Darlene is a Personal Branding & Business Coach who helps ambitious, heart-centered online entrepreneurs build a solid brand foundation so they can share their message with the world, attract dream clients and have the impact...
Darlene is a Personal Branding & Business Coach who helps ambitious, heart-centered online entrepreneurs build a solid brand foundation so they can share their message with the world, attract dream clients and have the impact, freedom and flexibility they desire.
In her own story, Darlene found herself being called to build her own business when she lost her mom at 22, and was inspired to create more impact and flexibility in her life. She found an opportunity to develop her own practice within a franchise and eventually branched out to create her own business, creating a signature framework for personal branding.
Darlene is passionate about helping entrepreneurs see how valuable their own story is to connecting with their clients, and has created a framework to assist them in figuring out what their true story really is, and building it into their brand.
Find Darlene at www.darlenehawley.com
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Welcome to the real people real business show where we're talking with business owners who are in the trenches everyday, people who are working hard and have relevant and inspiring stories that you can relate to. Everyone we speak to is actively building and growing their business and is here to share their experiences, lessons, wisdom, and guidance so you can be inspired to take action towards your own goals. Today I am so excited to welcome Darlene Holly, who's a brand and business clarity coach that helps ambitious, heart-centered online entrepreneurs who want to create a successful brand and businesses but are afraid to share their unique life story, but know they need to stand out if they want to build an authentic and profitable online business as tripping over my words there for a second. She helps them build a solid brand foundation so they can share their message with the world, attract dream clients, and have the impact, freedom, and flexibility they desire. That sounds great. So welcome to this show, Darlene, and thanks so much for taking the time to share your story today.Speaker 2:
Yeah, thank you so much, Stephanie, for having me on. I'm super excited to be here and share my story with you and just tip chat and catch up a little bit.Speaker 1:
Yeah, for sure. I am, I am so happy to see you. I haven't seen you in a little while and it's a , it's always so good on these episodes to be able to reconnect with all of the folks who have been out there and busy and we get so busy as entrepreneurs and we never ever get a chance to really make those connections. So this is awesome. So we're going to spend an hour together and we're going to talk through your story. So why don't we dive right in. I want to know how you got started, how you got to the place you're in right now, and kind of what was that big trigger for starting your own business?Speaker 2:
Yeah. Well, again, thank you so much for having me on. I feel like my story really starts , um , kind of back a little bit. Um, I was a teen mom so I had my oldest son when I was, well I had him when I was 18, but I was pregnant my senior year in high school, so I was 17 and pregnant. And um, after high school I got an amazing job working in retail and I quickly was able to move up within the company and I went from pregnant cashier as a teen to um, within two and a half years I was operations manager of best buy and um , I loved my job and I love to buy dead , but I was as you can probably relate to, I was a mom and I also was a single mom on top of that. So it was just me raising my son and I was working retail management and I was working like 60 plus hours a week, which is exhausting in itself. I was on my feet all day. I was tired when I came home and I was raising this amazing little human and I just missed beat miss some of the stuff that happens right as a mom, like we miss like seeing their little steps in being there for their meals and like the making crazy messes and all like stuff on stuff . And I just was found myself working like 60 plus hours a week, too tired. Um, and that was kind of like what started stirring in my soul, but I knew I wanted to do something different. I wanted to be able to be home with my son. Um, I didn't want to work weekends. I didn't want to work nights and miss like tucking them in. Like one of the things that I love to talk about now is like I tech my kids in bed pretty much every night now because that's what creating my own business has been , um, and allowed for me. And, but that was like, I remember being in my early twenties and being a mom and just struggling with like, how am I supposed to do this? Like, how are you supposed to balance like this , the world of life, like with working crazy hours, having a child and trying to like still be a young adult and like figure out who I want to be and what I want to do with my life. And that was kind of when I started like that stir in me. Like I think I wanna do something different. I'm not sure what. And it took me a while even to act on it. Right? Cause a lot of times as entrepreneurs like before we're actually entrepreneurs, we have like those gut feeling inside and we know we want to do more with ourselves. We know that we have bigger plans, like we were made for more and it takes a little bit sometimes for us to really step out of that. So , um, my mom was my best friend and um , like the real big moment for me that like I knew I wanted to change my life and how I was living things was when I lost her. So when I was 22 , um, she was taken in a car accident and it was a super obviously hard time. Like she's my best friend. She's my mom. Um, she helps a lot with my son. We didn't live with her at that point, but she still was very active grandma and she helped me a ton with just , um , being in our day to day lives. And it was um, a moment for me that really like transitioned everything for me. And that was at her Memorial service after we had done like the service part of it and we were walking down to the burial site and I remember this turning around and seeing like [inaudible] , uh , S w like, like there was probably over 200 people at my mom's funeral. And I just remember turning around and seeing like all these people that came out and like thinking to myself like those woman was loved and she was like, she made an impact on so many people's lives. And it was in that moment for myself that like, I knew like life is short. We only have one life. We have no idea how long our lives are going to be. My mom was only 49 when she was taken and she had so much still to give and so much to offer and she had already made such a big impact on so many people. Um , that I knew right there that like it was time for a change. Like I was like, I'm not gonna continue working in an environment that I loved working Keenan but wasn't my life passion. It wasn't allowing me the freedom and the flexibility that I so craved to be home with my son and different things like that. And um, that was kind of like that pivotal moment for me. And I wish I could say like I walked that day and I started a new career and like I never looked back. Took a couple of years, even after that , um , I transitioned , um, to working for a different region , a company for a couple of years. And then I, from there transitioned to what really started my entrepreneurial journey. And that was when I became a loan officer and I stepped up . I was able to start creating my own schedule. I was able to be home in on the weekends and then in the evenings, which was like amazing for a mom who pretty much was always gone for those times to be able to finally be home and go to sporting events and see my son on Saturday mornings, you know , play in a soccer