From the Fearless Success Podcast with Melissa Clough, episode 12, with special guest, money-making brand strategist, Nicole Lundy.
Nicole’s tips on how to build a bankable brand and get in the right mindset to express yourself authentically in your brand:
Melissa: Thanks so much for joining us today. I really love what you’re doing with your branding business, and helping women, especially, create a brand for themselves and get their company out there in the way that they want to portray themselves. I like the way how you do it too because you make it look really fun. I was just looking at your website going, “Wow I really love this.” It made me want to really get into it. I think your work is really awesome. How would you describe the place that women are at when they come to see you… what kinds of challenges are they going through, are they presented with when they finally find you?
Nicole: The biggest problem or challenge I should say most of my clients come, and they don’t really know it, is really just being vulnerable. I get a ton of clients who are just coming from corporate America, and I came from that track so I know very well about how your life journey doesn’t really matter in corporate America. It’s really about your credentials, your experience, and what you bring to the table. I kind of call that like the Wikipedia script, it’s not really the big movie block buster preview of your life. Everybody’s life is exciting, it’s just we just have our own unique experiences. It just, you know for years, and years, gets dimmed down and we just get used to that. It doesn’t work, it doesn’t work being an entrepreneur just bringing your credentials to the table. Entrepreneurship and building a business, it’s so personal whether you’re selling a service or a product, people have to know the human behind the brand. If you’re only talking about your master’s degree, and your certificate from here, and you have eighteen years of experience, nobody cares. It’s going to be like status quo, duck, duck, duck, and you want to be the goose.
To be the goose you want to bring in those life experiences, those parts about you, the why about why you do what you do, who you work with, to your brand and to your business so that people can’t get enough of you. It’s like Beyonce season: she comes and she goes, but when she’s here we can’t get enough of her, if you’re in the beehive (laughs). Then she pulls away. Not quite like Beyonce, you don’t want to go completely offline, but you want to have that X factor that people are like, “Oh my goodness what is she doing? Oh she’s on Periscope, let me jump on. What did she tweet today? Oh let me look her up on Facebook, let me see what blog post …” you want to like be intriguing, and you want to kind of structure your brand like that, like what else is going on that I can share with my audience, add my own quirkiness and weirdness to it, and bring it to life; just bring the energy and the platform to your business.
Melissa: Yeah I love that, and it is so true because I came from corporate world too, and so I got used to saying, “Oh I have a master’s in this, and my bachelor’s in this.” I was used to people caring about that until I started working for myself and I thought, you know, people don’t really want to know that in the real world; they don’t really care. It might help to go yeah that’s great, but when it comes to your brand, as you said, it’s not the most important thing where it is in other fields.
Nicole: Mm-hmm (affirmative), totally. If you came from corporate, too, Melissa, than you know it’s like master’s degree is like, “Wah, wah.” Okay, what results do you bring to the table and how do you do that? Do you help your clients face their fear by taking all of your clients to go sky diving because when you did it, it completely changed your life and you recommend it for everybody? I don’t know what it is, but you just have to bring your own unique experiences to the table to get your clients results. It’s not as hard as [one] thinks, but it’s just a matter of being vulnerable about it.
Melissa: That’s true. It brings to mind, too, about the issue about charisma, where I think a lot of people have this misconception about being charismatic means you have to be all, “Oh hi!” and super energetic. Really, charisma is what you described: just bringing what you have to the table, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and to expose it in a way that allows other people to connect to it, to want to follow you. You are sharing a real side of yourself, rather than just kind of being in that box.
Nicole: Yeah, perfectly said, perfectly said. Bringing authentic charisma to the table because it’s not high and bubbly every day; it’s really the highs and lows of being a human, not even just being a business owner and entrepreneur, it’s just being human. Just showcase that and keep your audience with bated breath.
Melissa: Yeah, right.
Melissa: When someone is in that place of going, okay I need to now brand myself and get my work out there in the way that I want to showcase it, what are some things that you encourage them to do to allow that vulnerable part of themselves to be exposed?
