Courageous personal branding with Kerstin Heuer | Ep 20 Podcast

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Courageous personal branding with Kerstin Heuer | Ep 20 Podcast

When it comes to marketing and growing your business, showing up authentically and courageously every single day makes all the difference. But that’s easier said than done for many small business owners, especially if you’re an introvert, over-thinker, or perfectionist.

Kerstin Heuer from YOUthentic Branding is our guest on the podcast today, here to share with you how she found that it was her personal branding that was the missing piece in the puzzle in growing her business.

Discover how Kerstin redesigned herself through courageous personal branding, in order to become an in-demand brand.

Listen on your favourite podcast platform

In this episode you’ll hear:

  • The biggest challenges they’ve faced running a business and lessons you’ve learned along the way
  • Why so many small business owners struggle to build a successful personal brand and put themselves out there.
  • The best things you can do to help you show up courageously and tell your story in a way that will help you and your business grow
  • The questions you need to ask yourself when you’re redesigning your personal brand

Guest: Kerstin Heuer, YOUthentic Branding

Kerstin Heuer is a brand and marketing strategist and the co-founder of YOUthentic Branding. Together with her partner in business and life, she helps heart-centred entrepreneurs to create courageous brands. So they can be more joyful and get paid not just for their work but for the worth they add to the world.

Connect with Kerstin

Website
Instagram

Transcript

Nicci O'Mara

When it comes to marketing and growing your business, showing up authentically and courageously every single day makes all the difference. But that's easier said than done for many small business owners, especially if you're an introvert, overthinker or perfectionist. Kerstin Heuer from  YOUthentic Branding is our guest on the podcast today, here to share with you how she found that it was her internal branding that was the missing piece in the puzzle in growing her business. So let's find out how Kerstin redesigned herself through courageous personal branding in order to become an in demand brand.

Nicci O'Mara

The Simply Standout Marketing Podcast is for you, the small business owner wanting to supercharge your marketing with simple actionable strategies and inspiration so you can smash your goals and grow your business. Now it's your turn to discover what actions to take to make your business truly stand out and succeed. Let's get started.

Nicci O'Mara

Welcome, Kerstin to the Simply Standout Marketing Podcast. It's so wonderful to finally have you here all the way from Alberta, Canada.

Kerstin Heuer

Thank you so much for having me today, Nicci. I'm excited to be here.

Nicci O'Mara

It's wonderful. Kerstin and I have had plenty of issues trying to connect from the different countries with technology. So we're both very excited to finally be talking rather than just looking at each other on the screen.

Kerstin Heuer

Exactly. I think it's the 14,000 km of water that is between us.

Nicci O'Mara

It could be. Now, Kerstin, you own a small business called  YOUthentic Branding with your partner. What have been some of the biggest challenges or probably actually first up, tell us a little bit about  YOUthentic Branding.

Kerstin Heuer

Sure. So we help overthinking entrepreneurs to become courageous and in demand brands. And that is everything from creating your identity and then connecting with the right people all the way to putting the right systems in place so that you can create the impact that you want. Yes.

Nicci O'Mara

Well, I'm certainly one of those overthinking entrepreneurs and I know there are plenty of us out there without a doubt. What have been some of the biggest challenges that you've faced in running your business and some of the lessons that you've learned along the way?

Kerstin Heuer

Yeah, many, I can tell you. So we have actually been in business for well, I have been an entrepreneur for over 20 years now and there are so many of that. But one of the biggest challenges I think we have faced is from offering a service and being a service based business to creating an irresistible offer that people actually want. Because I am a visionary. I love to do many things and my archetype is an Explorer, so I love to do different things. I don't want to nail down and focus on just one thing. But it's really hard to grow business this way. So that was really something that I have been struggling with from starting out with website and graphic design and poster and doing it all. And just at one point becoming a commodity and really not being sure, like, who am I and what do I want to do and who is my client that I actually want to work with? I think that was by far the biggest challenge.

Nicci O'Mara

I think there's a lot of similarities between the two of us because I've found also with marketing has changed so much and communication has changed so much over the years because I've been doing this for 25 years. And you do go, I went along the whole line of, okay, people want this, so I'll just do this, and then I'll continue to do some public relations and media, and then we'll go down this road. Yes, you do get torn in so many different ways until all of a sudden you stop and go, that's not what I want to do. That's not what I love doing, and I'm passionate about doing and it doesn't serve me. So I totally get where you're coming from.

