Matt: thank you
Kathy: Welcome! I took two years of French in high school. That was a very long
time ago. And there are phases.
Joy: You probably know more than I do.
Kathy: Well, we’d love to get to know a little bit about you first. So tell us, where do you live?
Matt: We live in Paris, France currently is where we’ve lived for the last over. Wow. Has it been more than four years now?
Joy: Last six months for this second wave of COVID. But other than that, her address has been
Matt: so technically still anyway, four years in France.
Kathy: Wonderful. And how long have you been married?
Matt: That we’ve been five years. Yep. February, 2016.
Kathy: Okay. Very good. A lot has happened in that
Matt: busy five years,
Kathy: a very busy five years. So tell us a little bit about what your work is currently and we’ll circle back to the Punchline Agency a little more, but just describe to us what your work is currently, both of you.
Matt: Well, I I work for a large French energy company running their sustainable finance program. All that is, that’s a nerdy way of saying I help my company develop ways for investors in the market to invest in, all the things we’re doing around CO2 free energy, so renewable energy or business we do that has a social benefit that it brings.
We, I develop programs that let investors invest in those.
Kathy: Okay. I’m glad you explained that because I, I, all I know is you do sustainable finance and I didn’t really know what that is.
Matt: Yeah. It’s a jargony way of saying, you know yeah. Helping investors invest in some of the really good things we do.
Joy: Where’s some of the stuff you talked about real, cause you were sharing that you guys have an assisted living place in a lot of the, the older people with their pensions are I it’s taken me our whole marriage to try to understand what he does and his job continues to evolve. But I felt like that was an interesting thing of older people.
Maybe explain that. Cause that stuck with me.
Matt: Yeah. There’s well, there’s a lot of big pension funds now that really want to invest in, you know, stuff that’s good for the environment or good for society. And so it’s a, it’s a very growing
Joy: people are thinking that their legacy is like, what’s the world that I want to leave for my children.
Yeah. Very good.
Joy: And I am the entrepreneur in the marriage and I don’t recommend starting a business the same month. I think it was like a week before moving abroad.
So. It was we started it about a year after we were exactly your after we were married and then we moved to Paris. So it’s been an adventure, but I usually say, I remember we had, we had a few different mentors and kind of business coaches that we talked to. And there was a ton of positive feedback, but there was one person in particular that was like, why don’t you give yourself just at least a few months,
while you’re there before you launched this. And I just had it for several reasons, had it in my head when I needed to launch and that I needed to launch before we left. And I wish I would’ve listened to that person.
Kathy: Okay. So you did launch before
Joy: you moved, you like, yeah. A couple of weeks,
Matt: February, 2017 Joy launched Punchline.
Joy: And we moved March
Matt: 3rd, March 3rd,
Kathy: Oh my goodness. All right.
Joy: In short Punchline Agency is a speaking and literary agency. So we represent people I say, who are good on the page and the stage.
Kathy: Very good. Okay. Well, we’ll, we’ll come back to a little more of that. And then you also, in addition to a new business and an international move.
You added children? Yes.
Matt: Yes we did.
Joy: We have two little kids that are sleeping and if you hear a cry it’s over the monitor, we’ll just turn the monitor down.
Matt: They were both born in France, so they were born right here in our neighborhood here in Paris. Yeah.
Joy: Well then the second one was born at home, so real close.
Just one wall over
Kathy: goodness. What an experience and was that planned or was that because of the pandemic?
Joy: It w it was planned but also heightened. So we kind of had wanted to do it with Millie. But our midwife said, you know I recommend maybe waiting until your second child, that’s the best pregnancy to try to do a home birth.
So we were kind of going back and forth with Millie, thankfully. There was a little bit of. Kind of scary stuff that happened in the beginning with her. So we ended up going to the clinic and it was wonderful. But so then with Emerson on top of it being the pandemic, we were just like, this is, this is baby that we want to do that with.
I just had, I don’t speak the language I’ve tried. I tried to be very, you know, kind to every French person that will interact with me in mind with me. But he’s my translator. And so the idea of with COVID him not being in the room with me was that was, you know, that was enough. Even if I didn’t want to have a home birth, I would have willed it just so that I could be with them.
And it, it went perfectly. So, yeah.
Kathy: Oh my goodness.
Yeah. Matt, did you pick up French before you moved there or have you learned just since you’ve moved?
Matt: No, I kind of like you, I had a few years of high school, French. I had the chance my senior year to do an exchange program for a cut, just a couple of weeks in French, France, where I stayed with a French family, but.
You know, I was a high school level of French and then I promptly never used it again until I got hired for this job. And so that was part of learning. The job was also learning language and the culture, which is different.
Joy: Yes. Yeah. He’s also very smart. I’m like, how did you, I mean, he speaks it and I’m with him.
He’s too humble. But like, we will go places and people are like, they think he’s Swiss or they think he’s somewhere from a European country that also speaks French. I mean it’s, and that makes me feel even more defeated than like outside. I got bonjour & au revoir down, so there ya go.
Kathy: Well, and how fantastic that Millie, your little one. How old is she?
Joy: Two and a half. Yeah. Two and a half. Yeah.
Kathy: That’s great. But how great for her to pick it up and be bilingual so young, that’s just going to be fabulous. Yeah.
Matt: Real cute. How she, yeah, it’s just real cute, too
Joy: intuitive. It knows, like she knows to switch like, Oh, mom, mom needs to hear this language, dad needs to hear that language.
Kathy: Yeah. It’s amazing how children pick it up so quickly and are not intimidated.
Yeah. That’s awesome. Well, there’s a question to ask a lot of couples at the beginning. Just kind of a fun get to know you, but if your marriage was a team sport, what would yours be?
Joy: We were just
Matt: talking what we were talking about this over dinner.
