I am so excited to welcome guest, Emily Wilson, to Take it Personally! Emily and I are in the same mastermind and got to finally meet in person at our last mastermind retreat in Sedona. We had a great connection right away because we both live in this ‘branding’ world, which is why I am so excited to have her on the show to dive into this topic even further!
Emily is originally from the Midwest, but currently resides in Texas. Her business is as a branding and self discovery coach. She works with women specifically on branding and discovering who they are. When she’s not working, she can be found snuggling her dog, performing improv, or singing karaoke (her go-to song is Separate Ways by Journey!).
Emily shared a little bit about her journey to becoming a branding coach. She has a degree in musical theatre but then decided that becoming a Broadway singer maybe wasn’t for her. She graduated in 2008 with a marketing degree, which was when the big recession was happening, so no one was really looking to hire someone fresh out of college to do their marketing tasks. She went to work at a call center, but Emily knew that was not her passion and questioned how to get into a career she would enjoy and love.
From a young age, Emily has been creative. That played into her decision to then go back to school to study graphic design. During her time studying graphic design, her class went on a trip to Austin, Texas. She immediately fell in love with the city and actually moved there just a few months later. Emily was 27 at the time and started working as a cashier at a grocery store, while studying graphic design again.
Finding Her Way
When Emily graduated with a degree in design, she stated that that was sort of the time when everything shifted for her. She started working with startups, and what ended up happening with most opportunities is that she would get laid off.. Either the business didn’t have the money for her position or was poorly managed in some way. She found herself looking for a job for about 6 months, and it was really discouraging for her.
Emily found herself chatting with a friend, and her friend asked her what her dream would be to do. Emily shared that it would be to open a business of her own. Her friend challenged Emily by asking her why she couldn’t go and do that. She wasn’t sure, but as she continued applying for jobs, she felt like the universe was sending her the same message – every time she wouldn’t get a position she applied for, someone else would come to her with a work project for her to do.
Emily finally went and started a business, as a one-woman marketing department. Unfortunately, it turned out to not be what Emily expected it to be. Soon after was when Emily joined the Women of Woo mastermind, which really pushed Emily to find what she actually wanted to do. This shift brought her to the idea of becoming a coach. It tied in with her experience, skills, and interests.
The path to becoming a branding and self-discovery coach was long, but Emily is thankful to have finally come to this point of realizing what it is she truly wants to be doing. It feels so good to say, “This is it. This is what I should be doing.” Emily feels all the twists and turns taught her so much and led her to where she is now. All her experiences, good and bad, along the way now allow for her to connect with her clients even more.
Because this podcast is all about personal branding, and Emily works to help others with their branding, I wanted to know how she herself sees branding. It can be hard to define (even Google isn’t quite sure what it is) and Emily agreed. She shared that when she asks her clients that same question, they all give different answers because “branding” often means something different to everyone.
Many people just assume it is the logo and colors of your business, and yes, that can be included, but personal branding goes so much deeper. You can’t just have a pretty brand; you also need to have substance. People connect with people. You need to figure out your why for your business and for serving your clients. You started your business for a reason, and that reason always connects back to you. Client experience, showing up early or late to a meeting, how you present yourself – all of these tiny details that make up you, make up your brand.
How Emily Helps Clients Build Their Brand
When Emily works with clients, she first tries to find out who they are. She often finds that people are scared when she says that they are their brand. They are often hiding behind their services or website or Instagram feed. Emily tries to help them figure out what is holding them back, such as imposter syndrome, excuses, or doubts. Emily also tries to help them find what the core of their business is.
Entrepreneurs tend to have a lot of ideas and can get carried away within “idealand.” To help with this, Emily helps her clients build a brand tree. The trunk of the tree is the core of your business. From there come branches off of the tree and are the services that you offer. For example, Emily’s trunk is branding, and her leaves could be marketing strategy, graphic design, and coaching. This is important to do so you can make sure your business is aligned – the leaves connect to the trunk, or your services connect to your core business idea and mission.
