Business Bites Episode 140: Your Purpose is Written in Your Past

Your Purpose is Written in Your Past

Episode 140 on the Business Bites Podcast

Acknowledging your past will help you identify what makes you authentic with your audience. 

Like it or not, events that happen to us shape who we are and how we think and feel about things around us. Maranda Joiner came on this week’s show to discuss how embracing our past can help us shape our messaging to reach our ideal client.

Maranda relates how she came to this realization, and how she helps other entrepreneurs discover what makes them unique. 

What are you passionate about? What are moments from your past that parallel that?

Once you figure out the answers to those questions, you will have the tools you need to understand who your audience is, their needs, and how to genuinely connect with them. 

When you wake up in purpose is different than waking up feeling like you got to do tasks. And you approach problems differently. You approach everything differently because you realize that even if this doesn’t work out, something else is going to work out, because guess what? This is what I’m supposed to be doing. It’s really about our mind shift connecting to purpose for the entrepreneur.

Maranda Joiner

Learn how to connect your past to your purpose: 

  • An example from Maranda’s life of how she found her purpose [15:28]
  • How we approach events in our lives can shift the way we show up in the world [20:44]
  • How to have a genuine connection with your audience [22:06]
  • Why it’s important to connect your purpose to your past [28:14]
  • An example of how Chick-fil-A utilizes the idea that people make buying decisions based off emotion [31:47]
  • How to give your ideal client a “face” [41:31]

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN.

Read Episode Transcript

Rachel Brenke:
Hey, welcome to another week of the Business Bites Podcast. As always, I am your host, Rachel Brenke and this week I am joined with Maranda Joiner. She is an incredible woman entrepreneur. And what I love about what we’re going to dig into today is that we are talking about our past, and we’re going to dig into also identifying what makes you authentic with your audience. The last few weeks we’ve been digging into simplifying to scale up. And a lot of that has to do with simplifying your message, getting your unique selling proposition out there, because like Maranda is a brand strategist, but you’re going to see what makes her unique against all the hundreds of thousands that are out there.

Much like you all listen to me because I’m an attorney business strategist, but I definitely don’t approach it in the same ways that many do. That’s my unique selling proposition. So we’re going to dig in. I’m really, really excited for this topic because I feel like we’re coming to the end of the year. And at the beginning of year we get so excited in getting our business together. And I feel like taking the time to simplify it and also focus on your messaging is what you need, and this is going to be the kickoff for it. So Maranda, welcome.

Maranda Joiner:
Hi, Rachel. Thanks for having me.

Rachel Brenke:
I’m so thrilled with this. So wait, you’re a mom of a teenager as well, right?

Maranda Joiner:
Listen, a whole teenager. And he feels like a grown man that needs a job. So anyone out there hiring a 15 year old, let me know.

Rachel Brenke:
I have a 15 year old son, he’s my oldest. And actually I’ve hired him to help with the podcast and video stuff. Hold up, I’m going to correct myself. I did that like nine months ago, ask me how much work he’s done.

Maranda Joiner:
Probably about 3%, I would imagine.

Rachel Brenke:
If that.

Maranda Joiner:
Okay. We have the same son then.

Rachel Brenke:
He’s a teenager. So what I love about your background is you’re not the typical we hear about, “I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. And I did that from the very beginning and came from an entrepreneurship family.” You worked as an on-air personality, including the Morning Show for three and a half years. Explain what that experience was like and how you got into that.

Maranda Joiner:
Yeah. So really doing radio was really something I think that was very helpful in my connection to people and understanding and listening to stories. I know that it has played a pivotal part in that, but I also know that this was ingrained in me from the beginning of 05 with me wanting to connect to people in their stories. But I got into radio actually back in 2003, I started interning at a radio station here locally because I had to spend an extra semester in college because I forgot one class to graduate. It was during that extra semester where I was dropping at that beautiful eight grand for another semester, I got the internship at the radio station and eventually started working there part-time for years and then eventually got to a full-time space. And did the Morning Show with a couple of people, but the transition into that was really exciting.

