From personal brand to agency brand and back again, one entrepreneur shares how fear stood in the way of action, how a simple mindset shift opened the doors to her most fulfilling work, and what comes next.
I can’t believe that I’m creating another website!
Well, that’s not entirely true. What I really mean is that I can’t believe I am finally creating this website! This website, my own personal brand site, has taken a long time to come to life. My husband and business partner Brian has pushed me to create this site for years. My friends and various masterminds I have been part of have urged me to create it repeatedly. Even some of my clients have asked why this site didn’t exist. After a while, it was sort of annoying!
From Personal Brand To Agency Brand
When I was freelancing and running my company Bourn Creative on my own, the site was mine. It was reflective of me, it shared my services, and the blog told stories about my experiences and my life. It matched where I was at that stage of my business and life. But then my husband began working in the business too, taking on a larger and larger role, until he eventually quit his full time job to work solely with me.
We soon realized that the Bourn Creative website no longer represented the company we were building. It represented the past not the future, so we overhauled the entire thing, removing all the personal content that was about me, removing the information about my speaking, and removing all information about training, workshops, and information products. Bourn Creative became a true agency site and everything related to my personal brand disappeared.
At that time, I had intended to create my own personal brand site but it never happened because of one simple thing. Fear. It was so much easier to stand behind the Bourn Creative brand, or as some of my friends might say, hide behind the Bourn Creative brand, because then everything was about the brand and not about me and I didn’t have to put myself out there, step out of my comfort zone, or take any real risks. And it worked for a while, but…
Eventually I started to run into problems:
- I speak at live and virtual events regularly and I had nowhere to send those booking me to speak to get photos, my bio, my speaker sheet, and other resources. I also had no personal platform to send audience members to for free gifts to build my list or special offers to monetize the opportunity.
- I had created valuable workshops, ebooks, and other teaching/training materials over the years that were sitting in a buried folder no longer accessible by those who could benefit from them only because they weren’t in alignment with the Bourn Creative brand.
- I often wanted to share my thoughts about business, client services, and other items but had no place to do so because that content isn’t in alignment with the agency brand or my personal family travel and food blog.
- I launched the beta of Profitable Project Plan and had no platform for it’s marketing, which meant I had nowhere to blog about it and no list to tap for it.
I also began to get really frustrated…
- I was constantly irritated by the crap that I was seeing for sale: ebooks that are mostly photos with huge text and wide margins, courses that fail to cover what you actually need, webinars that waste time, events packed with self promotion, coaching programs that cost a fortune but don’t deliver, and coaches teaching out dated technical practices. I was sad that those purchasing were getting the wool pulled over their eyes and angry because they deserve better.
- I was also sick and tired of seeing some of the most talented, hardworking people I know, struggle with overwhelm and exhaustion, while brand new business owners use smoke and mirrors to fake it until they make it and roll in the dough.
- And, I was done with the gross sales tactics and marketing funnels designed to take your money without providing an extraordinary experience and unsubscribed from almost every email list.
I knew I could help, I knew I could make a difference, and I knew that I could do better. But I needed a platform first. I needed my own site and that meant getting out from behind the Bourn Creative brand.
Yikes! That seriously freaked me out.
From Fear To Acceptance
The funny thing about creating my own personal brand platform is the fear I have developed. When I first started my business, I didn’t have any fear around marketing myself or standing on my own as an expert — and back then, I had much less experience than I do now. But today I have fear… fear of failure, fear of being judged, fear of not being good enough, smart enough, or thorough enough, and fear of someone finally realizing that I’m a fraud. I know these fears are irrational and ridiculous and I know I am damn good at what I do, yet my impostor syndrome is high and it’s a battle I fight every day.
The worst part is that it has held me back from not only taking action, but from helping others.
Luckily, one conversation at an event changed my entire mindset. I was listening to a very smart, very talented designer tell me about the business challenges they were facing and how hard things have been and I thought to myself, “If they had the same systems I created for Bourn Creative, almost all of their problems would go away.” And that’s when I realized that I was robbing myself of the opportunity to share what I have learned and robbing others of the opportunity to benefit.
