How to Create Your Brand Loving Your Unique Appeal [EPISODE 05: The Blog Chronicles Podcast]
Create Your Brand Organically Through Blogging
Hello and welcome to this episode of The Blog Chronicles, I’m your Host Matthew Loomis. Today we are going to spend some time talking about Personal Branding and explore what this means for you the blogger.
What is personal branding? Do you need it? How do you get it? I am going to call Andrea Beltrami, because Andrea is all about personal branding.
Not only has she developed a strong personal brand for herself; she also helps solopreneurs, bloggers and freelancers develop their own personal branding, by focusing on their own visual presentation.
Andrea is a big advocate for putting thought and energy into your online visual display to powerfully create your brand. She is a designer by trade and creates for clients website design, logos and many other visual elements in both digital and print.
Her mission (found on her About Me page) is to help solo entrepreneurs like you and me create a vision for their voice. She goes on to say; ”I want to help you create visuals that convey your passion and purpose” – ”Your message, your mission, your voice, I want your visuals to propel your brand”.
She does this by working one to one with clients as a branding mentor. She offers a branding course to solopreneurs along with her design services.
Andrea’s got a colorful personality a good sense of humor and knows her stuff. So, let’s get to it and welcome Dre to The Blog Chronicles.
(But, first a heads-up. Dre is the first guest on this podcast to use R-rated language. I’m just letting you know this up-front. Keeping it real. You may want to put in earbuds, depending on your situation.)
Now, lets get to it!Check out this saucy guest on The Blog Chronicles! This gal knows Personal Branding:
Interview with Andrea Beltrami
(For those who like to read.)
Matthew: Hey Dre, welcome to the show!
Andrea: Well said Matthew.
How the hell are ya?
Matthew: I’ll be doing great.
Matthew: Epic, yes. Hahaha…
Andrea: Hahaha… I love that word right from the beginning, lets just get it out there, EPIC!
You are epic for sure. I get your e-mails and even your e-mails can be quite epic, I’ll tell you.
Andrea: Thank you.
You know its kind of funny when you disassociate to something that you’ve been working on for so long, but you still identify it as really crappy. So the people who get my voice and enjoy it, it’s always so cool when they give me kudos.
It reminds me of still back in the day when I was a marketing robot and I didn’t know what my voice was. So it’s just like the best for me on the writing tips, because I’m just not a writer.
Well, we’re going to get into personal branding and even finding your voice.
Andrea: Yeah, that’s so huge, that’s a huge part of personal branding.
Matthew: Awesome, Yeah.
Well let’s get right into it then. You are one of the best known people I’ve seen out there that, you know focuses on personal branding and claims that their expertise is on personal branding.
So I thought that you would be a great guest to have on the show to talk about this.
How Dre Defines Personal Branding
Matthew: Lets start with personal branding.
How do you define personal branding?
Andrea: Honestly, personal branding, as a solopreneur, these brands are our heart and soul.
Personal branding and branding at its core is everything that represents you. So us as people, our interiors, it’s like our house and how we decorate.
Our colors and what we wear, our personal style and fashion and all that. So that’s an extension of who we are.
When we’re going meet someone, we automatically judge like, what they’re wearing, what their style is, like when we go to their house, right?
So that’s what branding is. It’s everything that you put out in the world, that’s going to represent your brand. That’s on the visual side, but it’s also shows like this is your ”voice” like I said and that is so huge.
It’s every single piece, it’s everything that you put out there that you allow people to judge and to base their impression on you.
But, it also goes that, once they do it, it’s that recognition. It’s knowing you a mile away.
Your friends know you, like they could just hear your voice, they could just hear a catch phrase and they’re like, ”oh my god, that’s her right”? ”She says that all the time”, It’s the same kind of thing.
(Consistency and Clarity)
So that’s what branding is like. The two foundations that branding is built on is – Consistency and Clarity.
So it’s knowing exactly who you are in all these areas and sticking to it.
I think if you were yourself, consistency would be much easier.
That’s the whole well and it’s a lot harder than it sounds.
Like I mentioned earlier with the marketing robot. I mean branding is my bread and butter, because it was when shit clicked for me. It was like, ”oh this is what everything is about”.
”This is the big bow that everything is wrapped in”.
It’s like that thing that gives you permission to be you. It’s actually counter intuitive to be Dre and to fit in with everyone and be in L.A and fit right into the crowd and not stand out like a sore thumb.
All these things are at society and especially in kind of corporate environments.That a lot of us have come from, are the bad, right?
We’re not supposed to have a personality, we’re not supposed to be ourselves. We’re not supposed to have all these things.
But really as solopreneurs and personal branding, that’s exactly what it is. It’s pulling out everything that makes you, you. Which we’re not all the same, that’s like the shit that makes us different. That’s what personal branding is about!
And it takes some soul-searching and it takes time to get that out.
You’re My First Potty Mouth Guest
This is funny, you know.
I haven’t done a lot of podcasts at this point. But you’re the first guest I’ve had that doesn’t try to censor their language. Hahaha…
Matt, you should have probably told me that in the beginning.
That’s the only rule I let people impose on me; is the ”foul mouth”.
