Faith James is affectionately known as the Queen of Branding or the Branding Ninja depending on what side of the street you live. She is an award-winning marketing and branding executive with over 25+ years experience creating branding and communications campaigns for Fortune 500 brands like IBM, Microsoft, Pepsi, Mary Kay and Liberty Mutual. She is a highly-sought after speaker and has presented at industry shows such as the Advertising Research Federation and The American Marketing Association.
Faith is a 2x International Amazon Best Selling Author with her books: “Ladies, Power Up Your Brand" and "Experts and Influencers: Women’s Empowerment Edition” She is is currently writing her 3rd book: “God is My Brand Strategist”.
She is a certified Personal and Social Branding Strategist and is the CEO and Founder of The Personal Branding Consultancy, LLC, an international branding and marketing agency that helps forward-leaning female entrepreneurs, and a few enlightened men, from Austria to Atlanta, build a stand-out brand and improve their professional reputation in the market place. Faith was recently named a 2021 Top 100 Influencer in Advertising and Marketing.
Max Traylor: I can't tell you the level of excitement that I've had over the last two days. I actually met my guest today, Faith James, two days ago, ladies and gentlemen, and I have managed to be patient and to fill my time with other things like golf until at last the day and time we've agreed to share your story with the world, Faith. And I was at the liquor store as I do, and I couldn't help but notice this Ultimate Success IPA.
Faith James: Wow.
Max Traylor: And boy, do I feel like that's the theme of today's episode.
Faith James: Yes.
Max Traylor: Super excited to speak with you. You've brought matching sassy energy drinks. What are you drinking today?
Faith James: This is my Arbonne EnergyFizz, and this is what I sustain on to keep me at peak performance for success, so cheers to you.
Max Traylor: Cheers to you. And I'll tell you what, I also have my methods of hydration. I'm an AHA guy. Have you ever got your hands on any of these sparkling water AHAs?
Faith James: Yes, I have actually.
Max Traylor: Do you have a favorite flavor? Because this is my-
Faith James: The mango.
Max Traylor: [crosstalk] going on here.
Faith James: The mango and pineapple, I love anything citrusy. So the lemon lime, there you go, watermelon.
Max Traylor: [crosstalk] strawberry cucumber, yeah.
Faith James: Oh, that's a strawberry cucumber, yes. And the watermelon, I love them all.
Max Traylor: Perfect. Well, now that we got that-
Faith James: It makes the water interesting. We get to have at least eight to 10, eight ounce glasses, so AHA makes it interesting. So shout out to the water team.
Max Traylor: If the water's not interesting, the beer always wins and this is a dilemma that I faced. So I must seek out creative forms of the H2O, else my creative mind just drifts off into-
Faith James: What's your too interesting water to beer?
Max Traylor: Oh-
Faith James: [inaudible]
Max Traylor: Critical. It's at critical levels. But hey, that's because seven years ago I decided that I was going to drink beer with smart people and there's a lot of smart people out there, well, which brings me to you. So a little bit of context, if you will, what do you do?
Faith James: I am the queen of branding as I am called by most who know me, but really and truly in all seriousness, I amp up visibility. So if you are in any form of business, if you are what I call a leaning forward entrepreneur, predominantly female, and I do work with a few enlightened men, but if you understand that you have something that is golden, that is magnificent, that is worthy to be in the hands of others and you get to be seen, you get to be heard and you get to be paid. And so for clients who are looking for how do I get out of the sea of sameness, how do I make myself be seen... I think I shared this stat when we were chatting earlier, there's a stat from the Small Business Association, 525,000, somewhere around there. New businesses are formed every month, every month. And so think about that, every month. And this is not just, we were talking about not just from freelance gig economy, but now real whole people, real businesses because of the environment-
Max Traylor: Real people.
Faith James: Real people, who are either being outsides, downsides for whatever reason and of course silly them, they have this need to provide for their families. And so are taking to the streets to find a way to get on this entrepreneurial journey. And with so many people starting new businesses, how do you stand out? How do you demonstrate your value, your worth? First people have to see you and so that's where I come in. And so when they see you, not only do they see you, but they see you and your stuff looks good because we talked about a picture's worth a thousand words. Your image, your perception speaks volumes. 6.5 seconds, or so people are going to be forming an opinion about you. You want to curate that opinion so that they come closer to your campfire.
Max Traylor: Well. Well, I'll tell you what I'm excited for, I'm excited to share your perspective and your mindset around the entrepreneurial experience or the solopreneurs experience or the consultant's experience like owning your own identity in this new world that you might've been forcefully pushed into. I think you have an incredible mindset that I agree with. I think we are long kindred spirits. So I do want to talk a lot about that and what people are getting into and what some times they're running into as a rude awakening. But where does the queen of branding come from? How did you get here? What's the background story there?
Faith James: So the creation story. So I'll go way, way, way back in time. I hail from the island of Jamaica, Jamaica, West Indies. So shout out to all of my Yardie, that's what we call ourselves if you're from Jamaica, you're from Yard. And I migrated to the States to Brooklyn. So talk about culture shock, culture shock, from Jamaica to Brooklyn. And my sister, my brother, my mother was already here so our new family unit here in Brooklyn and went to high school, went to Midwood, went to Hunter College, studied communications, and was originally on the track to become an on-air anchor person. I'll tell you a very quick, funny story.
So I'm doing my internship, WDC TV. I'm doing production and I'm thinking, well, I'm in the number one news market. Of course, I'm going to just get a job here in New York City. But then when I understood that, no, you've got to go far field to wherever and work at small stations and then make your way back to New York, I was like, "Yeah, no." So that's when I got into advertising television production.
