branding expert

Q&A with Entrepreneur Stacey Kehoe

Stacey Kehoe Headshot -

Stacey Kehoe is the founder of Digital Marketing agency, Brandlective Communications Ltd, since launching her business 6 years ago in London she has developed over 400+ business brands, given them visibility on Page 1 of Google search and utilized social media to double their inbound leads.  The Federation of Small Businesses named her one of 2016 London Entrepreneur’s of the Year following the launch of her business magazine. With a Podcast, Membership website and Book set to launch in 2018, she is one to watch.

Can you tell our readers about your background?

I grew up in New Zealand where we have a very easy-going lifestyle.  I enjoyed school although was never academic and no-one expected much from me.  For that reason, I didn’t attend university but instead worked to save enough money to spend seven months traveling through South America and Europe.  I caught the travel bug so decided to settle in London to work in the corporate travel industry where I could continue to feed my addiction for traveling to unique and obscure places.

What inspired you to start your business?

I started my business for two reasons.  The first was that I was made redundant during the 2007-2008 recession.  I worked in the corporate travel industry for financial institutions, and that whole industry disappeared in a matter of months, so I knew I needed to move into a sector that was adaptable and able to grow no matter what sort of economic conditions were on the horizon.  The second reason was that I discovered a passion for helping SME’s discover the power of digital.  After my redundancies I found myself freelancing for a few sales agencies who were not keeping up with technology.  My fear of not keeping up with emerging trends and business practices that had contributed to those redundancies was prevalent, so I pushed these agencies to embrace social media and digital advertising.  After two years, I was being approached my other businesses who wanted help transitioning into the digital world, so I decided to launch my first business, Brandlective Communications Ltd.

Where is your business based?

My digital marketing agency is based in London, UK.  Although we now serve businesses throughout the USA, Europe, and Australia.

How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?

I had a very organic transition into starting a business.  I was working on a full-time freelance contract so was familiar with being self-employed when I began receiving enquiries from companies which had seen my work.  These business owners asked me to begin freelancing for their company’s, and before I knew it, I had a growing portfolio of clients.  I then incorporated the business (while still on a full-time contract), and invested all of the profit from my additional freelance work back into the company for working capital.  Managing time was very difficult during this stage, but it allowed me to build my own confidence and stability before I ended my full-time contact and worked solely with my own agency.

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?

Without a doubt, it has been social media.  Pushing my views, ideas, opinions, and content in front of an audience is so simple with social media and allowed me to build a reputation within the marketing field.  I also did a lot of networking and have found over the years that it is a combination of both offline and online.  Everything rolls around in a circle. I can use digital marketing and social media to build awareness of what I do and to leverage speaking engagements and networking opportunities.  Many of my relationships are still built in person at these events or speaking opportunities, and then I continue to build trust and loyalty through the content I produce across the digital landscape. 

What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenges for me have been around recruiting the right people. As a small business, I always feel short of time, so recruiting and training, but also having the patience to allow people to grow into the business has always been a struggle for me.  I'm impatient and want instant success which is unfair and stems from my own impatience rather than other people incompetence.  My big ongoing challenge is being able to work ‘on’ my business, not ‘in’ my business.  I do find I still get sucked back into day-to-day work which I find frustrating.  It is something I have very focused on achieving over the next 12 months.

How do you stay focused?

Focus for me stems from being organized and planning.  These are two things that do not come naturally.  I really do have to work hard at it.  I always try to overdeliver to clients so that keeps me focused.  If I know we have promised a deadline to a client I will ensure we have the procedures in place to deliver.  It is that strong desire to overdeliver on clients expectations that keeps me focused on what I need to achieve within the business.

How do you differentiate your business from the competition?

Brandlective’s purpose statement is: To give visibility to those that think differently.  

We love to work with brands that have big goals, are a little bit wacky, edgy or bold and like to do things out of the norm. We differentiate our business from competitors by focusing our advertising on this type of business owner (rather than a specific industry).  I also have a passion for businesses who have traditionally operated offline and are looking to make big changes in their businesses to embrace digital.  This also sets us apart from other digital marketing agencies as many don’t like to touch these ‘old-school types of businesses’.  And, finally, I think our clients would say it’s our no-jargon, down-to-earth, direct communication approach is attractive.  I often speak to clients who say they are just so grateful to be able to spit-ball ideas with us, and that we can come back and present them with a simple non-tech / no-jargon filled strategy that they can actually understand.

