A year ago I worked with Catherine Bowyer, an Australian lifestyle strategist and coach, to help her get clarity on where to take her business. During our clarity session, she realised that she wanted to shift away from corporate coaching towards personal coaching. She then used my Copy & Canvas package to give her website a make-over and to tell her brand story. You can read this blog to see the process we went through. I caught up with her to find out how things were going a year on from our work together. This is what she said:
How has business unfolded?
After our initial sessions of working together, I was able to gain clarity about the core messaging of my business and how all the pieces fit together – coaching programs, workshops, retreats and products. Having this clarity has really helped me to move forward with my business. I went from confusion and overwhelm to clarity and getting on and promoting my business.
The focus in my business has always been about helping people to be the best versions of themselves and living their best lives, however you helped me to narrow down what I really do. I’m really about helping people to be happy. This was a very important point for me as it is the underlying message of everything I do in my business.
You asked me a question of ‘What’s my thing’; what’s the ‘thing’ that represents me'. I pondered over this for a while because I wasn’t really sure, but after a bit of probing from you, I was able to crystallise that my ‘thing’ is being at the beach and being in the sun. This formed the basis for imagery for my website and marketing material and still does – I always look for fun, beachy images where appropriate.
Another big thing that came out of working with you was the name for my monthly women’s meet ups. As I hadn’t started the groups when we were working together, I was confused about how to market them. I knew what I wanted them to be but not sure how to create the right messaging around them.
You came up with the name ‘Happiness Hive’ which is absolutely perfect. I have been running these groups once a month for 12 months in June. This group is all about inspiration, motivation, education and having fun. I get 20-30 women attending each month and they lovingly refer to themselves as ‘Happy Hivers’ or just ‘Hivers’. I love this. We discuss a different topic each month and have different guest speakers. There is a core group of women attending with newbies each month. We have created an awesome place that has a really ‘buzzing’ vibe! It really is even better than I originally imagined.
The Happiness Hive isn’t a money-making venture for me (it actually ends up costing me money), however it is an awesome platform to promote myself and what I do. I have gained new coaching clients as a result of running HH. This really is a passion project for me and is leading to opportunities for my business. I have set up a Happiness Hive Facebook group where I mirror the monthly topics and interact with the group. A bit of a tricky thing is that the meet-ups are in Canberra, however people in the HH fb group are from all around Australia and the world. I try to make sure I cater for these differences, so people don’t feel left out if they can’t attend the meet up.
I have Trademarked ‘Happiness Hive’ so no one else in Australia can use that term – I own it!
Did the new brand identity help grow your business?
To a certain degree. One of the main things has been the Happiness Hive, which helps me market my services and which has brought in new coaching clients.
I am also setting up a ‘Happiness 4 Humanity’ program – personal transformation programs that I will be running in a little village in Cambodia in 2020, with participants from anywhere in the world. The programs will be multi-faceted: participants attending the programs will make profound and lasting changes in themselves and their lives and we will also contribute to the lives of women living in impoverished communities.
Another thing I plan on doing this year is setting up ‘Your One Life, Happiness Foundation’ where a percentage of all sales from my business will be donated. The Foundation will then give back to women in the way of providing scholarships, resources, and support to help them on their path to happiness and being the best version of themselves.
And hopefully this year I will also set up ‘The Happiness Hive Membership Lounge’ – this will be a premier membership program designed to support women experience happiness and success in every area of their lives.
These initiatives were there before I worked with you last year, however you helped me get the clarity about what to call them and how they fit together. As you can see ‘Happiness’ is the key theme that runs through my business initiatives. And now that I have clarity, it frees up my mind to get on and do stuff, instead of feeling overwhelmed how it is all going to fit together.
Did it change the way you felt about your business?
Yes! Having ‘Happiness’ as the core of everything I do in my business, has helped me to emulate this core message in everything I do – in my business and in my personal life. To be completely honest, it feels perfect. My business felt great before, but now it feels really great!
Having clarity about my core messaging has also helped me to think about my personal brand and do I match the ‘happiness’ vibe. I think I do!
How did people respond to your new look and the new services you were offering - particularly the meet ups that you wanted to hold?
People love it. I am focussing on working with women and that’s what my brand says. I chose to go with a bit of a retro, relaxed, friendly, upbeat theme for my website and marketing material. I get comments because people are recognising the brand. I think the imagery is fun, playful and friendly, which is what me and my business are about.