games or just be there for those different moments. But yeah, that was kind of like the transition from me. I was like, okay, this does the life I want. This is, I need to like start searching out what that looked like. And um, I was a loan officer for about two years and I enjoyed that too, but it wasn't, I wasn't making big changes in people's lives. I didn't feel like I was doing , um, I was helping people get homes, which was amazing, but it wasn't like lighting me up. And so I started to like co go on a quest. It's to figure out what it was I wanted to do. And I put, I don't even know if monster.com still around. It was , um, it used to be begged for putting your resume up and seeing what kind of opportunities were out there. And this company reached out to me though when I had put my application on there and it was for a business coaching franchise and I was like, I have no idea what a business coach is, but sure. It sounds good. Like I liked what I read. I was like, Oh, interviewing with you guys. I'd love to check it out. And um , while on the call with , um, this lady named Angie, she told me all about business coaching and like this amazing platform to help entrepreneurs grow their business. And as we were talking , um, everything she said about coaching, I was having like these aha moments. I'm like light bulbs going off because that's what I did my whole entire career in retail management was I was helping my employees instead of entrepreneurs , um, to develop and grow so they can move up within the organization. Um, I was , um, a top a top gun manager in the company and I trained a lot of people through the organization then to either take my place or to take the same position I have, but just in a different location. And so on that conversation I was like, I already do this. I'm like, I already am a business coach. I'm like, I didn't know I was doing coaching already at that point. But everything that she explained about coaching was just a part of my natural DNA. Like people come to me when they need advice, when they have questions. Like I've always been kind of one of those people that drew people in and had that connection. And so it was like a natural transition. I was like, before we even hung up the call, I was like, I'm going to become a business coach. I'm like, I didn't even know one existed or what that was until like five minutes ago. But that's me. Like that's my life goal. That's like what the path I want to be on. And so that's kinda how I started my business. And this was back in 2007 so it's been over 12 years now that I've had my own business and coaching amazing business owners. And it wasn't easy obviously in the beginning, but um, I've kind of grown into it and transitioned and pivoted over the years and love what I do now.Speaker 1:
What an amazing story. And I think that, you know, the, the catalyst for your move to becoming an entrepreneur is so emotional on it. So it's so driven by an event that was really impactful on your life. And I think a lot of people get into entrepreneurship because they're kind of in a place of some privilege, right? And they, they're, they're comfortable and now they have the opportunity to sort of think about making this their life right. Whereas you came into it because of a, of a, of a tragedy and of a recognition that entrepreneurship is going to give you something more than just money. Right. And I think that that's a super interesting perspective because this is something I talk about too, is, is that entrepreneurs are going to, they're going to save our lives, right? They are going to, entrepreneurship allows you to have, and I'm not talking like dies in a Lambo laptop on a beach lifestyle, but it allows you to have the lifestyle pieces that are actually really meaningful to you. Picking your kids up from school, having more interaction with your family. Those are the things that entrepreneurship allows you to do that we're not getting from nine to five jobs.Speaker 2:
Yeah, no, I completely agree. And I always laugh when I see like people , um, entrepreneurs posed in front of the Eiffel tower or with their big house in the background or their Ferrari or all those different things. And I always wonder, I'm like, is that really your car or is that really your house? Because it seems like so often like they , they want people to feel like they're so much bigger and like they've made it and they're doing all these different things and that's not really something that lights me up. Like I don't have this like big desire to be famous or be a celebrity at some point in my life. Like I probably will never be Oprah. I'm okay with that. Like it's not like a big thing. Um, I started my business more because I just wanted to be able to give back and connect with people, but then also be able to live my life the way I want to. Like I enjoy talking my kids in like my favorite part of the night is getting in bed and snuggling with them and reading a book before we turn the lights out. That's, you know, that's part of my value system and how I show up and it's okay if other people really have a Lamborghini and they really are in front of the Eiffel tower, like if that's their laptop lifestyle, like go for it. But for me it was more of the why behind it was to be more like I just enjoy being with my family.Speaker 1:
Well , and I think that that's real, right? Most of my clients are not looking to be celebrities. They are not looking to have that kind of laptop. They're trying to figure out the, the like the really roots stuff, right? The real grassroots stuff in their life. Like, I wa I , I felt , I remember one of my big triggers was that I had never been able to pick my kids up from school and they would come home and they would talk about their friends and they would talk about their teachers and they would talk about all these things that I had no, no frame of reference for. And I felt like an outsider in their lives. And that was like a huge, huge big deal for me. But that's, that's not sexy, right? But this is, you know, a lot of marketers are missing the point that what real people actually really want is B is like not vacations on the beach and fancy cars. They're looking to get back what is a building block of our lives, right. When you think about malice, those hierarchy of needs, we need community before anything else. And we're not getting community by spending all our days nine to five and an office with a sort of a false community that we haven't chosen.Speaker 2:
Yeah, no, I completely agree.Speaker 1:
So, so let's get back to you. In your business, what do you, how do you work with your clients now?Speaker 2:
Yeah, so I work with my clients one-to-one. I love the personal touch of just that one to one relationship. Um, so most of my clients work with me in a six month coaching program where we deep dive into um, what their niches , um, what their ideal client looks like , um, how they can show up as their authentic self. Um, I teach a lot of , um, I feel like the personal brand , um, stems from us obviously like grow creating personal brands as business owners, especially in this online business space, it's important that we show up and we share our story because people connect more with us and are able to relate when they hear. Um , they're like, Oh, I used to work 60 plus hours a week and I was missing tucking my kids in bed. Like part of that story that was my why for starting my business is a lot of the why is for , um, the clients that I attract to because they're wanting more of that. So how am I, I teach a lot of how to share your story in a way that really connects you with your audience. Um, and using that in your marketing strategy, using that when you go on Facebook live using it, if you're on your about me page, which on your website, right? Like so many people go to our about me page and they want to know about who you are and