If you’re selling a product or service, you need a clear idea of 1) who you’re talking to and 2) what exactly you’re saying to them.
As the saying goes, if you’re trying to sell to everyone, you’re selling to no one. And that’s why mastering your message is a non-negotiable step in building a brand that is recognized & loved by your community.
Listen in on my convo with Maya Elious @mayaelious, Business Coach & CEO of Built to Impact as we chat about:
⚡️ Why YOU are the key to mastering your message
⚡️ Building a personal brand that inspires connection & action
⚡️ Leveraging your skills & narrowing in on your niche
⚡️ Gaining clarity on who you serve & the value your bring to the table
⚡️ Why clarity on your message positively impacts your confidence
⚡️ How to be authentic in building your personal brand
Watch the full interview below 👇🏽
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Read the transcript below:
Disclaimer: This transcript has been auto-generated – please excuse any typos or grammatical errors.
Hello, everyone and welcome back to another episode of 21 days of business if this is the first time that you’re catching this video series, welcome. My name is Yasmine in Salem Hamden. I am the founder of coaching company calm your go to digital destination for all things legal in your entrepreneurial journey. And I’ll be with them. November, we are going to be sharing interviews with guest experts each day answering your questions as they relate to your business. And today we are focusing on the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and offer creation. And that involves your messaging and mastering that message and who better to help us illustrate the importance of getting crystal clear on your message then, the queen of messaging herself Maya Elliott, hey, Maya.
Hey, thank you so much for having me.
Thank you for being here. I’m so excited for today’s chat. So for those that are not familiar with you, if you wouldn’t mind sharing a little bit about yourself, please. Yes, so
I am my alias, often mistaken for a malicious on social media if you see the spelling of my name, but I am the CEO of built, which is a coaching company, where we have coaching programs and live events for female entrepreneurs who want to package their expertise, increase their rates, and take their business to six figures. So I’ve been doing that for many, many years now. I’ve been in the branding space since 2008. And we’ve helped 1000s of clients and it’s been such a joy. I love talking about messaging, talking about value, talking about increasing your rates and just making money. I love to see women win. I love to see women, especially women of color, especially black woman just make this amount of money, and all of it. Yes,
I love it. I love it. I’m here for every bit of that message. Let me just say that. So let’s clear up some misconceptions around messaging. What does it really mean to master your message?
Yeah, so mastering your message is really just about being so clear and confident in what you do and knowing how to articulate the value and what you do. It’s really just about being crystal clear. And so a lot of times, like if you ask a new entrepreneur, or if you ask somebody what they do, and if they’re tripping over their words, and they can’t describe it, it’s because they’re not clear, they haven’t mastered their message. They don’t know what they do. Well, they don’t know the value they bring to the table, they don’t know who they serve. And they don’t feel confident about articulating it or saying it out loud. So they haven’t quite mastered it. But when you master your message saying what you do just flow so seamlessly.
Yes, absolutely. And I think we all can agree as businesswoman as as entrepreneurs, and then also as consumers, as it’s clear to us when someone is not clear on their message, right? It’s clear to us when when a business is not clear on what is the what are you really trying to sell me on? What are you really what problem? Are you really trying to help me solve? Are you really talking to me? Or is this message should it be directed to someone else? So where do you typically suggest people begin if if you read if you’re at the point where you recognize, okay, so maybe I don’t have total clarity on my message, my message is not really resonating. People are not hearing it and flocking to me because they recognize that what I have to offer them is incredible. And it’s the exact solution that they’re looking for. Where do you begin?
Yeah, I think the first place that you want to begin is narrowing in on your niche, just really identifying your industry and where you fit specifically in your industry. So a lot of times we get nervous because we’re like our industry is so saturated, I’m in a competitive market. But the more specific you are, with where you are in your market or within your industry, the easier it is for you to stand out, right. So going from just oh, I’m a photographer to being a newborn photographer is different, right or going from, I am a graphic designer too. I design brochures or menus for restaurants like that is so specific. So once you narrow in on your niche, then you have a clear target. So that is the first place to start. And it’s one of the hardest things for people to do because they feel like, the more specific I am leaving money on the table, I’m missing out on different people, because the one thing that people say is but I could help everybody, everybody could use this. And it’s like I think we’ve all been there. We’ve all said it and it’s like everybody could but the question that I asked my clients is what are you the best act? And that’s what you want to focus on because you also stand out when you are one of the best to do it in your industry.
