Deep Dive with Jordan Mendoza

For this week’s Deep Dive Series, we’re interviewing CEO, business and marketing consultant, and content creator, Jordan Mendoza!

Jordan Mendoza (@JordanJMendoza on Clapper) is the CEO of Blaze Your Own Trail Consulting. He teaches his followers how to better sell or market their businesses and sell their work. He mostly focuses on entrepreneurs, but his content is essential for anyone interested in social media and content creation. We sat down with Jordan Mendoza to talk about his journey with LinkedIn, his advice for new podcasters, his tips for creators starting new platforms, and more!

Jordan Mendoza is also one of our first Clapper Stars, a new program to help passionate content creators develop their own Clapper series. We’re so excited to introduce you to more of our incredible Stars. Keep an eye on the blog for our future interviews!

Keep reading this Deep Dive to follow this creator’s inspiring story. Make sure to tune in every Thursday at 5pm CT on our @ClapperCreator account to listen to the bonus questions that will only be available on our live Radio show: Clapper Talks.

Tell us a little more about yourself! What does a day in your life look like?

I have a business, Blaze Your Own Trail Consulting, that’s my main source of income. We help business owners grow and learn how to monetize LinkedIn so that it can be a one stop shop for their business.  The strategies I teach just kind of fell into my lap! I worked for Gables Residential, a national property management company for about 15 years, and I spent 8 years in training and development. They asked me to find a social platform where we could get our associates engaged, and I stumbled on LinkedIn. I started getting active on that platform and went from 7,000 connections to 20,000 followers in about 6 months. And I had people reaching out asking what I’d done and how I’d done it, which turned into a side hustle while I was still in corporate. Then about 2 years later it turned into the main hustle. And in 2020 I also launched the Blaze Your Own Trail podcast and it was kind of a selfish launch. My goal was to interview trailblazers that had been there and done it, and learn about their journeys.

We would love to learn more about your experience with LinkedIn and how to monetize or create content on the platform. Can you tell us a little more about that?

LinkedIn, as you guys probably know, has had a lot of changes and updates. When Microsoft bought it, they made a lot of positive changes and it’s really become a social media platform – and a powerhouse, at that. You can put out personal branding content, grow an audience, and engage with an audience. If you understand how the platform works, you’ve got a billion people there in a business mindset already. And I don’t care what industry you’re in: your ideal customer is on LinkedIn.  You just have to know how to find them. I work with solopreneurs, small businesses, and large businesses and teach them strategy. I teach them how to do a top to bottom profile optimization so that you’re leveraging all the tools. Then I teach them everything from content strategy, engagement strategy, growth strategy, and then how to turn their followers into clients.

So many creators on our platform are looking to grow their social media accounts and work with a variety of brands. What makes you qualified to share tips about social media management and entrepreneurship? How can one of the creators down below get in contact with you to get more information?

First off, it takes a lot of failure. My first LinkedIn video had 5 views and all of them were me because I kept going back and watching it! I was afraid to show up – who would want to listen to me? Who would want to hear what I had to say? I had that imposter syndrome a lot of us can get when it comes to doing something new. It’s a very natural feeling, but you have to lean into discomfort. It’s going to feel icky at first, but when you start to consistently show up and showcase who you are, what your personality is and values are, people will start to see who you are.

But it takes time! I put in a lot of reps, put out a lot of content, and I went from 5 views to millions of views every quarter and a newsletter subscriber list of 17,000 just on LinkedIn. I love showing people what’s possible, because sometimes you look at growth or audience and think “must be nice!” But I’ve been in their shoes; I started on Clapper at the end of March with 0 followers and no clue how to operate this app. Now I’ve got the opportunity to hopefully add some value to you guys today.

As you know being an entrepreneur is not an easy job, can you share a few tips for our small business owners on how to perfect your brand image?

I don’t think you can ever perfect it. It’s a continuous evolution from an image standpoint. From a brand standpoint, Gary Vee says brand is synonymous with reputation. So who are you when you’re showing up? That’s lot of it for me. I’d recommend you work on your craft, whatever it is, and don’t be afraid to be a life-long learner. I was the guy who scathed through high school because I couldn’t learn in that environment. I’m a kinesthetic learner, I need to touch and move, so the classes I did well in were the ones I had that flexibility. Fast forward to 2023, I love the fact that people have started to realize you may not need a mainstream education to reach success. You can look at someone like me who knew they didn’t want to go to college and took the other path. But you just have to show up everyday, fall in love with the journey, and don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is a good thing, it gives you some indicators on where you may need to shift or pivot.