So I did a production gig at Ogilvy & Mather. It was a seven week gig and it turned into a full-time position. So I started in advertising at Ogilvy & Mather on the IBM account. So talk about jumping in feet first, eyes wide open, developing the small business campaign, worked on the IBM small planet campaign. I mean, just an amazing... I mean, my experience was for the gods. I shot with Joe Pytka, who is the director for Space Jam, we did that in Paris. Traveled all over Europe and Africa. I mean, it was just a wonderful experience and that's how I became a classically trained advertising account person.
And then from there, just literally the doors just open. And I want to say to everybody who's listening to me, they didn't just open. I put my heels in the door and kick them open because being a female, being a black female, being a black female from the Islands it is not a norm for me to be in the position where I was, but I was so determined, I was so resolved, I was so committed AF to making this be my path and what I've always wanted to do. And as I say, the rest is history. I worked my way through different advertising agencies from Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners to Carmichael Lynch. When I moved to Minneapolis, Hunt Atkins. I [inaudible] and I started freelancing and decided, and I think I shared this with you, in 2008, when the recession hit, and I was chief strategy officer and got laid off I freelanced and realized I was the happiest I had been with all of the accoutrements and all of the fabulousness and all the [inaudible] that my life was while I was working in the advertising industry.
It really hit me that when I'm being the CEO of me, when I'm deciding, because freedom is my core brand attributes. If you don't know what drives you, if you don't know what your values are, a homework for you to do. I realized that freedom, being able to say, and be, and do when, where, why and how I wanted to do it. So for those who are on the entrepreneurial journey, welcome, for those of you who have been on it, stay on it. It's a great thing, it's not easy, it's not a cake walk, but the rewards that come just from your personal way of being, just the ability now, just to be able to be on this conversation with you at 2:30 in the afternoon, drinking-
Max Traylor: You energy drink.
Faith James: [crosstalk] is my energy drink and having just these inspired conversations, it moves me to no end.
Max Traylor: Well I am a big fan of the freedoms and I've given it a lot of thought because we do sacrifice a lot, and especially the emotional training that you have to go through. It's a completely different world, but for me, I think I've boiled it down to one freedom that I hold dearest above all, and that is the freedom to choose who you work with. And I think it's also something that you're not necessarily granted when you do your own thing, it's a developed skill even after you decide, hey, I'm going to be my own boss, people come out of corporate with the assumption that, hey, you take the business that you get because traditionally they've been told what to do and they can't choose and they can't necessarily say no to people.
So it's something that I caution folks to really pay attention to is really understand what you believe in to your point, what your mission is, and then be very selective of who you work with. Only work with the people that believe what you believe. And that is I think the biggest payback of doing your own thing, for me, anyhow.
Now you've written some books. Tell me about the books before I get into the conversation here.
Faith James: Yes. So my first book, which I actually co-authored with my dear friend, Stacy Graiko, it's called Ladies, Power Up Your Brand. I just happened to have a copy right here. Ladies, Power Up Your Brand.
Max Traylor: I'm so unprepared. I just have [crosstalk]. Have you seen What About Bob? with Richard Dreyfuss and-
Faith James: I haven't.
Max Traylor: Oh my God. So anyway, he goes over to his bookshelf and he's like, "There's a brand new copy that just came out." The entire bookshelf is filled up with this book, grabs one of the [inaudible], "Oh, yes. Right here."
Faith James: I love Richard Dreyfuss. Have you seen Moon Over Parador?
Max Traylor: I have not.
Faith James: Oh my gosh, [inaudible].
Max Traylor: We should trade [crosstalk].
Faith James: I know.
Max Traylor: So his character, his name is Dr. Leo Marvin, and that's actually the name of my golden retriever.
Faith James: Oh [inaudible]
Max Traylor: So my wife and I are big fans of them. Anyway, let's digress. [crosstalk]
Faith James: Yes. Let us digress back to the book. So this is really, it's sort of, I'm not going to call it a tell all, even though there are some tell all stories in there from our days in advertising, because she and I met when I was working in Minneapolis at Carmichael Lynch. And we tell the story from the point of view of our experience as women in the industry, but then also the big takeaway is that so for the years that we have spent curating, working, branding, these Fortune 500 companies, we're telling you now, here are the same things that we know we're going to give it to you, experiences applied to you, small business owner, micro entrepreneur, et cetera, and that you can apply the same strategies for your own growth and for your own success. And so it's a great fun read. Of course, I'm biased to it, but the storytelling is done in such a way that you can really feel yourself in that moment and it's giving you real world experiences that you can apply and we're giving you ways in which you can actually apply it.
So this idea of powering up your brand is so important, whether you're talking about your physical in-person brand or your social media brand, which in today's world is even more important because 40% of people go to your social media platforms before making a buying decision. So it's not enough to say, oh, I have a LinkedIn profile and you've not done anything with it in the past couple of few years. That tells people you don't pay attention to the details, or you're not really in it to win it, or whatever that story it might tell-
Max Traylor: Well, it leaves it open to interpretation.
Faith James: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Max Traylor: So you don't know what it says-
Faith James: You don't know what [crosstalk]-
Max Traylor: ... but it says something and it ain't good.
Faith James: And it ain't good. And this is what I tell people all the time. I said your social brand, it's like your sales force. It's your feet on the street that never takes a holiday break, never takes a smoke break, never takes a bathroom break, it is just out there 24/7, 365, telling your business. And whatever it's telling, you want to make sure that it's telling a good story so that it says this person is subject matter expert, they're open for business. They are here giving value, et cetera, et cetera. So I just think that everybody, even men, can certainly take a lot of the applications from the book for their own brand. And everybody has a personal brand, so this is not something that you're curating.
