If you’ve ever let your insecurities hold you back from your fabulous work, then this backstory is for you as I tell you about the one thing I did to give me ultimate confidence to be proud of what I do and attract my perfect dream clients.
I’m Jeni and I’m here to solve student loan debt. Through my brand, Repayable, I educate borrowers and engage critical stakeholders in the development and implementation of multi-faceted solutions to student loan debt.
Describing a mission this large and seemingly nebulous is daunting. Especially so because I’ve struggled with confidence in my entrepreneurial abilities.
You see, I’m a full-time clinical pharmacist. I specialize in intensive care and emergency medicine.
In that world, high stress high stakes medication consulting is my game and I love it. In that world, my experience and education allows me to quickly and confidently analyze changing patient data to provide potentially life-saving drug therapy recommendations to my physician colleagues. In that world, I’m a confident and trusted consultant. My role is specific and I know exactly how to provide the highest level of care in my niche.
But this student loan thing… argh! I have the same passion and the same commitment to quality and accuracy, although student loan mistakes won’t actually kill anyone. But I struggle to “entrepreneur”.
I wrote and published a book that I’m incredibly proud of but was too afraid to promote, a blog that was the same, and struggled with the feeling that my student loan destroying dream was slowly starving to death.
Then I found my confident voice in the student loan realm through brand values. I stumbled across the concept of brand values right here on A&P’s website when I joined ATOMIC. I worked my way through their Content Mavericks Course (and their book too) and struck identity gold.
The decision to become an ATOMIC member changed everything. Insecurity no longer sucks the life out of Repayable. My brand values center and sustain me through doubts and uncertainties and land me work. So what are these all-powerful brand values and how can you use them to get clients?
WTH are Brand Values?
Andrew and Pete define brand values best in their book Content Mavericks. “Brand values are all about how you want people to perceive you. If YOU aren’t clear about that – how can anyone else be?”
If you want to learn more, Andrew and Pete have a video here about it:
But basically, your brand values are three (no more!) words/phrases that you identify with. These values are unique to your specific business, are not definitely not your industry standards. Make your values fit your needs and don’t limit yourself to polite language. You’re not putting these in a formal mission statement.
Here are my brand values at Repayable.
Striking: data-driven, factual, cutting edge, clear, doesn’t mince words, accurate, makes sense
Defiant: says what needs to be said, takes a definite position, offers new solutions, unconstrained, innovative, bold
Powerful: replaces borrower uncertainty with knowledge and strategy, applicable, a relentless advocate for borrowers
Using Your Brand Values to Build Confidence
Working through your brand values gives you an under-appreciated gift. The gift of vocabulary. You now have the words to describe yourself and the answers to questions about why you’re the best in your niche. This is why it’s so critical to choose words you identify with rather than polite words.
I don’t think many people would look at defiant and think “Oh hooray! That’s exactly what I want in a consultant.” But for me defiant is the way Repayable does not give AF about stereotypes or the uninformed opinions of society.
In fact, I really like to shatter those stereotypes and prove damaging opinions wrong with data and basic algebra. It’s thrilling and gives power back to borrowers through objective truths. That defiance is what pushes solutions forward because it enables people to break free from the quagmire of student loan myths by seeing possibilities founded in truth.
Because you create brand values you closely identify with, you use their language when you write and create content. Brand values are your litmus test for whether your blog/vlog is trash or treasure. The more you use your brand values the more clearly you see your brand’s identity and the more confident you become in who you are and what you do.
Turning Confidence Into Consulting
Flash back to August 2017 and I’m at an Instagram for Business event in L.A. at the HQ of Hedley and Bennett. I found myself among tons of amazing entrepreneurs and then I realized everyone was a baker, or maker, or creative of some type. There I was a student loan debt strategist, Gulp!
Fish out of water, far from home, pharmacist pretending to have a business feelings of panic set in. Then I thought to myself, “What do I really have to lose?” We’re all human and statistically speaking more than half of these people have or had student loan debt.
So many people identified with Repayable and what it’s about. I had the personal experience to speak to their pain and the vocabulary from brand values to speak to the solutions. I connected with a baker who got me in touch with her friend who happened to work for an industry leader in student loan repayment benefits. And like that, a key consulting relationship was born.
Brand Value Confidence Takeaways
- Know who you are. Brand values help you define the most important characteristics you want others to see in your brand. Use these brand values to be someone you’re proud of and you like being.
- Confidently show others who you are. Communicate your values through your content. Your content is the face the world judges you by. When you create content according to your brand values, your audience learns who you are and what makes you stand out. Remember, you’re proud of who you are and you like who you are, be confident in that presentation!
- You do you. Maybe you’re a student loan strategist in a conference full of creatives. Be yourself. We’re all humans and we like genuine human beings who make us feel seen and understood because they’re not afraid to be who they are. You have an ideal client and if you’re being someone else you’re never going to attract them.
Jeni is a student loan debt strategist, author, and speaker. She’s also a clinical pharmacist who sometimes prefers dealing with life and death rather than attracting clients and negotiating paid work. She’s going to free her fellow millennials from their $1.4 trillion in student loans and prevent future generations from enduring the same mess. You can find her @therepayable on Instagram and Twitter. If you’ve got student loans Repayable’s YouTube Channel and website www.repayable.org have you covered.