Ep 452: Building Your Personal Brand Journey with Elizabeth Stephens

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No matter where you are in your personal brand journey, there are always key questions that you should be asking yourself, like “What should I be working on right now?” and “Where should I be investing my time and resources?”

There is perhaps no one better suited to tackle these questions than today’s guest, Elizabeth Stephens, who just so happens to be a part of the Brand Builders Group’s founding team, and currently serves as the Vice President of Customer Service!

In today’s conversation, you’ll learn about the best ways to navigate your personal brand path, key pain points you need to understand, and the four core customer journeys we’ve identified for our clients.

We also unpack the biggest lessons we’ve learned from working closely with hundreds of individuals, before providing guidance for listeners to help them determine the trajectory they should be on.

No matter where you are on your journey, today’s conversation has something for everyone.

Tune in for key insights and universally applicable lessons on building your personal brand with ease and passion!

KEY POINTS FROM THIS EPISODE

  • Introducing Elizabeth Stephens, a key member of the Brand Builders Group (BBG) team!
  • Key questions you should be asking yourself on your personal brand journey.
  • Unpacking why some personal brands excel and others fall flat.
  • The special relationship Elizabeth has with BBG clients (and what this has taught her).
  • An overview of the ideal timing and sequencing of your personal branding steps.
  • The biggest pain points BBG members and clients struggle with (and how to address them).
  • Why learning how to say no and be “undistractable” is key.
  • An overview of the four core customer journeys we’ve identified for members and clients.
  • Details on what comprises each customer journey, through the lens of BBG.
  • How we help clients reverse engineer their main goal, create a timeline, and accomplish it.
  • A reminder not to rush the process; you can go as fast as you can, or as slow as you need.
  • Advice for listeners on how to determine the journey they should be on.
  • The distinct ways that your personal brand differs from your business.
  • How working on yourself and your personal brand benefits your business.
  • Where you can go to learn more about the topics we discussed today.

TWEETABLE MOMENTS

“How do we create a timeline that aligns with the big overarching goal that we want?” — Elizabeth Stephens [0:05:38]

“So many people do the right thing, but at the wrong time, right? We’re either pushing things too fast when we’re not ready, or maybe moving a little slow when we could really aim our sights on something different.” — Elizabeth Stephens [0:07:34]

“Something else that I have realized in these calls with our members is that it is really hard work; it takes a lot from deep within you to stay the course.” — Elizabeth Stephens [0:14:15]

“You never want to teach someone to do something you’ve never done yourself. That is a recipe for disaster long term.” — Elizabeth Stephens [0:24:48]

“You can go as fast as you can, or as slow as you have to.” — Elizabeth Stephens [0:30:21]

About Elizabeth Stephens

Elizabeth Stephens is the Director of Events and a Personal Brand Strategist at the Brand Builders Group.  She has worked with clients ranging from 8-figure entrepreneurs, NYT Bestselling authors, Top Ranked Podcast Hosts to Reality TV stars and Politicians to build their influence, impact, and income.  

She has been integral in planning NYT bestselling books, social media, and personal brand launches largely due to the fact that she connects and streamlines goals, dreams, and business models for the greatest long-term effect.  

A naturally gifted speaker, she has shared the stage with bestselling authors and hall-of-fame speakers in front of hundreds.  

She is a sought-after personal brand strategist who leverages quick wins with the long game in mind. Elizabeth has helped craft TED talks, written expert bios that both resulted in 5X original speaking fees and closed business deals worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.  

Always looking to make as much impact as she can in the shortest amount of time, she cofounded a nonprofit that serves medically fragile children and their families in south and central Texas and has raised over half a million dollars in a 4 year time span.