The final thing Emily does with her clients is to help them figure out who their client is. Emily works to help them dig in and truly get to know their ideal client. This gives them insight into the similarities and differences between them and their clients. Along the way their content pillars, or hot words as Emily calls it, get determined. The pillars are the core messages of their business.
Doing all of this initially helps Emily learn her clients and helps her clients dig into themselves deeper, since they are going to be the brand of their business. After all of that, fonts and colors get added in, along with websites, email sequences, social media platforms, etc. The strategy launch comes last where everything comes together, and Emily works to make her clients’ dreams come true!
Copycatting is a big thing Emily sees happen. People start a business, and get onto social media. Then they discover other accounts with beautiful feeds and websites, and they take those ideas and “recreate” them for their own business. But that just doesn’t work. It’s that person’s brand, it’s not you. It’s basically like dressing up like someone for Halloween. This can create burnout because you aren’t being authentic. You are putting on a mask because you feel like that is what you need to do to get your clients. You see other business people doing certain things, and you feel like you need to rip away everything that makes up you just to fit that mold. Again, that isn’t you, and you aren’t being your unique self.
Emily also sees another mistake of people feeling like they need to build a website, though they haven’t built a brand at all yet. She finds that people don’t really have any content to share on the website, they just think that’s what they have to do. People tend to feel like they need to do what others are doing, because it’s the thing to do. But Emily states that doing that can be so overwhelming in the beginning. You don’t have to do all that. Instead, focus on one area you plan to spend most of your time. Once you have that down, then add on another thing, if you want. You don’t have to do all the things. Take it one step at a time, and you can learn along the way.
Personally, I agree with Emily and think copycatting is a common mistake I see happening. People look at other creatives and think “oh, that’s what success is,” and so they think they need to go do the same thing. But it becomes a vicious circle then – they aren’t successful because they aren’t being true to themselves or their brand. Instead, you should look inward to understand what makes up you and your brand and what it is you want to be doing. That’s where that magic happens.
Once you learn who you and who your brand is, it makes it so much easier for you to identify what exactly you want to do. People are going to relate to that authentic, real, and raw part of your brand.
Advice for Someone Starting Out
I asked Emily what she would tell someone just starting out in developing their brand. The first point she was made to figure out who you are. Emily touched again on the idea of going inward, instead of outward. When we look outward, we start to compare and despair. Instead, figure out who you are. Ask the people that you are surrounded by how they would describe you and about the qualities they see in you or see you doing often.
The second thing she said is figure out what you are doing. Emily suggests figuring out and building your business tree. Figure out what are your services and what is the core of your business.
Lastly, Emily said to figure out your “why.” Ask yourself these questions: Why are you in business? Why does this matter to you? If you couldn’t do it anymore, how would you feel?
Removing the Rocks
Doing those three things pulls everything together and helps you understand your story, find your ideal clients, hone in on your skills, etc. Emily shared that along the way of discovering ourselves and our why, we start creating these rocks on top of ourselves. She often tells her clients that at one point in their life, they were that person that they just shared about in their dream life. But that person is still inside of you, just buried under those rocks.
Rocks look different for everyone but you could be buried under a “I’m not good enough rock” or “someone telling you that what you did was wrong rock.” You start creating all of these rocks on yourself. To move forward in your business and brand, you need to start recognizing what those rocks are that are holding you back, and stop being scared of them. You ultimately need to move them out of the way and get rid of them.
What’s Getting Emily Excited
Emily is excited for her program she is launching! It is a 3-prong program. The first prong is working with Emily for 6 weeks to help you discover who you are, what your business is, and who your client is. The second prong is another 6 weeks and will focus on redefining your brand and putting together the pieces from step one. The third prong is working on a launch strategy. Once steps one and two are complete and your skills, talents, and your why are established, everything gets put into position and you launch – whether that be a product, course, program, or anything else.
Connect with Emily
Emily is so passionate about her work, and this program definitely shows it. She wants to help people build and establish a brand they feel so confident about that they want to share it with everyone. I am so glad Emily could come on and share this with you all today.
You can find Emily on Instagram @confidenceby.design or in her Facebook group Confidence by Design. She will be launching her website soon which will have more information as well!