Andrea: Respectively, I have a trucker mouth and I try to hold it…. but
Again that’s part of my voice. I do usually ask the Host like, “is it okay if an S or an F-bomb is dropped”?
So yes, feel free to beat those. Hahaha
I also take great pride in people when people filter me with the beat. For some reason that totally works my heart, it’s like, ”aaaaaah, they beat me.”
Matthew: We’ll see.
I’m not sure yet, but I think I’m just going to let it go and just see how my audience responds to it.
I could be your guinea pig.
If that’s okay, I’ll roll with it and I’ll curb them. So we have what? ”A nice little test case for you”.
Well thank you for being my experiment today.
How Important is Personal Branding to A Blogger?
When it comes to personal branding, how important do you think personal branding is to a blogger?
Andrea: I think it’s the foundation.
It is about theory. So if you know your voice as a blogger, that’s huge.
How many blogs do we read, that’s just regurgitated information off of Wikipedia and every other blog?
It’s about the personality, it’s about your writing style. I mean, if five people can write about Instagram and only one resonates and it resonates because of: How they write – Because of how they teach – Because of how they approach the material.
That’s a huge part of branding.
Same thing with our visuals, we gravitate towards things that we like looking at. So branding is the ”secret sauce” that’s standing out online.
I don’t care what niche you’re in these days it’s saturated. I mean, it’s the Internet for goodness sake. I mean it’s just so saturated, the only way to standout is through your branding and that is through consistency and through being YOU.
From the visuals to the voice to the approach, to the way your business model, right?
Even business models go to branding it’s like, ”Who are you for”? ”Who do you help”? ”What is your style”? Like we were talking about off Air. Whether it’s about doing videos about web shows or podcasts.
There are no rules. It’s about what’s most comfortable for you?
What’s going to be the best representation for you? So it’s huge.
How Can You Be Yourself and Please Your Audience at the Same Time?
Now I want to get into this at some point and this was down in my questions. Maybe I should just go ahead and ask you this.
Where’s the line between what you like and what you like as the person with the personal brand, versus what your audience likes and what they want?
How do you find that magic?
It has to start with you and the foremost reason for that is that you want to attract like-minded people.
So for me, I come out of the gate and purposefully the first sentence in my Bio is like, ”I’m a sassy California girl whose favorite word starts with an ”F” and rhymes with ”tuck”.
It’s like right at me.
Because I want people to… like, if you don’t like this sassy trucker mouth sarcasm… Out there straight-shooting? It’s really, no matter how much I know, you’re not going to want to learn from me.
So I need to do things that are totally authentic and genuine to me.
So that I attract the people who I like working with and that are genuinely going to like to work with me and be able to learn from me, because they resonate with you.
It does have to start with you.
But at the same time you have to be sure about who you are starting to reach. So a lot of people who are more on the corporate side of who they are trying to reach. They have these great personalities but have a little bit tougher time.
Because they know that they have to reach out in this way, that’s a little bit more formulaic and a little bit more sterile. But they want to infuse their personality so it’s a juggling act.
At the end of the day you have to know who you are trying to reach.
Who it is you want to work with? Who it is that needs you? And then you have to work around that based on who you are.
And at lot of times like I said at the beginning, like if you are who you are, it’s just a lot easier.
So you know, when you start off early with who you are like, ”I’m sassy, I’m classy, I’m straight-shooting”. ”I deliver tough love”, you know. I’m not that cuddly, I’m not going to stroke your ego for you for egos sake. You know what I mean? That kind of thing.
So for me that’s how I start with… Who I want to reach.
I mean for me I do personal branding, I’m a solopreneur for small businesses. I can, at the end of the day help anybody. But that’s not really true because my style is not going to resonate with them and my approach and my language and all that stuff.
So that’s why I start like, this is who I am. This is who I love to work with and then you dig really deep on that and say, ”well what are the qualities that they are?
If you look at my community, it’s a lot of women who are in the ”sassy pants”. They may or may not speak exactly like me, but they love the straight-shooting.
They love the fact that I say stuff that they were thinking, but they just don’t have the nerve to say that kind of stuff.
So it does have start with you, because you can only be as phony and as vanilla as you are for so long. You’re going to want to let little pieces out, especially if you’re working with clients one on one.
You know there’s really only so many hours that you can work with them before your personality and style and approach comes out. So that’s really where the balance comes in.
That who you’re reaching is still going to resonate with who you are.
But it’s not about being able to change who you are, it’s about being able to reach those people.
Matthew: So everything we see on your blog and your Blab Shows and everything that you do and every content that you produce, is it all really you?
Andrea: That’s all me!
That’s definitely a persona, you know what I mean, I have a softer side. But honestly, that’s not for me. It’s something like if I go out, I’m the loud mouth, obnoxious and I’m the chick that new people are like, ”is she for real”? And that’s really who I am.
You Don’t Have To Apologize for Being YOU
Andrea: I love the shock. I love the reaction.
So half the time when I throw foul words out there, I like the reaction when people say, ”oh my god, did you just say that?” Or the lecture is like, ”you know, you have such great material, you don’t have to throw those all those f-bombs at it… ”
It’s like, that really is me and that rebel inside, I like to push envelopes. I like to push to see where the line was. So it’s like, ”oh, okay that was the line, I just crossed it”.