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

Elizabeth Stephens on LinkedIn

Elizabeth Stephens on Instagram

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon

AJ Vaden on LinkedIn

AJ Vaden on Twitter

Rory Vaden

Rory Vaden on LinkedIn

Rory Vaden on Twitter

Take the Stairs

Brand Builders Group

Brand Builders Group Free Call

Brand Builders Group Resources

The Influential Personal Brand Podcast on Stitcher

The Influential Personal Brand Podcast on Apple

AJV (00:02): Hey everybody and welcome to the Influential Personal Brand podcast. Super excited today to have on a fellow BBGA very good close personal friend. But also Elizabeth Stevens is the VP of our member experience here, brand Builders Group. And so there’s so many fun things about this exciting interview. And before I formally introduced her, I just wanted to share why I wanted to have Elizabeth onto the show today. And I think there’s a couple of different things that are really important as we look forward to wherever you are in your journey or wherever you are in your year. But as you just look, look forward to the next 12 months, there should be some things that you are always asking yourself, such as, what should I be working on? And what order should I be working on these things? Where should I be investing my money, my time, my energy, my resources? AJV (01:01): And am I doing these things in a way that actually is going to benefit me in the end? So it doesn’t matter what year of what month of the year it is, it doesn’t matter where you’re at in your journey. There’s always things that you should be asking yourselves as you’re looking ahead to those next 12 months. And so I thought having Elizabeth on the show today would be so helpful to talk about how we can do the right things, but in the wrong order, and then we’re confused. And then we, we stale. We kind of, kind of become stale and stagnant. So that’s gonna be the conversation today and a lot of fun things in between. And so as we get into this, I just want you to know that as you’re listening this is one of those conversations that is applicable universally. AJV (01:47): Doesn’t matter how beginner you are, how advanced you are, doesn’t matter what you’re working on, why you’re working on it, this is one of those conversations that has a very holistic approach. So if you’re tuning in, this is, this is a conversation for you today. So stick around and don’t leave because it’s going to be well worth it to the very last second. Now, let me introduce you to the one and only Elizabeth Stevens. Elizabeth is a personal brand strategist and an expert at that. She’s also the vice President of Member Experience here at Brand Builders Group. Woo woo. I would say that she has also worked with brands extremely closely on a personal level like a personal brand level, as well as a large corporate level like Charles Schwab in Southwest Airlines. She’s worked with New York Times bestselling authors, eight, nine-figure entrepreneurs top ranked podcast hosts. She has done all these things. Not to mention, she is the founder of a nonprofit. She is helped people craft Ted Talks. She has three amazing kids. So she does all these other things in the midst of being a mom, like all these different things. Plus, she’s a speaker and an all around amazing human being. So, without further ado, Elizabeth, welcome to the show. ES (03:05): Oh, thank you so much. I get exhausted hearing that, especially the part about the three kids and all that stuff as we during the time of this podcast. It’s right before the Christmas season. And as any parent knows, it is complete insanity on all fronts. So I can Thank AJV (03:23): You, . I can relate. Mm-Hmm, . So I just kind of wanna hit this with a couple questions that I’ve been getting asked a lot here lately. We’ve actually been doing a lot of interviewing for new team members at Brand Builders Group. We’ve actually added 10 new team members to our team this year, which just feels impossible and extraordinary all at the same time. And from almost every single interview that I’ve had, I’ve had one really consistent question. And then being in our events and being a part of all the different things in our client community, I started noticing like, oh, our interview candidates aren’t the only ones asking this question. So here’s the question that I think is important for everyone. Why do some personal brands excel? Why others fall flat, right? If everyone is coming in with this mission and its passion and this message that they feel like is a calling on their heart, and they’re all, and I’m just thinking about in Brand Builders Group where they’re all following a similar curriculum, a similar path, kind of why are some taking off like a rocket? And why do others still still feel stuck in the garage? ES (04:33): Hmm. That’s such a great question. And it’s one I think we ask ourselves a lot and finally got to this point where we really realized it’s all about giving them those parameters, right? It’s really understanding, and you said this earlier, you referenced it at the beginning about a, a lot of people decide what they want to do. They make a decision. I want to be this thing. I want to create this piece of work. I want to excel in this area. But the question we often don’t ask ourselves is, when do we do that thing, right? How do we create a timeline that aligns with the, what the big overarching goal that we want? And so we come into these ideas and these businesses saying, and these personal brands saying, this is what I wanna be, this is what I wanna do. But we don’t ask ourselves. The most important question is, when do I do the things that are going to make this happen? And I think that is one of the biggest mistakes personal brands, entrepreneurs, businesses make, is we have a good idea of the what, the passion, the purpose, and deep inside of us, but we have not created a timeline to where that works for us and for the people we serve very effectively. AJV (05:50): Hmm. So I know, and for all of you who are listening who don’t know, but Elizabeth also holds a really special place in all of the client’s journey that we work with at Brand Builders Group because she does annual planning calls with every single one of the clients, our members at Brand Builders Group. And so she gets to have these unique conversations of let’s reflect on the last 12 months as we plan the next 12 months. And so I imagine a lot of that feedback, those insights are coming from these calls. And so that kind of leads me to another question that you kind of mentioned. It’s, you know, we know