10 years ago when I started Chic CEO, I didn’t want anyone to know I was behind it. You couldn’t find my picture on the website and you had to do a lot of digging to even find my name. I wanted it to be it’s own entity apart from me personally. But at a certain point, I realized I needed to step out into the light and start letting people know who I was. Was it scary? Sure. But the growth that happened as a result was undeniable.
Laura Belgray, founder of Talking Shrimp knows this all too well.
“This is Laura, she writes TV spots for brands like Bravo and Fandango.”
“This is Laura, she’s written for Spongebob Squarepants.”
“This is Laura. She writes for Marie Forleo!”
“For years, that’s how I was introduced. It’s a pretty cool way to be known; for being the word person behind huge brands. But at a certain point, I didn’t want to be so and so’s copywriter or anybody’s anything anymore. I wanted to be me. To put it simply, I wanted to be known as Laura F-ing Belgray,” she says. “I knew that everything I dreamed of in my business—being able to make a living from my own writing, to my own audience (from the comfort of my own couch); reach more people; stop taking clients and get those appointments off my calendar; all while making way more money— boiled down to becoming known for who I am, not just who I write for or serve.”
Creating a brand around yourself is no easy task, so I asked Laura to give me her top mindset shifts to do that. Not only did she retire from one-on-one client work; she crossed the $1 million mark for her year’s revenue and she chalks it all up to what she call “The 3 V’s.”
“This is about creative output. However you release content, YouTube videos, social posts, blog posts, or (my favorite) emails to a list of subscribers – my advice is to create and release more. More, more, more. Be prolific. Create in volume.” advises Belgray.
She gives a few reasons why:
- It keeps you top of mind. The more people see you in their feed or inbox, the more they’ll think of you first when they need whatever it is you offer.
- It builds your know, like, and trust factor. The more people see you, the more they feel connected to you, and the more they feel like they know you. Complete strangers start to think of you as their friend.
- It keeps the genius flowing. We’re used to the idea of “quality over quantity,” but here’s the truth: quantity creates quality.
“Creativity is a numbers game. Not everything you write, say or make will be a gem. The more you produce, the more of what you do will be excellent or genius by virtue of practice, sure; but also by law of averages,” says Belgray.
Whether it’s a photo, a blog post, or an Instagram caption, It’s usually that one in five, one in ten, maybe one in a hundred tries that shines in the way you hoped it would.
And, often, it’s the one you least expect that gets a big “wow” from your audience.
“Taking swift action was a real shift for me. Normally, when I have an idea for my business, I took a different approach: Marinate on it…for a couple of years. Ask every friend what they thought and have them tell me it’s brilliant, I must do it. Wait for the perfect time to act on it. (Spoiler: that time never comes.) It wasn’t until I started doing things quickly and decisively – like putting together my group program, Shrimp Club, or my email copywriting course, Inbox Hero, that my business truly took off. In the past year, I crossed the 7-figure mark for the year, and that’s because I turned ideas into income streams, rather than letting them ‘marinate,’” she says.
“In the spirit of velocity, I’ll finish this one with a quick tip: What one idea of yours would you be furious to see someone else come up with and put into action before you? Give yourself a tight deadline, and execute on it ASAP.”
“In the past few years, I’ve taken a multi-pronged approach to being seen:
- Guest posting in big publications
- Speaking at conferences and other live events
- Appearing on podcasts
All these platforms confer prestige – fancy-talk for “make you look like hot stuff”—while allowing you to reach many more people. You get exposed to OPA (Other People’s Audiences), which broadens your own,” she says.
In addition, you can increase your visibility with your own audience. For example:
- Posting faithfully on Instagram
- Emailing your list more, aiming to show up in people’s inboxes one, two, even three times per week
- Doing Facebook Lives
- Attending events
“It may seem like a lot of work to get your name, face, and voice out there and score those impressive media logos. But, really, you’re front-loading the work now so you can be lazy later.” says Belgray. “When you create an aura of authority, credibility, and even a touch of celebrity for yourself, people come to you. No more chasing clients, no hard sell required.”
Even if you don’t think of yourself as someone who should be, or longs to be, in the spotlight, remember that if you remain in the shadows, you’re doing a disservice to the people who need you and would be thrilled to find you. Don’t deny them that chance. You can raise your hand to be seen by pitching yourself and your ideas to editors, event organizers, and podcasters. All are hungry for fresh voices and new content. You can publish your own content more consistently.
“No, visibility doesn’t happen without effort, but it’s the ultimate hack. And, though it may seem obvious, it’s highly underused,” reminds Belgray.