So, when did you join Clapper? How did your journey as a creator begin?

I first joined March 30th and I heard about it from a connection on TikTok who told me to check Clapper out. I’m not new to social media: I’ve been creating and putting stuff out since Myspace! And I’ve been a fan since the early days of Facebook and Twitter, so I’ve never been afraid to jump in and try to figure things out. That’s what I did here. I started going through the FYP, trying to find creators that I resonated with, checking out their content, engaging, doing all the same actions I would do on any other platform. If you’re going to put something out, you need to find other people and engage in their stuff, then they’ll come engage in your stuff. It’s not always reciprocal, but at the end of the day if you can do your best to engage, engagement always sparks engagement.

We’ve noticed that you talk a lot about your podcast and how to grow. Can the Clapper community expect an exclusive live podcast using our radio feature?

I believe we can make that happen – there’s something fun in the works. I love podcasting, I’m about approach my 4th year, which is crazy! For some reason, we’ve ranked 1.5% globally for entrepreneurship, and we have listeners in 70 countries. I’ve been through a lot of tough things: I’ve almost died multiple times, been racially profiled and falsely arrested, I lost my right leg at 19, so I have no shortage of things that have happened to me. But I think as I’ve grown, I’ve been able to shift my perspective, take some of the tough situations and adversity and reframe it. How can I use this to help somebody today? How can I use this in a story setting to show someone this is possible? So yeah, I’d love to do something exclusive here on Clapper and I’m excited for some collaboration! 

If you want to start a podcast, get very clear on why you want to do it. When I launched Blaze Your Own Trail, I got very clear on what I wanted. I wanted to learn from people all around the world that have blazed their own trail with success and inspire people to do it as well. When I got clear on that (and got to tie it into my favorite sports team) it was easy. 

What do you enjoy most about Clapper? In what ways do you feel like Clapper needs improvement?

I think what I enjoy most is the versatility. You guys have taken the best of a lot of platforms and thrown it into one – it’s like the Avengers! You’ve assembled this team of all these different things, and I like the way you guys have multiple accounts for education. You’re trying to reach all the users in whatever vertical they’re in – music, teaching, whatever it may be. I think that’s a nice touch. 

The improvement is probably things you guys have heard. Sometimes things are slow to load, and I was chatting with a couple people on the team and mentioned a new feature on TikTok. I can take a podcast clip that’s already been posted and it will natively attach it to the podcast episode. If you guys could figure that out as well, that would be pretty awesome. And I think it would encourage other podcasters to come over and take this as a serious player for them.

As you may know, you are one of our very first Clapper Stars creators! How has this process been like for you from joining Clapper to building your very own unique community?

It’s been great! I guess now my community knows – the cat’s out of the bag! – that there will be some collaboration. And with the team, it’s been very clear communication, easy onboarding, that stuff has been really smooth. There’s been great customer service. 

We know that LinkedIn is one of the main platforms your you use to guide small business owners, Tell us how you will apply your knowledge from Linked over to Clapper to help guide our content creators & shop owners?

Honestly a lot of the framework and fundamentals of what I do on LinkedIn can be applied here. I’ve built audiences on every platform I’m on and I kind of nerd out on figuring out the nuances. When I’m working with a client and they ask how I built an audience, I’ll give them exactly what I did. I’m not one of those people that’s like “that’s going to cost you an extra $50”.

The first thing you need to do is optimize your profile. Make sure people know what you do, that there’s a link to drive traffic to. Then you have to show up and create content on a consistent basis, around what you want people to know you for. From there, you have to engage with your audience and get into conversations on groups and messages, then actually meet people. And that’s the framework on pretty much every platform once you understand it.

We hope you enjoyed getting to know Jordan Mendoza of Blaze Your Own Trail Consulting– if you haven’t already, give him a follow! To meet @EssersExpressions, check out our last Deep Dive.