that there’s a timing and a sequence to things. And so what is that timing and sequence of things? ES (06:32): Yeah. Yeah. You know, one of the things that we developed and really I think wrapped our minds around very intentionally and specifically even in the past year specifically, are our customer journeys, right? Really identifying the goals that people had. That what, like, this is what I’m running after. And then saying, how do we reverse engineer that goal into a timeline with parameters of knowing when to do the right thing at the right time? And you, you referenced this earlier too, is that so many people do the right thing, but at the wrong time, right? We’re either pushing things too fast when we’re not ready, or we’re maybe moving a little slow when, when we could really aim our sights on something different. And so developing these customer journeys for our members has been, has been really enlightening and eye-opening, and it has allowed them to achieve success so much faster, right? It’s moving towards the what at the right time. And so our customer journeys that we have developed are super specific, right? It’s based on that overarching goal. And like I said, it’s a reverse engineering, right? If this is what you’re running at, what do you need to do in the next 12 months? What do you need to do in the next 24 months, 36 months to reach this objective? AJV (07:53): Hmm. So before we talk about what these customer journeys are, I would just like for you to share in your perspective, ’cause you’re so close to the member community. So like Elizabeth, you’re touching hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people every single year who are out there building their personal brands. I would love to know, it’s like as we like, kinda like delve into this customer journey, and as people are reflecting on their 12 months and they’re entering into the next 12 months, what, what would you say are the biggest pain points of like, if we have these journeys and people are supposed to be following , that keyword’s supposed to be like, what, what is happening there? And then on the flip side, what is happening for those people who are breaking through some of those barriers and seeing extreme success? Have you noticed any patterns regardless of journey? And we’re gonna step into that next of what, what is working and what is not working for people building their personal brands? ES (08:53): Well, something just super practically speaking is that a lot of our clients and members are feeling still very diluted, right? We have a saying at brand builders group, diluted focus yields, diluted results. It is the biggest pain point by far that our members experience in their brand and business, right? They are wearing too many hats. They’re focused on too many different ideas. They have spread themselves very thin. They’re unable to get traction. And even, and I would say that the people that I talk with that are still struggling, like they are, they’re given the right information. They have an accountability partner, they are still getting really diluted, right? They’re chasing a lot of ideas. They are definitely living in the, the present, but with lots of distraction where we wanna really temper yes, be where you are. ’cause There are ramifications of moving too fast or turning around, but, but living in the present and being distracted by everything, literally enveloping them I see is the biggest detriment to their long-term success. ES (09:56): There is still a little bit of diluted focus, right? And, and it’s, it’s shiny objects. It’s running after, oh, I just got this call to potentially run after this big opportunity. And it’s really tempering that back and asking, is this aligned with my overarching goal with that long-term plan that I have created for myself? If it’s not, and it doesn’t follow into my customer journey or trajectory, I need to know when to say no. Right? There are things to say no to and to say yes to. So I think the biggest thing I’m seeing is still that chasing the shiny object that all entrepreneurs struggle with so, so consistently. But that I think is the biggest thing I’m seeing on a consistent basis in my calls. AJV (10:39): No, I think that’s so insightful. And it’s interesting because we were on a call yesterday with one of our clients who’s had extreme success this year with her new book Forever Strong. Her name is Dr. Gabrielle Lyon. And I asked her, I said, Hey, if you’ve had an incredible breakthrough year, what would you say is like the number one thing that other people could do to have a breakthrough year next year? And she said, easy become undestructible. ES (11:09): Hmm. So AJV (11:10): Good. And she was like, that’s the number one thing. She goes, every, like, I encounter this with my clients, with my friends, with business partners. She goes, people are so distracted, right? And she goes, I don’t see shiny objects. I don’t, I don’t see squirrels. She goes, I am undestructible. And I asked her and I said awesome. How do you do that? Right? Mm-Hmm. . So it’s like, how do you do that? Because she also has two young children. I think she has a three-year-old and a four and a half year old. She’s got a three thriving business going through a book launch. She is being booked out to speak. Her husband is a, a surgeon, so it’s not like she’s not susceptible to distraction. And she goes, it’s easy. I filter all my decisions through the message that I feel called to share. ES (11:56): Mm. AJV (11:57): And I’m like, that’s so good. And she’s, I’ll give you a quick example. And she goes, I am speaking at a healthcare conference this upcoming week. And she goes, personally, I don’t wanna do it. She goes, I don’t wanna be away from home. I don’t wanna travel to this particular location. I, these are not necessarily my target audience for additional revenue. It’s not the speaking engagement fee that I wish I was getting. And she goes, so a lot of people are going, why are you doing it? And she goes, because I’m undestructible and this is a part of my message, getting into the right hands that can to change the world. Hmm. She goes, I filter all of my decisions through what message do I feel called to share in this world. And anything that interferes with that gets a hard no, but anything that fits in that gets a quick yes. Yeah. Even if I don’t feel like doing it. ES (12:44): Yeah. Yeah. AJV (12:45): That’s, that was really good. Of like, people who are seeing breakthroughs realize it happens because they have removed shiny objects they have removed. And that was the other thing she said that I