I often tell the story about how the first time my mother heard my voice on the radio, because it was really a unique story as well. My mother was a teacher here in Jackwon Public Schools for 33 years before she passed away. And so my grandmother worked at a plant for 22 years before the plant shut down. So I really didn’t have that entrepreneurial bug. So when I went into things like radio and things like that, for them, it was kind of foreign because they were like, “Well, what are we going to do with that?” It was like, where do you go with that type of job? But when I was interning there, one of the on-air personalities came into the room and he needed a voice for a commercial that he was doing.

And what happened was he saw this person in the building that was a new voice, brought me into the production room and sat me down in front of the microphone and said, “Hey, listen, I’m doing this commercial for these strippers that are coming to town and I need you to lean into the microphone and pretend like it’s your boyfriend’s ear that you’re whispering in this ear and read this copy and I’m going to be right outside the door and I’m going to come back. It’s recording you now. So you’re good?”

Rachel Brenke:
I’m dying. I can just picture mama’s face. Okay, go ahead with the laughter story. I’m like dying laughing over here.

Maranda Joiner:
So he closes the door and I’m sitting in this dim lit production room and I’m like, okay. So I do a few takes. I try to sound as sexy as possible and put on my best, what I assume is a stripper voice. I’m trying to sound strippery whatever that is.

Rachel Brenke:
This is going to make some great quotes for Twitter once we publish this out there.

Maranda Joiner:
I know. So once he heard what I did, I guess he was so impressed. He invited me to sit in with him on the morning shows. And so what I would do is I would sit in as the intern. I didn’t even have a name when I first jumped on the airwaves, but I’m pretty sure my mom heard that commercial. And so I was riding in the car and me going, “Hey mom, the commercial’s on that I was telling you about.” And her waiting to hear my voice and then looking at me and saying, “Okay, so are you in radio or are you stripping? I don’t understand what’s happening here.”

But he invited me on to be the intern. And so when I first got on the airwaves, I was only known as the intern, I didn’t even have a name. And the program director heard me on the air, was really impressed and then by look and chance someone quit, a weekend personality quit and I was offered that slot that became available. So I had like four hours every weekend to get my feet wet in radio. And that turned into a span of about 15 plus years of doing radio.

Rachel Brenke:
That is incredible. I love that. So how did that… I mean, was that the foundation for getting you into becoming the co-creator in host of Synergy Nights, which is a monthly open mic or how did that all come together?

Maranda Joiner:
Absolutely, without a doubt. Me transitioning in and out. The radio station I work is like a family. So even if you leave for a little bit, you’re coming back. And so in the last day that I was there… I’ve always been a poet. My mother was a writer, I’m a writer. I have an affinity for the arts and for poetry and for creatives because I myself am part creative. I think we all are, especially if it benefits you greatly, if you’re an entrepreneur to tap into your creativity, to tap into your imagination. It is the beautiful thing that I enjoy the most about being an entrepreneur is that I get to create whatever space I want. I get to create whatever type of experience I want my clients to have based off of their needs. But I was really in a drought when it came to writing because writing used to be therapeutic for me when I was younger.

And what happened was I was back at the radio station and I was surrounded by all these artists and people. And I didn’t feel like I had an outlet because at the time we didn’t have an open mic that was active here in the city. And so in talks with a friend, I collaborated with a guy here that is a saxophonist. He had this great idea about combining infusing music and poetry. And we just collaborated on this event. And honestly, selfishly what I did was I decided to go forward with this because I wanted to surround myself with other artists and creatives and poets to inspire me because-

Rachel Brenke:
I love it.

