What’s Next for Do You Speak Freedom
Do You Speak Freedom is two years old now.
It’s been an exciting, adventurous journey, and I can’t be more grateful for the people I’ve met, the seemingly impossible things we’ve made happen together, and everything I’ve learned — through experimentation, following my curiosity, getting lost in rabbit holes, failing, and working together with other humans: clients, business friends, coaches, and mentors.
Today, I’d like to share three of the most important lessons learned and some of the failures and findings, and tell you how I’m going to adjust the sails based on what I’ve learned:
1. People don’t follow you, but each other.
I’ve been focusing a lot on personal branding, content marketing, storytelling, and copywriting, but the thing is, none of it really works unless you find a way to use them as a means of word of mouth marketing, in other words, unless you make people talk about your brand with each other.
If you are the only one who talks about your brand, your brand is dead. Click To Tweet
2. Modern leaders don’t market at people; they co-create with them.
Because they know that bringing together people who will help them make their vision a reality is the best way to scale their impact and make positive changes happen in the world.
To become a leader, you don’t need to be the loudest, the most extroverted, or the most charismatic person in the room. What makes you a leader is a vision — and the courage to lead with your vision.
You don’t need thousands of social media followers. You need only a few true believers — people who care not just about you (your “fans”), but about the common purpose and each other.
In other words, you need a community.
3. Community is a mindset, not a group of people.
In the world of online business, the word community is losing its meaning. People refer to their Facebook groups or even their email lists as communities, ignoring the fact that there’s a difference between a group of people and a community.
In a community, people aren’t just numbers. They have a voice. There’s a story, sense of belonging, community pride, and common purpose.
It doesn’t matter if the community lives on Facebook, on a membership site, or elsewhere, if it’s part of your business model or not, if it’s huge or tiny.
No matter what their businesses are about, entrepreneurs of the future find a way to give part of the control over their business in the hands of their people so they can co-create with them.
And that’s what I want to help you to do, too.
So, what’s next for Do You Speak Freedom?
At the end of 2017, I found myself in a strange situation: I was spending most of my time and energy creating stuff that would help business owners bridge the gap between starting from scratch (that’s when they need how-to posts, low-cost self-help products, and DIY solutions) and having enough experience to build a strong and confident branding (that’s when they would hire me to brand them professionally — well, in theory).
But. The client journey worked only in theory. In reality, the clients who came ready to hire me for branding help weren’t the same people who read my blog and newsletter or bought my products. In fact, my clients often subscribed to my list and started reading my blog after they hired me, which goes against everything you read about how things are supposed to work.
Almost all of my branding clients came through word of mouth. In fact, that was the only way, because I was so busy creating how-to content and products that I ended up not having time and energy to market my branding services.
It took some time and a lot of coaching and talking to other business owners before I finally gave myself permission to let go of the self-imposed supposed to’s and focus on what works: Bringing exceptional results to a handful of branding clients, building relationships, generating word of mouth, and working on my design + marketing + coaching skills to deliver even better results to my clients.
As a result, I’m simplifying my business model and moving away from selling products that help people DIY their brand strategy to co-creating the strategy with them and doing branding and design for them, because that’s what I’ve always been doing (but not marketing enough) and that’s what I love doing the most.
Finally, based on the lessons learned, I’m moving away from personal branding to community-first branding.
What that means on a practical level is that I will still help you brand yourself and your products and services, but our ultimate goal will be to build, nurture, or monetize your community. I know that you can use your gifts to build a community only you can build — and lead (even if you don’t feel like a leader).
Here on the blog and in my newsletter, I’m going to share with you what I’m learning along the way about building community-first brands, things what works for me and my clients, and all the future adventures.
As always, a few questions for you:
(Feel free to share your findings in the comments below ;-))
★ What works or has worked for you (your business) that goes against the best practices, common knowledge, your industry’s standards, your mentor’s advice, or your own assumptions?
★ What are you really working on?
(I’ve stolen this question from Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist Journal because anytime I try to answer it, the answer surprises me. Try it.)
★ Where are you forgetting your ability to choose?
“The ability to choose cannot be taken away or even given away – it can only be forgotten.”
Greg McKeown, Essentialism
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