thought was so good. She goes, I don’t care what anyone else is doing. ES (13:00): Mm mm AJV (13:01): I don’t, I only care about what I’m doing. Mm. I don’t care what other people are doing. I know there’s other things I could be doing, but what I’m doing is working so I don’t care. And she was like, I’ve learned to not care what the industry says and what other people in my space say, I’m just focused on what I can do, what’s working for me. And I filter all my decisions through the message. ES (13:24): Hmm. You know, that’s so good. I, I love hearing stories like that from our clients that understand the, the one thing that they need to focus on. ’cause That truly is, I mean, it’s what we preach. It’s what we teach. It’s, it is what we know works. Right. And it, and it’s needing to be constantly reminded of that. You know, the human brain needs to hear something seven times for it to stick. This is no different. Like, we need to be reminding people that are running at a passion, a purpose, and a calling that they need to stay true to the path. And something else that I have realized in these calls with our members is that it is really hard work. Like it takes a lot from deep within you to stay the course. And I’ve thought about this a lot and, and it comes back to this missional mindset. And I’ve seen this very subtle nuance between people that are successful with the mindset and people that aren’t. And it’s the people that aren’t necessarily as successful as they want to be in their journey to building a personal brand or a business, really treat it like a job or an idea. Mm-Hmm. And a job and an idea you work for and you work at, right. That’s the mentality. But when you are truly viewing it as a mission or a vocation, you make it work. AJV (14:41): Mm. ES (14:42): And I think that is a big difference, right? You are so called deeply to something that you believe in that purpose, you were just speaking to that you have to make it work. Like it is work and you make it happen. While the, this i this mindset of this is my job, this is the next step for me, it’s an idea I have. You just work at it. Right. You chip away at it and there’s a, there’s a difference there. And it makes a big difference long term in success. AJV (15:13): Mm. That’s so good. And I love that. ’cause You know, like one of the questions that I had kind of outlined earlier, which is why do some things feel like work and others don’t? And I think it’s all through the filtering of like, is this missional right? Mm-Hmm. And I love that like, concept of like, is what you’re doing missional or is it just the next step? Is it just another idea of, versus like, is this in your core, what you were put on this earth to do, and are you doing it right? And it’s like one of those things that’s like, you kind of have to get to the level of I can’t not do it. Like, I can’t not put this off anymore. It’s like, it’s just like coming out of me no matter what. And it, it made me think about, you know, so often when, when people come to Brain Builders Group even as, even as podcast listeners for everyone listening, it’s like, there is like this deep down like knowing or calling. AJV (16:07): It’s like, man, I, I just feel like I’m, I’m supposed to do something else. Hmm. I, I feel like I I’m called to share something or, or do something more. Or I just feel like there’s something in me that’s not being utilized. Mm-Hmm. Right? It’s like we hear that all the time, which is usually how people come across our path. It’s like, man, I just, I know I’m supposed to be doing something more, something else. And I think a lot of it stems from finding that missional thing of going, like, there is that inkling that calling somewhere within you. But let’s don’t be mistaken. It is work. It is work. It’s not gonna just magically happen because you, you followed your calling. It’s like, no, it’s work a lot. I love that. I think that’s so good. So, all right, so talking about the work, tell us what are these customer journeys that we’ve identified and how do they work? ES (17:02): Hmm. Yeah. I, so I’ll talk a little bit about customer journeys, but something really interesting leading up to this idea of, of why did we develop customer journeys? Why were they so important? And I just learned this recently, so it’s really relevant to the conversation today. And there have been studies that have shown that retention, which is what we developed customer journeys for, right? This idea of, we know the journey is a journey, right? It, it’s not a magic pill that you take, or you launched something once and you’re skyrocketed to success. Like anything that’s missional you’re working for Mm-Hmm. Right? You are, you are making it work on this trajectory, but retention actually dips when your culture is really strong, right? And so we have this strong culture at Brain Builders group of all of these members that are, are in it for the same reasons. ES (17:50): They’re scrappy. They’re, you know, they’re pulling theirselves up by their bootstraps with this purpose and this mission. So our culture’s strong. And I read this study that says, retention dips the stronger your culture gets if you don’t acclimate people to the mission. And I thought that was so interesting because that is really one of the main reasons we developed these customer journeys was saying, our culture’s really strong. We know people need to stick with us, with brand builders group with what we have created for people for the long haul. Like we believe in it that much. It’s not a get rich quick, it’s not come with us for a couple months and you’re set. We know it’s the long game. We believe in that so much. So when our culture’s that strong, we have to figure out some way to really align and acclimate people to what that looks like for them. ES (18:37): Like how are they implicated in that journey? Which is why we developed the customer journeys and we really built them based around what our customers were coming to us for. It’s really pretty simple. Like, not always easy, but very simple of what are the most of our, our clients, our members coming to us to build, right? What is that consistent through line? And so we developed really core four customer journeys. There’s one around authors because Brain Builders Group, we just get a lot of people that wanna put their message into the world in a written word. Like they just, they have this desire to write a book. Sometimes it’s their first, sometimes it’s their second or third. But they really wanna have the alignment. The next is speakers, right? We really work well with people that want to