Nicole: Rewriting their about page, and their story. It goes back [to] sharing those experiences. I would say 8.7 times out of 10 a client will come to me and if she has her website up, it’s the skeleton version. It’s like, “Hi my name is Jane Doe, I went to this college, I have this degree, I have eighteen years experience,” let’s say as an accountant. Who cares, let’s talk about why do you care about managing books, what was your experience that made you say, “This is an integral part of everyone’s lives of managing money,” and, “Here’s what happened to me, and here’s why I want to work with this set of people. Maybe you grew up with blue collar workers and you had to pinch every penny, and you knew that if you just saved five dollars a week that would change your life over the course of ten years.
Share that and share why you want to work with blue collar people. That is the connection that makes all of the difference. Once that opens up, I find that it’s so much easier to help my clients work on their packages and pricing. When I start working on their packages and pricing, my clients have the disconnect of why they’re qualified to work with this group of people. If you really start with the story it just opens many doors. It’s like, get a pen and paper and just have a brain dump. What happens at age four, age five, age ten, age fifteen. Where were you working, where were you going to school, what were your experiences, and you’d be surprised how much things are dormant just in your brain, and it had a huge impact.
When I did this to myself, because I like to make myself go through what I put my clients through…
Melissa: Yeah, of course.
Nicole: I realized I learned a lot of my leadership skills working at McDonald’s in college. It wasn’t deliberate, I just needed to pay my rent. I had two managers, one was eight months pregnant, the one was a truck driver by day, and I worked the 5 PM to 2 AM shift. If I wanted to get home before 4 AM to make my 8 AM class I knew I had to step up to start cleaning, to start putting away, to do all of these things way earlier than the managers were saying. It wasn’t deliberate, I did it out of survival. When I look back, that made a significant, quantum leap in my own leadership skills and it just … you know, it’s a regular thing you have to do just going back on what is my experience. How can I add this, how can I create content from this, how can I add this to what I’m working on with my clients program. Just keeping in check with your experiences and adding it to your business makes a huge difference. The first time you do it, it’s like, you’re starting from scratch.
Melissa: Yeah, right. That’s so true. I think about, I mean I constantly talk about this all the time that I learned the best customer service skills when I was managing retail, and when I was in those jobs where in the moment I was like, “What am I doing with my life?” It was like those moments where I felt super lost were actually bringing me so many skills that I need today.
Melissa: It’s so interesting how that happens. Connecting to that [part of you] definitely helps to write your story, and your bio page. With your story, too, I found it really interesting… how did you move from the beauty consulting world to the business consulting world? Or marketing.
Nicole: (laughs) Well, it happened… back track. I grew up with entrepreneurial parents, so I started going to entrepreneur business conferences as a teenager, so I’ve been like … I’m a reader, so I’ve been on this learning track of business for years. When I left finance to go into the beauty consulting business I started getting a lot of clients who were either executive women, or C level suite women, or women who had their own businesses. In our sessions, in my clients’ sessions– because everything is one on one in the beauty world, they started turning into strategy sessions. I was helping them create their signature look that tied to whatever opportunity they were going for, whether it was they were in pursuit of investors, or promotion, new clients, speaking gig, I was helping them create the physical visible brand to match what they were offering on paper.
Those sessions, just doing that work with them, turned into entire branding and strategy sessions. It just happened. I had to question myself like, “What is it that I’m doing? I’m definitely not just doing styling and makeup.” I was always at that point where I just wanted to evolve my business, but I didn’t know [how] exactly, or what I should add to the plate. I hired a mentor and he was just like, “Nicole, you’re basically doing branding, so let’s create packages from there.” It was like I was doing it, not sure of what I was doing, and then I got clarity and went from there.
Melissa: Yeah, that’s great. I just saw, have you ever seen Stranger Than Fiction? The movie with Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal?
Nicole: No, I haven’t seen it. My husband is a movie buff, so I think that’s in the que for us to watch (laughs).
Melissa: Okay, it just reminded me of the story of the character in there because Maggie plays a woman who was going to law school and she found that she would create these… she would start baking cookies for their over night study groups. After the study groups she would want to bake more for the next group, then she would spend her whole day studying recipes and everything. Then finally she realized, Actually, I think I really love baking more than law school. She ended up opening her bakery and helping the world through her cookies, which is how she said [it], “I decided to help the world through my cookies instead.” It’s kind of funny …
Nicole: It’s like you’re doing this thing without being paid for it, or being prompted to do it. You’ve got to look at those things, there’s something to it.