Realizing that I could help others avoid some of the struggles I had, overcome overwhelm, grow a successful business, and enjoy more freedom, but wasn’t because of my own self-doubt and issues was a big get-off-the-pot moment. At that point, I knew that it was time to explore creating this website as a platform to share, teach, and grow. I also knew that I needed to make peace with my fear and accept it.
I needed to stop looking at my fear as a bad thing that holds me back, and instead see it as a good thing that shows me how much I care and how much what I’m doing matters.
From Agency Brand To Personal Brand
First things first. I’m not launching this site to close down or replace Bourn Creative. I truly enjoy client services and our clients and look forward to continuing the work we’re doing together for a very long time.
However, I’ve been building other people’s stuff for my entire career and have had a desire to build something of my own for quite a while.
I thought creating Inspired Imperfection would scratch that itch, and it has to a point, giving me a fun outlet to share recipes and family travel. But honestly, I want to keep that as my fun site without the pressure of monetization. Also, I found that even with two blogs, the agency blog and the personal blog, I still didn’t have a place that was perfect to talk and write about business or a platform that was right for launching products and courses.
Jenniferbourn.com was on the horizon, but it got waylaid a bit by a different idea. I kept going back to that conversation and my friend who was struggling in their business and I kept thinking about my own client management system. And I wondered, “What if I actually packaged the whole thing up and sold it as a course along with training? How quickly could I help others who might be struggling the same way?”
As a result, Profitable Project Plan was created.
The beta launched in the summer of 2017 with an approach of delivering a minimum viable product without providing minimum value. The sales page was down and dirty and it got the job done. The beta launch was a smashing success and delivering the course was one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done professionally. I loved it and thankfully so did the participants.
Profitable Project Plan helped squash a lot of my initial fears. I still have them, a lot of them, but there’s one important thing that I never truly understood before: Those that may judge me aren’t my tribe and they don’t matter. Those who resonate with my message, read my posts, subscribe to my email list, and invest in my offers are the ones who matter. Creating high quality content and delivering extraordinary experiences for those who need and want my help is what matters — and I can do that no problem.
The success of Profitable Project Plan meant it needed a permanent home. It was finally time to build my own personal brand platform for speaking, teaching, and training — one created specifically to help others.
My Intention With This Site
I mentioned how frustrated I was about the crappy products being hawked by fly-by-night entrepreneurs across the internet. But I want to be very clear: this is a generalization and there are always exceptions to generalizations, like the leaders, coaches, mentors, and educators who have been at it for years, who walk their talk, who can back up their marketing, and deliver real value. It’s these incredible people that I want you to know.
Why? Because I haven’t gotten to where I am today without help. I ask a lot of questions and seek advice from those who are ahead of me in my journey regularly, I have a mastermind group that I tap every two weeks for support, feedback, and wisdom, and I invest regularly in opportunities to learn from others and improve my skills.
My intention with jenniferbourn-staging.fwxsjfe1-liquidwebsites.com is to:
- Provide quality content and valuable information with no fluff
- Share personal stories of challenges overcome and lessons learned
- Recommend tools and resources to help you succeed (and save time, effort, and money)
- Introduce you to the brilliant people in my network
- Offer candid honesty and answers to your burning questions
I’m also looking forward to experimenting with new ways of sharing content. To this point, I’ve always avoided video like the plague because I hate seeing myself of video. But I’m finally at a point where I care much less about how I look and sound than what I can share and how I can help, so I started a YouTube Channel too!
I know that running a business is hard work, but I believe that with the right tools, information, and support, it doesn’t have to be difficult work.
I also believe that all good things take time. I’m the tortoise not the hare. I want to build a sustainable, successful business without sacrificing my sanity and health, and I want to do so at a pace that allows me to do great work, be of service, and enjoy the hell out of life. It’s not the right path for everyone, especially those who want immediate success, but if you’re nodding your head in agreement, know that you’re not alone.
I’m so excited about this new personal brand platform, to have this blog, to be working with video, and to experiment with new ideas. I’m thrilled to open enrollment for Profitable Project Plan once more and to be working on other products and courses too.
I hope you’re excited too and invite you to stick around and subscribe to the blog below to make things easier!