get their message into the world through voice, through the spoken word. ES (19:27): So those are kind of two of our really granular customer journeys of people really wanting to reach that elevated status of getting a book into as many hands as possible and getting on big stages to spread their, their word and their mission. And the other two are lead generation, right? And so this, what, what is that? It’s for mostly all of our professional services people, people that are in insurance, real estate. There’s a replicable model with lots of potential buyers, right? It’s how do you separate yourself in the market, right? We don’t build BA businesses based around what you do. We base a a brand around who you are. And that’s the differentiator. And I would say a lot of our clients fall into lead generation. ’cause Everyone needs leads no matter what you’re doing. If you own your business, if you’re working underneath a company at a high level, and then we have new revenue streams, right? This is for the person that comes into Brand Builders group saying, I have an idea and I wanna build it out for the first time. I’m gonna create a new business model, a new revenue stream that I wanna put into the world. So those are the four typical customer journeys we see our clients really align with and fall seamlessly into. AJV (20:43): No, I, you know, I think that’s one of the things that you said that’s so insightful is like categorically speaking, like this is roughly like the four main areas of what people come to us for. And as I sit and reflect over the last five years, you know, and, you know, as a part of like this joint venture and creating these, like, one of the things that I was really curious about, like to see in my own brain is well, why, like, why is it those types of people that gravitate towards brand builders group rather through social media or the podcast or as paying clients? And we have this saying at Brand Builders Group, which is, you are always most well positioned to serve the person you once were. I’m gonna pause, let that sink in for all of you listening, that you are always most well positioned to serve the person you once were or currently are. AJV (21:41): And as like it was, I don’t think it was coincidence. I don’t think it’s irony that the majority of the people that have found their way to us are actually who we are as people at Brand Builders Group, right? It’s like, we are speakers, we are authors, we are people who at the, at the core, every single person in our company if they know it or not, they are salespeople. Mm-Hmm. , right? It doesn’t matter what you’re doing. If you’re a strategist, you’re in customer care, you’re in member experience, you’re in operations like you’re a salesperson, right? You’re selling ideas, you’re selling employee retention, you’re selling services. But like that is lead generation. And then the new be the new revenue stream. It’s like, well that’s kind of like what we do every day, . It’s like there’s these, these little known fact we’re just like a bunch of little idea factories at Brand Builders group. AJV (22:34): We have to learn the discipline of saying no more often than not. But I think it’s like, it’s one of those things that it’s like, I bet if all of you who are listening just paused and said, if I take a really good hard look at the people that I’m serving in my current business, whether it was on purpose or on accident, I bet you would find some really common themes of characteristics of who you once were and who you are. Mm. And if you put a little bit more intentionality into actually going after those people, because you know them inherently because you are them I bet your work would be more enjoyable, more missional a little easier, probably even a little simpler. Mm-Hmm. . And I just think like, in addition to like, this is just naturally who our people wanted, I think there was some bit of reflection of their naturally coming because that is who we all are. And so we just naturally gravitate and understand the nuances, which kind of makes our job, again, simpler. Not always easier, but it makes it simpler. ES (23:41): Yeah, for sure. And I think anyone thinking through creating customer journeys for their own brand and business need to take that into account. You never wanna teach someone to do something you’ve never done yourself. I mean that is I think a recipe for disaster long term. Like, you know, we always wanna be learning at, always learning, but always exceeding who we’re teaching, right? In that area. And I think you brought up such a good point that we are naturally attracting these members because we have done what they want to do so exceptionally well. AJV (24:16): Now that we’ve talked about the journey, so there’s an author journey, a speaker journey a journey for generating new leads, lead generation, and then a journey for that person who wants to create a brand new revenue stream which is like starting a brand new business. But we really haven’t talked about what is a journey? Like what is this journey like, tell me where am I going? So tell us like what is a customer journey, at least through the lens of Brand builders group. Yes. ES (24:45): So in any type of membership and Brand Builders group is a very robust membership. So if you are a brand or a business that has something like this where you have members paying you for information application, you want them to leverage your membership, like you have spent time, effort, and energy creating courses, creating trainings, creating touchpoints in real life time workshops, there’s so many facets of your membership and what leads to retention utilization, right? We want people taking us up on what we have to offer. And I think what we realized was we have so many great things to offer that people were going, what do we do? Where do we start? Should we take this course or not? It’s all so good. And people were spreading themselves thin, even with our incredible content, you know, it was just so good. They wanted to consume it all. ES (25:36): And we had to really scale back and say a customer journey really increases, increases utilization in the specific areas of which these members want to grow, right? And so when you identify goals, say you say, I wanna be a paid keynote speaker and get my first paid gig in the next six months, nine months a year, great. That’s a great goal to have. Let’s reverse engineer it. If that is your long-term primary focus to be a paid keynote speaker, then you’re gonna be on the speaker journey. Like that’s a no-brainer. That is your long-term focus. So what