Joy: Yeah. Cause I, I I saw your questions just before we hopped on here.
And so we were shoveling some food in our mouth, but I felt like we kind of went down this rabbit trail now. I don’t know. What’s the technique, like, does it have to be an Olympic sport? That’s our question.
Matt: Can it be more in the area of an activity
Joy: we like to relax? No, he came up with it. So you share,
Matt: I feel like, and you know, you can correct me if you know, otherwise, Kathy, but I believe I’ve seen canoeing in the Olympics and I think that’s our sport.
Kathy: It doesn’t have to be the Olympics,
Matt: but it say it’s like somewhere it’s a legit sport. Like people could and
so there’s a variety of reasons for that. But one is I think there’s a sense that we have in our marriage. And this gets kind of the heart of what your podcast is about, of like an entrepreneurial marriage, where we both feel like there’s kind of an equilibrium we seek for where some were both. If someone has to back off a little on something, the other one kind of picks up the Slack and if you’ve ever canoed, you know, if someone kind of lets up on the paddle, the other person has to, you know, work a little bit.
Also you, I can’t move the boat anywhere without being in agreement about, well, I used to go over here. The person in back can kind of steer. But if the person in front really wants to, they can stick there oar out and really whip the front of the boat. Right.
I feel like Joy and I are paddling together, which I think is a metaphor people use for marriage. Maybe that’s where I’m getting it from. We can go very far, very fast. And that was actually one of the other metaphors you use the beginning of our marriage was we felt like we got married a little bit later in life.
So we were in our thirties. I was in both. She was sorta early thirties, mid thirties, but we knew people who’d been married for 10 years. Right. And they had, you know, had 10 years to have life experience. And then they added children and all that. And we said, let’s, those people have some miles on their odometer.
Let’s get the same amount of miles on our odometer in a shorter period of time. Let’s go faster and just get as much. And so you mentioned earlier, it’s been a busy five years. That’s part of the reason why in our canoe. We’ve had agreement about where we want to go and we’ve been able to like kind of paddle in
the same direction
Joy: and we attached an electric motor on the back
Kathy: kind of, kind of like an
e-bike, you know,
you still have to pedal, but that e motor kind of gets you going faster. That’s very interesting. So was, was France part of the picture when you guys met and decided
to get married?
Joy: Well, when we were dating, I did find out that he worked here. So he worked for a company that’s owned by this company that he works for now.
And I found out that it was owned by a French company and I said, yeah. And I said, You know, if you ever get moved to Paris, I will marry you. So we did get married and, and
Matt: then I got for the job. So it was, I’m not,
Joy: I am so shallow though, but it was so cool like this, I think you were the first American ex-pat that they had ever brought over.
And it was, we had already, I think, because of that, like, because of having that conversation, we were already dreaming about like, should we just because of this odometer visual that we had, we were like, should we just both quit our jobs and just, you know, move abroad, go to Paris for a year because we just want to have this concentrated time together.
So we just felt like, Whoa, when this job posting came up and then it felt like such a fit for him, we were like, we’ve got to do it. And so I was already in a season of transition. And trying to figure out what was next. And interestingly enough, and this is one of the reasons that I think I’ve put the pedal to the metal for starting punchline is that his company had ha had brought some other ex-pat people, not from America, but other places and their spouses didn’t have a job and then came over and there’s a thing called Paris is called Paris syndrome.
I think something
Matt: like that
Joy: magical idea, this is going to be like, and then they get here and if they don’t have a job or something to preoccupy them, they just feel lost and, you know, whatever. So they invested in bringing people over and then because of the spouse sent home. So his, his boss that was interviewing him was like, what will your wife do?
My husband was like, well, she’s in the process of she’s transitioning right now. And so I already had in the back of my mind, like, maybe I should do this. And so then I just. I was like, okay, we’re going to do, I’m going to show his boss that I’m cut out for living abroad. And so I started an American company.
Kathy: Amazing. So tell us a little bit about how Punchline came about, how did that concept
Joy: Yeah, so I my parents have a marriage ministry. They speak and write books on marriage. And I had been the director of their conference for several years. And then I started a division for 18 to 35 year olds to get them the material that my parents were teaching at a younger age, because when I directed their conferences, people would say, I wish I would’ve known this 20 years ago.
Like, why didn’t anybody tell us this? So I was like, okay, well, why don’t I do that? So that led into me blogging and making videos. And then I got asked to speak. And so I was doing speaking, but I was off. So I was talking about relationships, but I was also single. And and so then it kind of evolved into people asking me to speak on singleness, where I was like, I just want to talk to my generation, single, dating, married, whatever.
Let’s have these conversations. But sometimes people are like, well, she’s single. So she must speak on it, which was fine for a season. But all of a sudden I was like, I think I’ve said everything that I can say. And there was the, there were the blog and my dad and I did a video series together and it came to this like perfect moment where I was like, and I think I’m going to put a bow on this.
You have all the content you guys can keep doing with it, whatever you want. And they were totally supportive of that. And so I was kind of in a sabbatical season and that started right when Matt and I started dating. So talk about the best time to put some miles on an odometer. I mean, and I was free as a bird and bothered him at work all the time.
So we got engaged, like a, what was it? Eight, nine months after eight months after we started dating. So then during that whole time, in the beginning of our marriage, I was kind of like, what, what should I do? What’s next? I’ve done this thing with my parents for the last decade. And so speaking was something where I developed all these relationships and I was still helping my father.
I was his literary agent and his speaking agent. That was the kind of thing that I did on the side. And so other people would ask me like, Oh, Hey, could you help me? Could you help me? And I kept saying, no, if I did that, I had to start a whole speaking agency. And And then when this whole thing with his job came up, I was like, maybe I should just try it.
