In her recent column, Nadya recalled her first encounter with expert branding strategist Des Dobreva, AKA “The Branding Queen,” and discovered that the key to marketing is truly in the eye of the beholder. Today she gets answers straight from the branding maven about why passion and purpose are the best brand strategy tools of all.
What catalyzed you to pursue a career in branding?I started my career as a copywriter/social media manager and for about a year, I was content. It took me a while to realize content doesn’t mean happy and I started trying to figure out why that was. Eventually, it became clear to me I wasn’t making the impact I wanted – and that had a severe impact on my motivation. There was this beautiful moment when it all clicked: I was in the middle of my master’s degree in branding and it seemed like I’d made the right choice to pursue it. I gave it a shot, rebranded myself as a Brand Strategist, and after I landed my first client, I knew this is what I was always meant to do. Finding my purpose made me realize how empty we all are when we haven’t yet found it – and that’s a major part of building a brand strategy for your business. I started helping business owners discover their purposes and build powerful businesses with integrity and authenticity.Do you consider yourself a social entrepreneur?I sure do. Every single action I’m about to take begins with the question, “How can I do this in a way that inspires positive change?”How are you making an impact in the world?Through my business and day-to-day life I’m highly dedicated to changing the world one brand at a time. One person at a time. One animal at a time.I’ve turned myself into a role model for those who are not afraid to be bold, different and ambitious. I’m leading a movement of people not afraid to be called “weird,” because that’s the biggest compliment we can ever get. Being badass is all about carving your own path, regardless of someone’s opinion. Does that mean we’re hated or misunderstood? Sometimes. Does it mean we don’t care? Always.What has been your biggest struggle as an entrepreneur?Coming to terms with the fact that I can’t run my business as a charity. I do a lot of volunteering and help a lot of organizations and in the beginning, I treated my business as one. Donating my time for free, helping people who really needed business advice… Today, I realize that’s not an effective way to move forward. Not for me. I provide so much content for free that it’s inexcusable for someone to expect me to donate my time to him in particular. The more money I make, the more impact I’ll be able to make – by running my own organizations and supporting others. Not to mention, when people get business advice for free, they don’t implement. Do you think entrepreneurs need to think more about purpose and less about their bottom line? Is this an issue?100% YES. There are many people around us bashing the concept of “purpose,” talking about how we need to pay less attention to that and just “work and move forward.” Let me ask these people… How can you move forward when you don’t know what you’re working for? When you have nothing to get you to wake up in the morning? Being driven by money is not only impossible in the long run, but also is ineffective as people will see right through you and will understand you don’t truly care about helping them.You have a gift of marrying expert advice with hilarity and a “no bullshit” attitude. Were you always this confident (and awesome)?I wish I could say “yes,” but the truth is, I wasn’t always like that. I was bullied so much in high school, that I got a severe case of pneumonia because my classmates would push me down the snow in -10 degrees weather and wouldn’t let me come up until I was soaking wet. My “no bullshit” attitude comes from years of enduring this and finding my own way of dealing with it without involving parents, teachers or revenge. I found a way to get these people to respect me and kept them close to me until I left that place. To this day, they all follow my success online but never say a word.Have you noticed a trend in what people struggle with the most in their branding?The most common pattern is that entrepreneurs are not confident enough in their story, even those who’ve had major success so far. The concept of building an emotional connection with your audience through sharing your origin story is non-existent to them – which makes my work all the more challenging, but also exciting. My purpose in business is to get as many entrepreneurs as possible to share their stories, because stories change lives. You work with individuals as well as corporate clients. What is your preference and what type of client do you envision yourself ultimately serving?My passion will always be to serve small businesses, because that’s where I can make the most impact. Seeing someone go from lacking the confidence to be vulnerable with their audience to having thousands of raving fans is incredible. Seeing people triple their income and leave their jobs, retire their partners… nothing can compare to it. In the future, I’ll do less one-to-one work and will sell more courses and masterclasses to make sure as many entrepreneurs as possible can get access to my vault of expertise. What’s next for you?I’m focused on massively growing my audience this year. I’m 10x both my income and the size of my community. Getting into vlogging excites me, as I’m finally ready to showcase parts of my life I’ve never shown before. It took me a while to realize people do care about your life – and if anybody tells you otherwise, that’s just bullshit. I’ve been told many times that “people only care about what you can do for them,” which couldn’t be further from the truth. Building an emotional connection leads to trust, which leads to authority, which leads to sales… and you can’t build that connection without being raw, open and vulnerable.—Find out more about Des Dobreva by visiting desdobreva.com or her exclusive Facebook group Social Media Badass Academy.Want to learn more about Nadya’s Entrepreneurial Corner? Read the column’s mission statement here.If you think differently (or want to), keep checking Honeysuckle for more op-eds, interviews, and advice from our entrepreneur extraordinaire Nadya!—Nadya Rousseau is a Los Angeles-based digital marketing consultant and new media entrepreneur. She has worked with clients ranging from startups, to nationally recognized law firms, to nonprofits, to entertainers and more. Recently, Nadya established the Social Media Storytelling Academy with the goal of supporting thousands of professionals worldwide with sophisticated and cutting-edge social media education based in powerful storytelling strategies. When she’s not working, she can be found savoring a double espresso macchiato somewhere cool. Follow her adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.