Rich Cardona Media

152. How to Understand the Significance of Brand Strategy with Melinda Livsey

July 28, 2021 no comments

Article featured image:152. How to Understand the Significance of Brand Strategy with Melinda Livsey

On this episode of The Leadership Locker, Rich talks with Marks & Maker founder Melinda Livsey about brand strategy. Listen in as Rich and Melinda discuss Melinda’s approach to brand strategy, adjusting your strategy, what you can do to help your clients trust you more, and the importance of having a growth mindset.

As the founder and creative director of Marks & Maker, Melinda Livsey unites eight years of professional design experience with a penchant for thoughtful customer service. Melinda’s experience with notable names like Oakley, Paramount Pictures and Loot Crate, coupled with her passion for creative thinkers and entrepreneurs, creates the perfect cocktail of impeccable workmanship, exceptional brands and happy clientele. Melinda has worked as an in-house and freelance designer for various companies and now specializes in brand identity at her studio, Marks & Maker.

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Personal Branding | Rich Cardona Media

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  • 00:09 – Introduction
  • 06:53 – What is brand strategy?
  • 08:57 – Melinda’s approach to brand strategy
  • 11:58 – People who don’t believe they need a brand strategy
  • 15:35 – Course correction
  • 23:41 – Melinda’s pivot to becoming a brand strategist
  • 31:04 – Why you shouldn’t try to convince your clients
  • 34:33 – How to approach clients without a portfolio
  • 40:50 – How to help your clients trust you
  • 44:12 – How educating others has helped Melinda
  • 46:30 – Growth mindset
  • 49:55 – Where to find Melinda online
  • 51:10 – Rich’s closing thoughts

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Stories That Stick by Kindra Hall

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How to connect with Melinda:

Instagram

Twitter

Behance

LinkedIn

Marks and Makers

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Connect with Rich:

Website

LinkedIn

Instagram

Facebook

YouTube

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Rocket Station

brooks@rocketstation.com

Transcript
Speaker:

Welcome back to the leadership locker.

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It's rich Cardona and Mae, and I am so excited about today's episode, but if

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this is your first time joining, just understand you're in the right place.

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If you're an aspiring entrepreneur, a new entrepreneur or someone who's just in

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the thick of it right now, and it's just battling all kinds of different problems.

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I have.

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Person influencers on every Wednesday on Mondays and Fridays.

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You're going to hear from me about what I've learned or about my journey,

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because I know we're all just on a similar path and, and just working

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towards just scaling and enjoying our business and our lives fully.

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Now, before I talk about our guests, I have to talk to you about.

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Something that took place today.

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And that was, I was doing some interviewing for more

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personnel for my team.

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You know why?

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Because my obsolete Ellie is so incredible.

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And she's been with me for over a year that now it's time to

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get more, more of that caliber.

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More of that affordable caliber talent that really helps the business run.

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And the only reason that's possible is because of rocket station.com.

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Okay.

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So they're based out of Dallas and their VAs.

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Ellie's an obsolete for me.

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So she's, she's not a VA she's, I mean, beyond capable of some of

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the administrative things that we stereotypically think about when it

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comes to VAs, but they're based out of.

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They're international, the actual talent.

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And I have full time part-time options, social media manager, whatever it

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is that you need as an entrepreneur, whose head is spinning all the time,

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especially if you're a solo preneur, you already know that your day to day is

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slowed down by all the things that you just don't need to be paying attention

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to, or don't need to be dealing with.

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And that can be delicate.

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That is the first thing that actually started getting the

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business to where it needed to be.

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Okay.

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You could emailBrooks@rocketstationdotcomoryoucouldgotolandingdotrocketstation.com.

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And you also, so if you mentioned me or the leadership locker, you'll get

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$500 off your process development, which means during the intake, before

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you're even interviewing people, you are going to have a process mapping of what

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you need done, how you need it done.

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And they're going to map it out for you.

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Clear it's concise and it's ready to go.

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So that way, when you find that dream candidate, they're already going to

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be able to hit the ground running because they've taken the process

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out of your head and documented it.

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So rocket station.com.

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That's that now look, Melinda.

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Lindsay.

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She is someone I met through someone I've hired for coaching his name's Christo.

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Chris is going to be on the show here soon, but there is something about

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Melinda that is just, I don't think I'm ever wrong when I, when it gets to

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this, but there's something sincere.

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There's something altruistic, but it's also piled on top of her drive.

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Okay.

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And this is someone who has created a life for herself from designer to brand straps.

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Now we're gonna talk about brand strategy, but has always, these lessons apply

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across entrepreneurship, no matter what the fuck you do, you have to know that.

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Okay.

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Like, I don't care what I title these episodes.

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You have to know that these lessons are not.

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Generic or specific in any way, they're not specific to the industry and

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they're not generic enough, meaning they're not just anyone can use them.

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Only entrepreneurs, only people who are going through it will understand some

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of the problems that we discuss and some of the solutions that are articulated.

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And that's what.

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Listenership has gone on ridiculously.

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And that's why I'm able to get ridiculous caliber guests like Melinda here, that

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she's going to talk to you about how she went from design to brand strategy.

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Well, here's the thing I mentioned, Christo, and how I got coaching from him.

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Well, she was getting like a ton of coaching from him and it's all on YouTube.

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They amount of role-plays they did together was insane.

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And you can literally watch her evolve.

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And we discussed this at the end of the podcast, but we watch her just

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evolve into someone who it was coming from a place of doubt, scarcity

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mindset, you know, just nervousness and anxious in this new business.

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And they're offering in the prices and what to say and how to do it.

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To just being completely and utterly confident.

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And you could tell by her Instagram content it's Avalon Lindsey, but

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you can tell it's like, it is like point blank in your face.

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It is not overdone.

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It is, it is just matter of fact information that is going to educate

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you on brand strategy, whether you are trying to incorporate it, or whether

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you are trying to teach it, or whether you are yourself, a brand story.

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And that is what we want here on the leadership locker.

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We want people who want to teach now, another thing we talk

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about is just the pivot itself.

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Okay.

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Like going from design to brand strategy, there was a curiosity

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there that, and she was afforded the opportunity, but there was a

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curiosity there and then almost it was.