Maranda Joiner:
I was in a space where I was kind of timid about going back into writing. And I just didn’t really feel like it was working for me anymore. And I was exhausted by life and just experiences. And so I started the open mic to just surround myself with creatives so that I could be inspired. And it turned into this whole culture of people that felt like family. Synergy by definition is where two or more things come together to produce an effect that’s greater than a thing that’s done by itself. So synergy in itself is where multiple things are combined to produce something greater than a single entity, right? And we did that with music, live painting, DJs. We do game giveaways.

The audience feels just as much a part of the show as everyone else, because there’s the audience engagement, their interactions, their questions that they ask and we have like open discussions and conversations. It’s really quite the experience. And what we found was we were averaging about 80 to 100 people every show in this small enclosed area and people who had never been to open mics, who were never exposed to poetry were just showing up and coming just because someone would tell them, “Hey, you got to come to this.” And so people were inviting their moms and their aunts. So you would have this eclectic group of people that in their 20s and 30s. And then people that are in their 50s and 40s, all in one room.

Rachel Brenke:
No, I love it. I think one of the key things that you’ve said which actually is almost a great segue into what we wanted to talk about today, but you’re saying about creating an experience. I loved how… I scribbled that down when you said that, because I felt so empowered just now when you said in entrepreneurship and I’m paraphrasing, but you get to create your experience, you get to create your environment and you just saw the fruits of what happens when you do that. Not only did it fulfill something that you need, because it’s like when you’re on an airplane and they say, if we’re losing oxygen, you always put your own mask on first, right? We have to be selfish in entrepreneurship. So you did that. You put your mask on by creating this environment so that you can be inspired, but then we’ll look at what the results were. You also were touching the lives of other people, but it started with something what you desired for yourself.

Maranda Joiner:
Yes, absolutely.

Rachel Brenke:
I love that. So let’s bring that into talking about your purpose is written in your past. I mean, now you’re a brand strategist. You’ve worked with a bunch of entrepreneurs and creative types, helping them connect with their audience through brand clarity. You’ve worked with, oh man brands, like Essence, Comedy Central, True TV, even your TEDx Talk. I love it. Going to link it on the show notes page for you all to listen into, but let’s talk a bit about using our past to finding our purpose. Is our purpose existing because of our past, or is it that we’re gleaning our purpose out of our past experiences?

Maranda Joiner:
Yes. So I want to say one thing before I respond to that, because with the TEDx talk, I actually didn’t have a TEDx talk. I hosted the TEDx talk that we had out of the way.

Rachel Brenke:
Sorry.

Maranda Joiner:
No, that’s okay. I was the host for it. And as the host, while it was fun to move and progress everything along, I also was part of the planning committee as well. But as the host, they don’t really record what you say. So they don’t really care.

Rachel Brenke:
Well, what’s funny about that and actually, I think I’m going to leave in this in the episode now is because when I was researching for this, it came up and when I Googled you that came at the top and so I was like, oh my gosh, look at all these reviews and all this stuff, this is amazing. But then I was like, wait a minute. Now, when you just said that, I’m like, first of all, I’m embarrassed because as a host, I should’ve clicked in and spent a little bit more time with it, but that’s incredible because you’re still getting steam out of that opportunity.

Maranda Joiner:
Isn’t it beautiful? I love it. And I ride the wave of it. Trust me, I am not minimizing it at all because I have been a fan of Ted Talks way before it even arrived here and it came through. So I was over the moon about it. And if you had been following me at the time, as much as I talked about it on my social, you would’ve thought I had my own Ted Talk. So it’s totally okay.

Rachel Brenke:
No, but honestly, hosting is very difficult.

Maranda Joiner:
It is.

Rachel Brenke:
I feel like it takes a really unique skill set, which obviously with your background with the radio and everything, but it is very difficult because sometimes you don’t know what the other people are going to say and you’re smart.