Kerstin Heuer

And something else that we tried, I think that in this situation, there might be many other entrepreneurs like the two of us where you think, okay, I just need the right funnel, and I put an automation in, and then everything will work fine. So we have actually done that. We have invested over, I don't know, at one point, almost $10,000 just in setting up the funnel and creating an automation and email automation, that everything was set up and it wasn't working. And it wasn't working because we missed that the most important ingredient was missing, and that was us. And then I realized that really it all comes to finding yourself first and having a confidence, having a voice, like creating really something that you are standing behind and that feeling of confidence and really having an opinion on something and really knowing what you actually want to do and then attracting the right people. So the funnels and the systems don't really work if you don't have the foundation. So that was the main lesson that I have learned from that.

Nicci O'Mara

Yes, I definitely learned that one as well. Because you can have the best funnels, the best website, but without the right messaging, without showing up, you can be the best at our jobs, we are experts in our field, and we can talk for hours and hours about the work that we do for clients and others for their customers. But when it comes to marketing us as a person, we do find it so hard for many of us, not everyone, find it really hard to put ourselves out there. Along those lines, why do you think so many business owners struggle to build a successful personal brand? Because it's very easy to build a business brand. But I personally find it's harder to build a personal brand.

Kerstin Heuer

Yeah, absolutely. I think that too. So I have been working a lot with corporate clients, but also I find it more interesting to develop personal brands. And what I have found is that I think what most people, including me, are struggling with is building your brand is uncomfortable. And because you have to go beyond the fluff and you need to have an opinion, and that means that some people will like you while others might feel offended by what you have to say. So that takes a lot of guts. It takes guts to really dig deep and find out who am I? Because in order to have an opinion, you need to know what are you standing for? And in order to find that out, you really have to dig deep. Like, what are my values? Where does all of this come from? What do I want people to think about me? How can I help them to create a story that I can orchestrate? And where's my vision? And how can I create a vision that is not just a selfish vision for myself, like traveling all around the world, but having a vision that other people get excited about?

Kerstin Heuer

And how can I get and build a team around that? Because that is really what it is about, too. What is the bigger impact that I can have in the world? And in order really to find this out, you have to take the time to do it and you have to be willing to do it. And I think what I always find is you can create your brand within your own box. Like you need to reflect and you need to talk it through. It is a dialogue, and you can do it on your own. And a lot of people, I think, struggle with it because they don't want to invest in it, because they don't see the value. But then you're not able to get out of yourself what you are all about. Yeah.

Nicci O'Mara

That's so true, because it's so much easier to hide behind our brands. And I even heard Donald Miller, I don't know if you remember him from the Story Brand, very famous Story Brand. And he was talking on his podcast the other day about the fact that he has hidden behind Story Brand for so long and not established his own personal brand and that's his number one goal for this year is to actually establish his own personal brand. And there's such a big identity within the marketing and the messaging world. I felt a lot better with Donald on there going, yeah, look, I haven't set up my own personal brand, I don't do anything and it's something that I should have done years ago, but I haven't done. And I did love hearing that because it just goes even the big ones can struggle with building their own personal brand as well.

Kerstin Heuer

Yeah. And I think it really is like you're putting yourself out there and you are more vulnerable as if you were just a brand, not a personal brand, because everything goes back to you, that is really uncomfortable. And a lot of people don't want to do it. 

Nicci O'Mara

And I can totally see that. And I also find with businesses, I spend a lot of time talking to businesses going, what are your va lues? What is your vision? What's your mission? Why would people want to come to you? Do you show up every day and what do you stand up for? What do you speak about? And that even on a business level is very hard for a lot of businesses because they go, oh, look, I'm a really good dentist and we're a family dentist. It's like, well, no, that doesn't really cut it anymore because so is everyone else. And it's hard at a business level. And then taking it to a personal level. What are some of the best things that people can do to actually help them show up really courageously and tell their story in a way that's going to help them grow their personal brand, which will also help them grow their business brand as well?

Kerstin Heuer

So I think the challenge nowadays is we go on social media and we see all the other people posting their things, and everything looks beautiful and perfect. And we get so much input from outside that we start to copy. And we are not creating anymore, and we are not leaving space for ourselves and allowing ourselves to be creative and to really find ourselves. So what I have found is like, listen to your heart and get quiet. Really, like take half a day and just be quiet. Don't talk to anyone. Just be for yourself and just let go. It's really uncomfortable doing this, but a lot of answers come up within those moments. And also what I found being really clear of what you want to achieve and where you want to be and really thinking about what I want to do, is that am I driven by fear or is opportunity behind what I'm doing? It's really becoming the courageous person first in order to stand out courageously because you have to feel it, and if you can feel it, then you can do it. For me, that comes with the vision and having a passion.