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Uh, calling because she realized that while she was a great designer,

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there was an entire element missing.

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And that was brand strategy.

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Now we've all been there, right?

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Like we've all been there for me.

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I thought I was going to be storytelling through a lens of a kid.

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And I do, but I initially thought it was photography and then it went to video

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and then it went to content creation.

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These things evolve.

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This is a progressive uncovering and she is a fantastic.

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Fantastic example of that.

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And you were going to get real examples of some of the things

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that she's going to cross.

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You're going to get real examples of some of the questions that come when it comes

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to people's reluctance to even give a shit about strategy, and you're going to learn

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why it's so important in your position to just educate the hell out of people.

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And I lose sight of that sometimes too, because you know why?

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Cause I love doing this podcast and sometimes I just like to

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say, what the hell I got to say?

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And I'm actually not necessarily educated.

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But that's also why I have people like Melinda on, so we're

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going to get right into it.

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Go.

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All right, everyone.

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So you just heard the awesome intro.

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I'm here with Melinda and I like to get straight to the point, but we'll

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begin at the beginning and let her just tell you a little bit about, uh,

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what she's up to right now and how she got there and we'll kick it off.

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So, Melinda, thanks for that.

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Yeah, thanks

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for having me.

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Uh, my name is Melinda Lizzie, and I am a brand strategist, but

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I also teach other aspiring brand strategists how to do the same thing.

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And I originally started out as a graphic designer, worked in corporate and then

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moved into, into the branding world.

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So that's how it got.

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This is actually perfect.

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And I, we were just warming up everyone.

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And I was just like, I don't really do a ton of research, but brand strategy.

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And I am a media company owner brand strategy until I met Christo and,

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or started learning from Cristo and then found you and some of the

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other awesome people in the group.

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I was like brand strategy, like brand is like, get some cool letters, get the logo.

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Beyond your way, because nothing else, it doesn't matter that much, but, uh,

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I've come to learn the complete opposite.

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So tell us exactly what brand strategy is and why sometimes it gets left

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by the wayside in people's minds, in the beginning of their journey.

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Yeah.

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And it was something I didn't know about either.

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So you're not the only one.

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So years ago I started as a graphic designer and I always thought that

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brand meant what you were talking about.

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So identity the colors, the tight face, the fonts that you

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would use and how it looks.

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And then I learned.

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That quickly I couldn't design, I couldn't, I couldn't do things because

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I didn't know who I was designing for.

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And I didn't even know that was the issue.

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But then when I learned what brand strategy was, I realized that this

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is what I was missing this whole time when I was trying to design all those

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things for the brand is that it goes beyond what the brand looks like.

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It's really a emotional connection between a business.

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And their ideal customer.

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So I like to think of it as matchmaking.

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I got this from Euro Sentosa.

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She once said that branding is like matchmaking, where we, as the strategist

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is, are the matchmakers where we're trying to find out what's unique

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about the business and the brand.

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That's going to connect emotionally with the ideal customer.

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So that goes beyond the look and the feel, but it goes into how the business

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shows up, how they handle every single customer touch point every time.

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That a customer interacts with the business.

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What does that feel like?

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What does it sound like?

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How are they talked to what's the messaging and what does it look like?

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But it, but it goes beyond just what, what it would look like.

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And I think that's a misconception.

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A lot of people think that branding is just what it looks

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like.

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Yeah.

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And I mean, the thing is differentiation is critical.

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I could be out on a limb here, but I'm sure when you're talking to prospects

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or when you're initially talking with clients who you take on that,

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there's probably not a different, a lot of differentiation in the lens.

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And this is something I feel like, um, you know, brands or people

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with lack of a brand struggle with is getting a little bit deeper.

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So like, how do you get people to, I like to say unwrap, how do you

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unwrap them to where they're giving you exactly what you need to be like.

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Now we can actually do something.

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So how I go about the branding process too, is meeting with clients

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and we're having a face-to-face meetings or over a couple of days.

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And it's with it.

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You emphasized, face-to-face sorry.

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Why do you say face-to-face

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because I want to see their body language.

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I want to, um, I want to see and feel the emotion that's behind what they're

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saying, because usually when we start a business, it comes from a core.

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Purpose.

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I come from the belief of Simon Sinek, start with why, as far as

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like what, why we do what we do.

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Usually it stems from a court story or a struggle that we've had,

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or that we've seen in the world.

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And we want that to change and we're very passionate about it.

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We're purpose-driven and I want to hear that emotion behind that.

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I want to hear the backstory.

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I want to hear, where did that first start?

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What happened is when you were a child.

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Like I go way back, even into childhood defined these stories and so face to

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face zoom, you know, that works too.

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Um, as long as I can see, see the person and, um, and interact with them.

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So we dig into that to get even the, like the personality, like we want to surface

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the personality and the character and everything that makes the business unique.

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This stems from the founder and what makes the founder unique

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and the story of why they started the business in the first place.

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Unique.

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So it stems from that.

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And if we can get that out and surfaced, and then we get to know

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the ideal customer and why would they even care about the business?

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Why would they buy into it?

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What are they maybe struggling with?

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Or what's a goal or aspiration that they're reaching towards,

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that they want to get to, that the business can help them with.

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And we try to find this it's like language to unload.

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That connection between the two.

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So if we can find out all those interesting stories of the brand and

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the business and the founder, and then we know the customer really well and

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what they want, then we can create a story and touch points and messaging

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that is going to make that connection.

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That relationship click, once they meet.

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Absolutely.

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Uh, if you have not heard of this book, I highly recommend it.

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It's called stories that stick by Kendra hall.

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And she talks about, you know, the four stories that everyone should be ready

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to tell us, especially in business, you know, the founder story, the origin story,

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the customer story, and the value story.

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Like those things.

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I feel like our precursor, if that's all lined up before they

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get to you, then like game over.

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It's going to be amazing.

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Like you guys are going to just take off like a rocket ship.

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So now you're doing the brand strategy.

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Doing the digging, you're tying the emotional connections.

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You're tying the reason the business exists and probably getting into

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goals and these types of things.

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However, you know, again, brand strategy is kind of one of those things

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that people feel like they can skip.

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So when some of your other maybe design work and some of the stuff I've

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done, especially after listening to Chris and stuff like that, I'm like,

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well, wait a second, wait a second.

