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012 — Laura Overcame Addiction and Getting Laid off To Run Her Own Business.

In this episode, Christina interviewed Laura Rees. Now she helps other businesses grow with a focus on branding and helping them find their voice. 

Let’s look at how she does it.

Questions and Answers

00:34 What gave you the strength and motivation to get sober?

04:00 How did those experiences help you in building your business?

07:16 Why do you think branding is important?

10:40 You said the business owning spectrum has two extreme ends, can you elaborate on that?

20:03 Can you elaborate on your three rookie branding mistakes?

31:41 What do you do and how can someone hire you?

38:29 What advice do you have?

Links and Resources

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Head over to etatoday.zone to learn more.
Read Full Transcript

[00:00:00] Christina Hooper: Hey ,busy business people. I am here today with another entrepreneur taking action, Laura Rees. Laura overcame–addictionand being laid off–to run her own business, and use her talents to help other businesses grow, too, and I'm getting the scoop on how she did it.

[00:00:27] Okay. So to kick things off a little bit here, Laura, like, I don't want to dwell on your history too much, but you had some experiences that shaped you. I feel like we all do, but like on your journey, you got, like, you had to decide to get sober before you could get to where you are now, that's a big choice and it's not an easy one. Like, what do you think gave you the strength to do it? The motivation, like--

[00:00:46] Laura Rees: Like, you know, it was the–let's start with the sobriety. I was in a job that was a terrible fit for me. And I wouldn't say that I don't even think of myself as being an alcoholic. Um, but I was always, kind of, the person that would have that glass of wine with you, and maybe always have one more than everybody else, but it never seemed like a huge problem.

[00:01:10] However, when I was in this job that was a terrible fit for me, I was miserable. And so my just drinking just started accelerating to the point where I felt like it was becoming a problem. And it was starting to affect, you know, just my performance in–not just in my job and in my life overall. And I knew that I needed to get rid of that to create some space for myself.

[00:01:36] So part of the journey was just realizing that you don't have to be an alcoholic. You don't have to go to a rehab. You don't have to hit rock bottom to be somebody that can make a choice to stop drinking. This was really tough and because it's everywhere in our society, which you really start to realize when you decide to stop drinking, you know, there's a new brewery opening up all the time.

[00:01:58] You know, friends, you know, pre-pandemic friends are always saying, "Let's go to happy hour," or whatever. So, um, it was just a real journey to come to grips with the fact that I didn't have to have a diagnosed problem to make that better choice for myself. 

[00:02:16] So what was funny about that was this job that I was in that was so detrimental for my mental health. Um, I got sober and I was trying so hard to find a different job. And I was, you know, doing so much research, doing outreach to companies without having, you know, they didn't have jobs open, but I would just send in a resume and a letter that say, "Here's how I can help your company." And I was getting zero response and it was debilitating.

[00:02:48] And then I got laid off from that job that I was in, which at the time seemed really devastating, but it was actually the greatest thing that ever happened to me. Because that freed me up to then say, "Well, I might as well just try this on my own." Um, you know, like, I'm taking it as a sign from the universe that no one ever got back to me, even though I crafted all these kick ass, "Hey, do you want me to go work for your company?" emails.

[00:03:17] So I went out on my own and, um, that was, gosh, about three and a half years ago. And it was a great decision and, you know, being sober has given me the space and the energy to make being on my own work for me really well.

[00:03:32] Christina Hooper: Well, and I love how you put that, too, because it's like you didn't have to have the label of being an alcoholic. You didn't have to have, like, a diagnosis. You didn't have to wait to hit rock bottom. Because, like, maybe it's not alcohol, but I feel like a lot of us, we have our things, right? We have the things that we know are sabotaging our ability to do more and be more. And we kinda just, like, "Well, it's not really hurting me that bad."

[00:03:55] You know what I mean? Then we, kind of, put it off. So it's, like, I think that those are some really key takeaways in what you just said. Now, how do you think those experiences kind of helped you as you started your own business? Like you had to, kind of, pick yourself up and make a change. You had to look at getting laid off in a different light, you know, how do you think some of that stuff, kind of, helped you as you dove into, you know, building a business?

[00:04:17] Laura Rees: It's so relevant. I mean, quitting drinking for one thing was tough, and I had to look at several different solutions. I had to do a lot of research. I did everything I could, you know, I tried meditating every hour. I tried yoga. I've–like anything that looked like it might help, I tried it, and I think that you need to bring that same mindset as an entrepreneur.

[00:04:41] Like, you know, what is going to work for your business? How can you try different style of asks? Can you try a different style of content, just this experimentation and this understanding that there's not one silver bullet that's going to just solve everything for you. I mean, I wish that were true, but what I found in my journey to sobriety, which was, kind of, like a nine month process from the time that I really committed myself to the time that I was completely sober forever.