What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?

It has actually been word of mouth.  We do a lot of digital advertising to raise a awareness of our brand and build our credibility, but our growth has stemmed directly from referrals, and I believe that comes down to the culture of our business and how invested we are in the clients we work with.

What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?

Persevere.  In my opinion, there is nothing truly special and unique that allows one person to be more successful than another other than perseverance.  If you have a strong belief in what you are doing and feel like you can make a positive influence on your audience, then don’t give up.  Just persevere - you will have a breakthrough, and all things will come together.

What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?

My favorite app is Audible.  I know its a simple one, but I am obsessed with podcasts and audiobooks.  I’m currently listening to The SHED Method by Sara Milne Rowe - an absolute gem for any business leader.

What's your favorite business tool or resource? Why?

My favorite business tool is probably Zapier.  I love automation!  Anything that can make my business or personal life a little bit easier gets a gold star from me.  I love Zapier because it allows multiple business tools speak to each other and automates so many things that save me countless hours in my business.

Who is your business role model? Why?

My biggest role model is my former boss.  She encouraged me to leave and start my own business which I think was so selfless and shows such fantastic leadership.  She is also successful in her own right and has built multiple businesses - a total inspiration.

 What do you have planned for the next six months?

I am currently writing a book so I’m working with my publisher to get that finalized and launched within the next six months.  The Vault, my new podcast, and membership website are also due to launch by mid-2018.  Additionally, I have planned some travel in Asia for some charity work.  We have partnered with B1G1 to make impacts around the globe and contribute to the 2030 UN Sustainability Goals.

How can our readers connect with you?

You can connect with me via LinkedIn or Twitter or email me at stacey@brandlective.com

www.brandlective.com

https://www.linkedin.com/in/stacey-kehoe-b8b25319/

@StaceyKehoe

@Brandlective

Q&A with Creative Entrepreneur, Haley Burkhead

Haley Burkhead

Haley Burkhead is a marketing stylist who founded the company Market Beautifully + is the host of the Market Beautifully podcast. Here's what she had to say about running a successful online business and podcast. 

Can you tell our readers about your background?

I started a fashion blog when I was 17 years old and after spending years building it up to where I was getting consistent monthly income, I discovered the design and marketing portion was more my jam. So I took action, received my bachelors in web design and interactive media, starting a web design agency which has morphed into a boutique-style marketing agency with a 4-person team behind the scenes.

What inspired you to start your business?

I had absolutely no passion for what I was doing until my at-the-time boyfriend pointed out how miserable I was with my direction in life. I evaluated what brought me joy, which was designing websites (and now creating marketing plans, podcasting, coaching, etc.) and decided to take that joy and bring joy to others through my services.

Where is your business based?

My business is all online and my team works remotely as well. I have a dedicated room in my home that is my office where I work out of!

How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?

I built myself a website. There is something about seeing your face, your name, and your brand come to life and attached to a URL that just makes everything so very real. Once I started providing valuable and free content my business picked up which consistently brought potential clients through to my inbox.

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?

The Market Beautifully Podcast is by far what has brought me the most awareness and what I am known for. Running a podcast has been such an adventure that I would never give up, paid or not. Through this show, I have been able to bring on some amazing leaders to discuss marketing who are now close friends. I always suggest thinking of your business as a media company because having attention and an engaged audience leads to consistent revenue.

What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

Loneliness is a struggle. Where I am from and currently live there are not many entrepreneurial people in this area since it is a small town in Arkansas. I have fantastic business friends that are total bosses online as well as a mastermind that I am involved in yet I would still love to meet up in person with other business owners who think similar to me. There is a lot of power in surrounding yourself with like-minded people and that has been a big challenge for me as a business owner!

How do you stay focused?

This is a fantastic question and a question I get asked a lot on Instagram. One of the verticals I am known for online is my ability to stay at a high-level of productivity throughout the day by using Asana.com. Asana is the backbone of my entire business and without this free project management tool, I would not have been able to scale as quickly as I have or stay as focused throughout the day.

How do you differentiate your business from the competition?

My mission is to make sure that every single person that follows me never feels overlooked. I hate that feeling as many do and should.