So that’s really me and that’s why it’s just so much easier for me now and that’s why I love branding. It’s so, once I ”got it” and I gave myself permission to be unapologetically myself and not worry about the people I was going to alienate because they were going to hate me.
It made leaps and bounds and I think that’s what a lot of people struggle with, is that permission to be yourself. No matter who it is, you know whether you’re really quiet and shy and you feel you have to be out going to get attention.
Andrea: But that Matt, really is me.
When we were talking about video or podcasts? I like video, because I do feel a little bit more like I can be me. I feel that people could get a sense that you couldn’t be that phony.
I like the Blab Show, because you couldn’t be that phony for a hundred shows.
I couldn’t get it out of me, I actually go monkey and say dumb shit and you know… I couldn’t. I want people to understand that it’s not… I didn’t manufacture this, it isn’t like a double personality.
The camera goes off and it probably gets a lot sassier, like that’s the only thing I can say. People think I’m a lot… but that’s actually probably who I filter for online.
How Long Does It Take to Create Your Brand?
Matthew: You said that you reached a point where you said that you ”got it”, when it comes to personal branding.
How long did it take you and how long do you think it normally takes people?
Andrea: Maybe, it takes a good year or two, to be honest.
I mean when you’re starting from scratch, right? So a lot of people think I came out of the gate like, ”oh, you’re so successful at being a branded solopreneur”.
We had three brands before that totally tanked and they tanked for different reasons. A lot of it has to do with branding and consistency and clarity.
But I think it takes a long time, because there are so many different pieces.
A lot of people think that branding is just the visual side, but it’s like you can have great visuals and be all over the place with your strategy and your voice and where you are showing up in all the different areas of branding and it’s not going to do anything for you.
That great logos is not going to carry you very far if you don’t have the other pieces. So I think it just naturally takes a long time, because there’s a lot to learn.
There’s a lot that goes into it and there’s a lot to figure out.
Then we have the other side of the business, where you just have to deliver, right? It’s like if you’re a freelancer, you also need seven hours of your day to get the work done.
How many hours do you have to learn about, how many hours do you have to invest in creating the different things you need or researching the different things you need.
A lot of people (and this is me), don’t even get introduced to or even understand what branding is. Until they start asking questions like, ”well how do you stand out online”? Or ”how do people recognize you, how do you get all that”?
Then you start hearing this buzz word, ”branding” and then you start diving in. So I just don’t think on the solopreneurial level that it’s something that we are aware of.
But then again a lot of people see it as a luxury. It’s like I’m going to get started and I can’t invest in my branding until later, and that’s why there’s a lot of DIY stuff, because I just thinks that’s the worst thing in the world.
I think branding should be at the forefront, because like I said it’s about consistency and clarity. If you don’t have those things in your business it really doesn’t do it, those are the two things that are going to carry you on and on and on…
You Do Personal Branding Coaching?
Matthew: You do some personal branding coaching, is that right?
So I call it mentoring, because of course I like to use different words. I call my webinars many courses. Yeah and then again I do that because of most clients.
They need someone to talk to them about their unique business.
So it’s again, you can learn the foundations and the fundamentals of branding. In so many areas we get to this place where we’re just like, when you call me a hundred times, I’m just like stop making me automated like talking to this answering machine.
Just let me talk to a human being and talk to them about what my individual problem is that doesn’t fall into these nice little pretty buckets, that people created.
So I created my mentorship out of people just being like, ”can I just bend your ear for an hour”? and it sort of grew from there.
And I tackle any different piece of it, so sometimes it’s, you know they’re DIYing their visual brand. I just need someone who’s going to critique their stuff and head them in exactly the right direction.
Like tell them, tweek this, move this change that, you know… that kind of stuff. Sometimes it’s copyrighting, sometimes it’s helping them find their voice. Sometimes it’s helping them put a digital strategy together for marketing.
It’s just a way to get people’s one-on-one attention about your brand, because we are all different. Like I said, our formulaic is different, how we want to do things is different, who we’re reaching is different.
It would be great at the end of the day, it would be like, ”here’s our one size fits all solution”!
Andrea: It can be really tough doing it alone.
So a solopreneur, you need somebody that you can trust and somebody that gets you. Again, that’s where it comes in, I qualify my clients. These are the people I work with, that love my style and appreciate it and learn from it.
They don’t resent the tough-love or the straight-shooting.
They don’t want you to sugar-coat them, they want you to tell them exactly what you think needs to be done and then they’ll go do it.
What if I’m an Introvert or Shy?
That person you just described, I think that they could like you and like everything that you’re doing and want to do too what you’re doing and to some degree.
But they’re introverted or they’re much more quiet.
If you’re working with a client that’s introverted, how do you recommend that they find their personal brand?
Andrea: Well here’s the thing.
News flash, mind-blowing! I am thee biggest introvert in the world. So here’s the thing, an introvert isn’t shy.
Matthew: Yeah, that’s amazing!
Andrea: Yeah, people are like, ”you’re an introvert”? Well yeah. I’m not shy by any means.
Matthew: Yeah, right, there is a difference.
Andrea: There is totally a difference.
That’s a huge misconception that I didn’t know for a long time, I’m like, ”I’m not introverted”. No I totally introverted people exhaust me, which is another reason why I want to work out. I can go four days without actually interacting with somebody.