does that mean? That means we are gonna create year by year, quarter by quarter exactly what you should be consuming, engaging with people. You should be meeting workshops you need to be attending and exactly what you need to be doing at those workshops to reach that goal. ES (26:28): Right? It’s this reverse engineering, but it’s super hyper-specific because we don’t want you in the first three months to go take a podcast course. It’s there, it’s fun, it kind of looks shiny. But do you need that to reach your overarching goal right now? Probably not. It’s going back to doing the right thing at the right time. And so we have created a three year journey for our clients to really look at a, this three years in full of what are the milestones I need to be reaching and attending and using in order to get to where I want to go. So it’s just a real big reverse engineering of a goal. AJV (27:11): Yeah, I know. I love that. And I think I think it would be helpful for people to go, ’cause I know that some people are going three years. What? Oh, God’s green Nerf, I’m not gonna be doing for three years. What? So I do think it’s worth talking about that, but also I think it’s worth talking about. It’s like, I think that people often, you know, they underestimate what can be done over the course of say, 10 years, but they severely overestimate what can be done in the course of one year. And I could even say people underestimate what can happen in a year, but they overestimate what can be accomplished in three months. Mm-Hmm. . And so why, why would you say that the quarter, like the 90 day sprints are important when you’re looking at focus, which is what this is, is we’re providing a benchmarked focus every 90 days. So why 90 days or why three years? ES (28:10): Yep. So I, when I explain and when I show the entire customer journey for each, you know, area of focus and I showed three years, I always, ’cause I know anyone looking at that goes and it’s mostly, I want that to happen faster. Like, why can’t this happen faster? ? And I think we live in a world where we want really quick wins and quick wins aren’t bad. They just have to be intentionally quick. Right? Like you can acquire a ton of quick wins and get nowhere. You really can. And so we live in this society though that says, do this in 20 days and you’re gonna have a million followers. And I think we understand and we value the long game, right? But when you look at three years, it’s actually so much shorter in retrospect than even what you took to build your personal brand or Rory. ES (28:58): And, and it’s again, learning from people who have been there and done that, right? Rory has, and you have built these personal brands and it has taken decades. Decades, right? To break through what we call she hands wall to get on the other side where people are approaching you and, and grabbing from you and wanting to hire you and pay you the highest fees that they can. And we have really shortened that learning curve. I mean, if you look at 10 years or 15 down to three, it’s incredible. But we also tell people, and I’m really quick to do this. Look, you can go as fast as you can or as slow as you have to, which is something that Brand Builders Group teaches our clients. If you want to move faster and you have the capacity and you have a team behind you and you’ve got all of these things that are really aligning, you can potentially do this faster than three years. ES (29:45): However, if you’ve got a full-time job and all these different areas of focus, and this is just something on the side that you’re building long-term, you can take five years, you can take eight, really, like we are here to temper that for you. But the most important part in all of that timeline is staying hyper-focused in those 90 day sprints. A lot can be done in a quarter, like we think about quarters really naturally in the business world. And thinking through how can we take our big overarching goal and create subset goals within quarters that makes it digestible and makes it doable. And not only both of those things, it makes it done well. Mm. Which at the end of the day is what we really want for people because well equals longevity. AJV (30:30): Mm. I think that is so good. And I think that thing too that you just said, it’s like it also ensures that you do it well. Right? It’s like if you’re not going to do it, well, why are we doing it? Because this is missional work that is like, that’s what we’re here for. And you know, one of the things that I was just thinking to myself as you were talking is it’s like it took us the better part of 20 years to figure out how other people could do it in three we, we might be slower than others, but it took a long time to go. Why is it taking so long? Like, there’s gotta be a better way. There’s got to be a simpler way to learn these things and to figure out these things. And in addition to 20 years of doing it and trying to figure out the path at Brand Builders Group, it has been five years of fine tuning and streamlining to not only go, how do we do it in a more succinct fashion, but how do we ensure that the order is correct? Right. And I think that’s what you said. It’s like, you know, you can go faster, you can do multiple things, but why? Right. Because that’s not gonna ensure that you do it. Well, that’s back to shiny object syndrome. And I do think there is a, a, a giant lesson in patience in all of this, of going, sometimes it’s just not meant to be hurried. ES (32:01): Yep. AJV (32:01): It’s just not meant to be rushed. Mm-Hmm. . And when you’re doing this level of internal work as well as external work, it needs to sit and it, it needs to settle and you have to have time to process it, not check a box and move on. And I do think there is a, an era and an aura of speed and urgency due to technology and AI and all the other things in life distractions. But I think there is a, an essence of slow down Mm-Hmm. slow down and it’s like slow down to speed up. And it’s like once you get that infrastructure in place, it’s amazing if you spend three years building the infrastructure, how quickly it can grow after three years. And it’s like we’ve seen the fruits of those labors and our clients and in, in our own company as you know. And I think that so many of us, we wanna hurry to the next thing that we forget. We’re learning so much in the process. So don’t rush the learning, don’t rush the process. Let the process be what the process is. ’cause You’re gonna come out on the, on the other end in a much better place. Better ES (33:12): End. Yeah. AJV (33:13): Yeah. I love that. Okay. So