like what your why is and why you started your business and what it is that you do and they feel connected through that storytelling . So a lot of it's just connecting with our audience in a way that , um , attracts , attracts to the heart. It's not like this like sleazy marketing strategy. Um, we so often are trying to like stand out and do things in a different way and to attract people to [inaudible] she was and we forget that people are attracted to us just because of our personalities and who we are. It's not like this big mind blowing like life changing thing that's different about us. Like it's just showing up as who you are and being comfortable putting yourself out that way and not, I feel like so many people like second guests like, Oh, I can't, like if people knew that I was the teen mom , um , what would they think about me? Like I remember starting my business and I didn't share that story in the beginning. Like I was never, I've never like been ashamed of it or like held back by it, but I didn't know that I would connect to so many people. Um, because of sharing some of those details and you don't, you don't have to tell. Like the thing that I, I'm talking about with my clients is you don't have to tell like every single detail of your life to have a personal brand. Like most of our audiences only know like this, like snip bit of who we are and we show, we don't have a show, like only the good stuff, but we have to show ourselves authentically and share stories that connect us. And even that's like a one-line sentence about something going on in our life and our messaging and our marketing. That's what draws people in. It's not the , um, um, all the features that we have, right? Like it's not that I have this amazing coaching package , um , the type of coaching I do, there's other coaches out there that do it. There's probably a lot of coaches out there that [inaudible] do it . I try not to pay too much attention to who all out is out there in the world, but we all have competition no matter which industry that we're in. Um, but it's standing out differently by sharing our story and connecting that way.Speaker 1:
So I think a lot, I know a lot of people , um, get re get a lot of anxiety about this because they think that they need to find a differentiator and that no one else has, has done before. And they, they belabor that and they actually wait and hold themselves back until they figured out like, what is that differentiating statement? Whereas what, what really sets you apart, and this is why it's such good news for all of us, is that we are just these, these unique little beings that by nature of the fact of just being yourself, you have some different perspective, you have some quirks, you have all these little things. And that combination of all of those things, your experiences in your education and your, your way of being and the way you speak and that's your brand, right? It is not defined by something you decide, right. Or something that you manufacture, you know , extracting that. So you have some clarity in your messaging and that sort of thing is really important. But what are you finding that your clients come to you and they , they have the same anxiety about my brand and standing out and being differentiated.Speaker 2:
Yeah. Most them come and they [inaudible] are worried about like their logo or the colors. So they're going to have show up . Right. Cause when you think of branding, but it's usually the first thing that I think we were trained by society of the online world is like, Oh well you have to have a logo and you have to have your brand colors. And I don't even like those are important. Yes. Like I'm not saying they're not important, but your unique story and how you show up yourself is more important in the stories that you tell and the relationships that you create through that are what really help you stand out. And it's more focusing on , um, like the emotional branding piece to it too . Like people connect through stories. They don't connect really through a color on a website or your logo like that might attract them in and they might recognize it. Right? Like Coca Cola, we see the red soda can and like we can connect that really easily now. And we know that connection through like their marketing strategy. But it's the emotions that we connect, especially as personal brands, we have to show up as who we are in a way that just feels authentic and it's real. And it's not like you're not trying to be somebody else. I think most of the people that I talked to, especially at the beginning, they see other people doing things. So they try to emulate what they're seeing them do and it doesn't show off as authentic for them and they don't get the same traction or the results from it because they're, they're too stuck on trying to do it like somebody else. And it's not, it's not them. So it's not really connecting in the way that they want it to .Speaker 1:
So how do you help your clients like start showing up authentically? What do they need to do?Speaker 2:
Yeah, so , um , I love to put my clients through, like, I call it like a mat , a massive brainstorming session. First thing is, and that's really just getting them to sit down and write down every single thing that's ever happened in their life. Everything that's been , um , an impact or made an impact for them. Or , um, like you said, it could be like educational stuff . Like where did they go to school? Um, how were they raised? What did they do? So I have a brain dump on a piece of paper. I usually have them sit down with paper and pen because I feel like you just get so much more traction than if you try to like type it out on your computer. Um, so I have them brainstorm through, yeah , all the story possibilities. Um , all the ways that , um, they stand out that they feel like they might be different from other people in their competition, whether it's the same industry or , um, other industries, but just , um , what are they passionate about? What are their skills, what have they done in their lives? And then after they do that massive brain dump, I have asked ourselves four questions and that's , um, what happened. And like what happened as part of that experience or that story, how were you impacted by it? Like what was like that big impact for you? What changed for you? So because of that situation, like what changed? What did something change in your heart? Did you look at things in a different way where you just changed as a person? And then the fourth question is, what lesson have you learned? And like what's your big takeaway from that experience? And by going through that, you're able to start identifying which pieces of your story you can really use to start standing out online and to share your message. So like when I did the exercise for myself, when I was creating this framework that I didn't even know I was creating , um, like for me it was like single mom working 60 hours a week. I'm losing my mom and having that moment , um , of turning around and seeing how many people she had an impact on and how that changed like my heart in that moment. And then it was , um, Cletus look at those different experiences and start tying those together. And then I always have , um, my clients go back through too , and that's like, go out and do some market research. Like talk to the people that are there . People like their clients, their ideal clients. Sit down with them and ask them questions, figure out what their strengths are, what their struggles are, what their pains are, where they're , um , where they're struggling to get , um, business or clients from , um, and get really clear like, what is it they desire, do they want, do they have desires that are bigger? Like, like my desire to have more flexibility in my schedule. Um , that was something that was big for me and when I talk started talking to my clients, that