Why You've Got To Check Out Today's Episode:
Hi there. I'm board certified professional organizer Kathi Burns. I'm really glad you're here. This podcast is designed for busy entrepreneurs just like you, who wanna take better control of your business and move forward with less stress and more success. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for coming. The Organized Energized Podcast is produced for your enjoyment and show notes are found at thepodcast.organizedandenergized.com. Come back often and feel free to add this podcast to your favorite RSS feed or iTunes. You can also follow me on Twitter at Organized Energy and Facebook. All links are in the show notes.
Now, let's get into the show.
[00:00:46] Kathi Burns: Hi everyone, this is Kathi and I am today speaking with Susan Friesen. She owns E Vision Media, and we're gonna talk about how to leverage your brand positioning to uplevel your business and profits. We all wanna do that, right? We need more business and more profits, and Susan is great to talk to because she's a visionary brand strategist who provides guidance for business visionaries to help them create a customized plan for their professional online present. That way they can build their business with ease and greater confidence. So let's jump into it and let's talk to Susan. Hi everyone. I'm back with Susan Friesen. We are gonna talk about branding. We're gonna talk about how to be more visible and have more, more cohesive brand, and we're gonna jump right into it. And welcome Susan to the show.
[00:01:34] Susan Friesen: Thanks for having me, Kathi. I'm so excited to be here today.
[00:01:37] Kathi Burns: Yeah, we're gonna have some fun. So gimme a little bit about your backstory, like how did you become the branding expert?
[00:01:45] Susan Friesen: Yeah it was definitely not something that I set the intention on doing. I've been doing this for over 20 years and really I got into this business accidentally. I had no intention of running my own business, but one thing I did know is that I got into this industry because I knew the future was that contraption that was sitting on my desk called the computer that I had no idea what to do with, couldn't even send an email. But I knew that was the future, and so I set my sights on figuring out a career path using it.
[00:02:17] Kathi Burns: Wow, that's pretty amazing. I know in the beginning of my career, I've been doing about 19 years. I kept blowing up computers. I kept getting that bomb sign on my Mac and, it was like trial and error. So that's pretty good. So what did you start out, or what did you do prior to starting your, launching your own company?
[00:02:32] Susan Friesen: You mean what did I do before all of this? I've been an entrepreneur at heart for a long time, but it was never all that serious. Like I had a cottage craft business back in the eighties when, the Christmas crafts and the country crafts were all the rage. I did some full finishing. I worked at a telephone answering service, like I was all over the map. But then once, once I figured out, okay, it's gotta be in the computer, and then I went to Vancouver Film School to learn multimedia and I haven't looked back since.
[00:03:03] Kathi Burns: Wow. Okay. So what's your big takeaway? If you had to say as you think back on your Vancouver film school studies, what's a big takeaway that you came away with that what from learning about media.
[00:03:15] Susan Friesen: Oh it just solidified that I knew I was in the right place. You know that feeling when you hit upon something and you just know that you are in the right place at the right time. And that's what happened to me. And I just dove in and learned everything I could soaked it up and of course, we're talking over 20 years ago. So everything online was very new and exciting back then as well. And I remember l learning and hearing that back then, the only people who made money online were porno websites.
[00:03:51] Kathi Burns: And it might have been true, I don't know, maybe that,
[00:03:54] Susan Friesen: It probably was.
[00:03:56] Kathi Burns: And here we are on Zoom and on YouTube and on all every single thing we can think of. Yeah, that's fantastic. Tell me about when you launched your agency. So you said it was by accident, which is ironic, but I find that people lunch businesses, whenever, like you said, you get that click and you're like, that's what I love. That's what I can do. Talk to me about the first client that you landed for your company.