Melissa: Yeah, that’s right. So how can businesses create a more authentic brand identity?
Nicole: Making sure that everything has a purpose, I would say that. That sounds kind of cliché and generic, but it’s like don’t just have a podcast to have a podcast. Don’t just do Periscope because it’s the new shiny thing. Don’t just do anything because that’s what everyone else is doing. You want to make sure that’s where your audience is because if you’re talking to nobody, the value is going down the toilet. You want to keep engaged with your community to see what it is they’re looking for. If you want to be their go-to source, you don’t want them Googling for other information related to what you do. Don’t just talk about marketing in a bubble; see what marketing information your community needs to know. That goes with even new packages and pricing. It’s kind of obvious for a few industries like fitness, for example. January is like one of the biggest fitness months for that industry, but some industries don’t have that obvious bubble or cycle. You just want to be in communication with your audience on what it is they need right now and see how you can bring that solution to the table for them.
They may not need to know the ten tips to have a great Instagram profile if their clients are on LinkedIn. You just want to make sure everything has a direct purpose, and that you’re not doing extra work for no reason, and your clients are still lost Googling on their phones.
Melissa: Yeah, that’s a good point because than you’re just completely putting your efforts into the wrong place. It’s so time consuming as I’ve learned, to get these podcasts up, all of this social media, everything; it’s just a lot of work. You want to make sure you’re directing [your energy] in the right place.
Nicole: Right, and the thing is, too, it is a lot of work (affirming). I have a podcast too, Melissa, so I know the production and it’s another job. Even if you know your clients are mostly on LinkedIn, or your customers need more help with their LinkedIn marketing as an example, that doesn’t mean that you just have to distribute it in one place. I always talk about the spider leg effect. It’s like if you have a video you can have that on your Facebook, your Google+, you can have a fifteen second version on Instagram, have it on your blog, get it in as many places as possible so that you’re not always in creation mode and you’re hitting all of the distribution streams. I always tell people, going back to Beyonce… Beyonce has great distribution of her music. She is not only on iTunes, she’s in Best Buy, Walmart, Target, the gas station, wherever. Independent artists may be on Apple iTunes with a million other artists. They have to be disruptive if they’re going to get attention, otherwise they’re kind of lost in the sea.
It’s all about distribution; you don’t want to be lost in the sea as a business owner so when you create that fabulous content just think about your distribution strategy after that.
Melissa: Yeah, I think that’s been probably the most important tip that I’ve learned is that, yeah, you can take your podcast … like even what we’re doing right here, we’re doing a Skype video which I’ll put on YouTube, then I’ll strip the audio, put it on the podcast, and then I’ll add this to my blog. Then on the blog we’ll get the blog links and put it on our social media. We can use this content in so many different ways, which saves so much time.
Nicole: Right, it does. You can even get it transcribed and have a written version, or submit it to Easy In Articles. It’s just like, look at where other people are distributed and where you find information [to think], “Oh, I could do that too.”
Melissa: Yeah, that’s right. So what are some tips that you can give about finding your, I guess some people say your tribe, or your connected audience, your target, or avatar– who your targeting? What are some tips to find or get in the mind of those people that you want to attract?
Nicole: The easiest way, if you have a few clients, is to go back and ask them. Ask them where do they spend their time, what apps do they have on their phone. Some people only check Facebook on their computer, some it’s always an open window. You can just ask them directly, “Do you have RSS feeds that you subscribe to and you just read it every Sunday morning over coffee? Are you listening to podcasts in your car or when you’re exercising?” You just want to get clear if you have a few clients, just ask them directly, “I have a few questions for you; what are you doing on the internet?”
Nicole: Get specific.