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I know you want video or I know you want a podcast, but it's important for me to

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be able to diagnose what's going on for me to understand exactly who it is you're

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working with and everything like that.

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This is a very, very common objection.

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And I've heard you talk about it before, and this isn't even about

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price or any of that stuff yet.

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This is literally about arming you to do the best job possible, but it still

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seems like a really difficult task.

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How do you back people up from their predisposed notion to be

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like, Like, this is all I need.

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Like for lax, like this is all I need, we don't need to begin at the beginning.

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How, how do you even bring them back and just convince them that

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that's a wise business decision?

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I it's probably not the answer you're looking for, but I don't

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because if the person is, it does not see it as a problem.

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If they believe that this is where just going to the very end and not

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taking all that time to sharpen the ax, as they say, and they want to go

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out and just go jump to the very end.

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By all means, go for it.

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Cause I'm not into convincing or, you know, explaining or whatnot because

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it's very few and far between that.

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Someone's like, oh yes, I'm going to change my mind and I'm going to do that.

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That's a good idea.

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So by the time they come to me now, beforehand, if we're just chatting

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and I'm saying, Hey, this is why you should, you should do this first.

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It's it was that famous quote.

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If I'm gonna cut down a tree, I'm going to spend most of the time sharpening me.

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And that's what, what this is.

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If we don't know what we're trying to do with, um, let's say I'm gonna, I'm

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going to want to use a specific example.

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Like someone might come and they say, Hey, I need my social media done.

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Like, I, I need posts for my social media.

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Let's just say, and you're like, oh, okay, well, well, who are you talking to?

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What do they need?

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Why should they care?

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Because if you don't have those things in place, you're

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going to be wasting your money.

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I think that's the biggest thing.

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If I were to tell anyone that's objecting to this, and they're, they're thinking

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those things like I'm not going to spend all this time and money on brand strategy.

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Well, by all means, go for the end thing of like the social media and the logos

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and the design, but it might not work.

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It might not.

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And you might be wasting your money.

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And I think that's the number one thing I'm seeing businesses do.

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Wasting their money on marketing, wasting their money on design because they

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didn't have a clear goal and a clear focus and target is who they were trying

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to attract in the first place with it.

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And so then they, they do it and it falls flat and it doesn't

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get them the results they want.

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It doesn't bring in the new markets.

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They were trying to tap into it.

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Doesn't bring them to more customers or it doesn't allow

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them to charge a higher price.

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And, um, and with branding branding in the long run helps,

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this is from Marty Neumeier.

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It, it helps you get more customers over a longer period of time at a premium price.

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I mean, what business would not let all three of those things,

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and that is a longterm play.

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Like you have to put in the work and the planning and, and making sure that you are

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focused on the target that you're aiming at to be able to hit that long-term goal.

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But if you're just looking for something cool, That's where I'm

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seeing businesses skip that step because they're worried and they're

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scared and they want to make a sale.

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And then they forego all of the planning that they needed.

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Yeah.

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I mean, I think it's so hard in the beginning because it's like, it's.

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This is, um, I'm a butcher or something.

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Now one of my friends and his wife, they found out she's pregnant.

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I'm like, here's some unsolicited advice.

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Don't take any unsolicited advice from parents because none of us

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know what we're doing, you know?

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And I'm just like, it's in the beginning of entrepreneurship.

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Everyone's going to tell you, you should blank.

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You should.

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Get an accountant.

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You should get a lawyer.

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You should be an LLC.

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You should be an S Corp.

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You should get it a website.

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You should have a Shopify, like all these things.

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It's really hard to focus on.

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What's important, but as I've learned and I've had to backtrack,

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so I'm living proof of what she's saying is I didn't necessarily have

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some of these things ironed out.

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So I've had to kind of do extra leg work in order to, and I've, I've been using

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the people in our circle and our ecosystem to kind of help me along with that.

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And now I've landed somewhere where I feel much more conscious.

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Now, let me ask you this, that being said, you can now your customer and you

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can iron out some of your goals, but you and I both know those things can change.

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Maybe you're six months into it or a year into it.

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I'm not sure this is exactly who I should be talking to.

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I seem to be attracting these types of people, which was unexpected,

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but I actually love serving them.

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So what do you tell people when they've worked with you or someone like you and

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then their mind kind of shifts a little bit like, uh, you know, should they be

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concerned about that or is that normal?

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Oh, that's completely normal.

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And I would say strategy is not a one and done forever.

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And that, and that's the way it is.

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We, we need to course correct to like, we need to, to test out the strategy.

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So we know where we're aiming.

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This is the plan.

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This is how we're going to get to where we're going.

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Then we implement those things.

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So we actually write the messaging.

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That's going to connect with this customer.

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We create the design, that's going to attract them and we test it.

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So as long as the.

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The client, or let's say the business owner isn't questioning it just because

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they're thinking about it in their head.

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And they're like, oh no, this is the wrong person.

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This is not it.

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They need to go out and validate that.

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So go out, validate it, put, implement the strategy, whatever that was and how

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you were going to get to that customer, get some customers, see what happens.

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And then, then that's testing the strategy.

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It's almost like an experiment.

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You're you have a hypothesis like, Hey, I think this is how we're

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going to get this type of claim.

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Then you actually run the experiment and at the end, you're going to see whether

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or not your hypothesis was correct.

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And if it's not, that's, that's still great because it gives you a ton of

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information to learn from and, and know what to do moving forward, as long as it's

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not, oh, I don't feel right about this.

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Or maybe it's someone else.

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Cause I'm seeing a lot of business owners do that without going out and actually.

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Getting things out into the marketplace, validate whether or not that's true

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of, of what you, um, what you thought might work and then course correct.

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And I would, I would give it at least three months, at least three months to

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implement a strategy, to see if it works and then see, okay, this isn't working.

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Why is it not working?

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What do we need to tweak?

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And then shift, shift your strategy if need be, or maybe not, maybe it

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just needs a little bit of tweaks as you get to know your customer.

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This is perfect.

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I want to talk about like Instagram specifically.

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I joke a lot.

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When I talk to prospects and stuff about how much they, how much time and

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effort they want to put into Instagram.

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And this is just me projecting to them probably, which I need to fix.