[00:04:20] Susan Friesen: Oh my gosh. You're really asking me to tap into my brainwaves here, my memory cells. So what happened was I was the webmaster for the Vancouver Film School. I got that job right out of the multimedia program I'm sorry, the webmaster for the Vancouver Sun and Province. I mixed up those two words. And so that's our local newspaper here in BC Canada. And and then after about a year and a half, that position was let, they just decided they didn't need a webmaster anymore. And so at that point, I decided to go back to school and get my business degree in computer Information Systems. So while I was studying that I needed something to do with my time. So I started to go out to these women's networking groups and I had no intention, like I said, of starting my business. I wanted to be a chief information officer at some big corporation. And but so it was cool that I had that mindset because when I went to these networking events, I wasn't there with dollar signs in my eyes. I wasn't there seeking my next client. They just naturally came to me because they knew that I knew what I was doing and all, and everything was just coming up. Everybody wanted to start their own business and I had all kinds of women coming to me saying, Hey, I hear you do websites. Can you build me one? I go, sure. And they get a really great deal because I wasn't a business. It was just, a hobby at that point. And I would say there's about three clients who are still with me today, and we're talking like 18 years later. They're still with me. Many of them, they, I think they all have different businesses now, but one is a music teacher. The other taught cooking classes and and the other one was a home stager and, yeah, I just absolutely love. That's, that was part of why I ended up running my own business is because I found, I discovered how much I absolutely loved helping women on, especially women entrepreneurs, build their business and just do be that helping hand be that lending hand to get them on the right track.
[00:06:28] Kathi Burns: I think that's so fantastic. First off, I have to laugh because the newspaper, they no longer needed a webmaster. Now I'm sure they have a staff of five webmasters, doing their tech stuff. It's okay, now we're not gonna need a webmaster. But the fact that you launched, I remember back when I launched, trying to get someone that was decent to design a website that didn't, make you bankrupt was like a big thing. You couldn't find any. I spent tens of thousands of dollars on website development way back in the day for things that didn't even really work. And so you launched it the perfect time. And I love the fact, I think this is a good takeaway too for the listeners out there that you know, when you go into a networking event, don't walk in with dollar signs in your eyes. Walk in with, how, here's my expertise. How can I be of service? Or here's my expertise. What do you need to know? How can I assist? Not like you're trying to land a client and that's why, then you become the magnet. So I think that's fantastic.
[00:07:26] Susan Friesen: Yeah. And it is. I still preach that to this day. It's just so important because we can viscerally feel it and that's, I have evolved into being this brand strategist, right? And it's all about your brand positioning. And if you walk into a room, With that neediness about you, people will sense it. It's that visceral feeling that they'll see. They'll sense it and you'll repel them. They'll walk away. They don't wanna have to talk to somebody who's just desperate for a sale.
[00:07:54] Kathi Burns: Because there must be something wrong. Even though they're might not be, it is just, we just have that instinct about us for sure. As a brand strategist, what do you think is the most important thing when you're looking at your website? What's the thing you should look for to see if you're going astray for where you're messaging or your brand new or whatever. Where do you look to start?
[00:08:14] Susan Friesen: You know that, that's actually a really loaded question because brand positioning is big topic, and it's everything to do about your business. And of course, yes, your website is like the storefront version of your business, whether you, even if you have a brick and mortar store or not people still expect to see an online presence, and so it's that first impression that is going to make or break whether or not you have gained the trust of the person coming to the site and whether or not they feel like they have landed in the right place. And so we look at the visual component. Obviously the visual is the very first thing that people see. And they get an instant reaction is, some people say you have five seconds to create a an a positive impression, but it's actually five milliseconds. And so that instant response needs to be looked at. So visually how it looks and does it represent your brand positioning properly. And I could talk for an hour about this.
[00:09:17] Kathi Burns: I know I gave you such a wide open question, but you just keep going.
[00:09:21] Susan Friesen: Okay. Yeah. I'll just focus on the visual part because of, because it is that instant impression. If you've lost them in that first instant impression, then it's really hard to get them back and they've hit the back button and they're on, moved onto your competitor, you've lost them. So that, that visual first impression needs to depict your brand personality and it needs to showcase immediately what you do. And it's and I say that, but it's actually the opposite. It's not, it is about what you do, but it's more about how can you help the person who has come to the website? Is there an alignment there? Do they get that you get them and their challenge or whatever it is that they're looking for, they're instantly looking to see if they've landed on the right place. And so the headline, the text, the visuals, how the copy is written, all of that needs to resonate with them to gain the trust that they need to feel before they will make any next step. And so that's it in a nutshell. And that visceral response is very important too. And I'm sure you and our listeners and our watchers today have also experienced that feeling. You don't know why, but you've gone to somebody's website and there's just that. Huh? That sense that I'm, and then you go you don't even wait to find out any further. You don't scroll nothing. You just go, and that's what I talk, that's what I mean about that visceral feeling. They need to know immediately that this person can be trusted and that it's up to date and it doesn't look like a 1980s website and all that kind of stuff.