Nicole: It could be Amazon as well, too. A lot of people are e-book junkies too, so maybe you can, you know, if you have blog posts you can make a collection of them and have e-books on Amazon, because people stock their Kindles up. It’s really about getting creative and thinking out of the box. Now if you’re just starting out and you’ve had no clients to ask, I would say you have to just be clear on your brand voice, and be okay that some people will be offended, and some people will love you. [To] the offended people you’ll say, “Thank you so much for reading, but you know, this is how me and my community talk, communicate with each other. You may have different views than us, but you know, this is what we do.” Do not, please do not go general or generic. It’s very easy to do that as a new entrepreneur because you’re in this weird space, so to say. You just want to like be okay with polarizing; just have a strong point of view, opinion, how you use your things, whether it’s accounting, whether it’s being a realtor, whether it’s branding or marketing, whether it’s being a business coach. Have a strong point of view, how you do it, your proprietary methodology, and it’s going to change overtime as you read and learn and get mentored. Don’t be generic, don’t be vanilla.
Melissa: Yeah, that is such a good tip. Isn’t it a great sign if you’re getting a bunch of people who don’t like you because it means you’re actually honing in on your target audience? While you’re getting these amazing people who love you, you also have on the same token a bunch of people who dislike your work.
Nicole: Right. If we follow Donald Trump right now, people hate him, but they’re following him.
Nicole: I have so many family members, I won’t name them in case they’re listening, they could tell me so much about Trump every day, but they hate him. I’m like … that is a good, I like to look at things like that because it’s good market study. Even your haters will follow you closely, and you can learn from them as well, too.
Melissa: Yeah, such a good point. I know, that could be a whole other podcast episode (laughs).
Nicole: Yeah, we’ll do that after we eat lunch (laughing).
Melissa: Another time, yeah. I love what you’re doing, [and] what you mentioned earlier about a signature look… [that] when you were working in the beauty field you were helping people create their signature looks. Is that also what you’re helping them do on their branding side, is creating a signature look for them, and what does that entail?
Nicole: Right. A signature look in terms of brand styling, is that what you mean?
Nicole: Website, online presence, is that what you mean?
Melissa: Yes, right.
Nicole: Yeah, definitely helping them create a signature look and a signature way that they do things… I had a realtor client about a year or so ago; she loved working with new couples looking to buy new homes. You know I won’t get into her why, but her why was very strong why she loved to work with this particular group. Even, it’s not, for her it’s not just selling a home and collecting her commission fees, it’s like okay, interviewing partner one, interviewing partner two, what do they both … what are the non negotiable that they must have in their first home? Combining that, seeing what their budget is. All of this stuff combined, and what’s the perfect home for both of them that both of them would love it, nobody is settling for anything, and then starting the search home. That’s way different; it’s a simple process to add but it’s way different than what other realtors are offering and it’s part of her packaging and pricing; it’s a standard assessment that she needs to know from every client. Just that one little step makes her stand out from every other realtor in her region.
Just adding little points of that once you know why you want to work with this particular group, you just have a unique package that you’re offering the world. I come from the beauty world so I always say it’s a waste of time if you look fantastic online, your packages and pricing are amazing, they’re getting the results you want, your clients are getting– they’re really transformational, and you just show up looking like what business owners are really going through behind the scenes. I think you just need to show up like you mean it, like really show up like you’re here to do business, like you’re here to make a difference in the world, and you’re here to transform lives.
Although I don’t do a ton of styling anymore, if my clients need styling, we’re going to do styling. I feel it’s so important to just be a match, if you show up in person you’re just a match for what you stand for, what your brand stands for, and the results that you stand for. Styling is very important to me but it’s definitely connected to branding and how you show up in the world.
Melissa: Yeah, yeah I love that. Even the first thing I noticed when I saw you on Skype was your wonderful back-drop behind you. I mean even that just adds to your brand because your website looks very similar to that board; it just has that same kind of style to it, and that fun kind of beauty. You can tell there’s a beauty aspect to it, like a fashion type of thing, which I love. Even those little things are things to think about I’m like, “Oh, I need to do something like that now,” because everything you do represents your brand.
Nicole: Right, and it’s just bringing you into your business, that’s literally all it is. I don’t know, it’s something about being a business owner, like quote on quote, it’s like I have to be serious, my big girl panties, I have to get up. You can still be you, you can still treat it like it’s your birthday party. It’s a learned behavior, and I had to learn it myself. Coming from finance to the beauty world, I literally was showing up to do clients in my finance uniform, so a gray, blue, or black suit. I looked ridiculous, but I just couldn’t translate that I could be doing something businessy and still be on the brand for my beauty business. Business across the board was those three color suits, you know, so I’ve come a long way too.