Have you ever followed a business or brand and feel as if you don’t fit in or your voice doesn’t matter? I decided very early on that I would never make anyone that follows my brand feel that way. This is an approach that can be time-consuming at times but I believe it not only sets me apart but makes a difference in other’s lives which accomplish my end goal.

What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?

Live video has been an awesome marketing strategy lately as I am scaling my business. All the ladies that follow me on Instagram are always so interactive and engaged which is always a blast! I love how live video breaks down a lot of barriers between us, as the business owner, and our audiences. Because of this online barrier being discarded, you are able to connect and lead viewers with a call to action to the next step in your sales process.

What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?

Go for it. Do not overthink anything, just start. There are so many decisions that can easily paralyze you and I encourage you, the aspiring entrepreneur, to not let that get in the way. You have an amazing message, product, or service to offer the world and I would hate to know that you let your mindset, decision overload, or anything get in your way of sharing that.

What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?

My favorite book is "Expert Secrets" by Russell Brunson. Wow, this book really helped me with my mindset and the way I was approaching my community. After finish this book, I was able to connect with my audience on such a deeper level based on his theories on psychology and customer behavior.

What's your favorite business tool or resource? Why?

Asana, hands down. Asana is a free project management tool that I ended up building a program around because my audience was so obsessed with my color-coded calendar and system that I had set up. Asana is, like I said before, the backbone of my business.

Who is your business role model? Why?

Gary Vaynerchuk is one of my favorite business role models. Despite his extreme behavior and intensity, I am drawn to not only what he says, but how he processes his thoughts. His mindset about business and marketing really intrigues me why is why I would consider him my business role model.

What do you have planned for the next six months?

The most exciting project I plan on completing in the next six months or year is outlining my new book. I am so ready to get started mapping everything out and watching this come to life!

How can our readers connect with you?

We can chat every Monday on the Market Beautifully podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google play, or just ask your echo “Alexa, play the Market Beautifully podcast” and she will pull up the latest episode for you. (http://marketbeautifully.com/itunes)

Other than the podcast, Instagram @marketbeautifully is a fun place to be and I respond to every DM so come say hi!

Q&A with Branding Expert and Entrepreneur, Minling Chuang

Minling2.jpg

Minling is the Founder of Brand Fame and a geek about all things branding. Good thing too, because as a brand marketing strategist and mentor, she has worked with solopreneurs, small businesses, consulting companies, and big brands to market and position themselves so that they become eye-popping 'It' brand that turn heads.

She has 8+ years of experience in branding and marketing, working on top brands such as Nestle Toll House, Lean Cuisine, and Toyota. While at Nestle, she even launched a $54 Million product for Lean Cuisine that won Product of the Year.

Her passion is to help female small business owners uncover their unique message so they can rapidly build a list of raving fans eager to buy along the way.

Minling holds an MBA from Indiana University and a BA from the University of Southern California. She has also been featured on the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Thrive Global, numerous podcasts, and spoken at various conferences.

Can you tell our readers about your background?

After receiving my MBA, I worked at Nestle for a few years doing branding and marketing for the Lean Cuisine and then the Nestle Toll House. This really where I learned the intricacies of branding and marketing because at the time I also had an opportunity of leading the launch of new products for Lean Cuisine. One of the products I worked on ended up making over $54 million in half a year and won Product Of The Year. After leaving Nestle, I also consulted for other Fortune 500 companies such as Toyota, UBM, and Sumitomo Corporation as well as small to medium businesses.

What inspired you to start your business? 

It's been quite a journey with my business. Originally after I left Nestle, I didn't want anything to do with branding and marketing. I was burnt out. So I started an inspirational website and blog for a few years about helping people find their joy and passion. Working on that blog made me miss doing branding and marketing because I was essentially doing that for my own blog and I found that so many people have misconceptions about branding. Most people think branding is just about the logos, graphics, and website and I don't, based on my background and I have now made it my mission to teach solopreneurs what branding truly is and how to leverage it to truly stand out.

Where is your business based?

My business is based out of Los Angeles, California. I also started another business with a business partner and we are located on the opposite sides of the coast. She's near Tampa.

How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?

Again, my business came about in a roundabout way since I first started with an inspirational blog. But when I started my branding business, I sought out a mentor to guide me. I felt that this was uncharted territory for me, starting my own business, and I wanted to do it right.

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business? 