[00:11:03] Kathi Burns: Or like a 30 year old headshot, but of course they don't know that anyhow. But you can tell. And what about colors? How do you feel about colors? I've been, as an image consultant, I think colors are really important and I find people getting taking down the road of a webmaster, telling them what colors they should use because what's current and as opposed to what colors are they? What are their colors? What, how do they vibe? How do you feel about that?
[00:11:27] Susan Friesen: Oh yeah. I'm so with you there, there is no way a webmaster should be telling you what colors you should be using unless they are very well versed in branding and brand positioning, because the color it's very strategic and it is all about Resonating again with your ideal client and depicting your own brand personality. Your own brand essence has to come through in the colors that are chosen. And so there is color theory involved. So for instance if you're a bank, that's why we typically always see banks in, in using some sort of a shade of blue, because blue resonates with the word trust. But they're also like, there's variety of different blues. I'm wearing a blue looks like you're wearing black today, there's lots of different blues that you can use that will still depict your brand essence and be able to accurately describe, what kind of personality that you have, and that will still resonate with your ideal client. But at the end of the day, it does all depend on who your ideal client is, what their expectations are of you, what are they looking for in you and what kind of experience are they expecting to get from you? And color actually plays a role in all of.
[00:12:49] Kathi Burns: Yeah, I truly believe that. So tell me about a time when you felt like you were just, okay, so you're jamming out, like you got all these clients, you landed clients, you didn't even think you were gonna land clients. Now you have all these clients. And tell me about a time when you just felt like you were a little bit overloaded and overwhelmed, and what did you do to get yourself back in alignment? And moving down the road of having a happy Susan.
[00:13:11] Susan Friesen: What makes you think I've done that?
[00:13:15] Kathi Burns: Because you got a smile on your face and I know you're really good at what you do.
[00:13:19] Susan Friesen: No I'm just teasing. As every entrepreneur goes through, there's always these phases as we go through our business life cycle and the very first time that I started to feel overwhelmed at that point in time, I was a one person show. I did everything. I did the website design and the development and the marketing. Because I'm a generalist, even though my specialty is in brown positioning, I'm a generalist in everything to do with creating an online presence and marketing it. And over the years I've learned a lot. And but this is early on, probably a couple years into it and I was getting overwhelmed and I was realizing at that point in time that, okay, it is time to make a shift. And one of the best pieces of advice that I ever received was hire you weaknesses and focus on your strengths. And so I knew that because technology, especially back then, still now was moving at such a rapid pace. I could not keep up with that. The way websites were built back then are night and day to how they're built now. And so my first hire was a a student programmer at the local college. And that immediately relieved me of that stress and overwhelm, cuz now I can just delegate all of that techy stuff over to him. And I didn't have to put that pressure on me to stay on top of it. I needed to still know what was going on, what was changing, what was needing to be done, but I didn't no longer had to put that pressure on me to learn how to do it all. And I think that's a big lesson that any entrepreneur can learn from is you don't need to know how. You just need to know what and know who to delegate to, who can take over that, how for you.
[00:15:01] Kathi Burns: That's really solid advice. I say that all the time and and also job out what you hate doing, even if you can do it.
[00:15:08] Susan Friesen: Why do something you hate you, you didn't start your business because you want, you wanted to do all this stuff that you hate doing.
[00:15:15] Kathi Burns: Exactly. Precisely. I love that. So what's your favorite organizing hack? Whenever you're working all along throughout the week what do you love? You have a program that you like or a practice that you do.
