica.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen the movie Ray with Jamie Foxx? He plays Ray Charles. If you haven’t seen it, take it out.
Jamie Foxx plays Ray Charles so much so that it is almost impossible to tell the two apart. Jamie Foxx is brilliant in and of himself, but the way that he was able to embody Ray, I mean his mannerisms, the way he talked. I mean, you saw Ray Charles, but as he won Grammys, he won all types of awards for it, because it was just a phenomenal performance – but Jamie is still Jamie Foxx. He’s not Ray Charles. So at his very best, he can only be a great copy.
You are an original. And we have to give ourselves permission to embrace that originality and allow our content and our concepts to now flow through the conduit of who we are. I think once we reach that place, it’s going to be more peaceful. You’re going to be more consistent, because you don’t have to overthink things. You’re just pulling pieces of who you already are and just literally sharing it with someone who desperately needs it.
That’s the beautiful thing about content. I tell my clients, content is not an obligation. It’s an opportunity. And we have to look at it that way.
If you go to your profile, you’ll see that. You’ll see great content that is uniquely 100% you. I never seen anybody doing it exactly like that. Just your style and the way that you talk and the way that your feed looks is like totally unique and totally your style. It’s like, hey, listen up. Love it.
It reminds me a little bit of Mari Woodward: I want to help you grow your business. My mission is to help you grow as a person. And I get that same vibe from what you’re teaching.
I love Mari. I went into a two day bootcamp from my coach and he spoke at two events.
Oh, goodness gracious. That brother is a scientist, a surgeon when it comes to this content thing. But yes, what I love to do, what I’ve always loved to do is to teach. I love teaching. That I believe is something that I’ve been gifted with and I don’t take it lightly. Right? So I’m very specific on what I say and how I say it because I understand the audience. I always want to be super crystal clear on what I’m saying, because I want them to be able to apply it and then not be too complicated for them to be able to do it.
And my approach, as far as that loving discipline, if you will, right? I think that really has come from what I’ve received, but also dealing with my children. Right? When I first started my account, when I was kind of just playing around with it and trying to kind of find my voice, a lot of my content was geared around the different interactions that I had with my kids. So I would take the interaction that I had with my children and turn it into a grown person lesson. It was just relatable. One of the ones that were went really good for me was an example of my kids eating.
So two of my kids ate all their food, and their reward was to get ice cream after they ate. And then my son decided he wasn’t going to eat or finish his food. And he came to me, but he still expected the same result that my other two kids got. The whole gist of it was we cannot expect to get full-time benefits on part-time effort.
So I’m taking that same life lesson that I experienced in my home, and then I was able to draw a parallel to something that a grown person would have to face and potentially tackle.
So my whole style was birthed from there.
It just worked and it carried. I do a lot of mentorship, and I mentor young men and things along those lines. And that’s just always been my approach: I’m going to give you what you need. But first and foremost, I want to make sure that you know, that I love you. And the only reason why I’m giving it to you this way is because I love you. Because if you don’t know that I love you, if you don’t know that I care about you, you don’t care about what I’m saying. You know what I mean? And as the saying goes, they won’t care what you know, until they know that you care. And that’s the approach that I take.
I think that’s one of the most important lessons of content marketing, period, is you have to come at it from a perspective of genuine interest in the other person, and if you’re not genuinely interested in the other person, then maybe you shift your niche, right?
Yeah. That’s right.
Where to Find Pop
So tell us where we can find you, and tell us what you’re promoting and working on right now.
Okay. So you can find me on Instagram at iam_p.o.p.
Instagram is my main hub for everything. Links in bio will take you to YouTube and here and there and everywhere. But right now, currently I have:
- A free five day email course, where I’m literally breaking down my actual strategy each day on how I was able to begin creating content, and also how I was able to grow my account to exceed that thousand follower benchmark.
- Content is Light Work Bundle: a four training bundle where I’m teaching you how to create video content with confidence, because I’m big on video content. I’m teaching you how to create attractive visuals for your videos in Canva. I’m teaching you how to create time for creating content. Because that’s one of the things that you definitely need is to be intentional about fractioning out time for you to be able to create. And I’m also sharing my personal milk method strategy, which is my content repurposing strategy, what I use in order to be able to turn one piece of content into so many.
- I’m going to also be launching my six week bootcamp. So I’m going to be actually working with clients one on one to literally build out your strategy, to work through that mindset piece also to be able to actually get you to start strategizing properly and give you a game plan that you can go ahead and adapt right away. That’s going to help you with creating content consistently and at a quality level. So I’m super excited about that.
So those are the three things currently that I got going on. And of course you can get to know me by coming onto my page and I’m sure you’ll find something that will resonate with you – and you can always DM me and let me know that you saw me on Alison’s show so I can make sure I show you some love.
Thank you so much for joining us today!
Steven ‘Pop’ Lewis is a Content Creator and Content Mindset Coach that helps new entrepreneurs with less than 1k followers build simple content strategies, and create impactful and purposeful content to grow their Instagram account to 1k in less time.