How to Build A Personal Brand with Sheila Joy
HUDDLE is a series that invites female entrepreneurs to look up from their own work, huddle up, and share in the success, struggles, and stories of other women doing badass things.
Each HUDDLE interview happens on Instagram live, and is then posted #ontheblog for those of you that miss the live, the replay, or who are just stubborn and like to read it instead. ;)
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This month’s HUDDLE is with Sheila of In Search of Sheila! As a Personal Branding Strategist and Coach, it's Sheila's mission to help multi-passionate bloggers stand out online so they can start making an income and impact doing what they love while being unapologetically themselves.
She doesn't like to follow the rules. With her intuitive approach, she likes to do blogging and business in a way that is fun, free and aligned with your strengths. She's also a down-to-earth Taurus who isn't afraid to tell you like it is. Dishing tough-love strategies is her jam.
Sheila and I talked a lot about following your intuition and how listening to your heart is one of the keys to success in your business. And we also touch on how to infuse yourself in your business and create a personal brand with confidence and ease!
Let’s dive in!
1. What are you passionate about, and how do you live that passion out loud? (my take on who are you and what do you do)
I’m obsessed with helping people and always have been--except I never realized it until recently!
In 2017 I fell out of love with my fashion and lifestyle blog and looked within to find my purpose. I worked through a lot of exercises and reflection, focusing on my passions of helping others, blogging, and expressing my creativity.
Next I looked at my strengths: communicating, connecting with others, and teaching. In that moment I knew I was called to teach and empower women to create a life that brings them joy.
2. You went from fashion blogger to blogging blogger to business/mindset coach and entrepreneur. How did you pivot and transition over time?
By listening to my intuition and always flowing into what feels good.Fashion blogging stopped being fun and actually turned me into someone I didn’t like. I rebranded after discovering my purpose so I could help other beginner bloggers grow their blogs with intention and authenticity.
As I evolved from a blogger into an entrepreneur, a lot of my community evolved as well. I found myself feeling less excited about sharing traffic and Pinterest tips, and super pumped up whenever I talked about profit planning, digital products, services, systems, and email marketing. So I shifted!
Because I built up my personal brand, my audience was able to shift with me.I also make sure to not niche myself so much that I feel trapped in a box. Allowing myself to have a variety of topics to cover under the umbrellas of blogging, business, and mindset has allowed me to do this.
3. I feel like there’s so many directions that we can be pulled in. How did you know what was the right next step for you?
Oh that’s such a good question.
As a multi-passionate person who is constantly overwhelmed with ideas, I’ve struggled with this so many times. I believe that I’m always pulled in the right direction because I follow my heart, even if it ends up not working in the end.This actually happened to me very recently. *Story time.*
A few months ago I shifted my business away from blogging tips and niched down to focus on helping women start their own coaching businesses (as I had done so myself.) A few months in I realized that it wasn’t fulfilling me and was actually draining me...again, turning me into someone I didn’t like. While I love working with people one-on-one and seeing them make huge strides, I got into a dark place where it didn’t feel right.
I was struggling to get clients, my audience seemed distant, and I was unhappy. So I went to my journal and wrote a lot. I talked myself through it with my coach and mastermind group. I even opened my heart up to my audience and told them I was struggling.I asked for their help--what did they think of In Search of Sheila, as a brand and me as a human being? What came to mind?
And the answers made me realize that I needed to ditch the coaching niche and go back to what I was already doing--helping bloggers stand out online and grow their blogs into online businesses, authentically. I even worked through MY own purpose and mission exercises inside my eBook to reconnect with my passions and strengths.
By doing this I realized that I’m more of a teacher than a coach. I thrive when I’m helping multiple people at once with an outline of points vs. a private session with one person. Am I done coaching? No. But since ditching things that don’t make me happy and drain my energy, I’m more focused on things that will allow me to teach more and feel good doing it.
4. Ok, kind of a mega question here! Storytelling and branding kind of go hand in hand, and I think that some of the strongest entrepreneurs know how to incorporate themselves and their story into their business, and I think it’s something you do really well! How do you use your story to influence your brand? Any tips on how to combine the two seamlessly?