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But I'm a LinkedIn guy I'm like way bullish on LinkedIn.

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I love it.

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It's given me my business, but I'm like, people on Instagram are broke either.

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They can't afford me or whatever.

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I, I say that kind of jokingly, but at the same time, all the inquiries

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and some of the engagement is from kind of the wrong audience.

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So what happens if, and I've seen obviously a lots of your stuff and you

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get tons of great engagement, but what happens if you have worked with someone?

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The brand strategy is, is ironclad and you're attracting

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just like the wrong people.

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Maybe it's financial.

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Maybe it's just people who actually don't care about design.

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They just care about a really cool Instagram post.

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How do you reevaluate what needs to be done then?

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I mean, from just a profitable standpoint and attracting the right people and

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the money aspect, how do you, how do you reevaluate at that point?

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Yeah, we would do some sort of evaluation in audit.

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See what's going on right now?

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So what kind of communications am I putting out?

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So if let's use me as an example, if I was attracting the wrong type of audience,

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so currently my audience are designers who want to become brand strategist.

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So I am on Instagram, but let's just say I'm attracting a lot of

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people that are not my ideal client.

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They're not buying my course.

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Let's use photographers as an example, just like, you know, people who've

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really techie, something like that.

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So it could be a little bit more real.

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So, um, so photographers, aren't getting the people who could

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afford them for their sessions.

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What I would do is look at what are they.

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What are they putting out into the world?

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So what do they look like?

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What do they sound like?

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What did they say?

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Where are they showing up?

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So if they're showing up on Instagram, maybe that's not where

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their customer's looking for them.

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Maybe they're looking for them on blocks.

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Maybe they're looking for them on directories of some sort.

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Maybe they're looking for them on Pinterest.

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There could be, I mean, I would first look at like, where are you showing.

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How are you showing up?

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What are you saying?

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And then look at what is the response that you're getting back?

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How are people finding you?

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And so if you're attracting the wrong person, it's because you're

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in the wrong place saying the wrong thing, but you need to evaluate

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what's going on very objectively.

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So just look at what are all the communications being put out.

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What does it look like?

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And then I'm, I know it really helps me too in the beginning to look at

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other businesses that I aspire to be like, or like, man, if I just got

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those types of clients that, that other let's say photographers getting,

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then I would, I would love that.

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So then you would evaluate Kayla where you're at, what are you doing?

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What are you putting in?

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Look at what they're doing and not that you're doing it to copy them

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at all, but you, I want to see how do they show up in the world?

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Why do you think that they are attracting the type of client you want and you're

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not attracting them and evaluate that and then start breaking it down

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into what are the things then that need to change that you can try out.

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To get more of that type of client versus the one that you currently are.

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All right, everyone.

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Quick break.

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I mentioned that at the beginning, I'm going to remind you rocket station.com.

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That is where I got, I would say just an unbelievable save,

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uh, in terms of the help I need.

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Okay.

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And I think I mentioned this before, and I'm not, I'm not

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even going to be shy about it.

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I lost my chief operating officer.

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Well guess what?

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The business coach that I've been working with monthly, we, we, when

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that happened, we, we talked about it.

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I was like, what, what was your chief operating officer doing?

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Why do you even have a chief operating office?

Speaker:

Sometimes we fall in love with the, the roles and responsibilities when

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ultimately these things, I mean, you do not have to make it sexy.

Speaker:

I have an obsolete now who fulfills all the responsibilities out of a

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chief operating officer used to do.

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And I could not be more proud of her and I could not be more

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behind her because she shows up.

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Ready to go.

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She has the initiative.

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She's completely resourceful.

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She takes feedback very well.

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She gives me feedback.

Speaker:

That's exactly what I want.

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I don't want just someone who's, I'm outsourcing some shit too,

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and I don't have a relationship with, I actually care for them.

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And I know she cares for the business and I believe she cares for me.

Speaker:

Well, and that's why I'm going.

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And I'm trying to get more.

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Because I know this is going to be huge, huge, and helping me accomplish

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my goals, which is what we all want.

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We need help.

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We know we can't do it alone.

Speaker:

So emailBrooks@rocketstationdotcomorgotolandingatrocketstation.com.

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You can visit that page and just check it out.

Speaker:

Mentioned me.

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You will get the hookup, stop sleeping on, helping get it and go forward.

Speaker:

Let's get back to the show now.

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Highlights something that you said, which is really important, uh, which

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is, you know, you were in design and then you went to brand strategy

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and became a brand strategist.

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And I'm all about pivoting.

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As a matter of fact, I believe this podcast is kind of heading in

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that direction where, you know, you acutely went through something, so it

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completely makes sense that you want to help others do the same, which is

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obviously why I'm trying to do this.

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I'd love act two of our lives.

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Right?

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I always say, act two is about.

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But that's a very intimidating, sometimes visceral experience when you're kind

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of leaving what you know, and know well for something else that has intrigued

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you, that has made you curious, can you talk to me about what that pivot was?

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Like?

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It's clear that you're an expert, but I'm sure you didn't

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feel like that all the time.

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Uh, talk to me about when you made the decision to switch, switch.

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Yeah.

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So I was, at that point, I was a designer for probably eight or nine

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years, and I had worked at corporate.

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I had worked a little bit in the agencies and then the last job I was at, they

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dissolved the creative department.

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So I thought, okay, this is my chance to go out on my own.

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I got this.

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I want to be a brand identity designer.

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So what we were talking about, the look and the feel of the brand,

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um, I started that business.

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And I just ran into some issues with, um, clients, clients

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wanting a lot of revisions and it wasn't the issue with the client.

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It was an issue with my process.

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It was like a stress test.

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It revealed the weaknesses in my own process, um, and working with them.

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So a lot of revisions.

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I wasn't really getting what they wanted, how they wanted to communicate or the

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type of person they want to attract.

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There's just a lot of missing information.

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I knew that I could up-level my business.

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And I just, I wanted to work on really good brands and bigger

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brands and solve bigger problems.

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And so then I met my coach Christo, and, um, he introduced me to the world of

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brand strategies that I really think.

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That is the missing piece for you.

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I think that that's going to really open up your world that you're going

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to be able to work on those bigger projects and solve bigger brand problems.