[00:05:10] It's just a process and a journey and a figuring out. It's so hokey to say, and maybe such a bumper sticker, but it is really who you become while you're figuring it out, and not who you are at the end. Do you know what I mean? Like, it's not like you just make this decision. You're like, "Now I'm a perfect person."

[00:05:31] No, it's the same thing with entrepreneurship. You're like, I'm going to do, you know, X, Y, Z tactic. Now my business is perfect. That never happens. It is chipping away at it day after day after day. Well, I think that, you know, another thing is just the whole label thing and the perspective of getting laid off, you can look at things as something bad that happened to you.

[00:05:58] Um, but you don't have to, like, it's always your decision to make. And so when you're looking at things that maybe didn't go the way that you wanted them to go in your business, how can you just flip that perspective, and not because it's some, you know, new age, energy thing to do. But because it puts your mind in a better energy to then address and solve that problem and move on.

[00:06:20] So the better you are at taking a problem and saying, "Okay, like, I'm this, this sucks. This is disappointing, but all right, how am I going to move forward from this?" The more quickly that you can do that in your business, the more successful you're going to be and the faster you're going to be able to move ahead.

[00:06:38] Christina Hooper: I think there's so much truth to that, especially nowadays. I mean, like we had a lot of like infopreneurs out in the world telling us the magic pills, but then I feel like when COVID happened that just went poof. You know, it's like where there was a few big players at the game. Now they're so many people and they're all telling you. Like, this is the thing you need to fix your business. This is the magic pill that's going to make it all better. 

[00:06:57] And I see so many people that are investing so much money and so much time, so much. And it's really not the magic pill. It's the process, it's being willing to experiment, it's being willing to change things, look at it from a different light.

[00:07:07] I think there's so much good in what you just said. So it's, like, I hope everybody's, kind of, picking that up. Rewind, listen again. It was really good stuff there. Now, I know now you've moved into helping other businesses with their marketing, but specifically. you focused in on helping people with their branding, helping them find their voice. Like, why do you think that part is so important? 

[00:07:30] Laura Rees: Well, what's really important about having a defined brand foundation is because. A, it sets you apart from anyone else. So if you're giving us–if you are telling a different story, every time you go in front of an audience, people don't know what to think, and they probably don't even notice you because people need to hear something over and over and over before it becomes memorable to them.

[00:07:53] You know, I always tell my clients that you need to figure out what your one thing is. So even if you have 10,000 services, if you and I just meet for the first time, and I'm a stranger to you, even though I want to tell you about all the ways that I can help you, you don't want to hear that right yet.

[00:08:11] You just want to hear my 15 second, this is the thing that I do, because then you can move on through life, but you'll remember that one thing. It's so much easier to remember one thing than five things. So that's part of building your brand is just being–just getting yourself that clarity of that repeatable message that people can hear over and over and over so that they know exactly what you do, and how you can help them.

[00:08:40] Christina Hooper: It's like you almost need to bring your label back at that point. I know that's something that I've seen. It's very powerful. Like, I started having people call me the "Content Queen." And now started getting dubbed that, and that's how I get introduced when people are making recommendations to me. But it's like once they put that label on me themselves, um, now it became easier for them to know like, oh, this is something related to content. I should contact Christina. Or like, hey, somebody is trying to struggle to do something with that, but they don't even know if I do this specific thing they're struggling [with], but they know if it's content related, there's a good chance.

[00:09:09] Laura Rees: Absolutely, and you do way more than content, but that is the door that people find you through. And once you have them in here into your house, then you can welcome them to all of your other products and services. But just having that one thing to be known for. I mean, I always tell people they think about Starbucks, what is Starbucks known for, coffee?

[00:09:30] Right. Do they do so much more than coffee? Right. Pastries and lunch, food and, and refreshers and tea, like, you know, but they're still just known for that one thing.

[00:09:42] Christina Hooper: Yeah. I mean, they're basically known for like customized coffee .They're not like a generic coffee shop. They're like a high end, you know, custom coffee shop.

[00:09:51] And it's like, that's kind of their whole shtick. It's like I keep telling people that all the time, it's like, if you can figure out what, kind of, your one thing is, like, it's so powerful because if people can remember you, it's, like, I've never thought about it. Like wording it the exact way that you put it.

[00:10:04] But I always keep telling people, like, you need to, like–and I've tried to put labels on them. I'm like, "Oh, you're the event guy," you know? Or you're a growth coach or you're at, like, and they're like, "Well, no, but I do so much more than that." And it's so scary. They're so afraid to be like under the one label.

[00:10:17] But like you said, it's a gateway drug. It's like, if they can get to you for the one thing. Then you have more stuff and you can talk to them then, and they trust you for the one thing. So I love how you put that. Now, I know I stalked you online pretty extensively for an interview here, because there's so much good stuff.