So that is, you know a lot of it is the mind-set, a lot of it is mentality, a lot of it is, helping them push through fears.
Here’s what happens as introverts is that we’re very internal, or we’re self-thinkers or we’re critical and we have this inner voice that is louder than any other personality types voice.
We psych ourselves out and we convince ourselves of these totally illogical things that feel so real to us.
So a lot of the work that I do, a lot of times has a lot to do with mindset than with logistics. So it’s like we’ll cover the mindset we’ll get them over the humps. That self-imposed crap that they’ve put on them and we’ll also get to the meat of what they really want.
So not what you think you can get – What do you really want?
And it is it’s a lot of mind-set and I think that’s one of the things that just separate me from a lot of the branding strategists and branding ninjas out there. I really tackle the mind-set too, because that’s been in your struggle and I think as solopreneurs that is more than half the struggle.
I think if we get out of our way, if we stop holding ourselves back.
I think if we stop letting other people hold us back, logistics is a lot easier once you know… go create this e-mail, we’ll create that e-mail and then go and create this product.
That’s actually not the hard part.
It’s getting out of your own way and believing that you can do this and doing it despite having no reason to think you’ll be successful.
So I tackle a lot of the mind-set.
Sometimes I’m just the counselor who care a lot less about branding than it is about EMPOWERING!
But like you said, I think that’s why a lot of people resonate with me, because it’s like I can get on the phone and I can’t tell you how many times they get off the phone and they’re ”pumped” they’re just ”stoked” They have hope again.
If you don’t have the hope and you’re doubting and you’re fearing? It’s so hard to get anything done!
How Can I Find My Voice If I’m Scared and Unsure?
Matthew: So how can a scared solopreneur out there find their voice?
What are some of the things they can do?
So I have blocks for exercises, so one is… and they sound funny and a lot of video ninjas say this.
So I have a couple of them, and one is, I like to just take a topic, like a funny story or something happened to you, like I went to the store and like, you know you have one of those bad days, alright? It just seemed like nothing happened, right?
So when we write that stuff and we totally disassociate with our voice and when we write that stuff, you’ll see how detached you are. You’ll see how formulaic and like how sterile it is.
Then go call your friend and record that and tell them the story, like in your actual voice with your cadence and all your positives and all that stuff.
Start to study that, listen to it again.
That’s why I did so many things where I would tell… even if it was teaching something. I would start talking about mind-set or I would start talking about what branding isn’t and how misunderstood it is.
When I would write it I would write it, like you know, branding seems like… it wasn’t in my voice it just seemed like it was so detached and I was writing this very vanilla thing and then I would call my friend and I would just rant. It would be like, ”oh, I used this word a lot”, or ” I used that word a lot”.
That’s why we started with ”EPIC”, I genuinely use that. Like I said genuinely, I said genuinely and literally all the time. I’m a Cali girl so I say ”like” a lot.
So you listen to the words you actually use, because when you’re writing at like an education level or at a corporate level you. You sanitize it down, when you write how you talk, it’s like it’s worlds different.
That means that really, really proper punctuation may go out. If you get my e-mails, you know like, the dot, dot, I’m famous for the dot, dot, dot, because I’m a rambler and my thoughts never quite done or you think it’s done and like, ”Oh, No”.
I also like a lot of inner monologue, but I’m like she’s… like, I’ll put in quotes, like she says with a snicker. You know that kind of thing.
So it’s about becoming aware of how you really talk, that’s the secret.
And when you see really good marketing, like Apple or Mac or Micro Soft, you’re like, ”damn, that’s a big brand, but they ”got it”, or they, ”nailed it” You know.
That’s the slang that we’re using or that’s the trend that’s going on. That’s when you see really funny commercials, it’s like they tapped into what people are actually doing and saying.
That’s the power of your voice.
Andrea: It’s really kind of using the real one and letting all that stuff we’ve been taught through school and through all that training and on the job training.
You’ve got to dump it and start over.
Name Your Favorite Personal Brands and Why?
Matthew: Who are some of your favorite personal brands and tell us why?
Andrea: I love Ashley Ambirge from Middle Finger Project. She is fantastic.
I love Melissa Griffin from Nectar Collective. She’s fantastic.
Marie Forleo. I feel like Marie Forleo is just kind of pioneered for the woman soldier,right?
Andrea: I mean she has a huge scene now and we can’t even… It’s apples and oranges now.
The girls in touch with herself and the girl is her and she gave a lot of women that were not so formal HOPE.
So I absolutely adore her.
I like anyone that is on the sassy side, it’s shocking I know. I think, because for me it was scary to see those people go out and do it and be successful. That was really empowering for me so I follow a lot of the one’s that are like… The Bearded Iris, Leslie Marinelli, like she’s a mommy blogger, right? And I’m not even a mommy.
And I read her stuff all the time and again it’s, like who’s this mommy blogger?
Every things so great and the children are la vie est little angles and The Bearded Iris came out and she calls her son ”bucket head” and she writes these hilarious stories and she shares these like just hilarious CMI stories.
But again, because that empowers me.
I still to this day get into those insecure moments, like ”oh my god, did I go too much”? Or I’m putting a new e-mail course together, it’s not the traditional formulaic, like it’s kind of like ”out there”.