[00:15:28] Susan Friesen: Part of my DNA is being strategic and organized and detail orientated. So I've built my life around strategy and keeping organized. I can't fathom not being organized. And so that's an interesting question because, everything I do is probably could be refined, but it is organized. But I think there's two tools that I use every day, all day long. One of them is Microsoft Outlook. It is not just for my email, but even that as a client requests come in. I keep it organized on who I delegated it to and so that I know exactly where we're at any given moment. But it also helps me with my tasks and my calendar. My calendar is hooked up with my calendly and so that appointments can be coming in and my calendar is automatically updated. There's just so many things about Outlook that I love. As opposed to using something like Gmail, which I can't fathom using for running a business with. And the other tool that I use all the time is Evernote. And speaking of, keeping track of everything that's going on, my Evernote is full of notes, and it's all nicely organized in categories. And, it's easy for me to go and find what I need to know at a moment's notice. And I sit here with three monitors in front of me. My Evernote is always open in this monitor. My Outlook is always open in this monitor, so I'm good to go.
[00:16:55] Kathi Burns: I love it. I need you would to have some strategies there. And Outlook is good for sure, I do use Google Suite for everything, but I also love Evernote. And I love the fact that you can take Evernote everywhere with you. Can be on any device that you need it to be on like that. So that's a brilliant thing. What would you tell your younger self if you had to give her some advice right now and you're looking at your 17 year old and you're gonna say to yourself, what?
[00:17:25] Susan Friesen: Oh, that's you know what when I look back at who I was, back when I was 17, 18 years old I had a really bad case of not believing in myself. So definitely if I could give myself that advice, believe and trust in yourself and stop waiting for outside people and things and miracles to happen that all of a sudden you're gonna have that self-confidence that you need. I really lacked that self-confidence back then.
[00:17:53] Kathi Burns: Yeah. And it takes growing up to get that oftentimes, but it sounds like you really went on your way and found your path pretty quickly. So your intuitive nature knew what you should be doing anyhow, whether you believed it or not. And obviously when you got into the networking part of it, You had that inner, you know that inner, oh, people are like, Ooh, I like her. Maybe she knows what she's doing.
[00:18:14] Susan Friesen: Yeah. Because that all builds in that trust, right? So even today in today's world, my advice would be is to stop thinking that you're an imposter and that you don't know everything yet and you haven't learned everything yet, and your ducks aren't all lined up in a row yet. Because people will pick up that vibe, just like what you said. They will pick up on it. That huh There's something off about her. She doesn't quite give me the confidence that I need in order to get where I need to be. And so it's important.
[00:18:44] Kathi Burns: So tell me about a recent win, something that just really made your bell, your heart sing, or your bells ring recently that happened to you. And the second part of is how do you celebrate that?
[00:18:56] Susan Friesen: Yeah. Recent wins. I downplay my wins and I'm, that's really bad.
[00:19:01] Kathi Burns: I'm asking this question to all my podcast guests because I realized that I didn't do it either. And so really 2023 is all about let's celebrate. Let's figure out how to celebrate. Let's not underplay our greatness. Let's celebrate even the smallest little thing is a win. Let's learn how to acknowledge it and celebrate it, because then we get more.
[00:19:23] Susan Friesen: Oh, yeah. I love that. And that's such a great thing. I think I'm gonna make that a part of my year this year too, because I'm notorious for going, yeah, that was great. And then, de played it. But it's a few things that I'm very proud of that, that are considered wins is we won a few years ago, the Abbotsford, which is where I lived the Absher team of Commerce best home-based business of the year and also we won twice the it wasn't a win, it was in, we landed in the top five finalist for the best company in BC through the small business BC Awards. We did that, we met that twice, and it was quite an extensive process to, for all of both of those awards. It was quite an extensive process. It wasn't just voting. It was doing a presentation in front of a panel of judges and so I'm very proud of that. And sometimes many times I forget to mention it.