[00:10:34] One of the things that you had that, kind of, it resonated with me really well, because it also aligns with our purpose here at ETA. You said that the business owning spectrum had two extreme ends, one where you're in control, doing what you want to do, living your best life. And then the other where your hours are out of hand and every day is a work day.

[00:10:51] And you're, like, that's the whole thing, EDTA right. To help people build a business that enables their lifestyles to take over their life. So I just want to give you an open opportunity to elaborate on that. 

[00:11:02] Laura Rees: Yeah, you know, I think that when you start your own business, you have a lot of passion for it, and you're really excited and certainly you don't do it unless you just really have this burning desire because it's pretty hard work.

[00:11:15] I do think that, that can accelerate too. Becoming the worst boss that you've ever had, you know, holding these crazy expectations for yourself, thinking that you need to do all the work yourself, um, having really a lot of difficulty relinquishing control over things, um, wanting to have your hands in everything.

[00:11:38] I think at that extreme end, your life becomes miserable. And the whole reason, just as you said, the whole reason that you wanted to start a business in that first place becomes ,kind of, moot because you're just spending 12 hours a day, seven days a week working, um, so I love that. When you really have your brand defined.

[00:12:00] And part of that is your mission, who you're serving ,when you know what that stuff is. Then you can communicate that not only to the audience that you serve, but also as you can bring in some help. And those people can then get on board with that brand message. They'll know what you do. They'll know why we do it.

[00:12:21] And that then makes it a lot easier. Um, for you to start to delegate some stuff. The other thing that I think that brand plays a powerful role in is not letting our lives take away our businesses. And the more that we have defined our brand, the more that we had defined the exact person we want to serve.

[00:12:41] And I'm not just saying, like, you know, a mom who's 30 years old and likes to read Family Circle magazine. I mean like a person that appreciates what you do, a person that, you know, needs the specific thing that you have from, kind of, like a social, um, like a psycho graphic perspective, the more that you can work directly with that person, the happier your life is going to be.

[00:13:06] And the more you can say no to the people that aren't a good fit. And that is also going to pull your business back from the brink of misery, right? When you spend more time doing the things that you love to do, working with the people that you love to work with, that you can get the best results for.

[00:13:22] Christina Hooper: Well, that is such a powerful thing to, like, and I think some people that are listening to this, that haven't gotten to that point where you only work with people that you like, if you don't really understand how powerful that is until you've done it.

[00:13:34] I mean, I know there was a point in life and my business, I literally fired over 30 clients. Like, I found other people to send them to. So I wasn't just, like, this was like, you know, I did, you know, transfer them over responsibly, but I got rid of 30 clients. Cause they just weren't who I wanted to work with. That it fit well. I found other people that they did fit well with.

[00:13:53] Laura Rees: And talk to us about like the weight that just felt lifted off your shoulders. 

[00:13:58] Christina Hooper: It was scary and it was terrifying, but like one of the eye-openers for me was my staff said, "Thank you." And it was like when. I said they're miserable because I had let toxic energy into the business and not necessarily toxic, like, these weren't necessarily bad clients.

[00:14:14] There's maybe one or two that were, but they just didn't fit. They didn't drive. Well, they were not able to be themselves around these people, you know? 'Cause I hire people for culture fit. They fit with me and they fit with the business. They fit for my goal, for the business. But then I handed the clients to them.

[00:14:30] That they didn't fit with. And it's like, 'cause I didn't want to work with them. And it's, like, you just don't realize how powerful that is. I think something else you just said, too, like having, you know, your brand really refined and knowing who you help, it helps you communicate that to your staff. And I mean, it's like, even, like, intellectually, I know all this, but I had the same issue too with my team over at Content Ninjas.

[00:14:52] We've got about 30, 35 writers over there, um, at any given time at the moment. And I realize that a lot of them didn't really know who we–who our clients actually were. They didn't understand what they do and where we fit. And it's, like, I figured it out pretty quickly, thank goodness. And we addressed that, but it was still, it's something you don't really realize. And the quality of the work they were able to do just left because they understood why they were doing it. 

[00:15:17] Laura Rees: Yeah, when you understand the "why" it's so much more powerful. You know, we–I have kids and they're obviously in school and when they–they're so practical, like, when they take a class that shows them the application for the knowledge that they are learning, they do so much better at it than something that's more theoretical. 

[00:15:39] And I think it's the same in our work life. You know what I mean? When you–I understand why you're doing a task, what higher purpose that serves. Who is that helping, you know, how are you serving, when you know that it makes it so much easier [inaudible].

[00:15:55] Christina Hooper: Well, there's so much overlap. I feel like between ,like, running a household and running a business, like, I started applying business principles to the household and it started working a lot better, you know? And I think, you know ,what you said, that application thing, Amanda, the super true for me. I mean like my son even he's just finished his 10th grade year.