And so Punchline started as Punchline Speakers as just a speaking agency. And I just was my dad’s literary agent on the side. And then that evolved in, in kind of in the background, I would do one more book, one more book. And so now, finally this year we changed it from Punchline Speakers to Punchline Agency, and now we’re developing the literary side as well.
So that’s what it is. And that’s how it started.
Kathy: Yeah. And then, and so you started an American agency, I mean, for American authors and speakers, but you’re
Joy: I say that it’s, I mean, that’s because that’s my network. So as an agent, my network is with American publishers as a speaking agent, all the speakers that I represent.
Ah, we’ve got a Canadian in the mix now, too. Oh no. And actually I have an author, I have an author who’s in, in London, but I got her a deal with. An American publisher. So it’s just, it’s always kind of like as an agent, whatever sphere you’re in, it’s about like, who’s your Rolodex and my Rolodex because of the relationships I’ve built over the last 15 years is primarily in America, but we’re not, I’m not like.
It’s just, I can’t speak French. So I don’t know how I wouldn’t really practice. I mean, I’ve had consultations and things here with people who want to get better at speaking, or want to learn about books. So I shouldn’t say that it’s an exclusively American, it’s just the irony of me launching a business.
That’s primarily in America as we moved abroad.
Kathy: Gotcha. And on your website, you have a picture of Matt you’re you refer to him as your unpaid intern.
Joy: That’s going to come back to bite,
if you ever run for political office
Matt: or look for a job, what’s this unpaid internship you’re still involved with.
Kathy: Well, tell
us Matt, about your involvement and what part you played in helping to launch this idea or along the way, how you have been part of this new business. Yeah,
Matt: I think it’s part of a bigger conversation,
Joy and I have had really, since the beginning of our courtship, which was around, you know, what kind of future did we see for ourselves and what did we want to do? And Joy has a lot of gifts that are really suited to the marketplace. I mean, she’s just, she’s good at helping people cast vision, but then also telling them how she thinks it would be best to get to their vision.
She’s just really great to bounce ideas off of. She’s not afraid to take risks. And so I think it became clear early on that, like some capacity we both at least thought, you know, and kids change a lot the thought, probably we both want to work outside the home. And so then it just became a matter of, okay, well, what does that look like?
And I really liked my job at the time. And then it turned into this thing abroad, but like I said, this is, you know, it’s a kind of an office job with some remote working, but this is kind of what I’d like to do. And Joy was in a season of really, trying to bottom out what the next thing looked like, and it ended up being Punchline.
But I think that kind of grew out of this space of like, let’s figure out what works for us. And and so my role in that I think has been to come alongside her in that, to be a thought partner, as we like to say. You know, sometimes looking at some of the businessy aspects of, you know, a P and L or whatever, she can do that as well as I can, but just having a second set of eyes on that I think I’ve interviewed everyone who’s joined the team.
And part of that’s just the agency who’s Joy founded is based around like her vision and her approach to things. And I know her pretty well, obviously. So I think I’m a good filter for people who collaborate with her. And then, but then also, and this gets into some of our marriage rhythms just when we talk about what we hope for ourselves personally, professionally.
Punchline necessarily comes into that. And so digging in with Joy about, and being a mirror for her of like, you know, the better we get to know each other over the course of our marriage, the more I’m able to say, like, this is something that doesn’t give you energy. This is what I, where I see the growth happening because you know, she, doesn’t always, we all have blind spots and sometimes she won’t be kept picking up on a given signal as fast as I might.
I, and so it’s been great. I love it. It totally helps me scratch. And it, you know, I worked for a huge company and, you know, this is a really small, nimble company that can change real quick and like ideas or like what it thrives on. And it just helps me scratch a different business itch being part of it.
So I’m like, I’m so proud of it and I love participating with Joy in it.
Kathy: That’s great. Did you have any experience Matt with entrepreneurship prior to this? Like what was your what did your parents
Matt: Yeah, I will. My experience was that my parents are both academic. Well, my dad was in the Academy at the university of Vermont for a long time.
My mom had a variety of roles. She was at the university and then she also ran a couple of nonprofits. My, I think where I really got interested in business growth and development, entrepreneurship was one of my first job with my current employers. I worked for a company called EDF and they were getting started in the Western United States, developing wind farms.
And I kinda came in to help them build out that business. And it was really fun and I liked it and it just kinda went from there, but I’m also just, I like learning and I like I really, really love learning and I like asking questions and I find that that’s just like a huge part of entrepreneurship where like, you can’t be afraid of something you don’t know.
You’re like, well, I guess we’re going to have to learn this because the business needs it. And I. I just love that. It’s always something new.
Kathy: Yeah, for
sure. For sure.
So since starting it, what would you say is a high point of having this entrepreneurial venture?
Joy: Well, I think you know, to what Matt was saying about just kind of his involvement and liking to be a learner and ask them questions. I think the high point for us is that with both of our jobs, I think we are genuinely curious people and his field is something I knew nothing about. When we dated, I just people say, what does he do?
And I say, windmills And so I feel like I learned a lot from him and I think he, this, the world that I’m in, you know, he, a lot of my clients are faith-based. And he didn’t grow up in a Christian home. And so that whole world of conferences and things that I was a part of, you know, he wasn’t familiar with.
And so there’s so much about where we came from and the jobs that we do that I find that if I, if we didn’t like learning, I think our marriage would be, our date nights would be so much more, less fun. Like if we were married to someone who didn’t like to talk about work, I think we both just. Love to talk about work.
I think sometimes we intentionally will be like, let’s talk about something else, which can be fun too, but there’s an energy of just not even just like, Oh, let’s talk about the nitty gritty of windmills. It’s more of just like office dynamics or like people that we interact with and like understanding cultural differences.
