“Clarity is power.” (author unknown)

Over the years, the one challenge most of my consulting clients have in common is still the same: a struggle to define themselves.

Sound familiar? Most of them know what their business is about and what they have to offer their customers, but they lack clarity about how to wrap it all up into a “neat little package” so it makes sense to their prospective customers.

Which is why I decided to create my online course: Origin Stories: The Ingredients for Your Unique Brand Recipe.

Several extremely smart and enthusiastic groups have undergone the intensive study of themselves, their target market and the storytelling process. And guess what? They’ve come out the other side with new clarity about who they are and how to leverage that for their branding.

I love this course for three reasons:

  • Helping folks get to those a-ha moments is a total rush;
  • The camaraderie and the generous sharing of ideas among the cohorts inspires everyone; and
  • Everyone really works hard to uncover and create new branding and messaging that they can feel great about.

An important part of the course is the focus on finding the right mix of metaphors and symbols that help tell your branding story. And while everyone who’s completed the class so far is in a different stage of implementation/rollout, these four students felt ready to share themselves with the world:

Larry Guyer, of A la Carte Digital Studios came to the class for a brand refresh.

During the course, he discovered that he’s very much a “MacGyver of graphics.” Here’s how he now talks about who he is and what he does:

Sometimes you can stumble onto your career path without even realizing it. With the purchase of a $25 dollar film developing kit in high school, I started my long and winding journey as a professional photographer. I’ve done it all…photojournalism, senior portraits, weddings…but my passion has always been product and food photography. I learned the trade in the era of the Craftsman…when the images on film had to be perfect…no benefits of Photoshop in those days! I still give that same 100% effort on every job to produce great images at a fair price. Photography is at the heart of most graphics projects, from trade shows to websites, so my clients began asking me to handle all aspects of the job – from design through printing. I guess I’ve became the “MacGyver of graphics” because every project is like a puzzle…trying to find the right pieces to make the job as good as it possibly can be…sometimes having to come up with some unexpected solutions. Taking on new challenges and delivering high-value results without breaking the bank is my goal. My clients keep coming back for more…so the extra effort seems to be well worth it.

Larry graciously offered up a testimonial about his experience: I always looked at my business as something that I started so I could do the kind of jobs I liked. I thought it was just because of me…but the course showed me that my business really WAS me! I was the “secret ingredient!” The ideas I gained were way beyond anything I might have come up with by myself. I still don’t have all the answers…but certainly have a much better foundation of knowledge to help me make some decisions on where and how to modify my business image and marketing plan in the future. Thanks Tea…it was time and money well spent!

Nancy Meadows of Nancy Meadows Interior Design had also been in business for awhile.

She just couldn’t seem to nail down a message that resonated with both her prospective clients and herself. About mid-way through the course, she came to see how she was like the “Doris Day of Interior Design” — and this became a great shorthand for expressing her down-to-earth personality and sense of style to her prospects.

Here’s what she had to say about the class: I have taken many marketing classes over the last few years and they were all great. The problem was I couldn’t take much action on all that I learned. I was missing some critical information that I needed before I could market myself and my business at all. I could not for the life of me find the words to express my brilliance (something we all have.) What made me unique, and how on earth could I find ideal clients without knowing? How could I explain, in words, my special talents? And then it happened. Somehow I found my way to Tea, invested in her “Secret Sauce” program and FINALLY began to find those words that had eluded me for such a long time. I found my own “recipe.” I’m still a work in progress and always will be, but Tea through her own unique method, showed me the right path to travel. I’m no longer confused and I’m so grateful. Thanks, Tea!

Flora Brown, PhD of Color Your Life Published joined us needing to meld three different brands in a way that made sense.

It wasn’t long before she realized that her love of travel, learning and adventure were a perfect theme that could bring everything together.

She explains:This course helped me discover the pattern among all the ingredients of my background, aspirations, favorite things, experiences and even quirks that contribute to my secret sauce. For the first time in my entrepreneurial life, I’m clear on my ideal client, realize the value I offer my clients and am ready to share my magic with the world. The exercises, inventories, resources, videos and feedback were the right mix to stir my imagination and creativity so I could see and communicate my life and mission in a new way. The result was my first-ever manifesto. I’m especially grateful for encouraging me by example and directly to use social media and other tools to get my message out in a bigger way.

Rachel Rubin of Playing Internet was struggling to find a metaphor and theme that would speak to her audience.

It took a little while, but soon she was able to see that her ever present love of music was the perfect fit — and she already had the right name for her business! (She originally chose ‘Playing Internet’ for a totally different reason.)

Listen to what Rachel says: Tea helped me find my tune! I had so much fun going through the exercises in the first few modules. [They] let me get to know myself and articulate my values and beliefs. The Word Chef Secret Sauce Workshop helped me tell my story and find a theme to brand my business in a way that is truly me. I’d be still lost and trying to figure out that something special if Tea hadn’t coached me through my big “aha” moment during our sessions. A big “thank you” to Tea for offering this workshop!

The fabulous thing about teaching, is that I always learn from my students. And then I take those tidbits and incorporate them into the next class — so we just keep getting better and better. This time around, I’m including several new pieces of content — including live Q&A calls with three folks who I believe have really done their branding well: Nicole Fende, the Numbers Whisperer™, Tori Deux of Circus Serene (this year’s winner of the Tastiest Small Biz Brand award); and the one and only Fabeku Fatunmise, the Business Awesomizer and Suck Exorcist. If you’ve been thinking that now is the time to find clarity about your own branding, the stars have aligned!

The course is now available as an on-demand/self-study program here.