Women love, love, love the Happiness Hive. I’m getting 20-30 women there each month and I’m in two minds about whether to try and grow it or leave it at this size. I think I might try and get about 40 women there. If it get’s too big, it starts becoming something that I’m not sure I want it to be. There are lots of other opportunities to cater for larger group sizes.
What other new things have you implemented in your business since?
I have finalised my DIY program. I had the content developed before we started working together, however after the key messaging of ‘Happiness’, I called the program ‘Find Your Happy’. I also had a freebie resource which I referred to as the Life Wheel – I’ve changed the name to ‘Happiness Checker’.
I’ve run a free online program called Happiness Seven: 7 days to a happy, new you (the fastest and easiest way to being happy and loving life!). I’ve also run ‘Happy New You: Making 2018 your best year yet!
As part of my Happiness Hive fb group, I run regular fb live sessions which are based on the topic of the month.
What plans or ambitions do you have for it moving forward?
To expand the reach of my business including Happiness Hive and look for opportunities of collaborating with other women locally and online.
As my reach with Happiness Hive is reasonably strong, I am going to start introducing workshops and seminars that build on our monthly topics. I will continue to use HH as a platform for marketing my other products and services.
I’ll be introducing the membership lounge, Happiness Foundation and Happiness 4 Humanity programs over the next 12-24 months.
Any final thoughts?
Thanks again for helping me gain clarity in my business. It really set the foundation of what I’m about and has allowed me to move forward instead of feeling stuck and overwhelmed. Your work helped tie everything together and has freed me up to enhance what I do. I’ve definitely got the confidence now to promote my business, which I was a bit nervous about before we started working together. Thank you.
I just want to congratulate Catherine on doing so many brilliant things with her business. How inspiring to see someone take an idea and grow it into something that makes other women - and herself - happy. Love it!
If you could benefit from Catherine's services, do check out her links or join her Happiness Hive on Facebook.
Catherine's Facebook page
Catherine's Happiness Hive Group on Facebook
I was at a networking event recently and was asked 'what do you do?'
Now the short answer is: marketing, copy and communications. But the bit that I do most and love best is the clarity bit. My challenge is that it's so hard to explain.
I found myself sharing examples of work I'd done for clients to make what I do more real. I could see the expressions on people's faces change from one of blankness to one of 'oh yeah, that would be really useful.' So what was it that made people go from politely glazed to animatedly interested?
Story telling. That's what.
If I said that I 'help small businesses get clear on what they want their business to be', it doesn't mean anything. But when I told them a story about how I actually helped a client change, they got it.
Story telling is what I do for my clients. And it's what you can do too to bring your business to life for your ideal clients.
Let me make up a story to explain.
You're an accountant. You've left the corporate world and decided to set up on your own. You think you've got your target market sorted: small businesses who can't afford the big accounting firms.
In your head you know that you hate corporate bullshit and you're a lovely, warm, funny person - despite being an accountant (sorry accountants). But you've got this hangover from the corporate days that tells you that you need to come across as serious and professional because, you know, you're an accountant and money is a serious business. So you create a website that shows WHAT you do for these small businesses e.g. tax returns. You may even go to great lengths telling them HOW you do it for them ....with your wonderful step-by-step, bite sized packages.
But you don't tell them WHY YOU. And you don't show them how you are different. You don't show them that funny, warm, lovely side of your personality (which incidentally is what makes you different from all the competitors. No-one is you).
You choose a name like: Whizzy Accounts. You think you're being different and showing off your fun personality. But you're still just another accounting firm with a more brightly coloured logo perhaps.
What if you flipped it over and made your lovely, warm funny personality front and centre of your brand? They're going to be working with YOU right? So make your brand and the experience they have working with you match.
What if instead of dreading doing tax returns, they wanted to come and see you? Because when they see you, they have a laugh and a lovely cup of tea and it just feels relaxed. So why not call it Tax over Tea (or something that you spend longer than the 10 seconds I just spent coming up with) that demonstrates not only what you do but your entire vibe and how it helps them?
Paint the picture of what that feels like. Show photos of you having a laugh with a client while you drink cups of tea. Sure you do tax returns. But really what you do, is take a truly shitty part of running a business and turn it into something fun. Isn't that awesome?!