Like you can’t take a job abroad if there’s not some level of curiosity you have with cultural differences, you’d go crazy. I mean, we do go crazy sometimes, but it’s still like, we’re like, why are we like to compare and contrast American and French culture? And so I would say that’s the, that’s the high of the entrepreneurial life, I think brings out something in both of us of just a natural, like a curiosity, I guess.
Kathy: And what
about a low point or experience, something that has been really challenging since you’ve started this new business?
Joy: I don’t know what he would say, but I, I feel like part of me did feel torn that first year living abroad, knowing that, you know, because of our age, if we were going to you know, try to have children that we probably had a shorter window.
And so it was kind of like, there was kind of like a lot of pressure on that first year of like, just maximize do as much as we can. And so the added weight of starting a business you know, was a lot, and I, you know, in the beginning, you’re just like, is this going to work? And so actually six months in, I was like, I’m done.
And I started talking to people about selling it because I had a good lineup of speakers. It was branded well, and there were people that were interested. And and so I was like in this season where I was just like, I was about to sell it off. And and then I had a business mentor kind of say, just pair back and do the minimal that you can, you’ve created something really cool here.
Don’t like, don’t overdo it, but just hold onto what you’ve done, because it is good. And so I, cause I I’m someone who likes to under promise and over deliver. And I felt like I’d gotten into this situation where I had over promised and it was killing me. And and I was just experiencing anxiety and I was like, this is taking like, I love to ha I’m simultaneously having so much fun in my marriage, in this country.
And then there’s this like, weight that I made the wrong decision to do this. And and so then I just told all my speakers, like these things I said I was going to do, I can’t do like, can’t book your travel, can’t do this stuff. You know, and then. it simplified. And I think that’s kind of been a conversation we’ve continued to come back to of like, what is enough?
What does success look like? What does success look like in this season with children? My business partner, she has two young children as well, and we’re just like, we love what we do and we want to keep loving what we do. And so the question of like, what enough is we need to keep coming back to? So that for me, the the six month, I think it was about the six month marking in here where I was just like, I want to be done with this.
I made the wrong decision. That was both kind of the lowest point, but then it turned,
Kathy: What did those conversations look like between the two of you?
Joy: I I’ve, no, I, sometimes I block out things like
that. I like to
Matt: I’d almost forgotten that she almost sold it. And then yes, that, that conversation of like, just pull it back to like the essential thing.
Yeah. At that point that had the ring of truth to it. That like, just pair, because I saw the Joy was, felt like it was really, she was carrying a weight. And so at that point, I feel like the conversations looked a lot, like me reminding Joy, because she’ll get excited about, and she’s an entrepreneur, so she gets excited about idea and she like wants to like run it out and see if there’s something there.
And for me to be like, okay, like just maybe let’s try and recalibrate here. Let’s just, maybe let’s do this thing that we said we were going to do where we just kind of keep it simple. And so it kinda like I don’t, but at the same time, that’s what makes her great. I don’t want to stifle that reflex and be like, no, no, like let’s just throw this other thing as the wall.
Maybe it’ll stick. Who knows it could be really cool. It could be really fun. And it’s, so it’s not easy to be like, Hey, maybe don’t do that just right now. Keep that on the back burner because I love, love, love that part of her. But I think that kind of, I tell, I saw in that season of like, Me being her friend and her husband of just kind of bring back like, just that looks cool.
I agree. But remember that why we’re sort of just breaking a little bit now. Yeah. And bring it back to this thing that it can grow from. And then. What happened is that it did in fact grow from that
Joy: Yeah. And one of the things that I think Matt said, he’s a learner. And so he does, he takes cues of like, what works with this thing that I’m married to and what else?
Yeah. But one of the things, when we were dating, I was really into improv comedy. We were living in Portland at the time, Portland, Oregon. And and one of the principles of improv comedy is saying yes, and, to the person you’re in a scene with. So if they offer some idea or something crazy, you don’t reject that because it shuts down the scene and then the air is sucked out of the stage.
So even if it’s something, are
Kathy: you saying you were doing improv comedy. I didn’t know that.
Joy: Yeah. It’s funny. Someone recommended as I was getting into public speaking and doing that more and more I would always do a live Q and a at the end and someone said, Hey, you know, improv comedy class would be great, you know, cause you you’re quick, but you can become even quicker if you do that.
So I was like, Oh, I’ll take one class. And I just loved it. And I think I did it for
Matt: Yeah. Well it was like a really significant part of her life before
we moved over here,
Joy: we looked for it here. There was one English speaking improv group and we went to one show and then I
decided not to,
but in Portland, Portland as a really great improv scene and I learned so much there and I always recommend it to people who want to get into public speaking to take an improv class, but.
So that principle of not, you know, sucking the air out of the scene, room he then even incorporated that into his wedding vows of, he said, I promise, cause he knows I’m an ideas person. And he said, I promise to always “yes, and” you in our marriage rather than no, but, and so I’m fine with hearing. I’m not someone that can’t hear a no, but the yes,
And is a way of, even if you have an objection or you have a point of clarity or he knows that I’m about to say yes to too much, he’ll go. Yes. I love that idea, and let’s think about the conversation we had six months ago when you said, you know, that’s for me, that doesn’t deflate me. That’s like, Oh, okay.
Yeah. But if someone just says no to me, I’m like, well,
Kathy: I love that concept. And the fact that, while you guys are getting used to being married and having married a
little farther along than some of your friends
and having your own patterns and you know, lifestyle. So trying to combine that and start a marriage and business it’s a lot going on. And part of the purpose of these interviews and conversations is connecting with couples that demonstrate that you don’t have to give up everything to have a successful business. That you can have a very successful business and a healthy marriage, but it requires conversations like you’re having.