Absolutely, absolutely. And I think that can be a journey for many of us is wrapping our mind around, okay, so I want to help everybody out. This can benefit everyone. And you’re really excited about the possibility of working with a lot of people. But we’ve got to recognize that there are a lot of people period. So no matter how narrow you go, I’m interested in hearing from you, if you think it’s possible to go get too narrow, how narrow was too narrow, how niches too niche.
I mean, I’m sure maybe, but there’s not very many people that ever go to niche, it’s fair to even see. What I believe, though is that you can start out niche and then expand, expand and go broader once you’ve built trust within your community. So a lot of people try to start out general. And my suggestion is start out niche and build a name for yourself, and then other groups will then start trusting you.
Okay, I love that. Yeah, that definitely makes sense. I think it probably would be on a case by case basis as far as, like identity, once you identify that market, and your niche and who it is that you’re speaking to, might be possible to get too specific. But I am it sounds like it’s more of a problem. It’s more widespread of an issue where people are getting too general, and they’re staying too broad. And when you’re trying to talk to everybody, you’re really talking to nobody, right?
yes. All right. So in your early days, because you said since away, right, you even you know, newbie, you know, rookie, to the entrepreneurship game, the offer creation game. So early on. You were doing graphic design, you’re in an agency, right? So what did that look like as far as your first experience with messaging and like, really speaking with your clients and getting to know your market? What was your process then? And how would you have done that differently? If you were doing that today?
Yeah, I mean, when I started, you know, I say, I’d been in the branding industry since 2008. But I was so green to the industry. So I started out by, you know, designing MySpace pages for musicians and models and people that just essentially wanted a platform, they want to build their brand. And so I was helping people build their brand. Before I even knew what branding was. All I knew was I liked doing code, I liked creating graphics, I liked making people look cool online, again, with pretty much branding. And so that that’s what I was doing. And then when I transitioned into web and graphic design, that is when I discovered my gifting for messaging, because a lot of people would hire me for web and graphic design, making the assumption that if you have a website, then you automatically make money, right? Oftentimes, people believe that lie of if they build it, or if you build it, they will come. And that’s just absolutely not true. You have to build it. And you have to build it with intentionality, you have to build it with a magnetic message, you have to build it, you have to promote it. And then the people will come based on what the message is. And so what I was recognizing with my clients is that we would be building their platforms, their website, their social media, and all of that, but they would be like, well, Maya, what am I supposed to be saying in terms of content, or I don’t really know what my bio was supposed to say, or I have no copy from my website, I just thought you were going to figure it out. And for the web, and graphic designers listening, you already know what that’s like, people come to you and they think that you’re all of a sudden, a copywriter, and you’re absolutely not. And so when my clients were consistently asking me for advice and wanting to get, you know, on a quick call, blah, blah, blah, I’m like, I have to charge for these calls. Because I’m of course not. So that’s when I kind of transitioned into like my first taste of coaching. Again, I didn’t know what it was, I think I was maybe 2030. Back then when I started doing coaching calls and helping people with their their expert positioning and just helping them get clear. And that is when I got into messaging. And then you know, even when I came to me in terms of positioning myself, I don’t even think that I was I knew strategically that I was positioning myself with messaging, but I was really good at blogging and telling my story. And that is a key part of messaging. And so when people were reading my blog very consistently, I was attracting an audience of people in that’s how I built my own brand.
Nice. So sharing parts of your story. Could you elaborate on that, please?
Yeah, so when I was when I first started blogging consistently, I just talked a lot about my life as a freelancer so I would talk about what it was like to help other people build their brand, I talked about how I thought about design, I showed a lot of behind the scenes of the clients that I was working with and the projects that we were working on. And just my overall experience with being a freelancer, I talked about my story of dropping out of college and what it was like to kind of be like a new entrepreneur. And people were reading that and they’re like, oh, my gosh, this is so inspiring. Like, you’re so young, you’re really doing it. And so at that time, because my main story was about dropping out of college to follow my passion, a lot of the people that I attracted were people who wanted to be brave enough to leave something behind to follow their passion for the majority of people was their nine to five. But for me, it was from college. So I recognize my story was attracting people who wanted to do, I had done and often times, especially in a service based business or a coaching element, our audience is a reflection of who we once were, and they’re looking to us, because they want to be a most essentially a version of us.