Maranda Joiner:
You really do have to be quick with it and really taken a lot. So there’s a lot to keep in mind because like we were talking about, it’s about creating an experience for the audience and it’s about connecting everything that’s happening on stage to the people that are in the audience. You are absolutely controlling the energy of every event. And so hosting really holds a lot of weight when it comes to power and a lot of weight. And so you really want to be careful about who you put in that position. So I was honored when they approached me with the opportunity to host, because they absolutely approached me with the opportunity after I was on the committee to help plan it and I was elated, but really connecting to get to answering your question about the connectivity and how you find purpose in your past and how that starts, a lot of the clients, the connection from Synergy really connected me to working with a lot of entrepreneurs.

And what was happening was I connected to a comedian here that’s at the time was trying to build her career in comedy or just kind of seeing if that was an opportunity or an option. And I helped her to build her career. We’ve worked together over a span of four years and got her connected to Comedy Central, to Essence, to touring with Ricky Smiley and being on tour with a lot of notable comedians and on the road in a matter of three to four years. And in helping her build her career what I realized in that moment was that I was really good at what I was doing, but there was a part of me that didn’t feel fulfilled. And I really enjoyed helping her, but I felt like I was supposed to be doing more and I could not avoid that.

And so there were a series of events that happened that shifted me from one job to the next. And I remember sitting at my job on September. It was actually September 22nd, 2018 and I was really kind of searching for that thing, because like you said at the beginning of this podcast, I was one of those people where I always felt like I was just good at things like you could put me in any job and I could excel like, “Hey, you put me here. I can figure it out. I can make it happen.” And I was always envious of people who knew coming out the womb what they wanted to do. They came out with a basketball or a trumpet or a pen, or they came out an activist and I’m just like, well, I knew that I always loved people. I was always curious about the why in people, I was always empowered by helping people. It always fueled me even in high school when I was down, I would go to school and intentionally pour into people and be more loving to help meet up with my own mood.

I remember knowing and doing this at such a young age and always wanting to hear people’s story. Like even when people were doing things that were unfavorable and everyone else wanted to crucify them, I remember always being the one silently thinking, how did they get there? What happened? What is the story? What is the thing behind it? So fast forward to the shift on September the 22nd, I was sitting at this job and under a not so kind boss. And I said, “You know what? This is just going to be my last day.” And I told him, and he came in trying to get me to stay, but I had just made up my mind. And I said, “You know what? I’m just going to take a chance on myself. Because if not now, when?”

I was doing so much work with the artists that I was working with, the entertainer that we were doing so much, I figured I could start my own business on the side to supplement what this job was giving me. So I had multiple streams of income. I didn’t just quit cold turkey with no money in my bank account, but I definitely was taking a chance and a risk. And I decided, if not now, when? And so September 22nd, I quit. November the 16th, I launched my brand as a full-time brand strategist. And what I found was that I was connecting people to purpose.

I had never felt so much in to… I had never felt like I was walking in my purpose more than I did when I started seeing different people and helping them. Because there was so much fear there stepping out because I had only worked with her for the most part and I had to ask myself, can I do this for people that aren’t in entertainment? Can I do this for the everyday average entrepreneur who is a boutique owner, who is a podcaster, who is a motivational speaker, who’s a pole dancer, whatever you’re doing in your life, whatever.

Rachel Brenke:
You can actually bring what works with them, if you need to.

Maranda Joiner:
Exactly, full circle moment. Can I help these people build a brand that they love? And honestly, Rachel, if I’m being 100% transparent here, when I first started, I did not realize that I was going to be connecting so many people and purpose. It wasn’t until I started the sessions and I started the series of asking the right questions, formulating and putting together the right questions that I was able to see those dots and connect the dots and say, “Hey, do you realize that this is something you’ve always been doing? Do you realize that this moment that you’re talking about here in your past, the parallel to what it is, you’re so passionate about the thing you’re wanting to do.” And every time it kept happening over and over again, and I thought, oh my gosh, I have something here. And that’s when it shifts.

Rachel Brenke:
Go ahead.