We talk about it from the point of view that you are excavating it because it's within you. It's like the David. The David was already there. It was just chiseling away at the marble to reveal it. So it's the same thing when it comes to your brand.
And then I collaborated on another book, Experts & Influencers: Women's Empowerment Edition, where I talked about my faith and my beginnings as a human, where when I was born, I couldn't breathe. Literally was in NICU and what that faith, my leaning on my faith, not just my name, but faith and believing in Father God to empower you and to empower the things that you're doing throughout. So as the journey gets difficult, which I will, it will, nobody acts surprised, it will, that you are equipped with tools and some experiences and some stories of, okay, well, how did this person overcome when they had trials and tribulations and then what do I do? So you just go into it, eyes wide open. So those are the two books.
And then I'm currently working on my third book, which is called God is my Brand Strategist. It's going to be inspiration and applied learning from the Bible and using stories to then bring to modern day business and showing you how to be according to the Word of God. So I'm super excited about that one.
Max Traylor: So you've put a lot of effort into these things and as a personal brand expert, I'm curious about your opinion. What impact have these books had on your business?
Faith James: Let me tell you, when you author, when you become a published author in any capacity, it gives you built-in credibility. It literally can take you to the front of the line, because it says to your audience, this is somebody who's thoughtful and considerate. This is somebody who's not just here for a quick, hot minute and then gone. That they're taking time to do-
Max Traylor: [inaudible] messing around.
Faith James: Yeah. Right, I'm here to give value, because when you think about writing a book, authoring a book takes time, it takes dedication, it takes a commitment. And so that you are schooled in this topic that you are dedicated to it, and that you want to put content out to join the conversation of other authors on this very same topic, it just puts you in, I'm not going to say it's like rarefied air, but it certainly is definitely further along than you didn't. When somebody is introducing you to the stage to be able to say, and she's a two-time international best-selling author, it adds. It's like the picture of being a 1000 words. Being an author adds credibility to your name. It just does.
Max Traylor: I agree with you 100%. I'm sure you talk to your clients about this because you are a personal branding professional, and here you are having done one thing three times that's arguably had the greatest impact on your business. So when you talk to your clients about these things, do you find that the suggestion, hey, you should write a book is met with limiting beliefs, is met with open arms? How do you find people's reaction to, hey, there's this thing that you could do?
Faith James: Yeah, there's this thing. I think it's Thomas Edison who says this, "People miss opportunities, because it shows up in overalls and it looks like work." And so, oh, you want me to do what? a 1,000 page, a 1,000 word or whatever it might be. They see the work more than they see the opportunity that's going to come out of the work. So the reasons, the stories, the excuses tend to be at the top. I mean, I do spend quite a bit of time working on mindset in my practice, because a lot of people, even when you think of something as simple as video, it still befuddles me that, do you like that word for Thursday afternoon? It still befuddles me that people are like, "Oh, I don't want to do video. I don't like how I look on video," and I have to remind them, I said, "Nobody is coming for you to see what you look like on video. They're coming for the content, they're coming for the message. Nobody cares if you're wearing the latest and greatest whatever, it's irrelevant." And so when you are focused on, oh, I don't like how I look, you coming from a place of just focused on self, very selfish, a taker, as opposed to I am here to deliver.
When you think about John, messenger in the Bible, he was rocking it with like animal hair and eating grasshoppers and just looking like a hot mess in the streets. But he didn't care because it wasn't about how we looked. He was saying make way for the coming of the Lord. The message was the key thing. So if you focus on the message, what is it that you have been gifted anointed to do? What is it that you know that you get to teach? You are not the focus of people's 3:00 AM problems. They're thinking about how do I-
Max Traylor: You are not that important.
Faith James: Yeah. You're not-
Max Traylor: It's the message that's important.
Faith James: Hello, news flash, you're not that important.
Max Traylor: Nobody cares.
Faith James: Nobody cares. I literally said that once in my show because I was using that as an example, and one of the audience members wrote in, she said, "Yeah, nobody is here for your hair," because I was like, look at me. I said, "My hair, my curls are up, who..." She's like, "Yeah, nobody's here for your hair." And that's it. Nobody is here for your hair. So the idea of writing a book, yes. Is it going to take work? Yes, but nothing good comes without a bit of work. Faith without works is dead. So you can wish and want and hope and pray, "Yes, I would... Oh, that's so great. You're a two time international best..." It is not a private club. Self publishing is all the rage. But if you're just decided and say, yes, this is what I know and I want to add my voice to the conversation... Another challenge, Max, is that people say, "Oh, well, so-and-so's already written a book on it." And?
Max Traylor: What if every restaurant owners said ah, I am not going to do that-
Faith James: I know.
Max Traylor: There's already an Italian restaurant out there.
Faith James: Listen, evidence Burger King and McDonald's that co-exist on the corner of the same street. And the McDonald's people are the McDonald's people and the Burger King people are the Burger King people and the Chick-fil-A people or the Chick-fil-A people and they do amazing business. So it's really just letting the ego drive the bus as opposed to getting really connected to your gift and what it is that you are here to do. You're supposed to be here to serve your people, but when you put it on you, it's all about you. So get out of your own way, write the book, get on the videos, share, teach, do all of it, nobody cares what you look like.
