She Told Me The Thing I Dreaded to Hear...
“You can't attract clients without a tribe and you can't build a tribe without a clear personal brand.”
5 years ago I was having coffee with a colleague when she shared something with me that really hurt. It was the last thing I wanted to hear and everything I was trying not to be.
She told me that my brand came across as immature and cheap.
For three years, I had been working hard to build a life coaching business, with very little success. One year prior, I had started my women's tribe in Boulder, CO - Daring Divas. I thought this would be my ticket to getting my message heard, attracting new clients and making a positive impact through my work.
But it wasn't. Even though some members trickled in, I still didn't have any clients and I still was broke.
The passion, inspiration, and motivation I had felt at the beginning of my business was starting to fade as I began to feel more and more like a failure.
Hearing that my brand came across as immature and cheap was like jabbing a knife into an open wound. It was one more thing that made me feel like I was failing.
But looking back, it was actually just the thing I needed to hear because although it hurt, it put a fire under my feet and inspired me to make some really important changes.
You see, up until that point, I had never really thought about personal branding or considered why it might be important for building a tribe and attracting clients.
But when I started to do the research and looked at the commonalities between the successful coaches in my industry who had built tribes of raving fans, I realized that the one thing they all had in common was a clear, authentic and strategic signature brand that set them apart from the crowd.
Then I looked at my brand and I could start to see how others perceived it. My colleague was right.
My brand did look immature and it did look cheap. It was slopped together and scattered. My brand’s look and feel weren’t resonant with my personality and my messaging wasn’t consistent or clear. There was nothing about my brand that made me stand out (at least in a good way), or made me memorable to my ideal clients or the Daring Divas members I wanted to attract. I didn’t know who I was or what I stood for, so my brand was always inconsistent and unclear.
I realized that if I wanted to build a thriving tribe of women entrepreneurs where I could get my message out, attract clients, make an impact and authentically earn a great living doing work I love, I was going to have to first build a recognizable, memorable and authentic signature brand so that people “got” me, understood how I could help them, and felt inspired to want to hire me!
This was a big “aha” for me.
Although my colleague’s feedback was hurtful, it was also extremely inspiring and motivating.
I decided to jump in with both feet and learn everything that I possibly could about creating a client-attracting signature brand.
- Studied color psychology to learn the underlying impact of different colors in branding.
- I hired a coach who helped me align all of the facets of my personality into a clear, authentic and strategic signature brand that inspired my ideal clients to want to work with me.
- I worked with a fashion consultant to help me align my outer appearance with my brand personality.
- I studied personal presence so I could learn how to deliver my brand experience through my body, voice, and energy.
- I had professional headshots taken.
- I read all the branding books I could get my hands on.
- I earned a masters degree in Communications so I could clearly and effectively communicate my brand to the world.
I have invested countless hours and tens of thousands of dollars into learning as much as I possibly can about how to build a successful signature brand.
And it's paid off.
Today, 5 years after hearing that my brand came across as immature and cheap, I’m happy to say that I no longer feel like a failure. Instead, I feel immensely proud of myself for building a business and a tribe of women that not only has a positive impact on other people’s lives, but that also allows me to live a lifestyle, that 5 years ago, felt like a far-off dream.
Now I don’t have to push and force to attract clients, but rather they come to me.
I have built a local tribe of 2,200 of my ideal clients and I host multiple, well-attended events per month.
People ask me all the time how they too can create the kind of successful tribe where people actually show up and are engaged.
I receive more referrals than I can take because people “get” me and they’re clear about which of their friends can benefit from my services.
I constantly hear from people how they feel inspired by me and how I radiate warmth, confidence and a strong leadership presence.
I get to lead a life where I call the shots – I can go on a hike, attend a yoga class or meet a girlfriend for coffee in the middle of the day.
My relationship with my husband is so full of love and we do things together all the time that enhance our connection – like traveling, cooking, hiking, attending concerts and theater.
I truly believe that building my signature brand is the single most important thing I have done to be able to achieve these results and make the shift from feeling like a failure and wondering if I was going to have to go get a “real job” to creating the success that I have now.
Building Daring Divas, my tribe of 2,200 women entrepreneurs, was the next most important thing that I did. Becuase once I got my branding figured out, I had a platform to reach more people with my message, immediately establish myself as a leader and boost my credibility as an expert in my field.
You can't attract clients without a tribe and you can't build a tribe without a clear signature brand because your brand is what gives people a reason to want to follow you!
Oh and just for fun... here's a little peek at the very first Daring Divas Meetup group header ever! Before I knew about color psychology before I was clear about my messaging or who the Daring Divas tribe was really for...
Isn't it fun (and interesting) to look back and see how far Daring Divas has come! I almost don't want to include it here because it doesn't go with my brand, lol!
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