And like you said, Matt, come back to it again and say, Yes, and. Remember. We’re having a bit of that conversation ourselves, we’ve been married 41 years and my husband just bought a business because the business that we’ve had for 22 years in assisted living it was a little challenging last year in the pandemic.
Still is, there’s some, some of our communities that are still building. So he bought a business, which means he’s working every day again. And so we’re finding ourselves currently having to have these conversations again about how we’re going to have balanced. Yeah.
Joy: Yeah. Very good.
Kathy: Currently, I understand Joy that you have a big announcement that you’d like to share.
Joy: Yes. This is one of those ideas that he ” did a whether yeah, no, it was, I’m glad he yessed it because yeah, we, as I mentioned, we went back to the U S for six months during the second wave of the pandemic. We had just had a baby and we, France was going into another lockdown, which meant our 700 square foot apartment potentially not leaving the house for more than an hour a day.
That’s how it was the first time. And we didn’t know when our, our parents would get to meet their new baby grandbaby. So we were like, we had a few day window before the borders closed and we were let’s go and yeah. And So in that space of just having the grandparents and, you know, all the childcare and all the support, there was a lot of space for Matt and I to dream.
We have an annual Reed family retreat, we call it, which is us dreaming, looking at the past year, dreaming about the next year. And so my parents let us do that without any children. And because I’m in
Matt: two years before Millie came with us on that retreat and the first one, we went to the middle of London with an infant
Joy: hipster hotel.
Oh yeah. It was,
Matt: it was not calm and quiet reflection sitting in the lobby of this hotel with like a three month old stroller.
Joy: Yeah. Happy hours. Yeah.
We were like, man, how are we going to do this with another newborn and a two and a half year old. But So we were able to do it had two days full days alone. And so one of the things with the work that I do in the, you know, the communication space, speaking, writing the pandemic greatly affected our speaking agency this year.
And I just think that space is changing so much. Even the publishing industry, I call it the wild, wild West. You know, you’ve got self publishing now. There’s just all these different things. And traditional publishing used to be kind of this You know, this club that like, once you got an agent, then you could kind of find what you needed to do to get traditionally published.
And and I’ve, and there’s so many people now because of the way the communications space and online marketing, all that has changed that it’s, it is changing who can get traditionally published. And so there’s a lot of people that have great ideas. And I know at this point that I can’t get them traditionally published.
And so I’ll say, you know, what, why don’t you self publish for now? That’ll, you know, if it does well, that’ll help build your platform and we can go from there. Well, then I found that so many people didn’t know where to start with self publishing. And, you know, I had a little bit of insight here and there, but I finally was like, maybe I should just self publish something so that I can learn the process.
So I have more empathy and understanding and guidance that I can give people if I tell them to do this so that they can be successful. So I’ll just write a little children’s book for Millie. And we’ll just put it through, you know, Amazon direct printing or whatever. Well, it always starts or something
Matt: like that.
Joy: I was doing these cohorts with you know, hopeful writers and just kind of helping people. And I was working on all this content that I was teaching people. And I was like, there’s like almost a book here. So I did in that time, again, of being back in the U S I just had space and focus and I wrote an entire book yeah, yeah, yeah.
It’s called “How to Get to the Publishing Punchline”. And so it’s kind of demystifying where to start, how to get going, how to build a really great proposal that will get attention from an agent like myself. But also. I always say that the proposal process is a really clarifying process for if your idea, a lot of people have a book idea in their head and they’re like, I think this is a really good book idea, but they don’t know how to flesh it out.
Figure out is this actually a book or maybe it’s just an Instagram post. Yeah. The process that I take people through in this book will get them to that point where they’ll figure out is this actually a book and then should I traditionally, or self-publish.
And it is, it’s not as easy as people think it is. I mean, there is, it is an investment. It’s you got to get people around. You mean you have to have copy, you know, copy editors, developmental editors, proofreaders, cover designers, typesetters. Then if you want to do marketing and PR and all those things that a traditional publisher typically brings to the table.
But it’s, it’s, there’s different. I know successful authors who have been traditionally published, who are now self publishing and then there’s people who have never been published and don’t want to touch self publishing because they want the credibility of traditional publishing. So there’s, there’s tons of pros and cons and it’s not a one size fits all.
Like if you’ve never, if you don’t think you can get a traditional publishing deal, this is the only way to go. There’s a lot of questions and thoughts that I present to people of how they can figure out, okay, this is the right path that I’m going to pursue.
Kathy: Okay. And your book comes out, when?
Joy: June 13th.
Kathy: Okay, fantastic.
We are recording this at the end of May, but we will probably release around the time of your book. So where can people find this
Joy: You can get it on Amazon. They can get on Apple books and they can get it on Barnes and Noble.
Kathy: Okay, great. Yeah.
Great to know. And you’re the title of your book says that it is fun writing a book,
but is that really true?
Joy: Yeah. Well it’s so it’s as a fun and slightly aggressive guide to getting your book into the world. And so I break it into 30 days because that’s what I’ve done with people. So I know it’s possible to do what I’m telling someone to do in 30 days. Now, if you take 90 days, that’s fine. But. I break it up in that way, because I just, I know what’s digestible because I’ve had people do this.
And I, as I mentioned, I did improv comedy. I love humor. It’s one of the reasons punchline is named Punchline. It’s not just, you know, punch line of a joke. Punchline is, you know, what is the important phrase at the end of a joke or a sentence, but I love comedy. And so the way I write naturally is just, I like, I mean, if you don’t think my humor is funny, you’re not gonna think it’s funny, but if you like my style of humor, this makes that process a little bit more fun and I help people not take themselves so seriously.
I think there’s just kind of this idea that to write a book just has to be so like, Heavy and hard. And I think really a lot of people feel heavy about it because they feel so alone in it. And so I also wrote in that way, the whole book is a dialogue. So I’m writing as the agent, but then I’m also the mind of the author because I’ve been on both sides.