Max Traylor: Well, I do want to talk a bit more about the CEOs of you, I'll call them. For a second, we'll lump all solopreneurs together, the consultants, all the folks that have decided, Hey, I'm going to see if I can make this work myself. But in a previous conversation, you described yourself as the Harriet Tubman of corporate and this concept of the golden handcuff that corporate represents for a lot of brilliant, talented, self-motivating, self-organizing individuals. We're living in a time that many are describing as the great resignation. People were violently exposed to life on their own, where they don't travel into work, and they're not consumed with the problems of corporate. They were given a break, a mindset break, and now everyone was forced to think about, hey, could I do this on my own? What would it be like?
And I don't think we're ever going back. I think we're experiencing the largest shift from these talented senior really experienced individuals from, hey, my identity is I'm going to work for this company to, wow, I could take that identity elsewhere and I can have a bigger impact on people. So are you having a lot of conversations with folks that are right on the edge and what have you found is still holding them back?
Faith James: Gosh, right? It's the fear. It's the fear. And I can speak to that because when I was at that ledge, myself, deciding when and how to leap, one of the things that held me back in my limiting beliefs was you can only attract million dollar clients because you're with an agency that commands that level of pay. So there's-
Max Traylor: I need the brand. It's not me, it's actually the brand.
Faith James: [crosstalk] It's the brand behind me, and so that's one barrier that you get to go through. The second is that your credibility as the person who's you're actually doing the work if you think about it. When I was managing, whether it was a Liberty Mutual account, whether it was the A. G. Edwards, whether it was the TWA, I'm the one that is working, doing the work, having the conversations with the clients and so why wouldn't I be able to do that on my own? It's when we subjugate our greatness. God says you're fearfully and wonderfully made, but somehow we forget that. So there's that fear that I can't do it, I'm not able, I'm not good enough, I'm not worthy. That blocks a lot of people.
Second, the money. Now, when I was at the ledge, deciding when and how to jump, I was like, "Let me get my Excel spreadsheet, let me work out my exit strategy, how much money am I going to need to have to float?" Because that's one of the things when you're not cash flow rich, when I say rich, I'm not talking about six figures floating, rich. I'm just saying it now for three months to six months to get you into a lifeboat to get into the water. A lot of people don't have that. So our consumer savings rate, 0% in this country. It's really, really challenging for [crosstalk]-
Max Traylor: Your runway. What is your runway? Regardless of what you do with that runway, how much time do you have before your lifestyle goes through a really-
Faith James: Exactly.
Max Traylor: [crosstalk] good change?
Faith James: So two, the cashflow. Then the three is literally the mindset shift around what your lifestyle gets to be like? So I remember I looked into, Dave Ramsey has this thing called the debt snowball. And part of the strategy was garage sale, so much stuff, like sell off a bunch of stuff. One of the things he said was live like no other now so that later you can live like no other, which meant if you have to eat beans and rice and rice and beans for the next month, you're not going out to chin-chin and to the laundry every week, you get to save the money. So nothing in life comes for free, prices you're willing to pay. So I am desirous of becoming this freed person. I'm going to have to pay. I'm not going to be able to have the latest bags. I literally unsubscribed from Tory Burch, from Kate. I unsubscribed from it all because I didn't want to see anything. I was like, "Oh my gosh, how could you not get this? It's on the 75% off sale?" And so I just removed any sort of temptation that I had to say, I get to be so laser focused on this, because this is a moment now where I'm making this decision to jump, to not be in corporate, to go on my own, to literally say, I am going to do this. Be decided, be resolved, whatever it takes.
In fact, I'll read from, and I told you this before, this is one of the books that I'm reading on my show and it's talking about distinction number one, master leader, definition of where vision comes from. It says... No, no, it's distinction number, sorry about this, distinction number two, commitment to the vision.
So the master leader definition, to give your word to be and do whatever it takes to cause the vision to become reality. The vision is becoming, I want to become the CEO of me, I want to be free. To live as your word, to put yourself at stake for the vision. So I put myself at stake, I put my fashion at stake, I put my experiences at stake, I put all of the fun that I was having at stake to be able to make that leap, which looked like a forever chasm to say, no, I got to be the CEO of me right now. I am not going back into corporate, even though they threw so much money at you, and this is why I say the corporate life can sometimes be the golden handcuff because yeah, you're living [foreign language], but you're not free. You're working 70, 80 hours per week, you don't see your family. Your family is just this afterthought.
And again, I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth. My corporate years, I wouldn't trade them for the world. My days and years at [inaudible] wouldn't change it. But as you evolve and as you grow, you understand. When you're a child, you do childish things, when you're an adult, you do adult things and so you become this fully expressed being, who do you get to be in this world? I get to be free. I get to help other people become free and I stand as a source for anyone who wants that freedom, I can show them that way.
Max Traylor: Well, you don't touch the stove because someone told you not to. You don't touch the stove because you have, and it burned the shit out of you. So we need that experience. Our tolerance of it varies. So you go out on your own... And by the way, I think there's a... I was always fascinated by the concept of risk. When I told people I was doing my own thing, "Wow, I have this going on. I can't take that risk." And I always thought you have 100% of your income that could be taken away at any time by one individual. And I think there was a perception that corporate meant safe and I think the pandemic, and I think 2008, I think for the new generation, they don't have as much of that perception. It was broken. We were brought up with the concept that, hey, the reason we're doing this is because we're providing for the family, then massive layoffs, then forced freelancism.
And so I always tell people how many people decide your income? If it's one, that's super risky. For all the risks that I have in doing my own thing, all of my clients aren't going to stop paying me tomorrow.
Faith James: Exactly.
