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Are you hiding a part of who you are from your brand and your audience out of fear of the response? I sat down with David Thimmesch and he shared his story about a HUGE transition he made in his personal brand, why it was such a hard decision, and how YOU can do the same in your business and your brand. Bottom line…your authenticity is your brand.
With over 8 years of agency experience as a copywriter, David transitioned to starting his own business during the pandemic. From there he found a passion for helping individuals to not just be given fish, but to teach them to fish. That is to say, not just doing work for them to help build their brand, but to teach them how to understand and build their own brands. After discovering an audience of other Christians like himself, he transitioned his business to working with other believers to help empower them to grow their businesses.
David admits building his business and his brand has been quite the journey. He always encourages everybody he connects with to think about the idea that you don’t have to just show up and have it all figured out right away. You just need to get out there. Putting yourself out there and then learning along the way is perfectly okay.
In fact, people love to see the journey and the progression.
David started his business as a branding/marketing/writing DONE FOR YOU business. Then once he got involved in getting on LinkedIn and connecting with people, he found so many people who just loved engaging with what he was talking about. But they wanted more individualized coaching. They wanted somebody to help them to build their own brands.
David transitioned what he was doing in order to create a program to help them to do that called The Brand Maker. Coincidentally, so many of them were Christians, as is David. This became such a pillar of the business. He is now coaching and working with christian solopreneurs to help them better define their brands, clarify their audience, and increase their qualified leads.
David’s #1 tip.
David’s biggest tip is also kind of the hardest. It seems so simple. But simple doesn’t always mean easy. You have to allow yourself to be fully yourself. He always tells his clients that if you’re not afraid to push send on a post, then you may not be saying something worth listening to. When you’re putting yourself out there authentically, there are going to be people, your people, that are going to connect with what you’re saying.
There is this idea that people feel the way you feel. And the reason you’re scared to post something is because no one is talking about it. No one is talking about it because everyone is scared to talk about that thing. So if you’re willing to be courageous and step into the person that you’re meant to be, people are going to be drawn into connecting with that.
This is why he says just because it’s simple doesn’t make it easy. People don’t do it because when you’re actually truly vulnerable about things that are difficult and hard to talk about, that’s not easy to put out into the world.
When I met with David, we talked about a lot of different things.
But during that conversation, I don’t think he mentioned that he works with christian entrepreneurs. I remember seeing the post of him really sharing that that was something that was really important to him. It was something that was so important to him in his life, but he was afraid to put it out there as part of his business. But David made that transition to authentically sharing this with his audience.
What allowed David to push beyond that fear and make that shift in his brand?
You have to share your journey. People are going to be with you on your journey. They’re literally watching it happen and watching that transition. This is why David says that you don’t have to have it all figured out and have it perfect before you get out there. Because you can figure out that journey along the way.
Your journey is a part of your identity and your brand.
That’s a part of who you are. People make assumptions about who you are, what you believe, and what you think, based on one thing about you. That’s why stereotypes exist. There are things that people are going to place on you if you say you are a certain thing.
Because of this, David was afraid to talk about his faith because, when people say that they are a Christian, that comes with a lot of baggage. This is because people have had different experiences in their lives. Some good, some really not good. So when you put that out there, you’re going to have some visceral responses from people who are going to have strong opinions about you.
So with most things, you’re just a little timid to put yourself out there and to talk about that element. In a professional setting, David feels a lot of people feel this way. This is why he tried to stay as neutral as possible. He didn’t want to offend anybody.
But he realized that everyone needs somebody to show them a mirror of themselves.
You can’t do it yourself. Even though David helps people learn how to put themselves and their brand out there, when it came to himself, he needed to find other people to support him. He needed to find other people to encourage him to say this is a big part of who he is. David needed someone to tell him that this was a big part of his identity and he needed to put it out there .
So he actually took a few weeks off of talking about his business publicly just so he could reevaluate and rebrand himself. He realized that this was going to be a part of the identity of his business. Let this be your encouragement to not be afraid to take those shifts. For the most part, people are not tracking you so closely that they’re even going to notice. And furthermore, the people who want to be a part of your circle are going to support you.