So yeah, it’s, it should be fun. It’s got a lot of illustrations in it. Cause I like to read books with pictures, not just because I have a toddler, but yeah. I think people enjoy it if they want to write a book and they like to have a good time.
Oh, fantastic. Well, congratulations on that accomplishment in the midst of goodness, two little bitty kids, it’s just, I don’t know.
I remember those days and I, I just can barely remember getting through the day, you know, and feeding
But I did tell him that when he got home tonight, I was like, It was a bit of a day with Millie. She had her first defiant. I told her not to eat a cookie and then I walked into the other room and then she came into the room and was like me ate the cookie,
Kathy: my goodness.
And she is so adorable, you know, and it’s really hard to be mad at them when they’re so darned cute!
Joy: I find a way sometimes, but,
Kathy: Oh my
goodness. Well thank you for sharing that. And I look forward to reading it because I’m kind of thinking about a book at some point, so we’ll maybe have
Joy: Yea, I would love that!
Kathy: Yeah. I want to shift for a little bit to just kind of general marriage topic, your dad being so well known for his book and conferences around Love and Respect that we kind of have to cover a little bit of just,
know, general marriage topic.
And the Illumination Project was the one you did with your dad, right? Where you talked about dating and singleness and faith. And you know, from, I think you said from 18 to 35 was kind of the audience and then you got married and as someone that has a lot of information about marriage, and yet it’s important for you guys, Matt and Joy to, to form your own marriage.
And what is unique about that marriage? And sometimes it means a little bit of pushing away or pushing against what your parents did or how they chose to have their marriage and raise their children. And as someone with three married adult children, I’ve experienced this a little bit about, you know, so many things that Mark and I have learned and, and we want to keep our kids from having to experience the painful way.
But the reality is they have to figure out some things on their own. So we w we don’t offer much unless they ask. It’s been very rare that we bring up anything specific to their marriage. But I’m curious about the process that you guys went through in establishing your marriage, your relationship, and you know, maybe there was a little bit of inter intergenerational tension, but what, what did that process look like for you guys?
Matt: Yeah, I think it’s funny when we started dating, I didn’t, I didn’t know about Joy’s parents ministry or her ministry. People had told me, Oh, she like talks about relationship, but like, I really didn’t know that much. And people kind of made it a little bit of a thing. So I was, I actually didn’t dive into it.
Cause I thought, ah, I just kind of want to get to know her. And I feel like if I learn too much, because I kind of sensed that I liked her. I didn’t want to like put on some like artificial air of like maybe what I thought she was looking for. And so I kind of went in a little bit blind. I’ve obviously learned a lot more since then.
And I would say that. The cool thing about the family I’m married into. I have wonderful parents that have like a flourishing marriage is married 47 years now. So we both come from like very stable, long lived marriage. It’s it’s like something I’m so grateful for. And both our parents do this, but you asked about Joy’s parents.
They have really given us the freedom to like figure it out. I think they kind of think, you know, kids, you know, you know this, you have the kids, but they learned from what you do, not from what you say. And I think they kind of have a posture of you either learned it or you haven’t and, but they’re there for us.
And so it’s such a cool thing to have two wonderful people who really are, who they are, they practice what they preach, who are there as a resource for me, they welcomed me in, you know, very early on in the family. And to ask if I have questions about how would you approach this, but then also to know that like they’re giving us, like, kind of, like you said, you do with your kids.
They give us the latitude to figure things out on our own. And especially so after we’ve had kids, because I think they understand at that moment, you kind of form a new thing. You have a, I mean you do when you get married, obviously, but I feel like that becomes very clear once you have your own kids of like, this is your thing now, and, and, and your family of origin is kind of on this other ring outside of that, even if you’re quite close with them, which we are.
So I would say the it’s been this really great balance that they’ve done of providing wisdom when it’s asked for, but giving us room to create our own family culture and dynamics and rhythms and. I’m been very, very grateful for that. And I’m also grateful for what Joy’s brought to the marriage because obviously being a part of their conferences and what they do, she retained a lot, but of course, you know, knowing it and implementing it are two different things.
I dunno. And, and I’ve learned a lot from being, from being married to her.
Joy: Yeah. I mean, I think as he said, I think we feel the same about his parents as well. I mean, they’ve done a really great job of giving us advice when we ask for it. Which I think as parents, I want to remember that because it’s, I mean, even when we’re home for six months, like all basically living together and I’m so close with my parents, there were like a couple times that my parents kinda like elbowed me about something that I was doing.
And I’m like, I, I don’t know how I’m not going to be able to do that more. Like when my kids are, like, I tell everybody what I think about everything. And so the fact that the fact that they restrain themselves when we were under the roof and I know they think we probably, I was, you know, and they even kind of jokingly said, and I, I feel like this is something that I, I feel like we should do when our kids are older too.
But like they’ve said to you, like, because you’re doc, because she’s our daughter, like you know how I think parents can sometimes like side with their kid. And they’re like, if you & Joy get into a fight, we’re going to side with you, ..Kind of jokingly. But like, to really like, make that spouse that marries in feel like, Hey, you’ve got in-laws that are, have got your back.
Matt: Her dad said that to me right after I, cause I asked him if he was okay with me proposing to her and you know, he was, he was great. But then he mentioned that at the beginning, he said, look, you know, this is a dynamic and I just want you to know like, I’m with you. It’s 50. Like it’s not 50 50. It’s actually 51%.
You’ve got the 51%. And it struck me as like, that’s an interesting approach to have, but I’ve realized the wisdom of it because as the son-in-law, your default is, well, the parents are going to side with Joy and they’ve stood by that that guy I’ve really felt supported by them. Sometimes it’s a little bit,
not because of that, but because obviously I’m right in whatever where this degree. No. No, but it’s been anyway, that’s part of the wisdom, I think, that they’ve brought.