And It took me a while to get the nerve up to commit to it, to be like, ”yeah I’m going to do this, lets just do it”!
I still took a fall, I still took a back-seat to those people.
Like for Ashley to name her brand ”The Middle Finger Project”? I was just like, you’re brilliant, you’re kick-ass, you’re amazing to me.
Be Yourself, You Won’t Appeal to Everyone
Matthew: That’s definitely being yourself and not trying to appeal to everyone.
You know what I’m saying?
Andrea: Yeah, and she’s hugely successful.
Matthew: Yeah, right.
Andrea: But, you know what? She’s not for everyone.
And I think that’s also something in branding, you have to realize you’re not for everyone. I don’t care what you do, besides in branding, in theory I could help everyone. But you ALWAYS have to understand, you can’t help everyone and you have to get real about that.
And those people, like I said the sassy brands that I named… You know, that’s why I adore them because I think they really embraced like…
”This is who I am”, ”take it or leave it”! And I think there’s so much power there… because I think, even at the end of the day and this has been my experience.
People will respect you for being YOU.
They may not like you, but they will respect you for being you. That goes along way. I have a lot of blogger homies that are like, ”I don’t know if I want to keep the F- word in there”?
But at least people would respect me, I mean you’re not going to hate me because I said that.
It may not be your style and it may not be for your people, but you’re not going to hate on my brand, because you understand and respect that, ”this is how I roll”.
Do You Get A Lot Of Flack For Who You Are?
Matthew: I do, yeah I do personally.
So you find that to be true in a lot of cases? Have you ever…
Andrea: I find that to be really true.
To be honest I don’t see that many haters.
When I see other people who are nearly as outspoken or kind of aggressive out there. They get more haters and I just don’t think that I’m so intimidating and scary.
I think it’s just like, I own it, whatever you want to tell me that I care about. I don’t care what you say. I don’t care how you feel.
If you don’t like it? tune out!
I mean, in my first e-mail, I kind of give a shield of who I am, and I say right there, ”if you don’t like it”, ”click unsubscribe, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out”.
I am just very unapologetic about it.
So I don’t really give them a platform that I care to hear.
And so why? I’ve had quite a few people just go, ”I can’t believe that you put that online”. But I totally respect you because it’s authentic to you.
Like a lot of people would get crap for putting that online, because that’s your brand that’s who you are, so I say kudos.
That has been my experience.
You’re Not Mean and Disrespectful, Right?
Matthew: So you’re sassy, but you don’t intentionally try to attack people, right?
Exactly, I’m not malicious, I’m not out there attacking anybody.
I’m just being me and if you don’t like it I genuinely don’t give a shit. That’s it you know. I’m not… Also when I say I’m tough-love and I’m straight-shooting, I never want to degrade anyone.
I never come from a place of breaking anyone.
I come from a very empowered, motivated and inspiring place. I just have a certain style that I deliberate. And for some people that’s still too much that’s still too off-putting.
But that’s why I’m not apologetic because I’m never mean or anything like that. I’m just very frank and I don’t think that you need to apologize for that.
Matthew: Yeah, exactly right.
Feelings are going to get hurt no matter what… and that’s also just something I dealt with my whole life.
I’m not for everybody right?
But I can’t apologize for being me when, like it wasn’t personal and you just didn’t like it and that’s your personal opinion.
So get over it.
Known Brands Can Be Cruel and Super Rude!
Some of the most polite and sterile personal brands out there, not just online, can be some of the most cruelest people?
Andrea: Yeah, exactly.
And you’re seeing… how about all these times when these brands are super rude to people on social media and then who goes viral because they were super rude.
And then people are like, ”oh my god”! Customer service at this place talks to you like that?’ Like, ”NO”.
I treat people with the UTMOST respect and that’s like … like you said… when people resonate towards me, I think that’s it. They’re like… ”How are you so real”?
”But you’re not rude”. ”You’re super empowering”! ”You just don’t sugar coat things, you just say it real”.
So like I said, personal opinion is a personal opinion. Everybody’s entitled to it but I’m not going to apologize for it.
I’m just going to say, “click off and get out.”
Did You Ever Cross the Line Creating Your Brand?
Matthew: Can you think of any examples of where you kind of crossed the line and you had some negative reaction?
Andrea: Okay so one lady stole my blog post.
Like an hour after I posted it. Stole it and posted it on her blog.
So now a lot of people would have… Okay so what I did was I gave her twenty-four hours to take it down.
I emailed her a very nasty gram and gave her twenty-four-hours (since she stole it in an hour) I’m like that’s pretty generous of me to give you twenty-four to take it off.
And if you don’t take it off, I’m going to blow you up on social media and I’m going to put you on Blast and you know this is the way it’s going to go.
Well she didn’t take it down. So I did. And there was definitely some push back on that.
You know people thought that was unprofessional and that I should have taken the higher road. I was like, ”Um… No”!
I just think that we’re in the social world and like I said, I gave her twenty-four hours. Considering she was able to steal the content in an hour that was twenty-three hours more than she deserved.
And I’m happy to be like, ”I guess I didn’t take the high road”.
I don’t see it that way, I didn’t apologize.