[00:16:14] He's supposed to be going into 11th this year. He's 16. And he's, like, "I don't understand the point in high school." Like, we had a conversation at the end of last year and he's, like, I'm not learning anything applicable. He's, like, "This is pointless. It's, like, what are my other options?" And I was like, "Well, GED and get a job. I mean, that's an option, but you got to really know what you want for your life, and if that makes sense for your life."

[00:16:38] And he, we had very serious conversations. That's what he did. He's literally back here helping produce podcast episodes and stuff for me. Um, and he's going that route and pursuing his GED.

[00:16:47] It's non-traditional. But he couldn't see the application to high school and I really couldn't help him with it. I was a high school dropout. I dropped out my senior year and now look at me, like, I'm fine. So it's, like, as long as you have a plan and you're willing to dig in, like, you can go a non-traditional route.

[00:17:02] I feel like that's something a lot of businesses don't think about, if you're really true to, like ,who your voice is, who you want to serve, who you want to work with. You don't have to go the same route everybody else's going. And a lot of times the best thing for your customers is not the normal, I mean, like, look at you, like, you know, you identified as a marketing, you see, but at the same time, like you've niched in you're focusing on branding, you know, which is a really core aspect to marketing that. So many people just, kind of, gloss over, but you're like, no, no, wait, no. 

[00:17:31] Laura Rees: You know, back to what you just said about your son doing what he wanted to do and really taking a hard look at that. I think that we also sometimes overlook that in our businesses, like, we have a service that we offer because it's just the thing that everyone does, or it makes us a lot of money, like what we hated.

[00:17:50] And sometimes I think that we don't give ourselves permission or we don't understand, or we don't even just process that we don't have to be doing that. We can look at our business and say, "Oh, well, here are the things I really like doing. And maybe I can build my [inaudible] around those things instead of, you know, the stuff that I hate that feels like a chore to get through."

[00:18:11] Christina Hooper: Yeah, and I mean, there's so many opportunities nowadays because other people are doing the same thing. They're niching into different areas, you know? I mean, it's like you take marketing, you need an army to do marketing the right way. You need people that specialize in all kinds of different things from, like, content to graphics to branding to helping people like the strategy component to files. 

[00:18:29] Like you don't have to do it all yourself, especially if there's pieces. You don't want, like, it is so easy to form partnerships with somebody. Like I was on a call with [inaudible] the other day, and he was talking about JV partnerships and the whole new way that I never thought about.

[00:18:43] Like, he was, you know, talking about how like one guy, um, he built a marketing agency for Montessori schools and he partnered with a guy that was a principal at one of the Montessori schools. So the guy's not actually, like, on the business as a partner, but he gets a percentage of the revenue and he consults and helps them do the right things and helps them plan their marketing materials.

[00:19:04] It was really pretty cool. It's just a non-traditional way of approaching partnerships with other businesses, but it's just, kind of like, look at what's mutually beneficial. Like, if you have one part of the thing you do that you love, it's so easy to go find someone else that does the other part.

[00:19:22] It's what they love. And then you just work together, you serve the client at the highest level, and then there's just so many opportunities to do different things that I think people don't think about.

[00:19:30] Laura Rees: I think people can make things easier on themselves it sounds like we always want to do things that are hardest where it feels like we're not doing, you know, it feels like we're not doing good work if it's not taking a lot out of us. I don't think that's always true. I think we don't do the things we love.

[00:19:48] Christina Hooper: Well, and I mean, it's that whole–you end up getting really good at it. You know, it's like, if you focus on one part and you get really good at it, not only are you, you know, clients can understand what you do easier, but you know, you start doing a better job at it.

[00:19:59] You're doing it all the time. You know, it just makes it so much better. So like, I know one of the things that I saw that you put out there, it had three rookie branding mistakes. Like ,I want to give you an opportunity to speak to those. 'Cause I thought it was really powerful. And one of them was your brand reflecting you and not your customer, your brand having multiple personalities and then your brand being afraid to repel.

[00:20:20] And I feel like you've danced around those three, but, can you elaborate on some of that a little bit? Like, what do you mean by your brand, reflecting you and not your customer?

[00:20:28] Laura Rees: So one of the biggest mistakes that I always see people making, even experienced people, and I even have to check myself on this is I'm leading with attributes instead of benefits.

[00:20:40] So what I mean by that is an attribute is what we offer and a benefit is what our customer gets. So, I mean, like, let's think about a ubiquitous example of like McDonald's. McDonald's offers food, but people don't really buy McDonald's for the food. I mean, maybe kindergarteners do, but like most of us we buy McDonald's because it is high value and highly convenient.

[00:21:03] Right. That's the benefit that we get out of working with McDonald's. So, when we are doing any kind of brand marketing communications, we want to lead with the benefit to the customer. We want to zero in on what the customer cares about. Why are they coming to you? Not, I have a course not. I have a coaching program program.

[00:21:23] Not I have, you know, a phone case, like why are those things important to the customer and leading with that? And then following up with, "Oh, well, you need this thing. You need this benefit, you have this problem. Here's how my offer can solve that. Or here's what I have that can serve you in that way." So that's the first big thing.