Your approach should be front and centre of your brand story. And I don't just mean having a cup of tea as part of your logo (in this particular case). Remember, a brand is so much more than a logo. It's the entire story you tell people in every single interaction they have with you.
One thing to remember as you tell your story: You need to tell it in a way that shows how you help your ideal client. This isn't about you and how wonderful you are so much as it's about how your wonderfulness helps them. There's a subtle but important difference.
So ask yourself: what is your story? What sets you apart? Are you telling that to your clients?
No? Then change it.
A final thought: doing this can be hard as it's difficult to see ourselves clearly. We're too self-critical or close to what we do. Sometimes we need someone to hold a mirror up to us and say: hey, you are THIS. If you need someone to hold that mirror for you, drop me a note. That's what I do. Find our more here.
If you're a parent, summer holidays have either started or will be soon. Even if you're not, summer is typically a quieter time for businesses as everyone heads off to the beach or drinks their bodyweight in Pimms while burning sausages on a bbq.
This quieter period is a brilliant time to catch up on the big projects you've been planning on doing but haven't had the chance to get to yet. Things like giving your website a makeover, or changing your business direction, plotting out new products or services, creating new marketing campaigns or comms plans for the rest of the year.
While others are sunbathing, you can be plotting out the rest of the year so that come September you are ready to roll!
Some ideas to use the quieter weeks well:
Here's how I can help you over this period:
Clarity - if you want to change your business in any way, whether that's new packages, new clients, an entirely new direction, new messages, I can help you get the clarity you need. I recently helped Juliet, a coach, restructure her packages. This is what she had to say:
"I just wanted to say that I've had time to go through the summary doc in detail and love all the ideas, the ones we discussed and the new ones. And the angles you've suggested for the copy. I'm now in the process of restructuring my services and creating new material. Argh so much to do, but it's fun too and am feeling a lot more positive about the future of the business."
Copy - if you need fresh copy for your website or any of your marketing materials - perhaps a job lot of blog posts or newsletter content for the next few months, I can write this for you. You can lie on the beach while I take care of the words you just can't seem to find. Return to a heap of new content all done for you. Here's how I helped a nutritionist, a new product and a life coach find the words they needed.
Communication - if you are finding it hard to come up with regular marketing updates, I can help you either with one-on-one coaching, or by spending an intensive day with you planning, brainstorming and training, or by writing you a communications plan that you can roll out. Here's what a producer of babywear said after I had a one-on-one strategy day and wrote her comms plan:
"I found the session very useful and feel like you managed to put into words what the brand stands for. I also think we nailed who the target consumer is. Thanks so much for the comms plan and for all your work – looks very comprehensive! I will start reading this evening – excited to get started with it!"
Publicity - a quiet period is also a good time to learn a new skill. So whether you want to spend just £49 and 75 minutes listening to my PR Masterclass on how to get in the press fast, or you want to get an in depth understanding of how to get in the media on an ongoing basis with my Publicity for Solopreneurs course, use the time wisely! I also have a PR Firestarter Kit that gives you the tools to get your story out to the press with minimal effort. Summer is quiet for media too and they are always on the hunt for good stories. Use the lull to get fabulous publicity.
I also have kids on holidays so will have less time available to me so get in touch ASAP if you want my help with any of this before I get booked up. Email me.
Does this sound like you? You've been running your business for a while but it's no longer what you really want to do. There are bits of it you love and bits you'd like to drop. But you aren't sure how to make the switch. You'll need to come up with new packages, services, messages, copy and possibly even a new name, tagline and logo. You can't market the new things you want to offer because you have nothing to steer people to. It all seems too overwhelming so you don't do anything and stay stuck half-heartedly doing the thing you've always done while dabbling in the new bits.
I see this all the time. Clients who come to me in desperate need of clarity to help them make the shift. Sometimes it takes an outsider to validate the change and give them the confidence to take the leap.
I was recently contacted by Suné Markowitz-Shulman, a nutritionist who has spent years helping people lose weight. It's what she trained in but it is no longer her passion. Over the years of working with people trying to lose weight, she noticed that it wasn't what they were putting on their plate that was the problem, it was what was going on in their heads. She began to incorporate coaching but clients kept coming to her for a quick fix diet plan. She knew she wanted to change her offerings but she was stuck as to how to do that.