Maranda Joiner:
No, that’s when-

Rachel Brenke:
Well, I was going to say from my own personal experiences that I have in entrepreneurship, oh my gosh, for so long. And I felt like if you had asked me 15 years ago, “Do you have a good brand created?” I’d be like, “Yeah. And I know my purpose.” But even just from sitting, hearing you talk and looking I’m reflecting while you’re speaking here is over the last few years, all of it on my life circumstances things that have happened and in 2020 alone started really tragic I’ve ever personally met. And it has forced me into the space of… And specifically when you were talking about people getting crucified at school and you’re wondering how they got there, I have been learning the process of being curious and asking why of myself and of others.

I mean, and much like you, I didn’t know that I wanted to go in entrepreneurship during growing up through grade school and such. I just knew that I didn’t fit right. I didn’t fit in the 9 to 5, I didn’t fit in a regular classroom. I mean, I excelled and actually I’d had done a lot better if I had actually applied myself, but there was always something stirring there. So I guess my question to you would be you’re getting in with these clients and talking to them about the purpose, taking someone like myself, or even much like your clients, who they have all these experiences, but they’re gone, but I don’t have a purpose, you’re helping them shift their perspective. But how do you attract people that aren’t even maybe like it was me for the last 15 years go online along good, but I actually wasn’t really fulfilling the purpose that I was supposed to do.

Maranda Joiner:
Yeah. That’s a great question. A very good question. And I want to say this to your curiosity, just to kind of tap into that and confirm that for you is that I met Elizabeth Gilbert. Are you familiar with Elizabeth Gilbert?

Rachel Brenke:
Yeah. I know her.

Maranda Joiner:
She has such a beautiful spirit. When you meet her in person, she has almost like a spiritual presence around her. And she was at a luncheon that I was assisting with. And I got the pleasure of assisting her on a few things. And she gave a speech and talked about approaching things with the curiosity. And so when you said that, that was the first thing that popped up in my head is that approaching things like death, approaching things that happen to us in our life with a sense of curiosity and how it really does shift the way that we show up in the world and still without the energy, whether it’s grief or loss. I’ve experienced loss recently and so those things have really been helpful in just remembering that the world is not… Stuff is happening around us and that we people have to consume ourselves so much with things that are happening if we just change the way we intake them. So I love that you said that.

Rachel Brenke:
Well, I think it’s difficult to do that when you have the rest of the world telling you and this circles back around the whole creating environment for yourself thing, but when the whole world, especially entrepreneurship Pin Boards and Instagram stories all telling you that you have to have X, Y, and Z and do X, Y, and Z, it’s so easy. And I’m raising my hand because I was one of them just trying to grow to be successful, I was so focused on that kind of stuff that I was… You can’t physically see me because this is audio podcasts. But I was ignoring my purpose that’s behind me.

Maranda Joiner:
Yes. So to think about really attracting people who really can grasp this and understand that no matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, that this applies to you possibly if you haven’t really honed in on purpose. What happened is people were out here running businesses and connecting to their audience, or assuming that they are connecting to their audience in a way that’s impactful, but they’re not getting any engagement. And it’s not an authentic, real, genuine connection to what it is that they’re doing. What most people do is spend their time marketing and talking about the thing that they do, right? It goes back to one of the books that shifted everything for me, which was Simon Sinek’s, Start With Why. It was December of 2018, I read that book that really lit a fire up under me and said, “You can do this.”

But it’s really about really identifying what it is that you do for people, right? And we hear this and that. If you’re an entrepreneur and you have looked into any type of marketing, you’ve heard this. Get people to understand what emotion do you connect with them? What problems do you solve for them? What need do you meet? But what happens is that people identify that and then they either detach themselves from it or sometimes we have entrepreneurs that make their businesses all about them, right? What they like, what they love, what they think the consumer needs and we don’t do the time to build actual relationship.

So when I bring people in that are really searching for the messaging, they’re really searching for what to say and how to say it and how to show up, in that space of uncertainty really is where I feel like I can identify and say, “You will be a perfect candidate for really connecting to purpose.” Because when you understand what the end goal is for the person that you serve, you really get very clear about how you speak to them and what you say. I often encourage my clients to look at it like the people that you’re doing business with, your ideal target person, you’re dating them.