Max Traylor: That ain't going to happen. So anyway a concept of risk is important. I think it's an important discussion to help people understand, look, everyone is in this position, looking over the cliff, going, whoa. Now you do your own thing. You make the decision. Do you remember what it felt like for those first couple months? Because I think it's such a delicate time period for people where it's like, oh my God, this wasn't what I thought it would be, I'm running out of runway. So maybe recollecting one of your first major breakthroughs, like the thing that happened after you did it. You did it now, you're falling and you're like, oh, this is kind of cool and then what was one of those first breakthroughs where you really started to [crosstalk]
Faith James: So the very first, in the moment when I said to my bosses... So here is where I was at the conversation where they were saying, okay, you get to move to corporate, which was in a different state than where I lived.
Max Traylor: Congratulations.
Faith James: Yeah, [crosstalk] to be awesome with the analysts, all that kind of good stuff. Meanwhile, I'm thinking, "But wait, wait, what? I live in Florida, I just moved to Florida. I'm staying in Florida. I love Florida." And it was really basically put to me that here's the opportunity to stay employed. If you don't move to corporate, you don't have a job because I was basically living like the W2 freelance lifestyle, because I was a salaried employee, but I worked from home and then I just traveled as needed. But this shift now was you get to be at HQ in a different state, move your life and come.
So while I was busy working on my Excel spreadsheet and doing the exit strategy, here comes the hatch door is like, "Oh, I wasn't quite ready. I didn't finish." The pivot tables, but okay, here we go. And so I said, "Okay, well basically it's a no, it's a no for me." And in that moment, when I hung up, it's sort of both absolute terror and dread, and this light freedom existing all in the same moment. It's like [inaudible] talks about the paradoxical life. It's like the yin yang. I was dreadfully terrified and just light and free in the same moment. So I felt like I was hyperventilating like holy shit. 66% of my money just walked out the door.
But the freedom, the freedom of wow. Literally in my mind, I started deleting file folders because when you're working, you keep a record of everything. "Oh, where's this presentation, this deck, this client said, well, I have to remember..." Literally I could feel everything just falling away from my brain and I could just see clearly, if not in totality, what my future would be like. So little things like, and this is what sometimes we don't focus on these, I was able to work out at my home because I had my elliptical machine, which was literally collecting dust, now I had time to work out. And so we diminish the idea of spending time with self but if you don't take care of yourself, you don't take care of your health, none of the other stuff even matters. So I was able to do that. I was able to, as you mentioned before, look into my role of desk and go freelance and contract with people that I had had connections with and my mindset was just, if I don't kill it, I don't eat. So I became like this hunter, I mean, total transparency. There were nights I was just like, my brain was like the Tasmanian devil. Just going, "Go and go. My God, where am I? Who am I going to find? What am I... Who can I call? Who can I call?"
And even through all of that, this is when I said to you, the confirmation was that this is exactly the life that I get to live. Whatever it looks like, whatever I'm doing, the project's details be damned. But this idea of determining I'm going to take two weeks off, or I'm going to work this product, or I'm going to freelance with this agency for a month, whatever it was like, I got to determine how I spent my time and I just want everybody to hear that that is something that you also get to experience. Being handled for your entire life is not the plan. God didn't create us to work, pay bills and die.
And so when you are the CEO of you, you get to work on passion projects, you get to write the books that you want to do. You get to go do whatever it is that you want to do when you really take a look at, okay, how much do I really need to sustain my life and what can I do to get on the austerity plan, even if it's a short term, to be able to just write the ship for a bit, and then you go do the things that you really want to do. I wouldn't change it, Max. I wouldn't change it for the world. Would not. Were there sleepless nights? Absolutely. Was I ever petrified and terrified? Absolutely. But [crosstalk] how you make it.
Max Traylor: Well, here's the point, it's going to be work no matter what. You're going to work. It's what you're working towards. You're either working towards freedom or you're working towards congratulations, uproot your life and move to corporate because you did it. Great job. Here's more responsibility with marginally more pay and you uproot your life, congratulations.
There's three things I want to cover with you. You have an incredible source of inspiration in your business for your own knowledge, developing your own network, your show, and I think that's really important for people. I think one of the core ingredients to my own success, to yours and to everybody that I meet is they have a consistent flow of new ideas, new people that they're talking to, they're getting people together and they're creating. So I want to talk about your show and the impact that's had on your business.
Over time, you've developed your core intellectual property, the thing that defines the queen of branding, your 10 Cs of branding, I want to talk about that. And then finally, I think your mindset... Well, I don't know, I haven't tapped into your mindset yet, but evidenced by what's happened to the way that you price your services over the years, I think is exemplary of an open-minded pricing policy. So I'm really curious to talk to you about that as well because I think that's another limiting belief. You can plan out how much money you need to make, but there's a lot of limiting beliefs around what you're worth and what you can charge, the math doesn't work out for people. And the reality is you can charge whatever you want.
Faith James: Absolutely.
Max Traylor: That's what I... I told my dad. My dad was like, "Max..." I was having trouble getting the job and he's like, "Max, what do you want to do?" I was like, "Dad, I want to be a consultant." He was like, "Well, congratulations. You're a consultant." All that means is you make up the price. And I didn't fully embrace it at that moment, but man is that one of the most valuable lessons is-
Faith James: So true.
Max Traylor: ... when you can make the price and there are people that won't pay it, but there are people that will pay it.
Faith James: Absolutely.
Max Traylor: So let's talk about finding the people that will pay it. Your show, now, just tell me about it first and then I want to analyze how it impacts your business.