Kerstin Heuer

For example, originally I'm from Germany. We now live in Canada. And in 2005, we came over and we had, I think, I don't know, maybe $5,000 in our pocket, and that was it. But I had no fear. We left everything. We left the family, we left our job, we had nothing. And we just came. And I was not afraid because I did it out of passion. And I was certain that everything will be working out. And I think this is the attitude that we have that it takes in order to grow our business and our brand, really having that vision and being sure and feeling faithful that this will work out. This is how I would approach it. I think there's a couple of things that we do in our branding boot camp, for example, we are creating this person that being that we need to be in order to achieve the things that we have to do, like based on you probably do that as well, like finding out what your archetype is. And then from there really describing this person that I want to be, what kind of behaviors do I have? What kind of values do I need? And this is finding that strength and stepping into that person. So I think this is where this story starts.

Nicci O'Mara

I just actually spent two nights in beautiful little place called Bangalow near Byron Bay in New South Wales, Australia, and I picked the place because there was no people. All I looked out on green fields and there were cows and chickens, so I couldn't get distracted. And purely because I need to think without the distractions of my office, my home, my phone, everything. And it was a wonderful thing. And I really think I actually probably needed about a week to fully actually do it. But I do agree. And it's taken me a long time to realize that actually finding that quiet space within your own head, away from everything does make a big difference to working out what you say or what you want to stand for. Now you say that to create the person that you want to be, you need to do it in your mind first. Are there any other questions or other important questions when you're redesigning your personal brand and thinking about that that you can think of that we should be asking ourselves?

Kerstin Heuer

I would start with because your brand is like what other people think about you and the stories you create in their head. So what are actually stories that you want to create for other people and for yourself? Like, what is your own story, like your own story that you want to create? But also how can you help others to see that story, really designing it in your mind first? And I think that for me, that is all where it starts. And I mentioned, like the archetype that is really helpful, but also asking these tough questions of where do I actually want to be? And I call it the really selfish way and then the bigger ripple effect. Why? So what is my bigger role that I have that I want to play in this world? What is actually my purpose? I find a lot of strength in that. And yes, I think this is where I would start. What is the story that you want other people to have in their mind and what is the story that you can help create them?

Nicci O'Mara

Yeah. And what about things along the lines of strategies too. So if they work out, okay, this is who I am. This is what I stand for. What do they do with that information then in terms of developing a personal brand is that social media, a website? How do they actually get that information out there to people?

Kerstin Heuer

Yeah. So the next step, what I do after figuring that first part out is the connection piece, like finding out who actually is your audience, where are they hanging out, what are their preferences? And then really like, what is finding out what is going on in their head? Like, what is it that is really holding them up? Why can't they sleep at night and really trying to find out what is the language that they are using? What kind of words do they say? So that when you talk to them so that you can really connect on the same level, so that they think, oh, my God, how does she know this? How does Nicci know what I was dreaming last night and why I can't sleep? So that is like the second step of really building this connection. And then really when you are going out there on your social media, I would say find like this, of course, we are looking into getting our own followers on social media, but what is it like? Where are they hanging out and what is an audience that is already there? Where can I borrow audiences? For example, we have another brand that we have built over the years for nonprofits.

Kerstin Heuer

And one of my strategies was that I connected with associations and I was holding webinars, so I was able to create my email list through webinars. I didn't really do a lot on social media, but I was really focused on building my audience and my list by getting in front of other people's audiences and building authority this way. So really looking for ways where they're hanging out. And how can I build my audience fast? Because it might take a long time to build your own social media channels to get into the thousands if you're just starting out. And so this is something that I would consider strategically. What are some partners that you can work with and then get in front of their audiences? And then, of course, what is a sales system that works for you? What is a possible lead magnet that you can build that is really interesting and then having that mutual sequence because you need to connect with people or they need to hear the same message at least seven times. So if they follow you, then that's great, but they need to hear and see that message several times. So what can you do in terms of nurturing them and building your list and providing content that they really get to know, like and trust you?

Nicci O'Mara

Yes. And even things along the lines of we spent so much time writing content for whether it be for emails, landing pages, social media, blog posts, media releases, all of those type of things. But as you say, being authentic, bringing a bit of you, even if it is your small business that you own or entrepreneur. And I always feel it's really important that they actually inject themselves into that. So rather than being all about the product or the service, I'm not talking about telling people what you had for breakfast and what's happening in family life or anything, but just getting people to know what you stand for. And that's why values and your vision and mission and things along those lines are so very important. I feel.