Rachel Brenke:
Yeah. I love that.

Maranda Joiner:
You’re absolutely in a full-blown relationship. So whoever this person is they’re bae. So give them a name, understand everything about them, make them very real and specific, right? And how that connects to purpose is because when you understand one and just to kind of backtrack here before I start diving down the hole of understanding your ideal target person and how to make that specific, really connecting to purpose helps you to really understand one, your side of the story and why you do the thing that you do. And when things get hard and difficult, or when it’s frustrating not getting engagement from your audience or something goes awry in your business, what keeps you moving and what helps you to motivate is understanding that what you’re doing is not just about something you just randomly picked up that this is ingrained in who you are, you know what I mean?

And so you have a deeper sense of connection to the thing that you do when you really understand that it’s more than just about choosing to be an entrepreneur, because everybody’s not built for this. And so if you have the bonus to get up and say, “I want to be an entrepreneur,” and you feel like this is the lane you’re in, then it’s in your best interest to understand exactly what you’re meant to do and why you’re meant to do it because you were crafted for the very thing that you were put on this earth to do.

And when you understand that, it gives you a different type of fuel and fire to get the job done, you wake up with a different sense of purpose. When you wake up in purpose is different than waking up feeling like you got to do tasks. And you approach problems differently. You approach everything differently because you realize that even if this doesn’t work out, something else is going to work out, because guess what? This is what I’m supposed to be doing. It’s really about our mind shift connecting to purpose for the entrepreneur. And then you-

Rachel Brenke:
Let me ask you with that before we get into digging and finding your target person and that sort of stuff is how do you differ? How does one, maybe someone’s listening and they’ve been feeling a struggle. They’re not getting that authentic engagement, like you had mentioned, or they’re finding issues in their business. I’m kind of like looking at a fork in the road. How do they figure out I’m going to the right means? Okay, I just need to dig into my purpose a bit more or to the left of maybe entrepreneurship is really not for me.

Maranda Joiner:
Yeah. So that feels like two different things a little bit to me. Because if you’re contemplating and debating or whether entrepreneurship is for you or isn’t for you, I won’t say that you aren’t built for it in that way. Because I think we all kind of wake up and think really is this, do I need to. I think there’s always that moment for us that we get to that space. But for most of us, I think the ones that are going to be successful and elevate to the next level, that role we have to close the door to, is this not for us? And let me shift to the space of saying, we’re just going to have to figure this thing out because there’s no business out here. Really and understanding there’s no business out here that has not dealt with trying to figure stuff out or dealt with failure or dealt with a challenge.

And so we have to understand that challenges really aren’t made to make us say, maybe I’m not built for this. The challenges are there to just push us to figure it out. We were created to move through challenges and to figure them out as entrepreneurs, we’re all out here just trying to navigate through it. And so think of what works and what doesn’t work. Really digging into the purpose and really shifting into that and looking into that, what it does is it helps you to do the thing that you’re struggling to do with connecting to your audience. So I want to use one of my clients as an example. And she is a brokerage. She is a broker. She’s in real estate and she has a brokerage that she started and she came to me looking for direction.

And I want to use her story as an examples to kind of help you understand the importance of what connecting to your purpose can do when it comes to connecting to your audience and getting to that next level. And she came to me and this was her story. Her story was when she was younger, her dad was going off to another city to make way for them because they were going to be moving there. He had a job opportunity that was happening there. He left them and went off to make a way for them. He came back and something happened and things didn’t go right. And they ended up not moving to the other city, but they did end up moving out of their house into an apartment complex. And when they moved into the apartment complex, she remembered that life shifted for them in a lot of ways.