I don’t care if you don’t like it. Again, like, ”don’t read the posts”.
It was a five paragraph post. If you stayed to read the whole thing then you’re kind of a sucker if you didn’t like it. You should have stopped reading. Dah!
So it’s definitely… its approach and I get it.
Do You Have Any Regrets?
Matthew: Wait, wait, wait. Before we move on, do you regret doing that now?
Andrea: No. I would do it again. If anybody steals my work I’ll do it again.
Do you think it brings them more attention which might, I don’t know, ultimately get them what they want?
The attention they’re getting is negative. Everybody that went to their site left nasty like messages and… no, I do not.
I feel whatever attention they get is for that five seconds, you know what I mean?
If you get five thousand more visitors to your site this day;
A. That didn’t put any money in your wallet and
B. It just gave you more negative exposure. At our level it’s not like any exposure is good exposure. I think that’s the total high so no.
I may rethink it if it was some huge blogger. But a huge blogger wouldn’t do that. I do have some friends who have had a pretty big blogger plagiarise something from four or five different blogs I know.
And to be honest, I still would have done it with that person whereas all of them, you know they chose to keep her private.
I’m sure there’s a situation… it’s not totally black and white that I would do that to anyone. But yeah I feel like if you’re going do it then I have… and it’s my stuff that you stole?
Then yeah. So I would totally do it again.
Positive Results to Create Your Brand
Matthew: Dre, what are a few examples of positive responses to your branding that you’ve seen?
Andrea: I get positive responses all the time for being who I am.
People just really celebrating me for being unapologetic in the face of people who don’t think that you should be able to say those things or do those things. I get positive feedback about how real I am and about how raw I am.
I also share everything.
The good, the bad and the ugly so I get celebrated a lot for just being real. I’m like the first one, if I’m having an insecurity about something to admit it.
I’m the first one to admit like my struggles with depression. I’m the first one to admit that I have raging anxiety.
So I think that’s been the best thing and so cathartic for me.
To be able to share and to get the responses that’s like, ”you know we still actually think of you like an expert and an influencer” 🙂
That’s when I was like, ”oh, I made it to influencer status”!
But I have been able to do it by genuinely being me. I don’t sugar coat it, I don’t pretend to be who I’m not.
I’m just me and the fact that so many have been able to embrace me and learn from me and become such loyal brand ambassadors… to me that’s the best compliment I could ever get \0/
How Has Controversy Influenced Your Personal Brand?
Matthew: So in your opinion does controversy help or hinder a personal brand?
Andrea: I think it could go both ways.
I think it depends what the controversy is. I mean I think at some point.. what was it…the restaurant that was in Chicago this last week?
Where they asked the police not to come in anymore?
One of their ghetto attendants… I mean they were in a really bad neighborhood, said that they were not going to eat here anymore if you allow police to eat here. And the owner went over and asked them to leave.
Then the police department called them and said, ”we just want to make sure you’re really saying that you don’t want police to eat here anymore”
And it went viral.
No! I think those people are out of business. I think that restaurant is DONE. They got about five-hundred-thousand comments on their page about how, ”I used to go here”. ”I’m not going here anymore”. ”You guys should be ashamed of yourselves”.
So, no! I don’t think every controversy is good.
You can sink your ship really easily in this viral world but I don’t think it’s a bad thing to push against the norm.
I think that you know… that, that lower spectrum of that, actually helps you stand out.
I mean I think if I was really vanilla and sweet and I had those shiny white glossy graphics and I was really bubbly you know… and that kind of thing…
I don’t think I would have gained as much attraction as coming out of the gate with my darker colors and my sass and my foul mouth.
And you know, I think at a certain level it helps you stand out but I don’t think controversy in general is a good thing.
I think that you can go bad real quick.
What Gary Vaynerchuk Said About Personal Branding
Well I want to now shift to an article that Gary Vaynerchuk published several months ago.
It was on Medium and it was called, ”stop asking me about your personal brand and start doing some work”!
He talked about how before his YouTube channel, there was like ten years of silence where you can’t find any content from Gary.
He said, ”What was I doing then, working”.
So in the article Gary is saying put in the work first. Become knowledgeable on something before you start focusing on quote unquote ”personal branding”.
Somebody else that I read, then also has said, ”do the work and personal branding – will take care of itself”.
I’m just curious, do you agree with that?
Andrea: Well I agree with it to a certain extent.
I think that what Gary is saying is, you know you can build a brand. But if you don’t have an infrastructure behind it and if you don’t have the bones behind it, that it doesn’t matter.
It’s the same thing like I said. You can develop the brand but if you can’t deliver on anything and you’re flaky and you don’t have a menu to really buy from and you just become you know even just a personality or like popularity.
Like the whole celebrity movement that… what’s the point?
So I agree in that sense and I think that’s what he meant. And I also agree that you should not let branding hold you back. That’s another thing I see with a lot of my clients is that they want this perfect brand, right?
They want everything evolved.
They want everything defined and then they’ll go out and there’s this expectation that then they’ll be like just out of the gate successful.
I don’t think even if you did that with the best intention…I don’t think that if you’ve got twenty experts involved to build your brand and spent a million bucks … guess what?
In a year you’re going to evolve, you’re going to find your voice, you’re going to find your clients and things are going to change.