Kerstin Heuer

Like when you think about how are you connecting with them, a lot of people think, oh, I can try a webinar and the webinar isn't working. So I try a challenge and then you try all those things. But actually, I think it's just about 10% is the same system, but the other 90% is really like your message and what offer you're putting out. And this is all related to your audience. What is it that they want and how can you connect with them? And that comes down to who are you as a person? Do I really want to work with you? If there are ten others that do the same things, then I go with my gut. I go with who I like. A lot of people like they say, for example, they say, I love your energy, you're funny. And so this is like it's basically a gut feeling. Like 95% of the things that of our decisions are based by our emotions and subconsciousness. So this is why being authentic, what we say is so important because this is your differentiation and this is how you can stand out in the sea of other online entrepreneurs.

Nicci O'Mara

Yes. And even I was having a conversation last night with someone about someone was looking to where they thought someone was going to try and rip off their content of their course. We had this discussion about the fact that at the end of the day, people will always try to copy great stuff. However, they can never be you. It will still never be the same course because there's stuff, there's stuff in your head that the intelligence and the expertise that you've gathered over however many years you've been in business, but also and that's the same for most businesses. People can try to replicate that. They will never, ever understand the inner workings of a business, and they will also never be you. So if you actually put your personal brand out there, it makes what you do, you can't copy it, which I think is really important. Now, what are some of the best resources that you found that have helped you along the way and that you think can help others along the way as well?

Kerstin Heuer

So I think the biggest is not a resource, but the biggest thing that has helped me to grow in the business and grow is really having a mentor. And of course, you can read. I've done so many programs and looked through resources, but really having a mentor and joining a mastermind and really having this conversation reflection, because you need to grow as a person. Like, this is really what helps you to grow your business, too. If you can grow in your mind first, then you will never reach the next step in your business because no funnel will help you with that. It's the biggest advice that I would give. If you don't have a mentor, like look for a mentorship, a mastermind that aligns with you and join that. I think this is what has helped me tremendously within the last two years. Yes.

Nicci O'Mara

And did you find was it due to them asking you the bigger questions and keeping you accountable and things along those lines?

Kerstin Heuer

Yes. So it was like different things of how we react. I have done with Jim Forton, like his TCP program that has helped tremendously in my personal growth. Like even reflecting about how do I react in certain situations that I have a choice? Is it really something that affects me or is it really something that I'm creating a story in my mind? Is that a belief that is actually true or is it a fact or is it just something that I made up? So really changing perspective and reflecting on the things that I see. That was a big one. Also with James Wedmore, his digital CEO. He has also a great podcast that you probably know, like with Mind Your Business. So this is like really things that are not really linear in terms of building business. It's more like how can I grow as a person and see the world from different eyes? And that will also open up different ways in how you run your business. Also in terms of leadership, you have to be a good leader first. And what does it mean? Because if you're looking to grow as a business, you need a team at one point and players don't work with B leaders. So what does it mean? Like how can you be a really good leader and attract the right people to grow? And yeah. So this is really what I can suggest.

Nicci O'Mara

Yeah. And there are so many wonderful resources out there, both free and paid. Yes. I've done James Wedmore's course and listen to his Mind Your Business podcast. There's some wonderful podcasts out there, actually. What's his name? Donald Miller has got Business made Simple. He's new. It's a new podcast out, which is really good. It's actually going through everything from negotiation to proposals, marketing, of course, and communication. A lot of different things there. And another one I found good, it's not a podcast, but EMyth. I don't know if you've seen that one as well. It's a very famous book.

Kerstin Heuer

I also like Pierre Silver. She writes for Forbes. She has that as your brand. So she is also really I like her approach. It's really simple and badass. I think she came up with that term a couple of years ago.

Nicci O'Mara

Where can people connect with you and find out more about the work that you are doing?

Kerstin Heuer

Sure. On Instagram the handle is  YOUthentic Branding and I'm also on LinkedIn under my name Kerstin Heuer and then our website is  YOUthentic.ca

Nicci O'Mara

Fantastic. Thank you so much for coming and talking to me today. It has been wonderful. I know it's very late at night there in Canada so you've been fantastic to be on and of course taught us a number of things and personal branding is such a big deal and something more and more that we're going to have to put ourselves out there.

Kerstin Heuer

As scary as it is and I think we are all stepping into it that the time is there. We are doing this now.

Nicci O'Mara

Yes, now is the time that we always need to do it.

Kerstin Heuer

Nicci it was a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Nicci O'Mara

My pleasure. It was lovely and we will talk to you again hopefully soon.

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