next question I have for you is, I think it, and this would just be like in your opinion, right? In your opinion, what, what do you think people need to know that are listening for them to go, okay, I may not be working with Brand Builders Group as a client, but I listen to the podcast, I’m absorbing free information. So as a non-client, how, how do I know what journey I’m on? Mm-Hmm. Like how would you say that anyone who is listening and ’cause I think a lot of people even in our own community have selected the wrong journey. So it happens even in a, a client relationship, but how do people determine, Hmm, what is the journey that I should be on to pursue this missional work that I feel called to? ES (34:02): Hmm. That’s a really good question. And I would echo the fact that yes, a lot of people really gravitate towards one particular journey. And I’ll share which one that is and why that reason is in my own opinion is a lot of people gravitate towards new revenue stream. And I think we look at those clients a majority. I mean, when you look at our number of clients that have said and declared a journey, it’s like declaring a major in college, right? When they’ve declared their journey, I think it’s about 50 50 if not, you know, 60 40. A lot of our clients are picking new revenue stream. And it’s so interesting to me because you, we talked about this earlier, a new revenue stream is like building a brand new business. And I don’t know if any of the listeners out there have ever built a business. ES (34:48): It is exceptionally hard. When you look at a three year journey and you’re building a brand new business, it’s gonna take longer than that. I can almost guarantee you there are so many things to think about. It’s a slower, you know, revenue stream that’s coming in. You have to have certain things in place to make that work in an efficient and effective way. But a lot of people think, well, I’m building a personal brand and so that means I’m starting a new revenue stream. And that is usually, typically not the case. And so what we often ask people to do is to step back and we an exercise we walk our members through called the Golden Grid. Even before that, like a revenue streams assessment. Like that’s kind of the first iteration of saying, what are all the things that you’re doing right now that are making money? ES (35:36): Could be making $10 a month, could be making a hundred thousand dollars a month. I don’t care. I want you to list them all out, right? And then I want you to tell me how much time you’re spending on all of these things. And then I want you to tell me how stressful they are on a scale of one to five. And then I want you to tell me how much future potential these things have on a scale of one to five. It seems so simple and it is, but looking at that document and saying, oh man, there are things on here that I’m doing that have no future potential and bring me excessive amounts of stress. It really helps you identify opportunities and things that you need to get rid of. And so once you’re starting to look at that, you might think to yourself, huh, like, I’m speaking a lot for free and I really love it and I’ve got like a really great opportunity to grow that piece of my business. ES (36:23): You know, I can create courses or I can, you know, start a podcast. I like to think of it as majoring in minoring, like I’m majoring in keynote speaking because it brings me a lot of joy. I don’t have to spend a ton of time on it. It could potentially bring me a lot of money in. And it’s not a high stress for me. Like the I’m already doing it. Like I should, I should continue to roll in that direction. Doesn’t mean I can’t create a course, doesn’t mean I can’t start a podcast. Those are just things that are not taking all of my time, effort, and energy. I don’t need to create something new. And same for lead generation. Like most people should focus on lead gen. They already are driving people to something naturally. I think 90% of our clients either are driving them to something that already exists, something they’ve built, or to their business that currently already exists. Why are we not pumping wind into our biggest billowing sail? Why is it always our natural inclination to hoist another sail up and hope that wind goes in that direction? AJV (37:21): So true. So true. Right? ES (37:23): Right. And so it’s just thinking through, like taking a big assessment of what we’re already doing, but knowing that things are already working for us. Like there is typically something already in the mix and how can we double down on that and build something then start something totally new from scratch. So I think it’s just this mindset thing and really identifying and taking inventory of, of and level setting of where we are. AJV (37:48): No, I think that’s really insightful. And you said something that I kind of wanna like come back to, which is people naturally associate building a personal brand with starting some sort of new revenue stream. And that’s not what a personal brand is. And I think people are associating a personal brand with a business model ES (38:09): That’s so good, AJV (38:10): Right? Mm-Hmm. and a personal brand is not a business, it’s not what you do, it’s not what makes you money. A personal brand is who you are. It, you know, it’s like, and that extends universally over all things you do. Not a thing you do. And I think that kind of comes back to like one of our core beliefs that brand builders group, which is if you’re asking do I need a personal brand, you’re asking the wrong question because you already have a personal brand, you just may not know it. Right? Mm-Hmm. It’s like we all have a personal brand. ’cause In our world that is just it’s the formalization, digitization and monetization of your reputation. Mm-Hmm. Right? But we all have a reputation. Some of us, like the one we have, some of us don’t even know the one we have , right? AJV (38:59): But it’s like we all have a reputation, right? If you just sit, she’s sitting there and ask yourself, what do people think of when they think of me? That’s your reputation. And that in is in the essence is also your public personal brand. The art of personal branding is putting intention behind it of going, I can influence this by what I talk about, my research, where I spend my time, what I, I post about what I do, where I put my money, how I organize my calendar. It’s like I actually can influence how others view me and what they associate with by where I choose to spend my time, energy, money and resources. Mm-Hmm. . Like, you get to do that. But