We are not here to serve everybody.
It’s okay to put your most authentic self out there. Because the reality is, we can’t serve everybody. It’s not physically possible. So putting those identifiers on yourself really just makes it so that you’re speaking to the right people. Being able to show up in that authentic self really allows you to attract those right fit clients.
David’s advice on putting your most authentic self out there.
If you’re talking to everybody, then you’re talking to nobody. Even big box brands are starting to recognize that more and more. Whether they’re stepping out to take stands on social issues, or they’re taking stands on sometimes politics, they are starting to put out there what they stand for. If you’re a solopreneur running your own business, you really are the face of the brands. You really are representing the brand because that’s who you are.
You have that control over what you want to do. People are afraid to step out because the biggest fear is people putting thoughts on you, expecting things from you, or people making assumptions about you that may not be true. It could be a whole host of things that people put on you. But the right people are going to find you and stay in your circle.
The biggest fear for David was the fear of losing the audience that he had spent time building.
He was afraid people were going to say that he made a huge shift, and they didn’t like it. At first, there were some people who didn’t agree with the shift David made. He thought that he should not have done it. But then right after that, he got encouraging messages from people who couldn’t wait to follow him. These were the people who are now connecting with him at a deeper level because he put something out there and they feel the same way that he does, but they’re too afraid to do it.
Being your most authentic self is where your success lies.
So for anyone out there who feels like they have something about themselves that they’re too afraid to put out there, sometimes you just need to take that step out into the world and just put yourself out there. Then see who comes and finds you. If people reject you, then they were never your people in the first place.
When you’re stifling yourself, at some point, you’re going to get burnout. You’re going to hit that rock bottom and get to the point where you can no longer continue to maintain this facade of not really, truly putting yourself out there. That is so important with branding.
David’s take action tip.
In the branding program that he runs, there are three pillars: make it a story, make it simple, and make it stick. So a big part of branding is telling your story. Since the dawn of time, storytelling is how information has been most clearly remembered and articulated prior to written word. There’s something innate in us that loves a good story and that remembers the story. People won’t always remember all the details, but they will remember the story and how it made them feel.
So transitioning whatever it is you do into a story is so important. Again, it’s one of those things where he can simply tell you to do it, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do. If it was easy to do, everyone would do it.
David always encourages people to write down their whole story. Take as long as it takes within reason. But just writing it all down and then reading it for somebody that you trust. Then ask that person to pull out two or three points that really stand out to them.
If you do this with multiple people you trust, and you keep getting the same points, that’s really what you need to be focusing on. Because that is what’s connecting with people. That’s what’s standing out to people. These points are going to be the thing that’s going to separate you from everyone else.
Everyone needs an outside perspective.
You need someone else from the outside to help you. Usually the key pieces to your story are the ones that you think are like the smallest pieces. Tell your story and ask someone you trust to pick out the key points. We’re all too close to our own stories. And we get in our own heads.
You’re never alone with anything.
There’s always going to be people out there that will connect with whatever the thing is that happened to you. They’re going to be like that thing happened to me too. You have to understand what your brand is and what you’re selling . Obviously, you don’t have to tell everyone everything. But there’s always going to be those personal things that are really going to connect with the right people.
Connect with David.
The best way to connect with David is to find him on LinkedIn. He accepts basically every LinkedIn request if you send it with a little message saying you want to connect further. He would love to chat with you for just half an hour and help you to figure out how to tell your story and give you some more tips.
Even if you think the program isn’t right for you, he still just loves chatting with people just to help them to tell their story to the world because he thinks it’s so important. Everyone has a story to tell. David believes your story is going to help somebody. It’s going to make a connection and multiply that impact. So if nothing else, he wants to help you tell it.
Connect with Michelle-
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Connect with David-
Have Questions? Let’s have a Cup of Virtual Coffee!
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