Faith James: Yeah, yeah. So the show's called The Brand Momentum Morning Show, and I think I shared with you. It literally was... I say the show is produced by God, because I literally got the download to do it 30 minutes before I went live on the very first day in January. And it was really this idea of how do I get to support more? How do I get to serve more, knowing full well when we get to the conversation around pricing that not everyone is yet as of this point, I'm not going to say ever, yet able to afford a $50,000 package? And so what can I do to still serve and support those for whom understanding how to show up powerfully and claim their place, they don't get to be left on the wayside.
So the show really was about showing up and just serving. I didn't promote it ahead of time. It literally was just 30 minutes before let's go do the show and it's catapult. I mean, I don't know if you know now, I mean, I'm like over 100 episodes. I would think I was telling you when I had David Meltzer who is just a giant in the industry. He is the co-founder of Sports 1 Marketing, business partner with Warren Moon Hall of Fame, NFL player, and the movie, Jerry Maguire was the inspiration from his sports marketing agency that he managed.
I had occasion to have him on my show. Now, if I didn't have the show, I wouldn't have been able to bring him into my sphere because one of the things [crosstalk]-
Max Traylor: Hi, would you like to have a conversation?
Faith James: Yeah, who are you?
Max Traylor: No.
Faith James: No. Who? One of the questions on his form and I took such great inspiration from the questions that he asked was like how many episodes? Because then why does that even matter? This to show that, again, you're not just here today, gone tomorrow. You're not playing whack-a-mole with your business that you're [crosstalk]-
Max Traylor: I am not messing around.
Faith James: Not messing around. And so-
Max Traylor: Have you found that no one really cares about the size of the [inaudible]. So that question is really interesting. From somebody that's so made it and does this a lot, they ask-
Faith James: Didn't ask.
Max Traylor: ... the question, how many episodes do you have, not what's your audience like?
Faith James: I mean, as far as like, okay, well, how many people follow you on Insta? I think there was a question around that, but in terms of oh, how many people are going to show up live? No, because listen, hello, newsflash, everybody come close, there's power in the replay. This is why video is so powerful because you could record a show today, a live video and that's playing. I have one video that I did, a live video that I did. It says something around the idea of what you charge for your prices is no one's business. I mean, thousands of people have viewed that, and that was at least two, three years ago. It still lives on. So it's about the potential region reach and it's about just the expression of the brand, because you can imagine somebody like a David Meltzer is not going to come hang out with somebody who's going to make his brand look like a hot mess in the streets. And so it's a combination of, are you serious about this thing that you do not that, oh, you're this big influencer, this big celebrity yet, but that you are serious that you have good content and you're providing good value.
So he comes on the show. We have the best time. What did that lead to? Then David invites me onto his Instagram show, Funky Friday. I get on there. He's literally telling people "Oh, Faith, you're one of my 1000. So just by the very nature of me showing up and offering value and being aligned to the way that he sees the world, I have now become part of his "inner circle." We've never hung out in the Islands, so we've never hung out in the Hamptons. It's not like we're besties, but it's just on the strength of building my brand and being serious and committed AF to this work, to this life. So the show has been so pivotal, then his team are now saying, "Oh, we'd like to have some of David's clients also appear on your show." So I'm booking David's clients to come onto my show. So you see just from one channel, just from one intention of I'm going to show up and serve has created such a massive opportunity for my brand.
Max Traylor: You called it showing up in radical generosity.
Faith James: Yes, yes. Just from the point of giving. Giving with nothing in return. So I love to use this analogy, when you think about the relationship between the sun and the earth, the sun warms the earth, the sun keeps us comfortable. It lets the plants grow. It lets everything on earth grow and just enough to keep us warm and healthy when we full well know the sun has the ability to scorch us beyond recognition. And not once does the sun ever say to the earth [crosstalk]-
Max Traylor: Hey, how about a hand me out?
Faith James: You owe me.
Max Traylor: Yeah, you owe me.
Faith James: You owe me.
Max Traylor: What the hell does the earth do for the sun? Absolutely none.
Faith James: Yeah, [crosstalk]
Max Traylor: But well, maybe gravitational forces if you watch the Discovery channel, if you're up on your...
Faith James: Yeah, exactly. But it's that idea. It's just showing up to be a force of good in the world. That's radical generosity.
Max Traylor: Well, I appreciate your radical generosity because I will use the next 10 minutes of your time. We're going to take a short break because this is one of those Beers with Max episodes that I cannot sit by without opening another beer with Faith. I'm having such a great time. We're going to talk to you about your intellectual property in the system that you've created out of the stuff that's in your brain and what's happened to your pricing over the years, it's very important stuff. So hang on folks, don't go anywhere. Grab another beer, take a sip.
We're back ladies and gentlemen, an encore libation. We've got just under 10 minutes with Faith. Let's not forget to thank her for her time. So you've been interviewing all these people, the short story, just to keep things moving along. I love the format of your show. So you read these books and then you host a discussion, facilitate, hey, this is what it was about. Let's have a discussion.
Faith James: Right, exactly. Right in the moment I give them an assignment, then I invite them to come on over to my Facebook group to deliver evidence of them actually doing the work.
Max Traylor: Yeah, unbelievable. So you-
Faith James: And the way I actually like the books, I just picked them randomly any book that speaks to me. So one of the things I get to do more of is to do an author's call where I just say calling all authors, do you have a book that's inspiring that gets people into momentum? Send me a copy [crosstalk].
Max Traylor: Well, I'm kind of taking a page out of your book in a way. You're going to be on Beers with Max Live on November 5th-ish, I think, November 5th. So that's my version of taking the author, you, and bringing them to folks and letting them pick your brain. So I'm really excited for that. That's November 5th, 2:00 PM folks. You degenerates out there that keep coming to Beers with Max Live, thank you for your service.