[00:21:44] The second thing is just the consistency. Like, if your brand has multiple personalities, and this is what we talked about at the top of this episode is if you were saying a different thing, every time you show up, if you are using a different color, if you are using a different photography style, it becomes confusing for people.

[00:22:02] If they're trying to follow you and it becomes difficult for people to remember you, because if you always show up differently. You know, you're in a sea of other people trying to capture their attention. So the more consistent you can be, the more people are going to be able to remember you. And then finally, just this idea of repelling, similar to what we talked about, and people don't want to make a commitment to their one thing.

[00:22:34] They don't want to make a commitment to serving one specific type of customer. And I understand that, and I have a hundred percent felt that myself. And if you think about, you know, like, picture yourself in a crowd of people and you say, "Hey, you." You're not going to get that many people to really pay attention.

[00:22:55] But if I said, "Hey, Christina," like, everybody named Christina is going to turn around and be like, "Oh yes." You know, so it's kinda–that's the similar way. If I say," Hey, you buy my product." Like, that's just not as compelling or resonant with people as if I can say. You know, "Hey, professional service-based business that has a lot of experience. I think you'd be a really good fit to start using social video in your content to start attracting the types of clients that you love working with the most."

[00:23:32] It's just so it talks to that specific person and it, you know, if you have a product based business, it's probably not going to resonate with you. That's okay. There's enough. Service-based businesses in the world. For me to serve with that statement that it's okay if I am leaving some people out.

[00:23:53] Christina Hooper: Yeah. Well, and I think a lot of things happen unintentionally that, like, until I actually made the choice to niche down on one of my businesses and didn't realize the power of it, like I knew it clarified your marketing messages and I'd heard the whole spill, but then I actually did it.

[00:24:07] And it was like, okay, well, my marketing got easier to create. For one, I didn't agonize over my messaging. Like, everything I said, just got easier to put out there. It was a lot clearer, but internally everything got a lot easier, too. So I started being able, like, Content Ninjas is one of my most scalable companies and it was built from the ground up, designed to scale.

[00:24:26] That was the point was to serve as many agencies as we could at the highest level we could, and help them, you know, be an unlimited source of copywriting for all of their clients. Um, and that's a big–that's a big order to be able to do that. But internally, once we niched down into just working with agencies, it got a lot easier because we know their pain points.

[00:24:46] We know what they need. We know, like, hey, this is a pain point we see consistently, can we help with that? You know? And it's like, well, yes we can. And, like, 80% of our clients are going to benefit from us learning how to, you know what I mean? Like, it just–it all gets so much easier internally and externally.

[00:25:02] Laura Rees: Yeah, I mean, people make people buy things that solve a problem for them, which sometimes I think we forget about that. Right. We just want to put out a product because we think it seems like a good idea that nobody, you know, once there, no one has that. But, you know, what you're saying is that, you know, this audience so well that anytime a new pain point comes up, you can proactively say, "Okay, wow."

[00:25:25] A lot of people are struggling with that. How can I solve that problem? Which not only increases your revenue, but also deepens your relationship with those customers because they know you're looking out for how you can help that, because ultimately what you're providing them is something that help them be more successful as well.

[00:25:45] Christina Hooper: Yeah. Like you can only execute a tactic once, you know, the benefit that it's going to solve. Like I've known forever. I wanted to write a book and I wanted to publish a course and create a mastermind group and all that. But I had no idea what I wanted to make it on. Well, it's like now pain points start emerging agencies are struggling with strategy, helping clients figure out what to write about what content to produce.

[00:26:04] And that pain point keeps happening consistently. And it's like, well, I know how to do that. It is. It's like creating courses and books and mastermind all that's easy now. And it's like, I already know exactly what the pain points are and I can solve it. So I'm not creating, I'm not wasting time on things that might not matter.

[00:26:19] I'm putting all that energy into something that I know has an audience already. And it's like being, you know, not being afraid to repel people like that matters. And we don't even work with all agencies. And we made a decision to say, agencies that sell results to their clients. Not the ones that are like, we're just going to write two blog articles a month just because content is yay.

[00:26:40] But the ones that are, like, we want to make our clients look good, we want to position them as authorities. We want to have a meaningful impact on their business. Like, so it's ,like, you really have to look at not just an industry dish and I don't, but like personality traits who makes a good fit. If you had to spend all day everyday working with that type of person, what do they look like?

[00:27:01] And if you're happy, you're going to keep them happy. And there's just–there's so much power in everything that you're saying. It's, like, as soon as I started picking around on your website, I would get so excited for this interview. 

[00:27:10] Laura Rees: You don't, when you think about, um, identifying your ideal, like your perfect fit client, which is a lot of what we're talking about right now, I think what you said is so relevant that it's not just.