Interesting. And so that’s, and that really applies in a personal brand context, is when you are I mean, if you’re, and we see this a lot in the coaching space in the service based industry is there’s so much value. And there’s such an advantage to positioning yourself as the brand, right the person as opposed to developing a faceless agency or a faceless firm is that that personal touch that personal connection, that personal brand, creating a platform for yourself to share your story, a platform that can inspire connection that can inspire action that can create space for community, right? Because if it’s not, if it’s not you, who are we really talking to, and I definitely identify with that, because I fought it for a little bit with coaches and companies, though, like I wanted to create the standalone brand. And there’s so much potential for this. And there’s such a need for what it is that we provide. And I had my personal brand that I operated my law practice under and provided legal services, and it was very successful and exactly what you’re describing, sharing parts of my story able to connect with others on that basis and creating community through that. But with coaches and company, I’m like, I really want to, I want to share my story, I want to connect personally, I don’t want it to be this faceless brand. So you’re definitely speaking to me on that. And, and it’s nice to hear, you know, just sort of some reinforcement on that front. Because, you know, it can be a little bit out of your comfort zone, if that’s not something that you’re used to. And I’ve been in, you know, since 2017, was when I started my quote unquote, personal brand and began to sell services under that. You know, for me early in the early days, it was like, how much is too much to share? And how do I identify what is the right amount of information for me to divulge from my life? And so do you have any, any tips to share with our audience? As far as where can we? Where should we draw the line? What is too much? What is too little, you know, where we want to make sure that we’re sharing our authentic selves, right? And that is what will cause people to become magnetized to us. And so what are your thoughts on sharing information about yourself, sharing your personal life with your community? And overcoming this fear of sharing too much of yourself with the world at large?
Yeah, I mean, you make such a great point. A lot of people struggle with that. And that is why they’re like, why I’m not starting a personal brand, or I’m not really getting on social as a business because I don’t want too many people in my business. And I even remember, early on, like when I first had my agency, it would be like, I would pretend like we were this large company. And I think a lot of us do that in the past. And also be before social media was what it is today. Right? It’s like social media. Now, it’s almost kind of obvious to build a personal brand, because everybody is doing it, and we see the benefits of it. But yeah, I’m really glad that people are leaning into building their personal brand, but I also understand the apprehension where they’re like, well do I have to tell them my business because they might look at a YouTuber or an influencer, who’s always showing their kids always showing their life showing every aspect of their life, or the perception that they’re showing every aspect of your life. So you can be strategic with it where it seems like you’re sharing a lot, but people still don’t know what they don’t know. Right like, seem like I’m sharing a lot because I’ll show myself on vacation or I’ll show parts of my team, but it’s like, nobody knows what’s going on in my personal relationships, nobody knows what part of town I live in, nobody knows. You know, there’s specific things that you have to set the standard for yourself of, here’s what I’m okay with sharing. And here’s what I don’t want to share. And it’s okay to set that standard. Being authentic doesn’t mean being an overshare. It just means the part of you that you want to share is still true to you.
Yes, yes, absolutely. And that’s, that’s definitely an accurate description of what my experience has been is, you know, early on, it started out with, okay, so I want to share more about myself, you feel you feel drawn to your community, too. It’s like, I want you guys to know me, I don’t want to just be like, okay, yeah, I’m about the business. But I’m not just about the business. Like, I’m a human being too. I’m a woman, I’m a sister, I’m a friend, I’m a mother, I’m a wife, like all these things. And so for me, it’s been a process of identifying like, what points and what elements of my life 1am I comfortable sharing? And two, is my audience, what can my audience relate to, right? Like, my audience can relate to me as a woman as a all the different roles that we have in our life, all the different aspects of our personalities, all of our pet peeves all of our likes and dislikes. Right. And so these points for me, that’s, that’s been a part of my journey. And it sounds like that’s part of the path to developing your personal brand and creating connection with your community. I love it. I’m here for it. Yes. Was there something you wanted to add to that?
Yeah, I think it also becomes a little bit easier or more simple. Once you do realize that sharing some of yourself does create a connection. I can’t remember who I was talking to the other day, I think we were just talking about creating YouTube content and building a brand that way. And I’m like, Well, at first, it can feel a little awkward, because initially, when you’re starting out, it feels like you’re just talking to a camera. But when you start building your following you start building engagement, you’re no longer talking to a camera, you’re talking to actual people now. Also, it’s like starting out, it’s like, I’m just open space telling the entire world my business. And then once you realize the entire world are people that really want to see you win, and they’re supporting you. It’s like, I’m sharing my life with my online friends.