was something that I realized quickly was their desire to. So it was something that we had in common. Um, and then taking that information and kind of pulling that all together to create like your brand story so you can start building those relationships , um , using that framework. So a lot of it's just, you know, brainstorming, asking yourself a lot of questions, finding the connecting pieces , um, to share with your audience and actually talking to your audience and then using that information and that, that you gathered during that time to start using that in your marketing. Using that as you're building relationships, especially online because it's so much different to building relationships online where we read a lot more, we don't have, if you walk into a networking event like you can have actual conversations over , this might come out easily, but when you're online you have to like, you have to word it in a way that people can understand and that you want them to kind of lean in. Right. Versus like back up a little bit and some people are going to back up like you're going to . Also, the cool thing about sharing your story is the people that it's meant for are going to lean in and connect with you and the people that it's not meant for and that aren't your ideal client, your people, your team [inaudible] however you like to word it. Like you kind of repel them too , which is a good thing I think especially in the online world like we don't want, we can't work with everybody. Like we're not meant to work with every single person out there. I can't even handle more than say 20 clients at a time. Right. Like that would be a lot for one person to handle. So I don't need to talk to everybody in the world. I just need to talk to like my people.Speaker 1:
So I love that you are sending your clients out to talk to their clients because really our brand is what other people say about us. Right. What our clients say about us. And so are you finding that , um, your clients are going out talking to their clients and are they coming back with like new information or realizations or some surprises or is it mostly that they're kind of confirming what they knew already?Speaker 2:
I think that's a little bit of both. Um, a lot of, a lot of us start our businesses and we are our are our ideal client if I can say that. Um, like we've been there before so we have a little bit of that to lean on cause we know kind of what we walked through. But then we also, when you're going out and speaking to your ideal client, like you're able to take their, their language that they're using. And I always have my clients. So when you're doing these like market research calls, like I always tell them, if you're doing it on record, like if you're able to do it like I'm doing like record it so you can go back and listen to it afterwards again and take notes because you get so much goodness from listening to like the way that they answer the question and the language that they use. Um, that's kinda like my secret tech is you take that language then and use that language in your marketing because those are your ideal clients , exact words. It's so much more powerful than you trying to write messaging that might attract your ideal client because you think it sounds good in your head versus like having the actual sure language from your client. So yeah, I always have them , um , try to paraphrase as much of their Mar , their messaging as other interviews as possible because that's like liquid gold. It's their ability to be able to , um , write in a way that makes sense and draws people in for them.Speaker 1:
Right. And in a, in a sense you kind of have to go out and make a mass first before you can really hone in on and finalize your brand. And I think a lot of people are, are they , they, they don't start because they're not sure about it yet, but really getting sure about it is a matter of going out and actually doing the work. Right. And having the clients to , to speak to and to get the feedback from. So are you working with people who are just starting out or you're working with people who've been in business for a little while?Speaker 2:
Um , it's usually a blend. Um, a lot of my clients are not necessarily, they don't come to me look like day one of their business. They usually, they've started their business and they feel like they have a foundation built, but they don't, I have all the pieces, like strongly belts , so I work with them on creating kind of that strong foundation for their business. So what do they have one client or if they have 15 clients , um, the foundation isn't going to fall. Right? It's kind of like building a house. You have to have like that strong foundation piece built to um, move forward with your clients and to attract the right people. So a lot of it is getting super clear on who it is they want to work with. They're doing the market research with their ideal clients and asking the questions they're getting in front of their ideal client too . Cause I think so many times we [inaudible] we ask a little bit of questions but we don't like deep dive into who our ideal client is. And the more that you know your ideal client, the easier it is to really understand them and to create content that's valuable, that's going to build that relationship that you want to because we're not selling all the time, right? Like most of us are . We have offers out there, but a lot of it is just adding value to our communities and showing up and um, trying to create content that's gonna inspire people or peak their interest a little bit or maybe solve a little bit of their problem. Maybe not the whole entire problem cause we want them to want us at some point, right? But , um, we're sharing valuable content that's allowing them to really engage and build those relationships with each other. Cause your con , your community is the most important. The more that you give to your community, the more value packed your content is, the easier it's going to be for you when you do have an offer to sell. Um , for them to be able to correlate like, Oh, I've, you know, I've worked with Darlene on her free content, you know, with this, this and this and now when I'm ready to, to take it my best with the next level, I know who I want to go to versus seeing so many people doing so many different things and not knowing kind of what that , um , differ , differentiate areas for you.Speaker 1:
Yeah, and I think like being out in and present in your communities is, is a double whammy, right? We get to, we get to be present. We get to show a little bit of our work. We get to develop the relationships, but we also get to learn a lot, right? Like I've found that being out and being of service in communities is like the number one tool for me in terms of marketing because I get to hear from all of these people and triangulate what I'm assuming already and get to know them as clients really, really well. So that when I go to have an offer, I can target it appropriately. But I also get the chance to um,Speaker 2:
to give them a sense of what it's like to work with me. Right? So these, you know, it , it's actually really easy, right? It's like showing up and just being yourself and being really helpful is a great, a great marketing strategy and it allows you to tell that story that you've created. Right? Yeah. So speaking of brands, what is it about you? What is it about you and your story and your, your brand that, that stick that makes you stick out amongst other coaches?Speaker 2:
Yeah, so like I've already shared, I've already shared some of my story obviously with you guys. So like some of those identifying pieces I've been, you know, people relate to the fact that I, that I'm a mom, they relate to the fact that they work, you know, tons of hours at work for a company who they might feel like they're irreplaceable or replaceable too . They're , they're not irreplaceable. Cause like , especially in most organizations there , we w we, we think they make us feel like, like they could not live without us if we, you know, took that vacation day or if we took that time off. But , um , in all reality, that's not always the case. So it's , um, I think the biggest thing for me, I'm just kinda rambling. The biggest thing for me that stands out is that I'm super relatable. I work with a lot of moms who want to start businesses and want to connect at a deeper level. They want to create revenue for their family so that they can , um, provide a lifestyle for their selves and their children. Um, so that they can, you know, go on a couple of vacations every year. Um, so it's, it's more of just showing up at the, typically as myself and sharing those stories with myself and being open to relate and connect in a way that I feel like some entrepreneurs aren't like so many people, I feel like when they're marketing, like they're very guarded. Like they share, they shared just enough to like, because they're really good marketers, they can share just enough to like pull you in. But at the end of the day, like they don't have that ability to really engage and connect and help people take their business to the next level. And that's something that I've been able to, I think do really well with my clients is I able to pull them in because of who I am and the short stories that I share and just kind of like, I'm me. Like, I'm not like super fancy. I'm not , um , and not trying to be somebody that I'm not, and that's what resonatesSpeaker 1:
the relate-ability , the approachability, the accessibility, that kind of thing, right? Yeah. Yeah. Do you say to the people who, who have the objection that they're very private people and they don't want, they don't feel comfortable sharing so much about themselves.Speaker 2:
Nice . I love that question because so many everybody, like I feel like everybody always says that they're like , um , I don't want to share my story because you know, I have people on my Facebook page that , um , know me or what if my mom hears or wonder if my husband hears what I say? And they're so worried about, you know, not , um, like who's going to be listening that they, they just hold yourself back. So I always tell my clients like, are the top things I usually hear are that their story is not that special. And like, let's break that myth right now. Like every single one of us has different unique life experiences that we can share with the world. So share those, share that information, share that story, share that , um, thing that's happened to you because you don't have to share like the whole entire thing. You'd just have to share a little bit to engage with them. I feel like a lot of people say like, nobody cares about my story. Like why would my story matter to somebody else? Like how would that help them? And it's , I think I personally feel like sharing or when I hear other people's stories, like it's almost healing to me to know that I'm not alone in this crazy life that we have. Like it's nice to know like other people have, you know, bad days with their kids or that , um , the crazy things that our kids say. Like I always joke, like there's like I pull so many of my story ideas and the things that I share about based off of like what my kids say because right. Kids say the darnedest things like and inspires like so many different things. Um, and then a lot of people say they just don't like to talk about themselves and I think they worry too much because they think they have to share every single thing that happens to them. And I always tell them like, no, like, you guys only know, like probably a quarter of my life in all reality. Like there's so many facets to each of us that we don't, you don't have to share like everything and you don't have to share it if you're not comfortable. Um, Bernay Brown has a quote to share from the scar, not the wound. And that really resonated when I read that, I was like, like it just made me pause and realize like, you don't have to share if you're going through something you don't have to share. If you're in some like this situation, I'm still like share down the road. Um, save the story for a day when you're not gonna get like, upset or emotional about it. Like, it took me a long time to share the story about my mom. Um, it's still like, it's still like, it doesn't choke me up. Um , like it did in the beginning. But like I, I have a feeling inside my body every time I share that story. Like, and I share it maybe a little bit different every single time. Sometimes I might share more information. Sometimes I might, you know , just hit the surface level, whatever I'm feeling in that moment. Like, whatever feels good to my gut. Um, but just knowing that you can just share when you're ready, you don't have to share everything. Share which pieces you think are going to be relatable. Um, I encourage my clients to have what I call a story bank. Um, so if they and I, I have mine on Trello, I just have a board of Lily called story bank. And anytime I have a story idea or something that happens, I just write it down in there. And if I'm not ready to use that story , um, especially online, then I don't use it. But I write it down so that if one day maybe, you know, two weeks from now or two months or two years, maybe that story might have a different meaning to me. I might've come all the way through it and it might, I might be able to share it in a way that will help other people heal or help them go through the struggle in a different way because they're able to hear the inspiration or how I've come through it. So just having a way to kind of keep all of your stories to the side. It's been impactful me because you don't know when you're going to use them and you don't have to share everything, every single detail like feel, feel into it. Like I always say like listen to your gut, not your head because my head will tell me I should do this, I should do that, I should do that . All these different things. But in all reality, like my gut tells me like, yeah, this is the right time. Like this is okay to share or Nope , not today. Like not happening.Speaker 1:
Well there's also no requirement for you to share anything in particular and it's not like you need to create a storyline of all of the trials and tribulations that you have in through, but it could be observations. Anything that gives you sort of gives your clients sort of a window into your character. Right. That is, that is I think what people are reaching for these days is to know you as a person and so that doesn't mean you have to air all your dirty laundry. Absolutely not. Does it mean here to do anything that you're uncomfortable with? Absolutely not. But people want to know you. So whatever your , whatever kind of gives you that, that personality. And that's something that they can, they can put a pin on it and say, Oh, that's for me. Like those are, that's my people. You know, it could be something goofy. Like I played roller Derby and there's this whole community of people out there who know what roller Derby means in the culture. And in fact you and I coach with somebody who played roller Derby too . So it's like one of these little connecting things that everybody has some connection to, something to do with you. And so I think getting away from that, this assumption and this resistance saying I'm a private person, I don't like, you can still be a private person and, and, and have your personality showing.Speaker 2:
Yeah. And I always encourage my clients to have like five different story buckets even to pull from because we don't even, we don't want to talk about our business all day long. Right? Like that gets super boring super quick. If all we did was show up and only talked about our business, but like you talk about roller Derby, like that's like another piece of your brand that you can use because I've, I've, I witnessed you connect to people through like that experience itself. And that's another way that like people will lean in if they're like, Oh, roller Dewberry. And that's like super awesome. That's cool. Like I can't believe you've done that. Like I've done it or I've never done it and this is why I haven't done it. But I love that you did it. Um, you're relating and connecting in a way and you're not even talking about business. So you're building relationships like, so , um , you want to talk about other things, like if you love to travel and that's something that you enjoy doing, then bring that into your brands . Talk about it. Tell people about like the latest trip that you're planning that you're going on or what your bucket list is for 2020 or whatever that looks like. Um, but pull those pieces into your brand because that's the relatable piece, right? Like, people aren't just listening because they want to buy from you solely like because you're , you have this amazing offer, which we do all have amazing offers. That's not why they're listening. They're listening because you're sharing stories and you're connecting and relatable ways and you're, you're multifaceted. Like you have different dimensions to you. You're not like just a plain, simple, boring person. Like you have these different things like, like I talk about my kids and my marketing. Um , if you go to my Instagram page, like there's like I pull them into my brand a little bit. They're not honestly a big part of my brand, but they're a piece that I can connect to. I can tell mom life stories and my audience resonates and relates to that. So it's like a good connecting piece. So try to find things about yourself that you can kind of have as like your story bank or not your story bank, but like your story buckets. Um, so you have your business. Um , like for me, I have my business. I have , um, that I'm a mom. I have that I'm a procrastinator. Like I talk about the fact that I'm a procrastinator. Like I will wait sometimes to do something to the very last minute and a lot of my clients find themselves in the same situation. So we are able to like talk about those situations. I can share stories about how , um , I procrastinated and how I've been able to accomplish what I needed to. And also the times where like, it didn't work because I let that hold me back or I waited so long that , um, I didn't do it as quick, as timely as I needed to. So find those different things about yourself and if you love to travel, pull that in. If you love to , I don't know if you have a hobby, if you're a photographer , like you , like you have a hobby for photography or different things like that, like talk about those things because it's gonna make you feel. People feel more connected because there's more to you than just your personal brand itself. It kind of takes you to that next level, right?Speaker 1:
So let me shift a shift a little bit. Um, I want to talk about your business and you building your business. What has growth meant to you? Like where have you, what have you kind of grown around?Speaker 2:
Hmm , such a good question. I feel like I'm growing like pretty much every single day. I'm , I'm what I call a lifetime learner. I always have my nose in a book or I'm listening to a podcast or I'm taking a new training. I just love to take a new information. So I think for me growth has been , um, allowing myself to fail and fall forward and try things that maybe scare the crap out of me. Um, and then asking myself through that process, like, what was my biggest lesson from this? What did I learn and how can I take that either a failure or a success depending on how it is cause right. Like entrepreneurs, like we do scary things everyday . Like I actually challenged myself , um, in 2018 my , um, phrase for myself was ideas , scary things like that was like what I was telling myself. Like, it's okay to be scared, excuse me. So it's okay to be scared. It's okay to do things that , um, scare the pants off of you because those are the lessons ones that we learn and that's how we take ourselves to the next level. So how are we, like growth is like just getting ourselves ready for that next up level because I think no matter where we are in our businesses, what, whether I was starting out or where I'm at today, like I still have another goal, I still have a new plan or a vision that I want to reach towards and it's putting myself in that position so that I can Uplevel to be that next level entrepreneur that I'm going to be.Speaker 1:
So what's worked for you in terms of growth and in terms of that upleveling ? Like what has helped you continually get to the next level?Speaker 2:
Yeah, I think a lot of it has been putting myself out there and not being afraid to be visible. So when I started my business, I built it. I live in Southern California now and I used to live in Las Vegas and when I started my business, I did my whole entire business was built on the ground, connected , staying at in person networking. And then when we moved to Southern California, my youngest, he's five now, but he was six months old at the time and I wasn't ready to like find new people to watch them . We have no family where we moved to. Um, so I had to start building my business online and I had to quickly find ways to connect because right. I wasn't, I wasn't comfortable doing videos or doing things in the beginning. Um, so I had to find different ways to show up. So for me that was , um , doing zoo master classes , um , have been something that I enjoy doing now because it's an , a confined environment where I can see who's in the group, I can ask engaging questions and build relationships that way. Um, so that's been one way that I've able been able to kind of show my, or be visible. Um, I also lab to network in person and now that my son is my youngest is five, I've started a local meetup group where I do , um , every two months we get together for a business book club, which is usually that I pick based off of, you know, on ways that we can up-level and personal develop, grow ourselves as well as our business. Um, and I've been able to breed an amazing community of women around the two no get to know and network locally has been a big piece to it as well as we do like what I call business coaching circles where I teach them how to ask thought provoking questions to the other entrepreneurs that are in the group instead of just, I feel like so often like you'd go have coffee with a friend, right? And you pick their brain and you just like get all their advice and then they tell you how everything's working for them. And as a coach, I kind of like to live by the fact that like I like to ask questions like, so I have been teaching people in my community that are a part of my meetup group, how to ask questions and how to find the answers for yourself that feel really good versus I'm just going to other people and finding out what works for them. Because I think the secret to creating an online business is not just doing what everybody else was doing, but doing what feels good to you and what works really well for you. Instead of trying to do the 5 million, all the things as like the hashtag all the things right, like we use the online, everybody's doing all these different things and that you have to do what feels really good for you. So asking yourself those questions to, to understand what that is has been like a fun experiment to have with my local community.Speaker 1:
So that's awesome. You've been really built, you have an online business, but you've been building your visibility through offline techniques and through teaching. And does that translate well into the, into the online customers?Speaker 2:
Yeah, I think so. Um, I, all my, most of my clients are all over, like they live in different cities and States from me. Um, so it's not, I don't have the ability to go meet them for coffee. So thank God for technology, right? Like we have the capability to have, you know, zoom calls, enter Skype and all these different tools have been able to allow us to build businesses where we don't have to be face to face with them . So that's made a huge impact because I remember when I moved from Las Vegas then I was going to be, you know, a four hour drive away from the city where all my clients were and all of my contacts. I was nervous for a little bit. I was like, how am I going to continue to grow this business and start over? I'm in a new city. And when I realized that like the online world was available for me to build those connections and stay in touch with people and just still have those conversations and have those clients, it's just given me, it's like another layer to the business so you can still grow your business locally, but you can also help so many people all over the world now because of the way that our world has turned and all of this amazing technology that somebody created for us.Speaker 1:
Yeah. Yeah. My life has changed a lot. Right.Speaker 2:
It has, I mean, when I started in 2007 like there wa I didn't even, I wasn't able to comprehend that we could have the online business that we have today. It just wasn't, it wasn't created yet. Like it was starting to be like, there was little pieces out there, but it wasn't until like, I feel like 10 years ago yeah. When it like really shifted as like Facebook came available and we didn't have my space anymore. It was like all those different changes though. Um , that I brought us to a nice now where you can work with people no matter where they live at, but you can also still work in your own backyard, which I love because I'm, I'm like an ambivert. I'm not really like I, I love to be home, but I also love to like be around people and connect. So it's important for me to get out from behind my computer sometimes and build those relationships locally in person just as much as it is for me to grow it and the online community as well.Speaker 1:
Totally agree. I haven't , I have a diploma certificate in internet marketing from 1998 and so I've been, I've been watching this whole community, this whole environment shift for, you know, 20 years and here we are now in this place of opportunity. And I think people who are new to business and who are, have only ever just built an online business, don't recognize what a treat it is to have access to data and technology and connectivity , um, in the ways that we do now. Right?Speaker 2:
Yeah. Most , like most millennials don't even know what it's like to not have that stuff. Right. So for them it's like crazy that we even talk about like actually like not having built our businesses online cause so many of them are able to like, that's just what they grew up with where I'm like in that middle piece, like I was like, we had computers and we have those brick cell phones when I was a teenager. But it was like that on skirt of, it was when it really started. The change was, you know, after I had art was already an adult. SoSpeaker 1:
yeah, my very first job coming out of university was as, as a researcher for a new software startup. And that was before we had robust internet technologies. So we were building an internet based, basically a software as a service in um, like an enterprise environment. But we didn't have, we didn't have the digital marketing tools that we have now. We didn't have, connectivity was still like something you have in your basement to play games on and it's sort of a novelty. Right. So it's really interesting. I mean, in a way the fundamentals of business haven't shifted that much. It's just we have better tools and better access now to , to be able to do those things. Right. Okay. Um, I'm going to ask you, what has been like the most pivotal moment in your business?Speaker 2:
Hmm . Most pivotal moment, I will say yes . So when I first became a coach back in 2007, I had signed up as a coach and was trained through a franchise and I was with them for about two years, two and a half years, I guess. And I was getting clients and it was inconsistent and it w I wasn't substate I wasn't able to sustain being a part of a franchise and the fees and the royalty that came with that. Um, and I had chose to walk away from that franchise and [inaudible] it was a really rough time for me because I loved what I was doing and I was super frustrated with myself for not having the success that I was promised as part of the franchise. Right. Like I w it was just a struggle for me to get to the goals that I was promised and like kind of what I thought I could achieve. And I had a lot of mindset gunk that just kind of stuck with me through that process. I was like, okay, I failed at this business. What was I doing? Um, I loved when I was working with clients, but I was struggling with getting clients and I think for me, like the , my big pivotal movement was about, I think it was like three to four months after I'd walked away from the franchise. I was like trying to reassess what I wanted to do with my life. Like, okay, if I didn't succeed at that piece of my business, like how was I going to move forward? And about four months into it , um, I just sat down and I got really clear on like the foundational pieces for my business, which is what I teach today, which is why I'm able to teach it. It was when I sat back though and I got really clear like, what was my niche going to be? Who was it that I was going to work with? How was I gonna work with them? I got super clear on who my ideal client was. I got clear on how to you like how to share myself [inaudible] two people to connect and relate to them and I really worked on my messaging and how my marketing strategies for how I was going to grow a business and during that time, like I set up foundation for myself, that worked and all of a sudden it was like clockwork. I like everything started shifting, like my mindset shifted that I could do it and I wasn't a failure because I didn't succeed with the franchise. Like I didn't have to like prove myself to anybody anymore. And it was just that moment when I did the work. The hard work of like getting really clear with who it was I wanted to work with I think was the moment that really clicked for me. And I feel like I see that happen to so many people today. Even like they have this vision and this idea and this plan for themselves , but they're not sure how to do the work to like get super clear and deep into it. Um , and I think that's kinda like my secret sauce now is like I failed at my first business as a business coach. Like I had all the tools and the support and everything I needed and I didn't succeed scene with that franchise and it was devastating. I lost a lot of money, like my pride was hurt. Um, but coming through that like totally shifted who I am and how I show up today and it's what's, what I've been able to use. It was like the foundation for how I help my clients now. So I don't feel like if I, maybe if I hadn't walked away from that franchise as I would have still learned these lessons at some point, but because I did like, that was like a huge pivotal moment for me to show up for my clients now as well as to show up for myself and for my family.Speaker 1:
Yeah . I call them theirs . I call them the starter business, kind of like a starter marriage and you know, I went through it. Everybody's, I think everybody does go through it at some point in time and if you're lucky you get, you know , the good would get exposed to all of that stuff beforehand. But I think that there's, there's still a lot of learning that comes out of , of um , things not working out exactly as you had hoped. And I kind of look at that as being one step closer to where you really want to be. Right?Speaker 2:
Yes. So true. Yeah. If I, if you like, have to learn from those lessons, like we can learn so much stirring what feels like such a dark and deep and depressing time sometimes, but that's like where the new growth is at and the new light and it's such a beautiful thing. Like when you're able to like come through whatever that moment is and see like a new direction and a new path in a new way of being, it's just a beautiful thing.Speaker 1:
Yeah. I love it. Okay. I have a question that I ask everybody. Um , this, this show is all about being real and being , um, relatable. And so what do you think is the biggest gap between what's real and what we see out there in the online business world?Speaker 2:
No , the biggest gap. I love that cause I'm always saying like is it real or like the real like the, like the video reel of like the movie stars, like cause at the edited version or is it like the real life what we have going on? Um, I think the big difference is I feel like a lot of our episode is kind of, I already highlighted on some of this too. Like it's just showing up authentically, being okay with who you are and showcasing it. Like find those pieces of yourself that , um, have impacted you and go out there and tell people about them . Like connect through those stories so that you can have that engagement and build that community and start to collaborate with other people in the online market space. Because so many people are like, we're seeing like the highlight reel of their life. Like, if you go to Instagram, everything looks all perfect, right? Like we take 300 pictures to get that one picture so we can post that one blog post or that one little teeny snippet comment. But we're so worried about everything being perfect. Like it doesn't have to be perfect. Like post the silly pictures post the ones that aren't perfect because that's the ones that people are going to relate to. They're going to connect to you, they're going to be inspired by, and that's what's gonna I think turn like this online face on its head is if people just start showing up authentically as who they are and stop trying to be somebody who they're not in shock , kind of be the girl next door or the boy next door or , um, that entrepreneur who you think is successful. Because a lot of times they're not even as successful as they look like online. And when you really get to know them, you're like, huh. I'm like, that's interesting. I feel like they're spendingSpeaker 1:
[inaudible] on that experience. Yeah, I have had that experience for sure. And it's, it's, it's super eyeopening. Okay. So Darlene, what's next for you?Speaker 2:
Yeah, what's next for me? Um , nothing's really changing for me. Other than that I'm still working with amazing clients and helping them grow and develop their businesses. Um, for myself, it's just, I'm , I'm working really hard at building community. Um, so I'm , um , growing my Facebook group, I'm trying kind of show up in a way that is authentic and real and connecting and sharing valuable content that makes sense for my ideal client. Um, and just helping amazing entrepreneurs grow their business and have the life that [inaudible] they truly want. I'm letting them home detect their kids in bed at night, having that flexibility to do the things they want and if they want to travel, awesome. If they want to stay home and read a book on the couch because they provided for their family for the day, like that's kind of the life that I'm trying to, to provide as just a way of helping my community show up the way that they want to and what in a way that feels really good to them, to them.Speaker 1:
Awesome. And you're running a virtual summit in January?Speaker 2:
I am, yeah. I'm going to have a virtual summit all about , um , showing up as your authentic, true self. Um, and it's featuring amazing ladies from all over the world actually. Um, they're sharing some of their top tips for being visible, showing up online, being authentic and real and just doing their thing and doing it the way that they want to and not trying to do it like everybody else is encouraging them to do.Speaker 1:
Awesome. I love it. So we'll put links to that or to anything that you've got to share with us in the show notes, but , um, what I would love to direct people to your group as well so that they can continue to get all this awesomeness from you. Um, but what kind of support do you need in order to get there?Speaker 2:
Um , support that I need. I don't know. Um , I feel like I just love being around amazing people that are doing similar things to me, like showing up authentically and growing their communities. So I always love to collaborate and build relationships ups and um , I'm always happy to connect and have conversations to find ways to do that. So yeah, if anybody is listening and wants to connect and see how we can help support each other , um, I would love to connect.Speaker 1:
Awesome. Well we'll put all of your contact information in the show notes and then hopefully everybody's going to start reaching out.Speaker 2:
Okay. Okay. We are at time, but I want to thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today. This has been really inspiring and informative. Can you tell the listeners the best way to find you?Speaker 2:
Yeah, probably the best place to hang out would be in my free Facebook community, which is attract and stand out brand building with Darlene Holly. Um , you can find me there and then you can also [inaudible] if I'm an Instagram, if you want to see cute pictures of my kids and kind of follow along with what's going on with my business as well.Speaker 1:
Awesome. And you mentioned that you have a, an offer that you would like to extend to all of our listeners.Speaker 2:
I do. I have a um, uncover your niche , um , workbook and video series that helps you get really super clear on who your ideal client is and make sure that you're niched down enough to where you're able to grow your business and really connect with your audience so they know exactly what you're doing. Um, through your passion.Speaker 1:
That sounds super valuable. We'll put a link in by go find , um , Darlene and download that freebie because that is an amazing, amazing offer that's going to get you through this stuck place where you're really trying to figure out how you are going to show up to your audience. Awesome. Thank so much. So that's a wrap for this episode. Such an amazing conversation and make sure you go and check out Darlene and her incredible offer. And thank you for tuning in today to hear this story. The episodes you're listening to are all featuring members of my free private Facebook group called the real deal business coaching group where we have daily prompts to keep you focused on building your business and sharing your everyday challenges and wins by weekly virtual coffee chats, open coaching and member support from in this incredible community. And we have just started doing monthly pop up coaching sessions so you get a chance to be coached on a hot seat in a live free session. So come join us if you would like to join our community or if you'd like to be featured on this show, I'd love for you to come and hang out with us in the group links in the show notes or search up real deal business coaching in face back to find us. And finally I would love for you to join us for our next episode where we're going to be speaking to Sally-Ann gray , who is a marketing strategist for small businesses who want to do big things. She's going to talk to us about finding a specific opportunity and a gap in services for small businesses. How she's capitalized on that to build her own successful small business. So thank you again for being here, and if you've enjoyed today's content, I would love for you to give us a review on whatever platform you're listening on. This helps us share these stories with an even bigger audience. And so until next time, keep building, keep dreaming, and keep being real.