[00:27:24] These, you know, it's not just an agency, it's an agency who does something specific, right. An agency that has these kind of character traits. Like they want to really get results for their business. I had, I had a dietician client, we were working together to build her brand and we were talking about ideal client and she said, you know, I just don't really know.

[00:27:44] Like sometimes I help people that have. Celiac disease. And sometimes I help people that want to lose weight and she had this kind of all these different, like dietary restrictions. And she's like, I don't know where I want to focus that. And I said, well, let's put that aside for a second. Just tell me about the clients that you've worked with.

[00:28:01] That you've loved working with the most that could get the best results for like, what did they have in common? And she said, "Well, it seems kind of silly but they were all people that really appreciated my work and really were motivated to make a change. Um, because sometimes people just get prescribed like from their doctor, like you have to go see the dietician.

[00:28:22] And I mean, she had the, um, good, I mean, she had been in business for a while, so she had a lot. of cLientele that she could, you know, pick and choose from. And I said, "Well, it's not ridiculous that you want somebody to appreciate what you do. Like maybe those are maybe that's your ideal client, the person that's motivated to make a change and appreciates the fact that you're an expert.

[00:28:46] And she made that. I mean, that's a tiny change for her and her business to pre-screen people based on that instead of like their dietary restrictions. But once she started doing that, making that small change. She got more business than she had before. And she was way happier in her business. Because she's only working with the people she loved working with.

[00:29:07] Christina Hooper: Yep. Well, I mean, you can't undercut that either like being happy in your business, it's like, that sounds kind of like a hokey thing to some people and some people don't like the woo-woo stuff, but it's like when you're happier in your business has a cascading effect, And then it's like, your employees are happiero

[00:29:22] your clients are happier, your family's happier. You're like it has a cascading impact on your life where a lot more possible as well. Problem for entrepreneurs, i think.

[00:29:35] Oh yeah. Huge problem. I talk to people all the time that are like, they're working around the clock. Their brain is never off and it's like, but if you actually enjoy it, that's okay.

[00:29:45] If you enjoy it and it doesn't interfere on other aspects of your life. Go for it, but it's like, you never know when it's going to start interfering with other aspects of your life. Like I talk to entrepreneurs all the time. They're like, oh, well I don't mind so much taking my laptop with me on vacation.

[00:30:00] Or, you know, I don't mind answering messages from my phone when I'm doing stuff that I'm like, okay. But what if something real happens? What if an emergency happens? What if you've built this environment where you can't even step away for a day and somebody you have a death in the family. Are you having an emergency and you were not available and all you're going to get that whole time is being bombarded with messages about, "Hey, where are you?"

[00:30:24] Why aren't you answering because you've trained people to that. It's like, you know, you just never know when life is going to happen. And what's okay. Now isn't always going to be like, you can't build that world for yourself where 12 and 14 hour days are totally okay for eternity. And we're answering every message is okay.

[00:30:40] Like ,I started blocking two weeks out of my schedule. Every week when I do my weekly planning this week, and next week are blocked. They're locked down. Basically. No more appointments that is it because I couldn't focus. I couldn't plan. It was distracting. So it's like, that seemed like a huge thing. Like, oh, I'm going to get so many missed appointments, but now they can message me.

[00:31:00] And if I want to let them in on my calendar, I can let people in the ones, you know, clients and stuff like that if I need to. But I try and run with that and don't do that very often. Setting boundaries, knowing who you want to work with. It's just so freeing. And it's like, I know people are listening to this and they're maybe still having reservations and they're still going, but, but, but, but nothing.

[00:31:21] Everything she's saying is really good. It's like, it's one of those things, like, it may feel uncomfortable to start with, but like you just kind of have to do it and then you'll see why it's like, if you don't understand it at the front end, do it. You'll understand it. And on the back end, like it just,–you just have to do it. Um, speaking of how awesome you are and all this good advice, this is a great segue into who do you like to work with?

[00:31:46] What` do you do and if somebody wants to just hire you to do it and just steal your expertise, where do they go? 

[00:31:53] Laura Rees: So, um, I work with service-based professionals who are looking to build up their brands specifically using social video. And so, um, they can go from, like that I call an anonymous expert.

[00:32:06] Like they're putting out, like they have all this knowledge. But nobody knows about it. And moving from that to being a star in their fields and start attracting the types of clients that they love working with the most. So people can, um, they can work with me, um, by going to my website, I'll reset concept, L R E E s.com.

[00:32:26] And we can work one-on-one together. I have, um, a one-to-one coaching program or we, I have a program called social video ace , which is like a group program that takes you from defining youto learning how to message that and putting that on social video, putting together a platform and then systematizing that, so that it becomes really easy to scale that.

[00:32:54] Christina Hooper: Okay. I jotted down that word, anonymous expert like that, right? There is a very powerful little two words. Yes I do. Because it's like, it is so true. Especially the people that are afraid to get on video. They are, they really are like best case scenario. If they're putting out blog content or something, they've got their little author bio, but I see so many people who don't even have that.