Joy: Yeah. But really they don’t, they don’t insert themselves. And, and that is, I think that’s a. Yeah, I think there’s a lot of tension that kids and parents have today.
And I mean, we definitely, I would say that the thing that there was a phrase you said about like distancing or whatever. I think for me, like the family that I grew up in the hardest dynamic is that I really do admire both of my parents for different things. Like they both broke up or they broke up.
They both grew up in broken homes and you know, my mom, you know, had to go to daycare, you know, at the neighbor’s house and had to wait all day, like by herself for her mom to return. So the idea of like ever doing anything other than taking care of us, kids was like, that’s all she wanted in life was to like have a home and kids that she could just,
love on. And I’m so grateful for that. And she’s so good at it, but like, I think that’s the thing that I’ve had to grow in the most is being with being an entrepreneur and being a wife and being a mother is that I’m not wired that way as, as strongly. And, and I actually feel like I’m a better mom when I have this outlet of a business.
And so that was the hardest, like Tie to break because it’s like, I’m not trying to be different than my parents, I just am different than my parents. And I do have a bit of my dad’s, you know that the speaking and the writing, I enjoy those things. I enjoy working with people and dreaming with people and he and I both, that’s just, we love working together cause it’s just like ideas and talking.
And and so there’s this, th that’s the tension as a woman that I have felt because I also so loved with my mom did for us. And I think, you know, knowing that story of her getting dropped off, then, you know, as we’ve sent our daughter to daycare, I’m like, am I doing that? And that’s something that I think that we’ve had to process.
And for Millie going to daycare has been developmentally great for, cause my mom was a early childhood ed and that was her. So she, you know, had stuff for us. And I like love playing with my kids, but I’m not thinking like, Oh, they’re at this age and therefore they should be doing sensory play like.
Kathy: Okay. So that’s so having a job that you pursue working from home, but outside of parenting, I guess you could say we used to say outside the home, but now everybody’s mostly working from home
Matt: I mean, my corporate job, I was working from home a whole lot of time
Kathy: How in the world. Did you do that with little bitties?
Matt: Well, everyone, but the thing was, everyone was in the same situation, right?
So we all just got used to every conference call, at least my job, every common call we were on someone had a kid screaming in the background, like it just always happened. So it just became part of the deal.
Joy: Well, one of the things that really helped too, it was kind of makeshift at first. And then we ended up one of our speakers Jefferson Bethke and his wife, Alyssa, they and you can, it’s on Punchline Agency.
You can get their calendar that it’s like this family planning calendar. And we sit down every Sunday night and we go through it and we write his schedule and my schedule, which is still great. Now that he’s gonna be back in the office, but working from home that we just tag teamed. And it was like, okay, we know when you’ve got this and I’ve got that.
And I would say for, because so many people, whether you’re an entrepreneur or not are going to have some type of hybrid home office space, getting synced on your calendars and having a vision. I know some people have electronic synced calendars but there’s something about like, We have it on a wall and it says what we’re doing, but also the thing that’s so cool about the Bethke’s calendars it’s it’s got like, what are we going to do to refresh this weekend?
And what’s our word for the week and what are our prayer requests? And what’s our grocery lists and, you know, stuff like that.
Matt: So, and I think what’s cool about this is this gets a little bit into one of the, you asked, how did we do this with little kids? We we’ve tried to establish rhythms in our marriage of like what each day of the week looks like.
So the calendar is part of that, but there’s something that’s really, I love the efficiency of like the calendar on my iPhone, but there’s something that’s really slow about sitting now with a giant paper calendar with your partner and saying, this is what I need to do this day. What do you need to do, this is what I need to do and talking about it.
And in some cases, negotiating that gets back to the canoe thing. It’s like, who’s going to be paddling hardest this day. Which way we want to go. And I liked the slowness of the calendar. It takes us, you know, 30 minutes to fill it out, but it’s also more where we connect and just, and that way too, I can get to Wednesday and be like, Oh my goodness, this is the day.
I know that Joy had some big meeting with a client or maybe one of her authors books, whatever it is, at least I’m going into my week with an awareness of what she’s facing and, and vice versa for her.
Joy: And the 30 minutes that it takes to fill out that calendar is 30 minutes less of like fighting because one of us forgot that the other person had told that such and such was happening.
That’s usually me, but yeah, it’s like really? It’s just, it takes some time on the upfront, but I think where we fight the most is over like missed expectations and feeling like I told you this thing. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Kathy: I love that idea. And it, it reminds me of Stephen Covey’s book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
And I used to use his planner
when my kids, you know, I had three kids
home, but that was just me. And then we had a calendar on the wall that we would fill in, but I love that idea of doing it together and of kind of hitting different areas that you just need to stay in touch on. And especially like you said,
prayer requests or a word for the
week just to keep you focused.
And and that rhythm, yeah, I love that
Matt: rhythms have been really important to us.
Kathy: Yes. Yes. For awhile it seemed like every day was the same, right? Maybe. Yeah. I’m hopeful that maybe this is a positive thing that comes out of the pandemic. This idea that for the longest time, you know, most people went off to work, what they did, their family didn’t really understand, or they had this life at work. They weren’t, as in touch with what was going on at home or with
their kids and, or the people at work,
don’t recognize what their life is like at home. And we just, I think maybe become more rounded and because we are, you know, as people we are, we want to be whole and we want work to be part of
Not all of our life.
Joy: Yeah. Yeah. And I don’t know if it’s just because of. You know, seeing my parents always worked together, whether it was when my dad was a pastor, I mean, my mom was, you know, part of the ministry and then, you know, now with what they do, I mean, they’re together all the time and I love that.