[00:20:20] Kathi Burns: You have that little logo all over your website, right? And on your business cards, small business of the year. This is what we do. We are like, okay, onto the next thing. When I publish my book, it's oh, now I have to market. I didn't even stop to celebrate the first time. So I'd like you and everybody listening to think about when you have wins, no matter how small or how big, how are you going to celebrate? What does that mean to you? What is a celebration to you? And let's think about that because oftentimes, I don't know, how do I celebrate? I don't know.
[00:20:53] Susan Friesen: One thing that I do and it's habit that I have formed over the last year or so on and off before then is to every night write in my gratitude journal. So that to me is a mini celebration of just being, writing down what I'm grateful for that day whether it's big or small. And I think that makes a huge difference because when we start focusing on all of the positive things that happened to us, universe is just gonna give us more of that.
[00:21:18] Kathi Burns: Especially right before we go to sleep. You wake up with what you go to sleep with. So gratitude journals at night are awesome. Love it. I knew we resonated. That's great. Is there anything that I should have asked you that we haven't really talked about yet that you really wanted to tell the audience?
[00:21:34] Susan Friesen: It's more and more prevalent in my mind when, especially when we see on social media how many entrepreneurs, especially the females, are struggling, they're just not getting where they wanna be and they're and they wanna keep, blaming this, blaming that or whatever. And part of that struggle is there are talk about, putting ourselves down and not having that confidence. And part of that is a little bit of self degradation of not being like her over there, not being like that person and not having the success like that person does. And when I take a look at who these people are who are really struggling I realize that a lot of them are visionaries and visionaries typically don't that detail orientated mindset, right? So they have lots of vision, lots of ideas, lots of things gone the works, they're always going, they're always moving, but nothing ever gets to fruition enough for them to actually start reaping any of the benefits of their vision. And they start beating themselves up because they're not being able to finish what they've started and I wanted to kinda share that's okay, that's who you are. And I'm not a visionary, so I would love to have a little bit of that d n a, but it's not in your D n A. And and this is where when we were earlier talking about delegating, this is where it's so important to start to realize that this is the time you have to delegate to the person who can be that detail oriented person like you. That you need, not like you, but you need to have the yang to your yen or whatever in order to be able to actually fulfill what it is yet you do. And I find that's the kind of person who I really attract a lot in my business, the ones who need that person to take their big vision and break it down to bite size pieces and be able to give them the strategy that they need. And keep them on track with that strategy and fulfill it right to the very end. . Otherwise it's a uphill battle if you're gonna try and do that all by yourself.
[00:23:35] Kathi Burns: Yeah, I agree. And visionaries have a hard time with that. And something that you touched on before too is, comparing yourself to others, that's just silly because you are like no one else. So comparing yourself to others is just demoralizing and degrading because it's making yourself less than. So I appreciate you saying that as well. So talk to me about, I know you probably have a free gift for the audience something they can download that will help them come up with a better branding, a better message. Just a better overall presence with their company. What is it that you'd like to offer?
[00:24:06] Susan Friesen: Yeah, I've got a free report. There's actually a couple things. First of all on my social media, I offer a lot of tips and strategies and information and even motivation and all that kind of stuff on social media. So if you go to my website, e vision media.ca and just scroll down to the bottom, all of my social media accounts are there. Just go ahead and follow me. But I also have a website guide and it's for we were talking about, that first impression of your website, right? And so I have a website guide to tell you what you need to know in order to make sure that your website is actually giving the right impression to the right people. So it's called Six Critical Steps to Creating a Successful and Profitable Website. And and if you just go to business website guide.com, it's a free download and go ahead and grab that.
[00:24:56] Kathi Burns: Nice. Nice. And I'll have the links below, obviously in the show notes. But I love that you have a free, that you have a website for the actual download that's good Marketing girl. I really appreciate your time and I know that people have learned a lot and I wish you a fulfilling and fantastic 2023 filled with a lot of celebrations. As with everybody else that's listening out there, let's go ahead and celebrate girls. Let's do it.
[00:25:21] Susan Friesen: Yes, celebrate. Let's do it. Awesome, and thanks so much, Kathi. I really loved our conversation today.
[00:25:27] Kathi Burns: Absolutely. Thank you for your time.
[00:25:29] Susan Friesen: Oh, you're welcome.
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