[00:33:16] They don't have like their photo and their name and like who they are on the content that they're putting out. They're not putting videos out in the world. They may be have like their brand on their social media pages or LinkedIn, and they're publishing crazy, awesome stuff. Like sometimes there's some really good nuggets of information, but yeah, you don't connect them to the person because they're there being an anonymous expert.

[00:33:38] I jotted that down. I'm going to, I'm going to steal that phrase from you. So many times. 

[00:33:43] Laura Rees: When you were an anonymous expert and you, like, let's say you're scrolling through Instagram and you see somebody else doing a thing that you do. And maybe you even feel like you can deliver that better and you see this person getting all this attention for it.

[00:34:00] And it's just such a frustrating feeling. So we want to move away from that to feeling like you're getting recognized for the experience and the expertise that you have. 

[00:34:12] Christina Hooper: Yeah. I mean, there's–everybody has got their unconscious capabilities, their super powers. And when you don't use those, leverage those, and put them out into the world.

[00:34:23] Yeah. I mean, you just–you might as well just be this faceless expert from, like, you know, a textbook that we read in school and who knows who that author is. They did a lot of effort, a lot of work, a lot of research, a lot of good stuff happening in the textbooks. But we don't know who they are. We don't care who they are.

[00:34:39] That's a bad place to be in as a business owner. It's a very powerful little, two words. 

[00:34:44] Laura Rees: And you know the thing about showing up on video, too, is that it lets people know you so quickly. There's no faster way to make a connection with people. You know, like just from–if people listen to our conversation, they get a good sense of who I am.

[00:34:58] They get a good sense of who you are. And now people feel more connected to us. Like, they know us, they know we have kids, you know, they know some of our personal–some personal facts about us. You don't get that–I just–from a photograph on Instagram. 

[00:35:15] Christina Hooper: You don't even get it from just like producing blog articles and stuff like that. And I do a lot of blog articles. I have a whole content company. We write a lot of content, but there's still a level to that, that you just don't quite get. If you don't do at least a quick video to go with your content, like, it's just–it's powerful. It's really–but that's why we do these episodes with video too.

[00:35:32] Like, this'll be up on YouTube. I can take snippets and put it out on social media, all that kind of stuff. We do upload the audio to podcast because podcast networks or just audio, but I always get the video because there's so much power in the video. 

[00:35:43] Laura Rees: And I love how you are repurposing it across different, um, applications. You know, the other thing too, of that, sometimes people get nervous about being on video. They're afraid that they'll be stiff or whatever. I think that when you are talking about something that you are an expert in and you're really passionate about, you've seen how it can work for people. And when you can make that connection with clients, That starts to come through.

[00:36:08] I mean, some of it's practice, but honestly, when you're talking about something that you love your area of expertise, that passion reads across that camera.

[00:36:19] Christina Hooper: Yeah, it does. And you just kinda got to get over it. I mean, I know me and you were talking before this call and I mean, it's like, I just threw a little business jacket over like a pajama outfit.

[00:36:29] Y'all like, you don't have to be fancy to show up. Like, I brush my hair, put some little flippers on my ears. Yeah. I mean, you don't have to be fancy to show up and be on video. And if you–if I wouldn't have said that nobody would have noticed, so I just kinda outed myself a bit there. 

[00:36:44] Laura Rees: But there's never been a better time to do video. It used to be, like, when I started my career, we had to do–you have to spend $20,000. So we had to bring in a crew and we had to light it and we had to do professional audio and you have to do a script. I mean, not that you shouldn't script your stuff, but you know, now if you have your phone or your laptop, you can make video content that's accessible to every single person.

[00:37:07] Now it's probably the most accessible thing you can do because you don't even need a designer to help you with graphics, or you don't need a photographer. 

[00:37:15] Christina Hooper: You don't have to have, like, a stunning backdrop anymore either because everybody's on zoom. Everybody's, like, doing stuff from their home. I mean, like, this got a mess going on by like, people don't care anymore.

[00:37:29] Like, we're kind of over that. I think it's kind of amazing, yeah. Well, and I think you dropped a little nugget in there too. Like, you still need a script. I think that's true. It's almost a little too easy to do video now. So some people get on and they just, like, open up their phone and they're just, like, and they're producing crap.

[00:37:48] Like I have a script for this. I have my questions that I wanted to ask. You know, we can deviate and it's fine. That's cool. But you still have to have–you need some kind of guiding thing to keep you on track. So you don't ramble, you know, and I think that's so important nowadays, and that's where your brand foundation and messaging comes in.

[00:38:08] Because once you establish that, then that gives you three or four things that you're always going to talk about. And you can talk about them in different ways, from different perspectives, but you have those things you're always going to talk about. And then you have endless content. Once you have those {inaudible] found issues.