So over time, you've developed the 10 Cs of branding, and I see this as a notch of maturity for solopreneurs and for consultants. They go through a period of time where people love them, they adore them, but they are purchasing you. The switch is people see value in and can purchase what was previously in your head, and that's these 10 Cs. Tell me about the 10 Cs that you've discovered, the 10 Cs of branding.
Faith James: Yeah. So, I mean, obviously it's a framework just to really lock in, in a very simple way, your ways of being. As an entrepreneur, as a CEO, what are the ways of being that you get to embody in order to build your brand? So the Cs include credibility. So we talked about credibility and let me just even say none, really more important than the other, but if you said [crosstalk]-
Max Traylor: There's always the most important.
Faith James: Tell me one.
Max Traylor: I believe there's the most important one. So let's go. Let's skip to the [inaudible], what's the most important-
Faith James: Yeah, yeah. There's credibility, there's content, there is consistency. And consistency is the one. Consistency is the one. So let's even say if we took content, most people run shrieking to the back of the room when you say let's work out your content strategy for the year, even the month. I just was on a call with one of my clients and I said, okay, so November is coming within November theme. What are we doing? We're going to be doing X, Y, and Z. Because she literally goes into the call like, "Yeah, I don't really have anything to do." And I was like, "Yeah, you do. It's called your email campaign and that you have your theme for the month and that you get to think about what are you going to be sending." And one of the things that I teach on is when you're doing your email, your cadence gets to feel something like this value, value, value, offer, value, value, value offer.
So one is a super easy example. My September email, the first thing that I put in there was about planning, getting ready for planning for 2022 and that you got to have a wall calendar that you can erase so you can do planning. And I just had a quick little blurb on that and a link where people could purchase that. It doesn't need to be a dissertation. Most people think, oh, the [inaudible], so then they do the analysis paralysis, they're in research forever, they're looking for the right word smithing and a month goes by, two months, three months, they haven't emailed their audience. Consistency means when does the 6:00 news come on? The 6:00 news comes on at 6:00. And so you're showing up, even if it's not pretty, even... Listen, even if there's a typo, I tell my clients, I say, listen, I've seen typos in the journal, I've seen typos in the New York Times, do not get stuck, keep going but you show up. The minute you stop, and the minute you start to play whack-a-mole with your brand, with your business, so I'm here and then two weeks, nothing. And then I'm back and then... Your audience moves on. They can't rely on you.
We talked about from that reading, I just did, it's about living your word, being your word. So if you say, I am going to be showing up with this content and my show and my show happens is that it can't be willy nilly like, "Oh, I didn't feel like doing it and so I didn't show up." So consistency of your presence of showing up.
Also consistency of what it is that your mission is. So you're not today like, "Oh, hey, I'm here. I sell CBD. I'm in health and wellness." And then next month you like, "Hey, crypto is all the rage. Let me show you how to get your own NFT," because the people can't trust you. The people won't trust you.
Max Traylor: Some people are feeling targeted right now.
Faith James: And I know, listen, the truth sometimes hurts. As we say in Jamaica, if the shoe fits, wear it. But you got to understand is David Ogilvy says that the consumer's not a moron. And so when you treat people like they're a moron, like, oh, I have this thing here, buy this and then I'm like, oh, but wait buy this, buy this it's like, who are you? I need to be able to trust you.
Max Traylor: And you don't have my best interest in mind. Well, you're echoing one of the most powerful insights from it. So I did a stint interviewing sales, consultancies, and just brilliant salespeople and I was told that it doesn't matter... It's less about content per se. It's less about the length or the quality, it's all about the consistency. And wouldn't it, I closed, it was a $15,000 deal and it came totally out of the blue. I got an email that said, "Max, I'm ready to work with you." And I was like, "How did this happen?" So I looked back through all the experiences and all the messages that I'd sent to this person.
Now, I had never sent this person an email that said, "Hey, here's a piece of content or anything," but they had received an invite to Beers with Max Live for every month of the 12 months that was in between when I met them and when they did business with me. So I never said, "Hey, now is your last chance." I never said, "Hey, take a look at this article." The only thing they got is, "I'm doing a Beers with Max Live. David Baker. He's talking about this. If you want to go, let me know." And she never once replied. There was never a reply, there was never an indication. So it was to your point, it was consistent reinforcement that, "Hey, I'm out there talking to brilliant people about how they monetize their IP, what I do," and that was it. There was no content.
Faith James: Listen...
Max Traylor: Hey, I'm out here doing me. Do you want to be part of it? Okay.
Faith James: The people are watching. This is what happens sometimes, and I say this to clients who are like, "Oh, I did a live to two only two people." I said, when I started, I can't tell you how many times when I hit that "Go Live" button, zero people. Zero
Max Traylor: I referenced fake audiences. I did that. I did that for like four months. No one was there.
Faith James: You wouldn't be able to tell, because my energy, my enthusiasm, it's like, "Thank you everyone so much for..." It's like if you go to a Broadway play and it's like, oh, it's not full so we're going to give a lackluster performance. No, when it's curtain time and they go, they go,
Max Traylor: Well, look, if you wait for an audience, you don't create the thing that attracts the audience.
Faith James: There you go.
Max Traylor: It's a chicken or the egg thing.
Faith James: Absolutely.
Max Traylor: And I love what you said about the dedication to doing it. So people like you and me they gave presentations to nobody. We were not going to let that zero on the audience attendee list, stop us from doing what we've committed to do. I interviewed a Hall of Fame, motivational speaker, Jim Cathcart. I'm sending you my book. He's the first interview in the book. But he says the biggest breakthroughs come from the decision to do something and then removing all possibility of not doing it. And in that case, all of the challenges become part of the plan.