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And so I started learning it.

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Oh my gosh.

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I had so many questions because there's this whole new world of, I was missing

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a lot of information that I needed to build a great brand for my clients.

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And this was what I felt.

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The key that opened up everything for me.

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So what I did when I made that pivot is I had a group of friends

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that were making a similar pivot.

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We formed a study group and we met once a week and we would go practice our

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strategy or our strategy with each other.

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So we would do it for each other on each other's businesses.

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And then we would go out and work with.

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Come back and share with the group, Hey, this worked, this didn't, here's

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how I handled this because there was a lot of questions of like, well,

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do you do the same thing with a B2B client as you do with a B2C client?

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And what if they're this big or what if they don't know their ideal client?

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And so we had all these questions as we were trying it out.

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And I had that group to fall back on, into, and to work with and ask

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questions for about six months.

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And during that time I offered, um, I offered five strategy

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sessions for previous clients, a family member who had a business,

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um, a friend who had a business.

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And I said, yeah, okay.

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I have this new thing, this new service that I want to try

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out, would you be open to me?

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Going through it with you.

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I showed them an example for my friend.

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I said, this is what my friend has done.

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This is the type of thing I'd like to do with permission.

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I have permission from her, but, um, I showed, this is the type of thing

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that I would love to do with you.

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I think it would be really helpful for you to know who you're talking to.

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You know, we'll make all your marketing, all your, all your other decisions,

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especially in marketing and design easily.

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If you do this first, and I said, I'll do it for free.

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How about that?

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To get case studies?

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I wanted to get case studies.

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I wanted also to practice because I wasn't that sure of myself at that time.

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And it went really well.

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Some of them were, you know, a little shaky, others were great.

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I learned a ton.

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And then I got to the point where I felt confident enough to start charging.

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And that's where I think the first one I charged for had some design with

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it and I charged a thousand dollars.

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I said, yes, I can do that.

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But I'm going to start with this strategy.

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Are you okay with that?

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They said, yeah, the next one I charged 2,500, the next one, 5,000,

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the next one, 10,000 and so on.

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So, so I kept that up.

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I'm willing.

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Cause I'm like, oh no, this is more valuable.

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This is more valuable than what I'm charging.

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I gotta, I gotta go higher.

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So it would over-deliver single time.

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And then it showed myself, I gave myself the confidence to see, oh, this is way

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more valuable than what I'm charging.

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Yeah, let me interject really quick.

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So I just made a podcast about this cause I've been, I have

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pricing creativity right over here.

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I have win without pitching over there.

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I've listened to Blair ends all the time.

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And you know, there's a part where he talks about penetration pricing, uh,

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which in your case was actually free.

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It wasn't just a low price, but you were doing it for a very specific reason,

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which was not only for the case studies, but to see where you were probably flat.

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And I think it's really, really important for people to understand

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that that's not a bad thing.

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Like I'm very against the belief.

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People who criticize free work, you know, say that really undervalues you.

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If you are able to confidently explain why you're doing that, then you're going

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to end up in a situation just like you.

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I mean, you went from zero to a thousand to 2,500.

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I mean like I'm, I'm not going to do public math, but the percentage

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increase on those is substantial.

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And you, it actually helped you to realize like, this is far more valuable.

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Now let me ask you this, that.

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Were you anxious?

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How did you even present it without shaking and, and being worried

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about what they were going to say?

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Yeah,

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that's a great question.

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Um, I believe in it, I, a hundred percent believe in it.

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I think that is.

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That was, that's one of the biggest things, because I get people

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ask me, like, how do you explain the value of brand strategy?

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I said, well, what value do you think there?

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Isn't it.

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You tell me what you value you see in it, because if you don't believe.

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Then how are you ever going to sell it?

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Why would a client believe you, but you don't believe that there's value in it?

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So I saw the value, not only on my side, as a designer, that it would

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make my life easier, but I also saw how it could influence their business

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and the clarity that they would get.

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And the clarity of who they're talking to.

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All of that.

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So much.

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And so I believe so much in it.

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So that would be number one.

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Number two, at that time I was showing examples like, Hey, this is what

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I did with this previous client.

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I think it's very closely related to what you're trying to do.

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And I would show an example, whereas I don't do that anymore.

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Because it's based off of the questions that I asked now.

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But during that time I felt like that was like my crutch.

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That was what gave me confidence is like, I just did it with this client.

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It worked really well.

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So I can show this, this new client.

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Um, but yeah, it was scary, but I think because I believed in it so much, I was

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like, Hey client, if you're not going to do this phase first, I can't work.

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Because I booked that's how much I believed in it.

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Like I'm going to walk away from this project if you don't agree to

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do it, because I know that is what is pivotal to making this whole

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project work is if we do that for you.

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It's like you're interviewing each other.

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And, and that, that is a really, really hard place to get to.

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Especially if you know that financially you could benefit from just doing it and

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making sure that everything's covered for the month or whatever, you know what,

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especially if you're just starting out.

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So I completely understand, and I hope people really listened

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to how important, you know, that that was significant advice now.

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You mentioned it earlier, kind of softly about not convincing clients.

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This again is another mindset we're kind of moving past

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brand strategy at this point.

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And just talking about just straight entrepreneurship, I could tell you

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as someone who I, I know a little bit that I realized before Chris.

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Now I can say this, but all I did was pitch.

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I was locked, cocked and ready.

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If I had a referral, I was telling them how awesome video is, why

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video is the most important thing.

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Why short form content is awesome.

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Why LinkedIn has the best organic reach everything.

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And it was like, I look back and it was like, I was outside of myself.

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I'm like, I didn't think I shut up for like 15 straight men.

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Talk to me about why convincing clients is actually a very poor practice.

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And if you've, if you used to do that, how you overcame it.

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Oh, I used to do that.

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I think it's our default.

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Maybe, maybe I'm assuming here.

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It was my default.

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I know that sounds like it was your default.

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It's like, if we, we want the job for like, okay, I'm

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going to explain my process.

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I'm going to show case studies.

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I'm going to tell them why this is good for their business and why

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they're making the wrong decision.

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And if their website sucks.

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It's like, if we want it, we want it.

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We want to push that much harder into convincing and to show it

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because we have all the data, look, look it, we have all this proof

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that what you're doing is wrong.