Melissa: Yeah, it does take awhile to get out of those mental programs that we have in our head of the old school generation, [which] was, in order to be respected, you have to dress this way. It’s just not like that anymore, where now we can be ourselves more and express it in a way that actually attracts people rather than tunes them out.
Nicole: Repel them.
Melissa: Right, yeah, repel them with those suits (laughing). I mean there’re some cute looking suits out there and if that matches your style, awesome, but for me I’ve always struggled with that same thing too. I never felt like I was ever comfortable in those kinds of clothes.
Nicole: If you’re not comfortable, it restricts your personality too, when you show up. Your clothes have energy, too, that you’re bringing to the table, which is why it’s a bigger deal than I think most people think it is.
Melissa: Yeah, yeah I agree. So how can somebody create a fame name, as [you’ve] mentioned [before] ? If you have a fame name, that’s important.
Nicole: I like talking about a fame name because it’s easy to remember. A fame name, as an example, is like the Property Brothers. I’m not even sure if they’re twins, but they look very similar, on HGTV. You know them to do something with properties, it doesn’t mean, it solidifies them as an influential brand in the space, just like you hear the “Social Media Queen,” if you follow Alley Brown. She started out as the Ezine Queen, and it’s really like your monicure of what you do. Now, you know I used to think like, everyone should have a fame name. Now I’ve kind of, I’m halfway on the board with it, but I do think it’s a great idea if you come up with a great one. You don’t want to force it. You want it to be natural and you want it to be able to stick. Always think of like TV bullet points.
I also have a colleague, her name is Tiffany Alicia, but she goes by the Budgetnista. She’s a finance expert; she actually was on Good Morning America today, and her title was the Budgetnista. Immediately if you’ve never heard of her, you know what she does, and you know that she must be an expert in this space. Psychologically a fame name, once you have a nickname for yourself, AKA fame name, it sticks better and people think, oh this person must be legit.
Melissa: Yeah. That’s different than just creating your business name, right? It’s your name, it’s like a nick name for you in a way, right? That kind of shows what you do, like the Budgetnista. She’s helping you budget.
Nicole: Right. It’s a little bit more catchier than a title, right? I call myself a money making brand and marketing strategist, that’s not a nickname, it’s a title that sets a context of what I do, but it’s not a roll off the tongue nickname. You know what made me change my mind, I couldn’t come up with a fame name for myself. I was like, “I’m getting the title right, but a fame name is just not happening.” It may happen, it may just pop into my head one day, but it just wasn’t happening. Sometimes you can have a title that sets the context, but your fame name is that nickname version of you that’s easy to say, easy to remember, and it sticks.
Melissa: Yeah, okay that’s great. Do you help people go through a process? I know you said sometimes it just doesn’t happen and maybe later on it will come up, but is there a process that you will guide someone to go through to getting ideas about their fame name?
Nicole: I don’t have a set process; it’s like a light bulb moment, it’s like, “Woah.” I have another friend, she goes by the Social Media Queen. You know everything is like royalty, and that type of stuff. It goes along with it, but she kind of came up with it as she was starting her business, which was cool. I honestly don’t have a process, it’s like a light bulb moment.
Melissa: Like most creative things, right? It’s one of those things that I’ve heard, you usually find the best ideas when you’re moving and you’re on a run, or you’re dancing and something just pops up in your mind. It’s never usually when you sit down and start trying to think about it.
Nicole: Yeah, like, “Oh let me get my notebook and come up with my fame name,” never. It never works like that. I have those light bulb moments, it’s like, “Oh my goodness, where is a pen and paper,” and it just like pours out of me. It’s kind of hard to say, here’s the process of it.
Melissa: Right, yeah, well I love what you’re doing. Everything on your site, your brand, your own branding shows that you also are living what you preach, so that’s really great. Your podcast is called, Pretty and Profiting, right?
Nicole: Yes, it’s Pretty and Profiting show.
Melissa: I love it.
Nicole: We are, I’m changing the format of it, I’m going to make it in seasons just because that’s what’s suiting my life at the moment. We’re working on that, and we’re working on … before I wasn’t doing seasons so now I’m going to make it seasonal. I’m not sure what this season this will be, maybe it will be season two, or three. It’s fun, I’m starting to do interviews, but mostly my first, let’s call it season one, for purpose of this conversation. It’s been solo shows, but now I’m going to start bringing in interviews so I could interview fabulous women like you, Melissa.