My story IS my brand and blending the two is what I teach my audience, students, and clients to do as well because it makes building your business fun, easy, and incredibly authentic.
There are many layers that go into combining your story into your brand, so let’s break this down a little.
My first tip is to figure out your “why.” Why do you show up to your blog and business every day? What’s in it for you? What keeps you going?
I got into business because something happened to me at my 9-5, setting a fire inside me to become an entrepreneur. I wanted to work for myself and serve others, while fulfilling my personal values. It’s my mission to guide and empower women to create their dream lives, through the power of their blog and business. Knowing that I can show up fully as myself, help others, and earn an income doing what I love fuels me to keep going.
Next, you need to figure out what you want to be known for online and build your authority around that. This is where you write your story and play it on repeat online!
Identify your personality traits, strengths, expertise, and what makes you different.How can you distinguish yourself from other people doing the same thing as you?
For me, I help bloggers and entrepreneurs--lots of people do that, right? But I’ve positioned myself as an expert in authentic and actionable strategies. I not only inspire my community, I motivate them to take action.
On top of that, I also work at a 9-5 and have a sassy, tough-love attitude. I like to “keep it real” and a swear word may slip out once or twice.Because I’m confident in who I am and my place on the internet, people connect with me in a way that they don’t with others who teach the same stuff as I do.
When you can own your story and commit to being yourself online rather than hiding behind a persona, your target audience will see that and gravitate towards you. If you hide behind your truth and pretend to be someone you’re not, doing something you hate, it will show and you won’t attract anyone to your brand.
5. I try to ask one, question that shows that even the experts struggle and have pitfalls. What’s an “edge of the cliff” moment for you, and what brought you back from the edge? This could be personally, or with In Search of Sheila, whichever you feel comfortable sharing.
I always have to chuckle a little bit when I start off this story, but my “edge of the cliff” moment was then I got shadowbanned on Instagram in April 2017.
Getting “shadow banned” is when Instagram blocks your posts from being seen on the hashtag you used with it, which prevents your content and account from getting extra exposure.
This was back when I was still a fashion and lifestyle blogger, burning myself out and trying so hard to make money with my blog. One Saturday morning I posted a photo of me and my friend at the beach. Turns out that post received the “worst engagement ever” (dramatic, much?) and it really got to me. At that time I was obsessed with hashtags to grow my account and seeing the lack of likes and comments on the photo...only to find out Instagram shadowbanned me...sent me in a downward spiral.
All these feelings of comparison, self-doubt, and “what’s the point?!” rushed into me and I reached a breaking point--I found myself on the edge of the cliff. I complained about it to my boyfriend and friends. I deleted the photo. I was in a terrible mood the rest of the day. It sucked!
But here’s the good part of the story where I tell you that the Instagram shadowban was one of the best moments of my life:it helped me realize that I was completely lost. Not only lost with my blog, but lost with myself. My blog stopped being fun—it became a tool to fuel my need for money. I was so obsessed with monetizing my blog so I could leave my 9-5 that this incident was the Universe telling me the chill the f*ck out.
And I did. I gave myself two choices: I could continue being upset about it or take some damn action. I chose the latter and started my rebranding journey. I love telling this story because it shows that I’ve had some pretty low points, but I’ve been able to see the good in them and turn it into something amazing.
6. And last question, what’s the one piece of advice you’d give to someone who is still trying to figure out their story and who they are as a blogger or entrepreneur?
First of all, don’t feel bad if you don’t have your story figured out! It might be waiting for you to take some action and write it. Get out a piece of paper and list out your personal values, passions, strengths, and personality traits. Then write out your why--how are you different from where you were 1-5 years ago? What did you overcome and accomplish? How can you use that transformation to help others? Your story will constantly evolve over time as you grow as a person. If you can accept that, you will thrive.
Feeling inspired and ready to listen to that heart of yours? Because I know I am!
So many thanks to Sheila for joining me on Instagram for the live interview, and for sharing her words and truth here as well!
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