Faith James: I like that.
Max Traylor: If you don't do that, all of the challenges become reasons to not do it. So the challenges I've got zero audience. Great. Well, part of the plan is for me to reference a fake audience so that people don't know when they see the recording.
Faith James: And if you can be that lit up and engaged and that fired up, imagine when you actually do come face-to-face with the person, what they're going to get. The one thing I loved, and I think I heard this from John Maxwell, where he talks about word decide and he breaks it down into the root word. So a "cide" means death. So homicide, somebody killed somebody. Suicide, pesticide, herbicide. Decide means all other options have been killed off.
So when you decide to become the CEO of you, when you decide I'm going to have a successful podcast show, there are no other options. You move forward, knowing all of the options have been killed off, and you just do whatever you get to do as we talked about. Put yourself at stake for the success of it. And I think I heard this from Bob Proctor, where he says, "If you can see it in your mind, you can hold it in your hand." So if you can visualize at some point, somewhere in the future, you have an audience of 500, a 1,000 lit up on your page, and you can see that, and you can hold that vision in your mind, it can happen. You just have to be in God's timing, be patient, be like the duck. The duck look like it's just chill on top of the water but the legs are just really, really going fast. It's like hustle while you wait, is one of my favorite philosophies and ways of being.
Max Traylor: What's your philosophy on pricing? And then I got to go. We got like two minutes.
Faith James: Yeah. So here's the deal. As you said, you get to price what you get to price. What you price is nobody's business, but your own. One of the things I use as a means test, as a litmus test, if you will, I say, imagine this is the face of God, and he's this close to you, and he's asking you, Max, Faith, "Do you know what you're doing? Are you any good? Do you deliver transformational results? Do people get the help and the support that you say?" If you can answer yes to God, then you're good to go. Then you get to price it. I evidenced Louis Vuitton all the time. Why is the never full $1,000 plus when you can get a similar bag at, I don't know, TJ Maxx for $50? Why, it's canvas. The Louis Vuitton is not all [crosstalk]
Max Traylor: It is decided. They decide one day that [crosstalk]
Faith James: They just decided that this is who we are. We are a French high-end leather goods manufacturer and this is the experience and these are the types of people. So you literally get to price what you can believe for, because if you're saying to somebody my package is $15,000 and in your mind, you're going, holy shit, holy shit, that energy, just like a shark can smell chum in the water, that fear you're like, "Ah, it's $15,000," not going to be believable. People buy from confident people. So when I first started, when I did my very first, so now I'm like the CEO of me land, and I said, I'm going to do a branding workshop. And I had maybe 30, 40, 50 people in the room. And it was [inaudible]. It was like photographers and videographers buffet and all the things. And I'm at the front of the room and I make an offer. One person, everybody hear me, I'm not exaggerating, this is not hyperbole, one person bought a package for $297 after I had spent thousands putting on this event. Now I'm at this critical moment where you talk about mindset, I'm at this critical moment where I can go, huh, better run back to the day job or I could look at it and go, somebody bought something. That means there's something good in here. You know that scene in Dumb and Dumber where Jim Carrey's character says-
Max Traylor: Is it the "totally redeem yourself" part?
Faith James: No, he's like, "What are my chances?" And she's like-
Max Traylor: Oh yeah.
Faith James: Is it one in 100?
Max Traylor: So you're telling me there's a chance?
Faith James: You're telling me...
Max Traylor: Yeah, more like one in a million.
Faith James: No, it's one in a million. And he chose to hear and see and focus on the one. So you're telling me there's a chance? So I said, yes, somebody bought something, there's something good. I retooled my program, my packages-
Max Traylor: Clue, Sherlock.
Faith James: Clue, Sherlock. Came back next year, group program, 2,500, 20 people bought it. Next year introduced one-on-one VIP brand ambassador program, $5,000, many, many people bought it. Next year, 9,000, many people. 12,000, 14,000. Now the program is 50,000. And so I want to say maybe 2016, 2017-
Max Traylor: And that's... I want to end it there.
Faith James: Yeah.
Max Traylor: Just so you know.
Faith James: From 2016 to 2017 from making 297 to today, 50,000 for one-on-one branding with me. So it's all possible. It's all what you believe and you got to believe that you are fearfully and wonderfully made and you're able, and you're well, and you get to get support. If you not believe in, belief somebody else's belief in you until you can get your own and all things are possible. Amen and amen.
Max Traylor: As long as you can confidently say the number. That's your only gut check because that confidence in the number is more important than the number itself.
Faith James: [crosstalk]
Max Traylor: It's $100,000 and I charge that much because that's what my clients are paying. So, sorry.
Faith James: [crosstalk] it's only. Even better. It's only under $100,000.
Max Traylor: Yeah. You know what, I'm embarrassed to say it. All my clients tell me that it's just embarrassingly low, but I haven't raised my prices yet and it's only $100,000. And I know what you're, I know you're laughing on the inside. I know you're laughing.
Faith James: Yeah. Yeah I know. And listen, in all seriousness, you get to have support. And so one of the things I talk about is looking at improv or method acting to help you get there. One of my favorite quotes that I love to say that's helped me all throughout my years is I'd like to thank the academy.
Max Traylor: Faith, we're going to end there. I'm getting text messages about my meeting here at 3:30. This has been... You're going to have to hold me back.
Faith James: Aww.
Max Traylor: [crosstalk] oh, we are doing beers at the next live. So we're doing that. Cheers to you, chin-chin.
Faith James: Cheers my love. Thank you.
Max Traylor: Cheers and all the things.