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You need to do this other thing.

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Yes.

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So I used to do that.

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Um, and I used to get really nervous, like, oh, I got to explain myself.

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And I, and I just felt like I was on stage every time that I got on a sales

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call, like, okay, got to prep for this.

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I got to like, what's my routine.

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And what's my presentation that I'm going to have.

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And through working with my coach, he showed me by him demonstrating it to me.

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So he would ask me questions and I would have to answer sometimes

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very uncomfortable questions.

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And through that process, He taught me not only by demonstrating it,

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but also telling me that like when you're in front of a client, they

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care about getting to their goal.

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They care about like how you're gonna help them and to do that.

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And this is the weirdest, like mindset shifts when you're used to

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pitching is to put the lens on them.

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And the only way to do that is to ask them question.

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And it seems so counterintuitive.

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So incredibly counterintuitive because we want to just dump process and examples

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and results and case studies at them.

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And we think that's going to convince them that is not, we have to, we have

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to connect to the emotional part of the brain first, before we can go to war.

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And that first, that connection that we can make with them is putting

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them first, showing them that they're valuable, what they think

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is valuable, what their problem is.

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Because if we start talking, we overly talk, we start assuming what

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their problem is and what all their objections, like we don't even think

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about what their objections might be.

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We don't even let them.

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And we need to hear from them.

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We need to, we need to put them first.

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And again, the only way to do that is asking them questions so that

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we can fully fully comprehend the problem, how they view their problems.

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Even if we think we know what their problem is, we need to

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hear it out of their mouth.

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They have to know what the problem is that they're dealing with and they

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have to be able to articulate it.

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And we can ask questions to help them get there and get clarity on it.

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But when we start talking and just pitching at them, we're assuming

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we know what they're dealing with and we assume what's best for them.

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And they need to be the ones that say it.

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They need to be the ones that come to that conclusion.

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Yeah, I have, I don't think I'm ever going to erase it.

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I should probably just put it in permanent.

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Marker.

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I'll have a dry erase board and I wrote the other day, let the idea be theirs.

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And I don't mean the idea to hire me or whatever.

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I just mean whatever they come up with.

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Like let it be theirs.

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And if I'm part of that equation then great.

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If not, then hopefully I helped them in another way, by at least

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connecting them with my network because I have a good note.

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But I, I love that.

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And I, again like everyone should really be taking notes and replay this or

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timestamp it or whatever, but I want to get into one of your posts here.

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It says, sell brand strategy without a portfolio.

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And this is what inspired me to reach out to you right away.

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And it's a true story.

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It says, but I want to remove the brand strategy part.

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We've talked about some penetration pricing.

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We talked about free work.

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We talked about you getting case studies.

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We talked about AB testing and some of these.

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Now, if I'm leaning a little bit towards someone who's making a complete pivot,

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or maybe someone who's coming as a aviator in the Marine Corps and coming

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out to do videography or storytelling or whatever may be, and they don't have

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these things, how am I going to build a portfolio when I actually can't even

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show here's some design work I did in the past, or here's some stuff I did

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on the past, on my phone, on iPhone.

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Like, where do you start?

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When, you know, maybe, and, and you know what, let me clarify something.

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Maybe it's not going to come to fruition, but you really want to explore it.

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How can you do this and get approached or approach people and

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seem less risky without a portfolio?

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I have a process for this.

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So the first step would be understanding who you want to serve.

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Just to start with you.

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Don't it's just not a sentence stone just to choose who you're going to start with.

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So who, what type of person generally speaking?

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So, um, it helps, if you can narrow it down to an industry, just to

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narrow down who you're going, go talk to the type of person that

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might have, um, a similar goal.

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So you could say like, uh, real estate agents, or just pick a demographic.

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An industry and then go talk to them.

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So you're going to want to do some research, so I would

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have conversations with them.

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And what you want to find out is what do they aspire to do?

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What's their dream.

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I would ask them from a few years ahead.

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Like w where do you hope to end up?

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Or if you're, let's think of like, you're already three or years ahead and tell me

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what has happened in those three years.

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Um, you know, the Dan Sullivan question.

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Um, so, so asking them about their aspirations and where they hope to

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end up, and then I would ask them.

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What's the challenge in getting there.

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Have you hit any obstacles in getting there and keep asking them, what else?

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Tell me more.

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What else?

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Tell me more until they have completely exhausted everything that

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they have said and come to a very core problem of what's going on.

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And this is why you're doing this because you want to know.

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The people that you were serving so well that you could articulate

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their problem better than they can, because if you can do that, they

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will assume you have the solution.

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That was not my original idea that came from many podcasts of,

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you know, listening to pat Flynn.

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He's awesome.

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Yeah, guys, um, I think I heard it on one of his episodes and it really stuck with

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me because that, that made me see that.

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If a client feels understood if a customer or client feels understood, they

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will assume you can help them with it.

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And I've experienced that on the end of being the client, hiring a vendor

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and a vendor keeps asking me questions.

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Really trying to understand what I'm dealing with and what my problem is and

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what my problem is in getting to my goal.

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I'm like, oh, you get it.

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You understand?

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So I trust that if you know my problem that, well, you can

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actually help me get there.

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At least find somebody that's going to help me to get to my goal.

Speaker:

So that'd be the first part.

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So that's the research portion it's talking to as many

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people as you possibly can.

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That fit that description of the type of person that you want to.

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Find out what their aspiration is, find out what the obstacle is in getting there.

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Then what I would do is run a kind of what I did with doing it for free,

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but you don't have to do for free.

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You can run a beta round or you can pilot some type of program where if

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you understand where they want to be, what their issue is, and you feel

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that you can solve it somehow you can create a product or service that

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solves that didn't develop a prototype.

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So make an outline for it and don't even build it yet.

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Don't build the product.

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Don't build a service, make an outline of what you're thinking.

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It could be go back to those same people and say, Hey, I remember, remember when

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we talked, you said you wanted to do this.

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You said, this was your problem.

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Well, what if I were to build this thing?

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And here you go.

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Here's, here's what I'm thinking.

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If I do that.

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Would you be interested if they say yes, you can even ask them,

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would you like to pre-order this?