Melissa: Yeah thanks, I’d love to be on your show, anytime. That’s what’s really fun about podcasting too, is you can just explore, and have fun, and you meet new people, and different business ideas, and then you have more to share, I think, with your audience as well. It’s always fun, I’d love to be your guest anytime.
Nicole: Cool, thank you, I’m making notes.
Melissa: Yeah! Something just popped up in my mind that I was thinking of earlier that Beyonce… I heard yesterday that she was planning on releasing her album earlier than expected. I think she had like a set date later this year, but suddenly she just announced, “Oh maybe I’m going to do it, I don’t know when.” Tomorrow, or something for example.
Nicole: I actually think she moves with… she uses a lot of instinct with her brand. She’s very strategic on it also. I could talk about her branding a lot, because I think she’s smart with it and she protects it.
Melissa: Yeah, I agree, I think that’s great. You could learn a lot from people who seem like they’re in a completely different industry, but when you start watching even like Trump, and Beyonce, and you start watching other people do their branding, it’s really fascinating how it can carry out into so many different fields, not just that one. Nicole, if anyone wants to reach out to your work, what do you suggest they do? Go to your website, you do coaching online, or how does it work?
Nicole: Yeah, so I work with all of my clients virtually. I just recently, as in eighteen months ago, relocated from New York to The Bay Area. I’m not starting from scratch, but you know, starting to build my network on a different coast, so I do a lot of local speaking and workshops that I’m building up now. I still work with all of my clients virtually. I do a lot of face-to-face, and if you want to learn about the branding and marketing I do with my clients to the listeners, you can go to PrettyandProfiting.com, and have fun.
Melissa: Yeah, it’s a really great site; I highly recommend anyone who’s looking at branding to check out your site. It is a fun experience as I was going through it, I was like, “Oh great, I want to learn more.” They can find you as well on Facebook and other social media?
Melissa: Okay great, and I’ll also post all of this on the show notes as well so you can always go to, for the listeners, go to my site, Melissaclough.com/podcasts, and my podcasts, and Nicole Lundy will be on there, and all the links are going to be there. Thank you so much, Nicole for joining me and sharing all of this wonderful information, because now it got my wheels going. I’m like, “All right, I need to hone in on some things on my branding.” It’s really inspiring.
Nicole: Yeah, it’s a perfect time of year. It’s a new year, everyone’s in the renewal phase, it’s good to look at your site objectively and just write notes. Is it easy for people to reach out to me, send me an email. You want to keep that creative process and streamline things so you have more space to do those random great ideas; you have space to do it because everything else is, you know, in line.
Melissa: Yeah, makes a lot of sense. Okay, well thank you again and I look forward to speaking with you maybe on your show, or another time, I’m sure we’ll keep in touch.
Nicole: Yes we will. Thank you so much for having me, this was so much fun.
Melissa: It was a lot of fun. All right, so find Nicole Lundy on her site Prettyandprofiting.com (get more links below) and also you can check out all of her links as well on my show notes. Thanks again Nicole, and have a wonderful day.
Nicole: You too.
Melissa is a yoga instructor, turned motivational coach and master hypnotist, inspiring business women to soar past their edge with balance, abundance, and freedom from limiting beliefs. Get more inspiration at www.melissaclough.com
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Nicole works with uncommon leaders who, in a sea of beige, want to be red hot. After leaving a demanding corporate finance career, Nicole launched a beauty consulting company and she used her branding skills to get featured in a Harper Collins published book. She worked backstage at New York fashion week with top designers, such as Jason Wu and Czar by Cesar Galingo, and got featured on MSNBC, Ehow.com, and Huffington Post Style. Nicole now owns a brand consulting boutique and is a noted speaker and best-selling author, helping high performance CEO’s and entrepreneurs, specifically women, who don’t know how to be distinctive in their marketplace to become extraordinary and dominate their market authentically. Her simple money-making brand packages help her clients to get noticed so that people hire them, their impact is greater, and they can get paid their worth.
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