[00:38:25] I love that. Well, to wrap it up here, 'cause then I've held you hostage for like 40 minutes now, like to wrap it up, do you have any advice or tips that you want to share with our audience? Like in general? 

[00:38:35] Laura Rees: Well, I would just say that if you haven't taken the time to just even define your one thing, define your perfect fit clients, and also think about the ultimate benefit that you are bringing to them, not the thing that you offer, but the thing that they're getting. Then that is absolutely worth sitting down and doing right now. 

[00:38:59] Christina Hooper: Yeah. And I think there was one thing from digital marketer. I think that made that really understand or easy to understand too, that benefit thing. Uh, Ryan Dice talked about how, like, maybe you own a lawn company and you mow lawns. That's the thing you do.

[00:39:13] Right. But what do you really do for people? You get some back their Saturday. Like, that's the real benefit. And I know a lot of people say, like, "Oh, well I get them more clients." Okay. Well, why, why do they want more clients? What does that–well, it helps make them more money. Okay. Well, what did they do with the money?

[00:39:29] Like you, kind of, have to just keep asking until you have this, like, epiphany moment. 

[00:39:32] Laura Rees: It's, like, the more emotional you can get with that. I mean, that's a perfect example. Like, you get back your Saturdays, now you can watch a football game with your kid and you're not out there, you know, wrestling with your lawnmower and trying to get it started.

[00:39:46] Christina Hooper: Yeah. And you don't dread it all week long. You're not getting, you know, argue with your spouse. 'Cause they're, like, when are you going to get into–they are, you know, and it's like, there's so many facets to that, you know, depending on where they live, they look good in front of their neighbors. There's all these other benefits.

[00:40:00] But the real one that hits is I'm going to give you back your Saturdays. I mean, I know that's what my lawn service did. My yard just magically stays mowed. I don't ever think about it. That's great, right? Yeah. They just show up a couple times a month. I happily pay an invoice and I don't have to think about it. At all

[00:40:21] I will, like, that was one of the biggest, like, advantages to me. It was–it's, like, you don't even have to, like, call and say, "Hey, I need my yard done." They show up proactively every two weeks. Like, I don't have–I just literally–it's like magic grass. It's crazy. 

[00:40:39] Laura Rees: So that's someone also that knows their audience, right? They know that you don't want to schedule a time every time. Like, I'm probably–I'm sure that's probably a process that they went through where they were, like, you know what? People just want us to show up every week and do this and not ever have to talk to us 

[00:40:52] Christina Hooper: Again, like it's a benefit to their business, too. I mean, like they didn't have to field the whole bunch of calls because like, you know, if I was calling every two weeks to schedule, now, I got to have someone answering the phone.

[00:41:03] They're going to have people that are trying to schedule different days and they're going to have to juggle and that they can set their own schedule. They can say, when they're going to what neighborhoods they can do it again, where you're talking about that kind of hidden benefit. When you make some decisions about who you want to work with and whatever, like, imagine what that did to their days.

[00:41:18] 'Cause they show up and they spend the whole day in my neighborhood, they went to my neighbors and they said, "Hey, we're here every two weeks doing your neighbors yard. Would you like us to do yours while we're here?" I think they've got, like ,three or four. My neighbors and in my cul-de-sac signed up. They've got like half of my cul-de-sac signed up, you know, they're going and doing that everywhere.

[00:41:34] And they don't have to have somebody answering the phone. They don't have to have somebody juggling appointments back and forth. They know what their schedule is every month. Like, he can staff appropriately. He can make sure he's got the right equipment. Like, there's so many. You know, extra benefit to just really getting clear about that and thinking through what your audience wants.

[00:41:52] Laura Rees: Now, if any of you out there, um, have a lawnmower business, I feel like we have just given you a solid brand. 

[00:42:01] Christina Hooper: Yeah. I mean, it's funny because my husband actually has a lawn business, but we still pay someone else because his business is too busy. So he's not the one doing our yard because that guy already had our neighborhood on lock before my husband opened his lawn business.

[00:42:17] So it's, like, there would be no benefit, that guy owns the community. So we just let him keep doing ours. Perfect. It's sad maybe, but it works. Um, so yeah, this has been a great call. I have literally held you hostage for so long. I think this is like our second longest interview yet. So I will give you back your–

[00:42:35] Laura Rees: Thank you for having me, Christina.

[00:42:38] Christina Hooper: And entrepreneurs, this is your call to take action. Join our community@etatoday.zone and learn how to build a business that enables your lifestyle instead of taking over your life by learning from amazing people like Laura and all of our other experts in the community. So I'll see you there guys.
About Christina Hooper

I help you turn your Superpowers into Sales so you can build a business that enables your lifestyle instead of taking over your life. I'm also StoryBrand Certified Guide, BMS Certified Coach, and DigitalMarketer Certified Partner.

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