So I don’t agree with trying to build everything and then launch.
I think done is better than perfect.
I think it’s all going to evolve and like I said, I don’t think the things come together for a year or two anyway. I don’t care. I mean the ones that you do see that you feel like they came out of the gate successful?
I will almost say a hundred-percent guarantee, that if you ask them, if they had a couple of brands before?
That’s where they learnt everything.
Every single one of them I have talked to has had five to seven brands before this. So it looks like they came out of the gate but that’s not reality.
You Just Need To Start
I’m always telling people to do the same thing when it comes to blogging.
You know, instead of preparing and trying to get everything great and perfect before you launch, you just need to start blogging. You just need to go ahead and start.
You know it’s just natural for us to think that there’s people in line waiting. Nobody cares. You’ve got to launch to click it.
It takes momentum, it takes relationship building.
It takes consistency out there.
I don’t really care who you are, it’s just, you’re not really launching to anyone. So it’s like get it out there and then when people come and the other thing is I think we think there’s policers out there right?
There are so many haters and everything. That people are going to police and be like, ”you only have three blog posts and you launched”, ”Oh my god… You should have twenty blog posts”.
Or like, you just had a header but you keep on using different fonts in your images, ”oh, no, you shouldn’t have done that”!
GET OVER IT!
Nobody is going to call you out on this stuff, you know what I mean? Just get out there and get it done. I’m sure you know them too. How many brands do you know that got X far, like really successful with a landing.
They didn’t even have a list, they didn’t have a website.
They just did Facebook and it’s like there are no rules! It’s what you do. It’s what you make of it.
And I know people who have done it every which way and then are super successful and I know people who have done it every which way and been massive fails.
You Can’t Create Your Brand Without A Website!
I don’t know how you’re going to build an e-mail list if you haven’t started your website yet.
Andrea: Well how are you going to get traffic if you don’t start blogging?
What, Is someone just going to search your particular brand name in this big wide world of… You can barely find a dot com left?
And people are just going to buy into it?
Oh my god, what are the chances?
No. it’s not going to happen.
Even after you have how many thousands of visitors on social media. It’s so hard to get them to see your stop.
So get realistic and realize that there is this whole movement of ”success overnight” or ”get rich quick”.
It’s not realistic and if you’re comparing yourself to other people you are missing the ten steps before you got into the picture, that you didn’t see.
There are Plenty of Examples Out There
There’s always been examples of that way before the internet was even going on.
Andrea: Oh, yeah.
And there’s still like info graphics and J K Rowling was denied two hundred times.
Bill Gates and all the struggles that these people went through.
And it’s just too easy to compare their good to your bad and it’s not comparing apples to apples. But it’s natural and we all do it. And this is also what I think Gary was saying is, ”Put your head down and work”.
Stop comparing. Stop being perfect. STOP!
Just get your shit done and then worry about the other little stop. I mean there’s too much comparison going on with all this loss on social media.
Andrea: The hour that you spend going, ”This person got this, I’m never…” or… ”This person created this course and I was going to do a course on the same topic and now I shouldn’t do it,
Because they got five hundred people to buy it”?
Just get your own course done! Of course you can’t sell it because you don’t even have a course. Dah!
So I think that’s the other thing he was saying is, just put your head down and work. Don’t really worry about what anyone else is doing.
Just do what you need to do and go from there because once you start working it will kind of organically tell you where you need to spend your time and investment.
With Personal Branding, When Should A Blogger Reinvent Themselves?
Now Dre, for those who maybe already have a few brands under their belt, but they’ve been out there for a while. Out in the spotlight and they want to change their image. Some call it reinventing themselves or re-branding.
When it comes to personal branding, when should a blogger reinvent themselves?
Andrea: I think if there’s a disconnect – so anytime.
I have a lot of clients that come to me and it’s like you know, ”It just doesn’t feel right” and it’s… ”but do I really need to do this”. If it feels disconnected to where you’ve gone and a lot of times, like you said these people who launched a year or two ago.
You’ve evolved and maybe you didn’t know what you knew two years ago.
Or maybe where you’ve created…like I said, you found your legs, you found the right target market. You found your sweet spot in your niche and now what you’ve created is a disconnect… then it’s time.
It’s time to invest and it doesn’t mean that has to be from the ground up.
There’s always elements that you can save or reuse and there’s always a way to do things where you know… just like a house… Okay, ”we’ll do the bathroom first and then we’ll do the bedroom and then we’ll do the living room”.
There’s ways to do that but if you feel in your heart and soul there is a disconnect or you have shame, or you’re embarrassed to really stop, because you’re just like, ”This is just not good”. Then it’s time.
It’s time to make an investment and a lot of times you didn’t have an investment at the beginning so it’s natural that after two years it’s time to devote time to your personal brand and it also goes to a level of professionalism.
I mean let’s be honest. When the brand is evolved you see consistency, you see style. There’s a perception that you can be taken more seriously.
So when you get to a certain point I think it should be expected that it’s time to reinvent, re-brand, polish up…whatever it is that you want to call it.
Your Google Plus Cover Photo is Just Awesome!
Matthew: Dre you have one of the best Google Plus cover photos I’ve ever seen.
Andrea: Hahaha… Thank you.