And things changed. They weren’t able to do some of the things they were able to do. And life just kind of went to the left. And she was lying in bed one day with her sister, one evening with her sister and she says she remembers looking at her sister and saying, “I think we’re poor.” And they laughed about it because they were young. She said they were poor. And now she’s in this space of trying to put people in homes. And as I began to ask more questions and listen to her more and more, I really got to the bottom of understanding that she really honestly felt like being in a home no matter what was the foundation for having a good, healthy family, right?

That was her connection. That’s what she identified with. That’s what she believed in her heart. That’s what she cared about. That was something that she believed in. And so what we were able to do with that messaging was say, “Well, this is why you put people in homes and you can take this very unique message in an angle and say that you believe home ownership is the foundation for any good family.” And if you’re looking to build a family, no matter what that family looks like, no matter what the makeup, whether you’re a single parent, whether it’s a… Whatever your family is, a home is the foundation for building that.

And what happens is that everybody that believes that gravitates towards you and then when you believe in something and it’s connected to your actual beliefs and who you are, then you understand and know how to talk about it. You understand the needs, you understand the desires and you’re able to show up in your marketing in a way that is uniquely catered to who you are. And you don’t have to try to create terminology and thoughts and emotions that aren’t standard from what you genuinely believe. Does that make sense?

Rachel Brenke:
It does. And I feel like these sort of things… Well, let me back up for a second. So as you’re talking, I’ve been dealing with our own realtor stuff. Like we’ve been looking for a home and so I completely identify that I’ve been polarized by some people who are more about the mechanics. How many beds do you want? Do you want this? Whereas you have others that are as much like you’re a client, I have a family, I want to be in a family friendly area and there’s specific things. It makes me feel I’m having this. So I’ve had other realtors that connect with me on that level. So I just resonate completely. And I see it in my own business as well that it’s easier when I sit down to just speak. But what I often see happening, especially if you’re getting distracted by the millions of leaders out there telling you you have offer all this and do all this and do all of that is they’re being told, “Okay, pick what going to offer, get a copywriter, get it on your website.”

And I’m like, hold on a second. We’re completely missing unless you get a really good copywriter that works with you. And basically as a brand clarity strategist trying to just like you, they’re just speaking and creating sales pages and website pages that are going to be void of what exactly you just said, like that natural terminology and emotion.

Maranda Joiner:
Yes. Because at the end of the day, we have to remember that people make buying decisions based off emotion, majority. And what connects people to brands and to different things I use… Let me tell you an example I use. I use Chick-fil-A and Apple. I’m like really boobies for the way that they market.

Rachel Brenke:
Same.

Maranda Joiner:
Let me tell you the secret to how they market. I’m going to blow your mind, which I feel like because I would imagine that you don’t know this. I’m going to bank and put it out there that you probably don’t know what I’m about to tell you about Chick-fil-A.

Rachel Brenke:
Blow me away, girlfriend.

Maranda Joiner:
I’m about to blow your mind. All right. You are ready?

Rachel Brenke:
And then I’m going to Chick-fil-A for dinner.

Maranda Joiner:
So the reality is that people do business with people they are comfortable with. People do business with that they feel like they know. And at the end of the day, people will buy a mediocre product if they feel connected to whatever it is that it is, right? People spend tons of money on name brands and things that they have an emotional connection to even if the product doesn’t always hold up to standard. And even if there’s something better out there, if they feel connected to whatever that message is, whatever the story is, whatever it is, people will blindly spend money and their emotions will draw them to that. If you connect to consumer’s heart, you connect to their wallet.

Chick-fil-A, if you’re not familiar with Chick-fil-A, I don’t know what planet you’re on, but they are a fast food chicken restaurant that people absolutely love. They overuse the phrase my pleasure. They will give you seven demanded sauces if you ask for them without blinking. And people really often talk about when you ask them what they love about Chick-fil-A they will tell you is the customer service. It’s the experience, right?

Rachel Brenke:
And I ate the chicken sandwich, that’s overrated.