Yeah, that’s why I love going live. I like a pre recorded video. Like, I like a pre recorded moment I do. But I love going live because then I really get to talk to my friends I get to talk. I’m not just speaking into the abyss, right? I’m not just speaking to a camera. And so that’s so are you on YouTube.
I have a YouTube channel.
So is your is your team trying to get you on YouTube?
We are definitely gonna start doing more YouTube content in a couple of weeks, we’re gonna have a content day so I could do more video content. I used to be on there like when I started out. And it’s kind of funny, like going back and looking at those videos. And I’m like, I really was not that great. But I still put myself out there I still impacted people still have a lot of so I mean, that’s a lesson for somebody, you don’t even have him. You don’t have to start out great. You get better as you go. But you have to.
Absolutely, absolutely. I certainly agree. I mean, that’s been my experience and peppery thing, right? It’s like you start out, you’re not going to be great, but you’re not going to get better unless you continue and remain consistent. And so I’m excited for your YouTube channel. That’ll be great. I was talking to my friend, dinos. Bailey and Bailey Barclay.
Oh my gosh, yeah. Me and Daley go way back to do
nice. Okay, how do y’all know each other?
From the internet from the blog? days? Yeah. Gosh,
I love I think she was. She was
one of my first course students. I used to have this course called blogger dynamics in 2014 2015. And she signed up for it in 2015. Back during the periscope days when I was going live consistently. Yeah.
I love it. Yes, I love sales. So she does video content creation coaching now, and she has started to grow. And she is she was a part of our video series as well for 21 days of business. We talked about video content creation. And we talked about this concept of like on YouTube, and we’re when we’re creating content, and using video to share a message right because it’s such a great vehicle for transmitting that information for connecting and creating that personal connection. And that there’s some hesitancy around creating something like a YouTube channel because of the permanency of it. So do you feel that is that is that where some of your resistance comes from? Like, for me, I find that it’s like I’m adding to my official body of work. Right so I’m interested in hearing from you on that.
Oh my gosh, no, that is not my head. But I was just having a conversation with some colleagues the other day about, like, you know, just our age as millennials and stuff like that. And just growing up with the internet being so new, none of us thought that putting something on the internet would be so permanent. And it’s just so I was like, hopefully nobody goes back and digs up tweets from 2010 Because they would surely cancel me. But no, that’s not part of my hesitancy. I just am kind of tired of just creating content to be honest. I’m like, Ah,
I hear you. Yes. Yeah, I definitely hear you on the for me, it’s been just creating the the time in the space to let that creativity flow, because I really want for I’ve been creating content for such a long time that I want for this to be an I know you can relate to that, too, is like, I want this to be a creative expression for me, right? I don’t want it to just be like, I’m doing it because I have to do it. I’m doing it because there needs to be a YouTube channel or there needs to be a tick tock platform, or there needs to be, you know, a podcast. Right. And I know you you mentioned to me in a prior conversation that you’re you’re thinking about a podcast, it’s part of the plan. Is that still the case?
Allegedly? Allegedly? That’s all I have at this point.
I love it. But yeah, it’s, it’s a creative expression, you know, as all things are, as all content is, and can be and should be, in my opinion. So yeah, it’s like, I want to create the space for me to let the creative juices flow to really create content that I’m proud of, and that accurately reflects my message. Row. Yeah, well, I’m excited for for my Aeleus. TV is already
Yeah. I mean, you’re welcome. Because I see it all the time. I think that what gave me that permission is one of the things I love talking about is tools and software for your online business, right. And, man, these things are always updating. So let’s say I create a full on video on this new editing tool, now, you can edit your videos in Canva, there’s going to be an update in two months, where I will have to now come back to say, after hundreds of people have commented on that video to say, Hey, guys, there’s this new fix, here’s what you can do. And I would have to link that under the original video, because that’s still getting 1000s of eyes on. And so you know, being able to do that helped me to, you know, be patient with the process of, and it’s not only a company if you don’t have an update to make based on something that you said, or you’re not able to dig deeper, you’re not growing. So and I say that
that’s what we’re going to college or my
my alley as you do, I love it. So as you mentioned, you’ve been in the online entrepreneurship space for a long time. So what are you seeing out on this digital landscape that piques your interest that excites you? If you are?
