I was raised to go to school and get grades sufficient enough so that I could go to college and get a good job with benefits. I didn’t know any entrepreneurs at the time and wasn’t exposed to the idea of having your own business. After graduating from college, according to the plan that was put in place, I ended up working in the field of human resources. Later in life, I decided to go back and get a graduate degree in Human Resource Development to help further my career.
Something was lacking and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Long commutes to work in traffic and punching the clock every day just didn’t seem to be fulfilling and I wanted to make a positive impact on the world. In fact seeing people get laid off and having their lives devastated through job loss was taking its toll on me.
Complaining to family and friends about my career discontent proved futile. I was ridiculed and told to get my head out of the clouds and enjoy my job. This was my first “aha!” moment. I realized that my entrepreneurial dreams were best kept to myself or only shared with those who too had bigger visions.
Growing increasingly restless, I talked to some entrepreneurs who suggested I look into real estate investing. Taking their advice, I found a mentor and learned the process. I was now a real estate investor, but only part-time, and the 9-5 job was still hanging over my head. With increasing confidence, I decided to start a real estate investing coaching program and teach other people to learn as well. At first I went about the business all wrong and learned some hard lessons. It wasn’t until I learned how to brand and market myself that I would experience any real success as an entrepreneur.
I went back to the drawing board and created a brand for myself that would set me apart from anyone else in my industry and dubbed myself “The Real Estate Investment Queen.” Using my new found marketing knowledge, I promoted myself and my brand relentlessly and the business began to pick up major traction.
After seeing the fruits of my labor, I had the confidence I needed to quit my job and step out as a full-fledged entrepreneur. Admittedly this was a scary process for me, as human resources had been my bread and butter for years and now I was stepping out into new playing grounds and was excited, but not without reservation. In the end, I made the decision to do something extraordinary and just went for it.
Taking this bold step and position proved to be a winner and within a year I had one of the largest and most successful real estate investing coaching programs in town.
What happened next, I could not have even predicted. Other women entrepreneurs began asking me how I was able to run a highly visible, successful business and still have time for my young son and husband while staying in shape. After repeated inquiries, I decided there was a need in the marketplace for other women in business to have a coach or mentor who could show them how to brand and market themselves using the same strategies that worked for me, while remaining true to themselves and maintaining balance in their lives.
With a renewed focus, I set out to design a second brand for myself and created “Superwoman Lifestyle.” This movement involves thousands of women looking to break through to the next level in Business, Beauty & Balance. Superwoman Lifestyle is based on the premise that women can have it all in life when they define what “all” means on their own terms.
My coaching practice teaches women entrepreneurs branding and marketing strategies so that they stand out in the marketplace and attract the right clients they need in order to start, build and maintain a sustainable business. In addition, we focus on doing what it takes to feel good about ourselves from the outside in so that we live healthier lives and have more energy for the things that are important to us in life. The goal is to create as much balance as possible in life so that we never feel guilty for pursuing our dreams and we show up every day ready to give it our all.
My decision to dedicate my coaching practice to women entrepreneurs and business owners was based on the alarming fact that few women were ever present when I attended high level trainings on marketing, selling and branding. Men were dominating the events and enjoying the monetary benefits of the latest and greatest strategies and techniques.
After I began working with women on their businesses, I began to realize that their focus was always on their expertise or craft while the mere mention of marketing or selling themselves made them cringe. I was consistently met with resistance when it came to these topics and realized that I needed to put some work into adjusting the mindset of these talented business owners if they were to ever realize their full potential.
Many women in business are petrified at the thought of self-promotion, as most of us were raised to be humble. Often times women are afraid of how they will be perceived or judged by others, especially when they are profiting, causing them to shrink back and lose their voice.
This misconception is the number one reason women are not growing their businesses to the level they should be, the focus has got to be on marketing, branding and selling.
My experience as an entrepreneurial coach has taught me that women in general have a deep desire to help others and have a positive impact on lives. Often times because the work we decide to get into is chosen based on the need to give back, we create businesses where we are able to profit from our passions and gifts while simultaneously affecting change in some way.
A defining moment for the women entrepreneurs I have been fortunate enough to work with is the day they are able to look at their business from a different perspective. I help them to do this by asking them some basic questions such as: Do you believe in your product or service? Do you believe your product or service can genuinely help others? The answer is always yes. I then let them know that if they truly wish to affect change and help as many people as possible then it is their job to get their message out to the world so that the people who need them, know that they are there and can get the help and solutions to their problems they need. The more people who know you exist, the more people you will be able to help.
This one mind-shift helps the apprehensive women feel better about selling and marketing herself and the barrier and resistance is lifted. This is crucial simply because you don’t have a business until you are able to effectively attract prospects and convert them into paying clients and customers.
5 Branding Tips For Your Biz
- Make sure you are working on a business that you have a passion for. Entrepreneurs usually seek to be their own boss for the love of their expertise and creative control. If you don’t have a fire for what you are doing, it may be time to reevaluate your life and figure out what motivates you.
- After you figured out your passion, it’s time to do market research and see what your competitors are up to. Finding similar companies that are successful will give you an idea of what is and what is not working so that you can model the successes.
- Make a list of all the things that are unique about your product or service and see if anyone else in your industry is doing it. When you find an angle to your business that is different, often times this will be the aspect that you play up in your branding to give you a competitive edge and really set you apart.
- Brands should not be about cute logos or catchy taglines, they should clearly convey what it is that you do for your customers because at the end of the day your clients only want to know what is in it for them and how your product or service will provide them a solution to their problem. Make sure your brand is solution based.
- Once you have identified your unique position in the marketplace, it’s time to package it up in a way that captures the attention of your target market. If you have a process to your business, make it stand out by creating steps that are easy to remember or acronyms that spell out key words. This helps people recognize you regardless of what media you use and soon your product or service will be etched in the minds of consumers.
This guest post is courtesy of Vicki Irvin. She is the Founder/CEO of Superwoman Lifestyle—a network of female entrepreneurs who handle and run successful businesses while maintaining balance in every facet of their lives. As the owner and operator she has built into a multimillion dollar company in less than 12 months and has coached over 2,000 individuals on how to add income streams to their existing business, build their client/contact lists and establish their business online in every niche and industry imaginable. http://www.vickiirvin.com