And so since he has a job that doesn’t allow that I always joke about how I just, I want us to be able to work together and maybe he can come and work with punchline. And because I,
yeah, I just feel like that. To me. And maybe it’s a personality thing, but also, maybe it’s what it was supposed to be type thing, because it’s, you know, the whole thing of like pre-industrial revolution, the family had a family business and they all work together and the children learned the trade and everybody was together.
And then industrial revolution happened and, you know, men went off to, you know, well, men and women went off to work and you know, then war happened and then it’s just like all, all these things that have changed the, the nuclear structure of the family. And I do feel like with the pandemic, you know, it took its toll on a lot of people on all of us, but for the couples that did have that realization that you’re talking about, it does feel like it, it echoes a little bit of what I think.
Should be. And that’s where I think I get so much energy when he does participate and I get to participate in his work. Even though we’re not doing the same job.
yet! But yea, I love having him at home.
Matt: And it was cool too, because you know, we’re having kids and it’s like a really amazing time developmentally because it really does feel like every day is different. So I was grateful for that too. Yeah. And we ended up being in a position where the pandemic was difficult for us.
Like it was for everyone, but it didn’t, it didn’t hit us in the same way. It hit some other folks in that we held steady and kept our jobs and all that. So that was, we felt very fortunate to, yeah.
Kathy: Were you able to have a profitable business during that time Joy, or did you have to, like you said, you shifted and were spending a lot of time writing and putting this
Joy: Yeah. Yeah. Well, actually that, that happened more in this part of the year. But for 2020, the interesting thing was that I was already slated to go on maternity leave and in France I’m going to take four months.
Cause that’s the minimal amount that they take. Somebody will take a long time, but I was like, I’m going to take four months. So I already had planned to cut back on the literary side of things. And then my partner, she directs the whole speaking side of things. So that took a huge hit the trajectory that we were on.
We had, we had doubled the year before and we were on a trajectory, our goal was to do triple and it went back down to what the first year was. So we’ve always made a profit, but it was definitely much lower than our goal was. And even now it’s still, I mean, there are some events that rescheduled multiple times or canceled altogether.
So it, yeah, it was a huge hit on the speaking side of things. But with the literary side of things, because I was already going, I’m going to be out of pocket. I was like very focused on getting all these book deals that I had in motion wrapped up before maternity leave. So what I normally think I would have done in a year I did before going on maternity leave.
So that, that helped sustain us because of the hit that we took with the speaking side of things. Yeah.
Kathy: Okay. Yeah. Well, I’m mindful of the time and I just want to wrap up by asking if there’s anything else you guys would like to add to someone maybe a little farther behind either considering an international move
or starting a business.
Matt: I think in both cases, like curiosity is going to serve you well, like don’t move abroad. First of all, moving abroad won’t make, some people would be like, if I just get out of here, you know, I’ll get away. It’s no, wherever you go, it’s true. That old Chestnut about wherever you go, there you are. That’s exactly correct.
Like Paris is by far the most beautiful city I’ve ever been in. And like, isn’t gonna make you happy if you’re not already. So, but what’s fun about it is being curious, seeing challenges of a foreign culture is sort of interesting instead of frustrating, which they can definitely be it’s way easier to be curious.
And yeah, and to, people are people wherever you go, there’s, it’s really very enriching. So be curious, but also I think in terms of being an entrepreneur, what I’ve seen with Joy is, if you’re, she’s very curious. So when someone’s like, well, this is the way it’s been done and she’ll be like, tell me why that’s the case and kind of just keep asking questions.
Yeah, exactly, exactly. And, you know, so then all of a sudden she ends up maybe saying, well, I feel like I can help people who are trying to self-publish a book, or I I’m gonna launch a kind of interesting business model. That’s like a way that people can, can publish, but in a self-published way, but with a team of people to help them addressing a problem that she sees not being addressed.
So I think in both cases, curiosity serves, well, curiosity has probably been our, our word this year. Yeah.
Joy: Yeah. I would say for the entrepreneur just continually coming back to the questions of what is enough and what is success and you know, kind of at the end of my life, Like, what will the answer to those questions be?
And so I think sometimes it’s so easy to just think, okay, well success means we have to have numbers or we have to have, you know, but it’s not always that. And what, you know, I’m in a place where I’m not a single mom, you know, and I’m having to, you know, put food on the table. So I have a little bit more flexibility of like, what does success feel like to me?
So I understand I’m speaking from a bit of a place of privilege, but my mom always says to me, like, And it kind of comes back to Matt saying, like, I have a lot of ideas and I can get myself in over my head sometimes with what I currently have the capacity to do, because this is, is a season to having toddlers and babies is a season.
And as much as I love to work, like there will be, there will be times there where I can work more and I want to be present and delight in my children. And so my mom always says like, don’t let this thing rob you of your joy. And I, I do like my book, some title says like, I like to have fun and I think life should be fun.
And I want other people to have fun. So I want to bring people along on this book journey to have fun. And I want to do work. That to me is, you know, makes me money, but it’s also fun. And so if I’m saying yes to so many things, even if they do seem fun, they eventually will be beyond my capacity and it will, it will rob me of my joy as my mother says.
So what’s success. And what is enough? And don’t let those things, don’t get over your skis and let it rob you of your joy.
Kathy: I love that Matt and Joy. Thank you so much for saying yes to this project, and I’ve really enjoyed our time together and wish you all the best in, in your future years of marriage.
I know you have many, many more years, so thank you guys so much for sharing your
Joy: wisdom. I feel like it really is helpful for couples who are in this situation because it is, it’s a unique one.
Kathy: It, it is. It is. So thanks so much for sharing your wisdom.
Joy: Take care.