that takes time, effort, energy, resources and attention, which is the art of personal branding. And I think that is where people get confused and they come and they go, okay, I’m ready to build my personal brand. AJV (39:58): I’m gonna launch X, Y, and Z. And it’s like, why? Why are you doing that? You don’t have to do that. You don’t actually need to do that. In fact, you should not do that. Instead, it’s like, we need to put fuel and ammunition behind what you already have. Right? Right. How do we help more people learn about what you’re doing? Now if you don’t have anything, well then of course that makes sense. But I think that is a great distinction that you made. It’s like people get caught up with, oh, I’m building my brand so I have to start something new. And that’s just not true. ES (40:33): It is not true. And I would say the other thing is that people in that same vein will often say, gosh, I need to put my personal brand on hold ’cause I really need to pay attention to my business. And that blows my mind all the time. I’m like, what do you mean? Like your personal brand is literally your business. Like you are driving people to your business. Because we know at the end of the day, people don’t do business with products, services, marketing companies. People do business with people, right? And so when people always say, gosh, I need to take time to really focus on my business. I’m like, what do you mean? Like, you are doing that right now and you’re doing it more successfully than most everyone around you by building a personal brand that builds trust. And so that, that is a big, like external facet of what you’re talking about. Now. AJV (41:24): Oh my gosh, you just reminded me of and I’ve heard this quote a hundred times, but Rory and I just did a weekend long goal planning session for the next 12 months of our life, and it got us thinking of like, how many people actually take two days of every year and plan what the next year’s gonna look like? And he reminded me of this quote that we heard when we were engaged and our, you know, marital counselors that we had leading up to our wedding said, I just want you to remember this and never forget it, is that most people spend more time planning their wedding than they do their marriage . And most people spend more time planning their annual vacation than they do their life. Hmm. So what you’re doing right now is putting intention into your marriage, and I would encourage that your marriage be more important that your and than your wedding and your life be more important than your vacation. AJV (42:19): And that stuck with us so clearly. And so ever since then, we’ve done these two days just me and him for a weekend of going, what do we want our family to look like? And what do we want our business to look like? And what do you know? What does my my faith walk look like? And mm-Hmm, as you were talking, it made me think it’s like there’s a great parallel to that with what you just said, is that people spend more time working on their business than they do on what I would call their reputation, which is with you for a lifetime. AJV (42:50): It’s with you for a lifetime. And it’s like, do we ever spend time potentially everyone listening on the wrong things? You know, like, do we I do. I know, I do. Sure. And I think it’s one of those things of going, it’s not an either or, it’s an and, but by working on yourself, you’re always working on your business. And by working on your dreams and your goals and finding something that fills your cup it impacts everyone around you. Positively. Generational change comes from I have found my purpose. I am living into my work. Right? My work has become my ministry, and it’s then it doesn’t feel like work anymore. Hmm. And so if you’re gonna working on my business, maybe the question should be, is that what I really should be working on? Right. ES (43:38): So good. Really good. I love that. AJV (43:40): All right, Elizabeth. If people are asking themselves a question of, okay, okay, well if I do have this personal brand , maybe I should, maybe I should do something about it. Where should people go to learn more about Brain Builders Group? And specifically it’s like, if, if you heard something that resonates today about, man, I do have a calling to speak on stages one day, or I’ll publisher book or, you know, I do wanna figure out how to more organically generate leads for my business based on who I am and who I wanna work with. Or maybe I, I am in this unique stage where it’s like, it’s it’s time to expand my revenue stream and add something. Where should people go to learn about? That’s ES (44:17): A great question. If you go to free brand call.com, you can put in a request for what we call a brand strategy call. These are complimentary, they’re about an hour long. And our strategist will really help identify these opportunities for you. They’ll learn a little bit about your goals and what you’re looking to do with a personal brand. They’ll answer some questions around that, and they will do it all through the lens of the customer journeys we talked about. So your customer journey conversation can start on one of these complimentary free brand calls with our team. So it’s free brand call.com. AJV (44:54): I love that. And if Elizabeth, if people wanna connect with you your awesome self, where should they go to connect with you? ES (45:02): Yes. Well, you can connect with me on LinkedIn, Elizabeth Stevens with a pH. I always have to differentiate that I’m married into a name, which is so easy, but I have to, I have to tell people how it’s spelled. Or you can follow me on Instagram. It’s at EAS 2 8 8 3. You’re gonna see a lot of my, my work life and my home life and all of the fun things that happen there. But I would love for you to follow me both places. AJV (45:27): Elizabeth, thank you so much for joining in as today. And for those of you who dunno, Elizabeth actually was a part of our team prior to starting Build Brand Builders group. She’s been a part of the founding team and an integral part of every single move, pivot, shake up, shake down that we’ve had since we launched this. And we’re so honored that you are the face of our community. We love you. We’re so grateful for you. Thank you for being on today. And for everyone else, stay tuned for the recap episode, which will be coming up next. We’ll see you next time

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25 of the World's Most Recognizable Influencers Share Their Tips on How to Build and Monetize a Personal Brand

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