Should she change her business name? Should she target different people? Should she still offer the nutrition services? What should she offer? How could she make her business different? In fact, when she came to me, she said this:
"I have so much going on in my head that I may take up a lot of airtime explaining here. In short, I'm a nutritional therapist and have been in practice for over 10 years with various successes. I am looking to rebrand/revamp my career and message and do more coaching and although health and wellbeing has always what I've been doing, I'm a bit bored of the 'what is your diet like' question. Not sure if I should 'marry' all my skills or focus on the rebrand and what will that look or sounds like. As it looks like at the moment I need everything that you offer but would love to find out more and discuss what the best way forward is. I've had about 6 websites and have never been proud or happy about my offer and want to get it right without wanting to change everything every two years."
We decided that it was best for her to start with a Clarity session so we could get clear on what it was she wanted to offer. Suné had already completed my free Campfire Clarity Workbook so we used that as her starting point. Over two hours we chatted about what she was hoping to achieve. I then went away and condensed that into a summary document for her that included:
"Thank you SO much for this. The whole experience has been exactly what I needed. You are amazing at capturing my muddled thoughts. I am excited and inspired and reading it all over and over again!"
Next up, I got to work on her Copy & Canvas. We had a second short call to clarify a few things before I knuckled down to the process of transformation.
Here's what changed:
Business name: From Nutrition Redefined to Kitchen Table Coach (www.kitchentable.coach) - site not yet live
Tagline: A nutritionist for the mind
Her location: Suné works from home - out of the spare bedroom. But I suggested that she move her nutrition coaching into the kitchen. The idea was to create a feel of sitting at a kitchen table - the heart of any home and where nutrition really matters - with a friend who listens, encourages and educates.
Her opt in: We switched this to be a guide that helps people figure out what the real reason behind their weight problems are (and it's not what they eat)
Her packages: Suné had too many packages on offer, which became confusing. They also attracted the wrong kind of client - the type who wanted a quick diet fix. We changed this into a very simple process of:
Her ideal clients: Suné no longer wants to work with people who just want to know which foods to eat and in what quantities. She wants to work with people who want to address the real reasons behind why the eat what they do and how they can change their entire approach to food and thoughts about themselves.
Her message: We completely shifted the words on her site from being diet and nutrition focused to being about coaching, personal contentment and freedom from food.
Her logo, colour scheme, fonts and imagery: I mocked up a new modern logo for Suné, with suggested fonts and a choice of colour schemes. I asked her to send me a photograph of her kitchen and used the colours in that as the palette for her brand. I suggested the type of images she should have taken by a professional photographer. She will now get a designer to create a final logo version, get photography done and is building her new site.
Her future plans: We plotted out some ideas to expand both the number of one-on-one clients she will see, to holding group cooking demonstrations in her kitchen to writing a book. But these are all plotted out in a way that feel manageable and achievable rather than overwhelming.
This is what Suné had to say once she got the completed copy and canvas package:
"I was so excited to get your email on Friday and the excitement is lasting. You have totally captured my message and brand so beautifully and this is the one thing that has been holding me back for way too long. I am looking forward to building the website and getting out there promoting my new brand and concise message to the world. You have been so professional and speedy, which is also a great inspiration, but I can think of so many people who would benefit from your work. THANK YOU!"
Many nutritionists have before and after pictures of their clients - pre weight loss and after. Well here are some before and after pictures of the nutritionist! She's lost her old business and gained an entirely new one! (I should say that these images are suggestions only. The final product will come from a designer.) But now Suné has an in-depth brief she can take to a designer to ensure that her new business comes alive.
Could I help you do the same for your business? Get in touch.
Sometimes when you run your own business, you get stuck. You aren’t even sure why you’re stuck, you just know that you are. It makes it really difficult to try and figure out what kind of help you need because you aren’t quite sure where the problem lies. Sound familiar?
Well here’s an example of a client I worked with and how we got her unstuck.
In January this year I got an email from a lovely lady – Catherine Bowyer - in Australia. Here’s a snippet of what she said:
I have a business in Canberra, Australia where I conduct corporate training and coaching with Government organisations. I also conduct some personal coaching for private clients.
In relation to setting up my personal programs, I'm not really 100% sure of how to progress this. I have the concepts of what I want to do (big picture) and sort of know how they fit together. I get frustrated because I want to be doing everything now, but know I have to take baby steps and focus on one thing at a time.