Matthew: It’s really awesome.
Andrea: You see that’s just me.
Again I want you to know this is me.
How could you take that many pictures in totally different settings? Those are like over the course of years of parties and selfies. You couldn’t possibly be that silly and ridiculous consistently if that wasn’t really me.
So again that’s my whole thing of, ”I swear it’s really me people”.
If you the listener haven’t seen it be sure to check out Dre’s google Plus profile.
I’ll actually go ahead and link to it in the Show Notes.
Matthew: You obviously had a lot of fun with that.
Andrea: Oh yeah.
And to me that was like for showing the more personal side than putting a guide cover on there, you know like, ”subscribe to my list”. You know you hang out on Google Plus.
I think it’s a different beast.
It’s really about relationship building on Google Plus. It’s really about people connecting with people. So when they go to it, it’s like I don’t want it to say, ”opt into the list, this is drab”.
Again, pretty immediately it could be like, ”This chick is just out there and I can’t take her seriously”. Or ”I want to know a little bit more”. ”She looks fun”!
Matthew: Definitely is the case with that cover photo.
So Dre we’re now to the closing question that I ask all my guests.
Andrea: Nice. Hit me with it.
Matthew: Yeah, are you ready?
Andrea: I’m ready.
How Has Blogging Changed Your Life?
Matthew: Alright. Dre, how has blogging changed your life?
Andrea: Honestly… that is what helped me find my voice!
Being able to consistently write.
There’s twofold… One, it’s changed my life because it really did help me find my voice. It really helped me embrace what that was. If you read the articles from the beginning to the articles now you can really see my evolution in my voice.
And two, it has been a huge relationship builder so I feature a lot. That’s the other thing about my brand is that I try not to make things about me.
I love featuring other people.
I love giving kudos and shouting out and showering people with love. And it is two-fold because I would rather talk about other people and show other people’s examples than be like, ”This is how I did it” and ”This is my stuff” and ”Isn’t it so great”?
But two-fold it’s open doors to be able to start conversations with some of my idols and mentors and some people that I didn’t know how to approach. I was like, ”How do I approach them”? What…do I just start kissing their butt on social media?
How do you start a certain conversation with these people?
Well, featuring them and sharing them off one of my posts has helped and it’s also helped me create my content style.
That’s the third thing, I’m not a writer.
I am on the visual side of things when it comes to how I like to teach and how I like to put content together and blogging was kind of like my laboratory.
I would do a blog like this and then I’d be, ”nah. I don’t really like that”. I would find my style when it came to content and how to write a sales-copy and how to write landing pages and how to write blog posts and that kind of thing.
So to be honest I’m not a huge blogger.
I don’t identify with being a blogger but blogging itself I will give a ton of credit to.
Where I’ve come since I launched the brand new tool appearing at the end of 2014.
Without blogging I don’t think I would be half as far as I am.
Like I said…I think of it as my laboratory. It’s where I test things out. It’s where I pour my heart and soul.
It’s where I’ve been able to connect with people.
How To Connect With Andrea Beltrami.
Matthew: Dre, if people want to follow you, where can they connect with you?
Andrea: I’m pretty much a little bit everywhere but my main hangout spots now are;
and Instagram and I am: Dre@drebeltrami on all of them.
I have my private Facebook group; The Bad Asshole Here Society and that is really like, I call it our lounge.
That’s where Happy Hour is where we hang out. That’s my little slice of it. It’s my virtual lounge for all my peeps.
But pretty much everywhere.
Just search – drebeltrami
and I’ll probably pop up at a certain point but Instagram and Twitter and Facebook are where I really spend my time.
My LinkedIn? it might take me two months to go back to. So I wouldn’t pop on there.
But yeah definitely search me out.
Give me a holler and shoot any questions my way. I’m one of those approachable people who will actually message you back 😉
So if you guys have questions? Lob them my way and I will lob an answer right back your way.
Matthew: Sounds great.
Dre it’s been awesome having you on The Blog Chronicles today.
Andrea: Yeah I know.
It’s been in the works for a while. We had to cancel.
So I’m so glad we were able to make this happen. I’ve been looking forward.
I had you on my show and I was super stoked to be able to be on yours.
So thank you for Hosting me and let me know how this test went.
Don’t hold it against him guys if the ”foul mouth” is not for you.
I’ll let you know what the feedback is.
Andrea: I want to know!
We’ll keep you posted Dre.
Andrea: Sounds good.
Matthew: Yes, so I’ll see you later.
Andrea: Thanks so much Matthew. Later.
Matthew: Take care.Here’s a fabulous interview with the Badass Solopreneur herself–Dre Beltrami!
Thanks for tuning in to this episode of The Blog Chronicles.
If you enjoy the show please subscribe on YouTube or iTunes and leave a rating or review to help other bloggers find us.
If you want to chat on Twitter, look up @buildurownblog
Next Time On The Blog Chronicles
In the next episode we’ll be talking with eighteen year old Marc Guberti, who started his first online business in middle school.
His story powerfully demonstrates that when it comes to internet success, there are no age restrictions. He’s earning income and helping other teens tap into their entrepreneurial dreams too.
While attending school.
We’ll find out how he does it on the next episode of The Blog Chronicles.