There are two ways that I have raised awareness for my business. Because most of my business is based online, Facebook Ads have been one of the most effective ways to get cold traffic to experience my work and get to know me. The second way is to network and create partnerships. I love collaborating with others and have been on countless podcasts, guest blogs, tele-summits, live events as a speaker, programs as a guest teacher. This has helped position me as an expert in my field because I've been given a platform to showcase my knowledge. Collaboration is also how I met my business partner for my second business.

What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them? 

The biggest challenge I had to overcome happened in the beginning of my business. When I was first starting out, I had to figure out how to finance my business because I was making investments in my business but not generating any income. I had to get creative and learn pretty fast on what I needed to do to sustain my business. But I wouldn't trade that experience for the world because it taught me a lot about being resilient and persistent. 

How do you stay focused?

I focus on one goal at a time. I find that it's easier for me when I'm not multitasking. I choose a goal and finish that goal and then move onto the next one. 

How do you differentiate your business from the competition? 

My message and approach to branding differentiate my business from competitors. Many of my competitors talk about logos, graphics, and websites when it comes to branding. I always tell people that branding is more than these three things. And a lot of people resonate with this message when I explain why. I'm more interested in helping people find the heart of the brand through their message because this is what their audience will connect to.

What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business? 

I mentioned part of this earlier when talking about the most effective way to raise awareness for my business. But to get more specific, I have found webinars and challenges to be the most effective tactics to grow my business. Both webinars and challenges have helped me build trust with my audience quickly, even if they just found out about me within the last week. The reason why it's effective is that in my webinars and challenges I focus on giving a ton of value, which builds trust. People always tell me that they love my content and that it shifted their way of looking at their business. This method is more effective than straight promotions. Don't tell people why you are great, show them by providing value.

What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs? 

I have two pieces of advice. The first is commit to the long game of business. I see many aspiring and new entrepreneurs who have lofty income goals they want to hit in the first few months. And when they don't hit it right away, they give up. But to build a sustainable business, you will go through the bumps in the beginning where you don't see a return right away. Keep going. Keep learning. Keep growing. When you are committed to the long game of business, the short-term setbacks will make you stronger. And the setbacks actually help you refine your business. My business is completely different than when I first started and it took setbacks to realize what I needed to do in my business to have it grow every year.

The second piece of advice is to spend time nailing your target market and message BEFORE you invest in a website, graphics, or logo. I see so many people waste money on the visual brand before figuring out their brand strategy. With the large brands I've worked on, we never spent money on visuals until our strategy was validated. And that's what aspiring and new entrepreneurs should do first too. Get clear on who you serve, how you serve them, and make sure it's something they would want to buy before doing anything else. This is the foundation that will set you up for success.

What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?

I read a lot of mindset related books because I believe that our mindset is the key to our success. I really like the books "The Science of Getting Rich" and "Working With The Laws". Both books shifted my perspective on many areas of my life.

What's your favorite business tool or resource? Why?

My favorite business tool has been Clickfunnels. It's a great tool to build marketing funnels and it's simple to use. I'm not tech savvy and I find it easy to navigate and create beautiful landing pages.

Who is your business role model? Why? 

I'm blessed to have learned from many mentors on my journey so it's hard to pick one mentor I love. But in terms of business role models, I'd have to say I admire Kardashians and the way they've built an empire. Yes, there's controversy over some of their businesses, but the reason I picked them was that they are great at running multiple businesses. I believe in multiple revenue streams and they have been able to do that with their business and also connect with their audience in a deeply emotional way. Love them or hate them, they are doing something right and it's interesting to watch how they've built their brand from a business perspective.

What do you have planned for the next six months? 

There are so many things in the works. First I have a group program, Brand Like A Boss that I run and will continue to run next year. It's all about helping new and aspiring entrepreneurs build a sustainable brand that makes money. Second, I'm working on creating more content for my business (videos, blogs, etc) to continue to provide value to my community. Third, my business partner and I are launching our new brand and programs. We successfully beta launched our first program together and will be re-launching it early next year.

How can our readers connect with you? 

There are a few ways to connect with me...

My website, brandfameschool.com, has a ton of free resources and a place people can contact me. Social media is also another great place to find me: FacebookInstagram

I also have a free masterclass on branding if people want to learn more about How To Build a Brand Like A Boss.