What am I seeing lately? That is exciting? Hmm. I don’t even know there’s something that I can pinpoint right now. Because I actually think I’ve been a little bit more drawn back from seeing what everybody else is doing. Because I do think it can like when you’re in your industry, it could seem like everybody is doing the same thing. And nothing is seeming unique. And so what I’ve been kind of like drawing back from lately is like, How can I just show up differently? How can I just go bigger and better than I did earlier in the year and the years before to be different? So that’s just what I’ve actually been brainstorming lately, just contemplating having conversations with my team on that. Recently just read the compound effect. And in chapter six, that’s what he talks about just doing the unexpected. And so I think for me, like what I want to do and kind of study is actually look at different industries and see like how they do things differently. So I can industry and just show completely differently than than everybody else. Because things do it’s like every branding coach sounds the same now all of the websites. Now everybody’s doing
everybody’s saying the same thing. We’re saying the strategies,
doing the same poses, same photoshoot same on events, and I’m like, No, how can my Le s be different? Because it’s like, for me to be in this industry so long. I don’t even want to be compared to people that just came on the internet. Oh,
girl, no. Oh. Oh, no, no, no, no, no, those are not there’s no comparison there. No, that’s not competent. That’s not your competition. Yeah, it’s
happy. Yeah, but I just want it to be so explicitly clear that I just don’t have that level of intentionality.
Absolutely, Oh, I’m such a fan of looking outside of one’s industry. Like for us, we sell digital products, right. And we have positioned ourselves as a digital product based e commerce. And so I like to look to other e commerce brands and others that don’t are not in the coaching industry that are not in the entrepreneurship space that are not selling digital products. I’m getting inspiration from their seeing what kind of campaigns they’re running, what their messaging looks like their positioning looks like. And speaking of E commerce, I know that you are a recent e commerce boss and ecommerce owners. How’s that going? rebellious, right?
Yes, rebellious. It’s been so intense. interesting because it’s so different than service based. But it does. It allows me to tap into like my creative brain and start doing marketing campaigns and all of that. So it’s, it’s an interesting, I guess, comparison of like me running this seven figure service based company and having years in the game, their years of experience, starting out with this product based business and just trying to even just hit the first six figures and figure out what that looks like. But it’s been really fun because I’ve I’ve had an opportunity to test my own entrepreneurial knowledge in a completely different space.
Yeah, I love it. And it’s it’s fun me in a rookie, right? It’s like, oh,
okay, hold on. is fun. Being a rookie. I love it.
Yeah, it’s like all there’s so much possibility. And I love experimentation. So provide so much. And that’s not to say we can’t experiment in our existing businesses, or, you know, we certainly want to experiment there. But it’s just, it’s a new laboratory. Right?
Exactly. Yeah, just Yeah.
I love it. I love it. Well, thank you so much for joining us, Maya, it has been such a pleasure having you. And oh, before we go. Two things. One, I want to hear about impact weekend. So that’s coming up in February, right, tell us what we need to know.
Oh, my gosh, impact weekend, that is my three day live event. Absolutely transformational, your life in business will change. There’s just no way you could come to impact weekend and not leave a completely different person with a new level of thinking. So what we focus on there is shifting your mindset, shifting your messaging, and shifting your marketing. So you can build your brand, show up as an expert, increase your rates and build a six figure business. I’m really excited about that. This will be our third big one. But I actually have been doing this since 2018. It used to be like smaller, private masterminds, and now we’ve opened it up public. And it’s been even better doing it that way. Because the community is amazing. So I hope to see you guys there. If you are looking to build your brand and just find an amazing community of women who want to level up. Check it out at impact weekend. live.com.
I love it. Yeah. So if you’re if you are listening, and you want to make an obnoxious amount of money, per my Oh, my God, get to impact weekend. I love it. So my last question for you, Maya is what is the big message you’d like to leave us with?
The big message. Man, one big message is like I just have so much to say one big message would be to prioritize your mindset. Because a lot of times we think it’s the strategy that’s going to get us to the next level. It’s going to be the perfect offer that’s going to get us to the next level. And those things eventually matter. But if you cannot see yourself winning if you don’t believe in yourself, if you don’t actually have this deep desire to get to the next level, no strategy, no offer no perfect price point no perfect pictures, no website, no nothing is going to get you to the next level unless your mindset is already at that level.
Absolutely. You can say that again. Thank you so much for being here. We’ll talk soon.
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