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Cause if I get so many people that are interested in this, I'm actually

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going to make it so you can actually get funding for this, from the people

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who are going to buy it from you.

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Before you ever build it.

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And that's something that that's a process I use now in my course creation.

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So anytime we come out with a new course, we're beta testing.

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It we're, we're even beta testing.

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Like I said, the outline like we're going and doing research.

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Then we go back to those people and say, do you want to buy it?

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Here you go.

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You can pre-order it.

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Then we get in the sales and then it gives us funds to go out and build it

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because the thing is they're buying into.

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Really their goal and their, their problem over just your solution.

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Like we think so much that they're buying our solution.

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They're buying our process.

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That's a vehicle to get them to their goal.

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What they're really bought into is where they want to end up once they use your

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thing or your service or your product, that's just a vehicle to get them there.

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So they're not so concentrated on that as they are on, oh,

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you're going to solve my problem.

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And you're going to get me to that place.

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I want to get to.

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I'm in here's the money.

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Take it.

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If you can, if you can give you there then.

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Awesome.

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And you can do it at a discounted rate.

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You don't have to, so that's the way to get around and doing it for free

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and then getting funding for it even

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before you build it.

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Yeah.

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I mean, I've not quite heard it like that.

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And I think.

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Is a fantastic strategy for anyone who desires to help others, same way you do.

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Now, I have to play devil's advocate.

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I used to be a complete cynic when it comes to people trying to sell me

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something or problems or whatever.

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And like a lot of our beliefs about sales come from the interactions

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that we've had with salespeople.

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And, you know, it's, it's like almost like a trigger, right?

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It's like ridiculous.

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Like you hear certain words or approached a certain way or ask a certain question

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and you're just like, You know, but when you are talking to these people and you

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kind of help them uncover some of the problem, and then, you know, you get

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to the point where it looks like it's a potential to do business together.

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And again, I'm playing devil's advocate.

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I could be like, we just literally had a conversation like that.

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Doesn't prove she could actually help me just because she's interested.

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You're like, it's fine.

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That she's sincere about understanding what my issues are, but that doesn't mean.

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No, like, I need to know exactly what you're going to do.

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And now all of a sudden you're in this weird purgatory place where they want

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to know exactly what you're going to do.

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They want to know the process.

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And you're like, here we go.

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Talk to me about if you've encountered that and how to approach

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that, obviously in a way that's empathetic and, and practice.

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Yeah, I actually haven't experienced that.

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Exactly.

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But I think I might be able to think of why that might happen.

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Why that happens is there's not enough trust built there.

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And that could be for different reasons.

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One is they don't know you from anyone.

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And so there's this random person talking to them about their problems and it's

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like, oh, you just DMD me on LinkedIn.

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Like, this is really weird.

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So if you can get people that you do.

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Some kind of a link to that does build in trust right away.

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So if you can ask your circle, Hey, I'm looking for this type of person

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I'm looking for dentists in this area.

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Do you, who do you go to?

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So then when you approach this person, when you can ask them questions, you say.

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I just talked to so-and-so.

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They know you, they recommended, I talk to you and instantly that

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does build some trust, right?

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There was other ways of building trust, where you can be building audience

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and audience on the line that you can be giving free value on there.

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So you're showing up and people can see that you are credible, that

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you're not just a random person out of the blue that's coming to them.

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That does help too.

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There's a different ways of building trust the other.

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Trust, uh, ways to build trust is actually in that conversation.

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So once you've gotten to the point where on a call with these

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people, that, that conversation.

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Can build a lot of trust.

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It can also break some trust too.

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If you come off salesy, if they see that you just have a hidden agenda,

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but if they do see that you truly want to help and they have enough

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trust to stay on a call with you.

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So if you got them there in the first place by some kind of connection

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or something that they're like, okay, like I can talk to you.

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I don't feel like you're pitching anything.

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And you can even say.

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I'm not trying to pitch you anything on this call.

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I truly want to help.

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I've seen this issue or I've dealt with this issue.

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I really want to see how I can help people.

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Would you be open to chatting with me about it and just having a real

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conversation with them and you might get people that are like that, and

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that's when you show them the outline of, Hey, this is what we plan on doing.

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It's a beta round.

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Things are not going to be perfect.

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It's going to be rough.

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Here's what you can expect.

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If as long as you say that up front to them, they should be okay with it.

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But I think if you're having issues with that, then attack the trust issue.

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So that might be, you might want to create some content online.

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You might want to find a connection instead of going just cold DM-ing

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people that really would help.

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Yeah, you mentioned, I think when we were about to record, you know,

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should I talk about how I want to teach people how to help other people?

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Right.

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And I have to say from listening to you on some role-plays and

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things before, like there was just.

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A level of timidness, so to speak and maybe a lack of confidence.

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And obviously I don't mean that, you know, in a derogatory way,

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it's just, it's very clear to me.

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I've seen the growth, but I have your Instagram pulled up and I want

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people, you can't see those people, but I want to tell you, and there's

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a point to this and I'll get to it.

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But here's some of the titles of some of the carousel posts, your goal.

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Isn't to finish a brief, the reasons you aren't getting more clients,

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if you feel you aren't getting enough work, raise your rates.

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First confidence will follow.

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What does your client really want?

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This falls into the category.

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To me, it looks like you're on the offense in a very positive way.

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And I made a podcast recently talking about how I believe personal branding

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is less about why, even though you and I both subscribed to Simon Sinek and start

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with why, but right now I believe it's actually a lot more about how to, how much

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can you educate some people and a mentor, both to you and me, someone like Chris is

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an expert, right at that, it seems like you've had substantial growth, not only

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on the platform, but in the business.

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How much has educating others impacted you personally and professionally?

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Oh, it's huge.

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It is huge.

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I feel like I have gotten so much better at my own craft of what I do

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because I teach other people and I actually do run a course, but I also

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teach on, you know, with free content, no matter how you ended up doing that.

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Highly suggested if you want to get better, what you're doing at the craft

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that you're doing, go try to teach someone because you're going to have

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to break it down very simply and why it matters, why you're doing what you do.

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And then what's amazing is when you teach someone else, they receive

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the information and then they.

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I spit it back out to you in a different way that you never saw before.