I have had a website designed, because I felt I had to do something. I am happy with the layout and the look of the site, however I don't think it is very well written and there needs to be so much more done in relation to engaging with clients. I feel pretty overwhelmed thinking about it, because I honestly don't know what I don't know. Funny - I help people get unstuck as part of my business, but find it really hard doing it for myself. So that's where you come in .....
So here’s what we did.
Step 1: Clarity Workbook
Catherine found me as she had downloaded my free Campfire Clarity workbook and she’d completed it. This is a simple way to start getting clarity in your business, so if you need some help and aren’t sure where to start, get the workbook here. We used Catherine's completed workbook as a briefing document for our clarity session.
Step 2: Clarity session
We held a clarity session over skype. This involved a one to two hour call during which we discussed where she was currently at and what she wanted her new business to be. We clarified who her ideal target clients were, what problem they faced and how they felt. Then we looked at the programmes and packages she could offer to solve these problems and how to structure them. We analysed what similar coaches were offering and found her USP to stand out from the competition. Next we looked at the tone of voice she should use on her site and the type of imagery she should have. Lastly we identified issues with her current website and next steps.
What became clear through this process was that there was a mismatch between what she wanted the business to be and what her website reflected. For example:
We decided that Catherine’s USPs are that:
The imagery and words had to capture the excitement, possibility and freedom that women – who she worked with – would feel. I gave her four different imagery approaches to choose from, depending on which resonated most with her.
Step 3: Copy & Canvas
Catherine could have taken the summary document, complete with mini collages of imagery types and reworked her website herself.
But she chose my Copy & Canvas package instead. This involves plotting out a site map, writing all the web copy and creating an image canvas for the entire site. Some people want to have a photo shoot of their own. So for them I give them image types and styles with suggested pictures to include in the shoot to ensure that they reflect the words.
For others who want to buy or use free stock images, I help find those images for them and create a private Pinterest board so that they have them complete with purchase links. My clients can then hand this entire board and all the copy over to a web designer, who can weave their design magic and makeover the site.
Catherine loved the retro images of women who were living happy lives of freedom. She wanted to create a sense of fun and possibility. I felt that she needed to share her own story and her sense of fun and happiness through her site, so I suggested she intersperse plenty of pictures of her in the site.
I wrote the copy based on some of the exact words she’d said in our clarity call. I also took what we’d discussed in our clarity session and helped her shape her packages.
For example, Catherine was confused about how to structure her various offerings. Through the clarity and copywriting process, we created four distinct offerings:
That last one proved our biggest challenge. Catherine wanted to call it The High Heels Connection, because the events would help women ‘step up into success in all aspects of their lives.’ But I wasn’t keen on the name. To me, the high heels bit felt too corporate again. It didn’t say ‘happy’, which is what the rest of the site was trying to achieve.
Catherine suggested ‘Happiness Boutique’, which was a strong contender, but I still didn’t feel that we’d nailed it. I came up with a bunch of different names, with corresponding images and copy to support it. In the end, we both agreed that the Happiness Hive worked, as it gave energy, a buzz and excitement.
By the end of January, Catherine had all of this work done. She handed it over to her web designer to take care of while she focused on her existing corporate clients.
Her site is now live and she is beginning to market it. If you are a woman in the Canberra area or indeed anywhere in the world who needs coaching to live a happier life, do check out her website.
This is what Catherine said at the time about the work I did:
O M G!!! I've just had an initial read through while I'm sitting at the hairdresser and it is looking and sounding AMAZING! You are so talented - taken my garbled messages and woven your magic to make them sound wonderful. I almost cried when I was reading through it - it is really reflecting what my business and I are about. Thank you.
And more recently, this is what she has said about the process:
"Now that I'm several months down the track from the Clarity and Copy and Canvas programs I did with you I can see the real value of your work. Gaining clarity of how everything in my business fits together has catapulted me forward - I bring everything back to 'what is the core message of my business'. I make sure the messages in my marketing, correspondence and even how I speak with people all come back to my core message. You definitely helped me to get unstuck and move forward. Gaining clarity has done more than help me set the direction of my business, it has been freed up my thinking so I can work on the things that really matter. Thanks again for your amazing work! Cxx"
So if you are feeling stuck and want some help moving your business forward, get in touch.