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And that's like, I get so rewarded and I learned more from my own

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students because of the way that they are interpreting it and how they

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communicate it back to me, what they just learned or what they go try.

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And then they bring it back to me.

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And I just feel like I have learned and grown so much because I've also

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coupled my craft with, with teaching.

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We'll kind of wrap here, but like your course and your

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bootcamp, I told you before we started, like, it's unbelievable.

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The testimonials, the feedback, like people would pay to have some of

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the screenshots that you have and some of the kind of case studies.

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I mean, I think I read something.

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One woman said, I, I got a $5,000 client and I didn't even show them any work.

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And I'm just like, we all want to get there, but can you talk to me about

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the community that you've built?

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It seems extremely tight knit.

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What is the common thread there between everyone literally just wanting to

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learn and execute on their business.

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Yeah, the common thread, I would think the growth mindset.

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So they're willing to try they're okay.

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Failing because they know they can learn from it.

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And they also know that they have an extremely supportive

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community behind them.

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That is emotionally available, intelligent, and they're okay.

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They're okay.

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Being vulnerable about that.

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Like, I feel very blessed that the group that we have when we get on call.

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We'll ask people how it's going, and there'll be honest about it.

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And they'll say, Hey, I had this client call.

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It did not go well.

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I felt really scared.

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I totally flubbed up and they'll share those things with us.

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And I'm like, this is rare.

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This is not happened in very many places.

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And I think part of it might be.

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I was like that on camera, on YouTube and for, you know, hundreds

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of thousands of people to see.

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And so I was like, I don't know what I'm doing and I will share what I'm

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feeling and totally flip up on camera.

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And I think.

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I started that way.

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And people know me from that, that they feel safer that they

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too can show up like that as well.

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And so I think that, um, that probably is, is a big portion of it.

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And then we also it's application-based too.

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So we are looking and scanning applications for the growth mindset.

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Like, are you taking responsibility for yourself and your business

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and where your business is going?

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Right.

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Clients are difficult sometimes and hard, but are you, are you blaming them or

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are you actually taking responsibility for what you can do and how you can, can

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move things forward in your own business?

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So that's what we look for, but I think we're already just attracting the type

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of person that's emotionally intelligent and vulnerable and willing to not put

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on a show like there some, you know, expert, like they're, they're learning.

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We all are, and we all will continue to do.

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Completely.

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This goes back into, and I know we talked about it probably like

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10 minutes ago about trust though, your ability to be vulnerable.

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And I, you literally brought me back.

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I believe I was watching something and you have to keep the YouTube videos open

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to watch them if it's on your phone.

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So I'm like at the gym and like, usually I just listen to

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something, but I was watching.

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And it was so funny because you were doing a role playing in

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the middle of the role-play.

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You're like, I don't know what to say.

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Like you completely just like, or like absolved yourself of it.

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And here's the thing though, like you were willing to do that.

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You did it in front of a lot of people, and that is literally leading by example.

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So now people are going to be like, I'm going to show up in

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this group and I'm going to say whatever the hell is going on.

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And I already know that, like you said, you're emotionally available

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and people think that's like fluff.

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But that's real life.

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And that's exactly why it seems like you're having the success and your,

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your students and your counterparts are having the same success.

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So I think it's fantastic.

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I cannot thank you enough for all the things that you've shared here.

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Uh, where can people find you and where can we learn about your course?

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Yeah,

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you can find me.

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I'm I'm mainly on Instagram, under Melinda Lipsey, Twitter, Melinda lives,

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the underscore LinkedIn, if you want to learn about the course and go to

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marks and maker.com and you can learn about the course and everything else.

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Oh, that's right.

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And actually I'll ask about this at the very end, because I was on

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marks and maker and I saw it says about, and then it says journal and

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then it says resources and apply.

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Now I'm like journal.

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I'm like, this is like her journal, but it's like a blog.

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What was the thinking behind that?

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Cause I, I think it's great and it looks fantastic.

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So you should all go to it if you're listening, but what

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was your thinking behind that?

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Thank you.

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Um, I think I saw someone else call it journal, and I was like,

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I like that word better than blog.

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I don't know, plug, which still isn't as appealing.

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So

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it looks fantastic.

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Uh, I'm actually excited to read a bunch of it.

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Well, look, everyone, uh, you know where to find her now, uh,

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please send her a DM and say hello.

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One of the reasons I w I'm I'm usually confident in reaching out to people as

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it is, but I actually reached out to her once when I had a small problem.

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And next thing I know I had like three voice messages and I'm like,

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well, that is above, um, you know, above and beyond in my opinion.

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And that's how I knew everything that I had already been seeing

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was just completely true.

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So thank you for.

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And, um, we'll see you next time.

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All right, everyone.

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Thank you so much.

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Go follow Melinda on Twitter.

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Go follow her on Instagram, go to marks and maker.com.

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Check out her journal.

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She's got a lot of good things going on.

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I know you can tell through the interview that she is completely

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and utterly focused on him.

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She's helping you.

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If you were trying to teach people, she's helping you.

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If you are a designer, who's looking to be a brand strategist she's trying to

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help you understand that brand strategy is not some fluffy mythical nonsense.

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That is just someone trying to sell you something for your

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business, along with everyone else.

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And this is critical.

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This is critical.

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I've learned it the hard way, and I'm still ironing it out.

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But talking to people like Melissa reminds me.

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That this is just something that can be overlooked.

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Okay.

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And if you overlook it, it's just because you're lazy or you don't

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care about who you're serving and how to position yourself to serve them.

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Look, we continue to rank.

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You guys are fantastic.

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Please DM me, give me some feedback, you know, make IgE post.

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If you've listened to something, make sure you're sharing it, please.

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That is the word of mouth is the best, best thing.

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I just I'm thrilled.

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Whenever someone is sharing the episode, whether it's on IgG or whether they're

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sharing it via email or whatever.

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But also written reviews on apple specifically are tremendously helpful.

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And look, that's, that's all I ask.

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Uh, if you have any questions for me, you can always reach me by DM on

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Instagram at rich Cardona underscore, or you can DM me on LinkedIn.

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And last thing, if you are stuck on your personal brand, you have

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no idea where the hell to begin.

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It's less than $30.

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Go to rich Cardona, media.com backslash personal Brendan.

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We will see you next week.