Maranda Joiner:
It is overrated. I agree. I love you already Rachel, see. What is in the plate? So let me ask you, Rachel, do you know what their mission statement is in 2020?

Rachel Brenke:
No, but I’m guessing it has to do with connectivity maybe during the pandemic. Tell me, I have no idea.

Maranda Joiner:
I think this was their mission statement before the pandemic and their mission statement is, and I’m paraphrasing, but I’m giving you the very important parts is to glorify God by having a positive encounter with every person that connects to Chick-fil-A. That’s it. They just want to have a positive encounter with every person that they connect to. That is their entire mission. So what happened was these people who started Chick-fil-A said, “You know what? We just want to have a positive influence and impact on every person that we connect to. Let’s open up a chicken restaurant and sell mediocre chicken for $10 and just love on people.” Oh my God, that’s brilliant. What they did was they identified what they were purposed on this earth to do for people. And they picked an avenue to deliver that feeling. So when you pull back the veil on your business, you have to ask yourself, what were you created in this world to do for people? What do you feel like your purpose was? What are you meant to give people on this earth, right?

And then you can pick whatever avenue you want to do that. If you want to do hair, do hair. If you want to sell books, then sell books. If you want to do seminars then do seminars, but you have to start with the feeling that you want to give people. And so many times people just decide to pick a thing to do, and they neglect to really understand and know what thing they’re giving to people, because that’s what’s going to sell the thing that you do. That’s what makes them successful. People who solely understand what they are meant to bring and give people in this world and then they create a way to do it.

And it can look like anything, which is the beautiful part. But so often we try to get caught up in finding purpose in the actual mechanics of what we do, the logistics and the purpose isn’t found there, it’s found in what do you love doing? What do people come to you for? What do you feel like you were created on this earth to do and give people? And as an entrepreneur that’s where you want to start while you could probably do a lot of things great with your hands, you really kind of got to dig into the heart of the matter and say, “Well, what am I naturally created to do?”

Rachel Brenke:
I love this because that’s one thing that I have. And I’m very transparent on my podcast about my failures and things I’ve done in the past. And I fell into the hole, got to be mechanical, got into the checklist, got to put it out here, got to talk about the specs. And it’s funny that you mentioned Apple because during the beginning of the episode, I was thinking of the example of for majority of people out there, I mean, so many people use Apple products, iPhone specifically, I’m not running to buy Apple because I care about the megapixels of the camera, because of the processor’s speed, et cetera, it gives me a solution to my problem.

I want to be able to have my business and my life pourable in my hands. So I can go on vacation with my kids and I’m still able to stay connected if I need to, if I want to. But for me I know as well I love your also example of Chick-fil-A is they hardly ever really talk about how juicy and amazing their chicken sandwiches, which is not. They talk about the feeling, because it’s the transformation feeling like you said that you want people to feel and it’s less about the specs of the product that you’re giving them.

Maranda Joiner:
Absolutely. Overwhelmingly when I ask people what they love about Chick-fil-A very few people say the food, most people say is the experience. Most people say customer service and the experience. And I thought that was so interesting that as a restaurant that the thing people love about it is the way that Chick-fil-A makes them feel when they come through.

Rachel Brenke:
Well, like for me, I value things that are quick and it’s fairly quality when it comes to fast food. The other day I don’t even know where I was at, I was picking something up. Maybe it was Panera, sorry, Panera. But I even texted my husband and I was like, “I’ve kind of gone around the Chick-fil-A drive through like three times by now and I still don’t even have my food here.” Let me go to the mission statement. Positive encounters also include not just the feel-good of getting to the heart of people, but it’s providing that it’s a very… What’s the word I’m looking for? It’s a very resistant free type of environment. I go through, I ask for sauces, I don’t have to sit here and be upcharged 15 times they throw like 1500 sauces in a bag. They make it very easy for you, so that it’s positive. And then it’s easier for me to give them my money.

Maranda Joiner:
Absolutely. Absolutely. I’ll tell you two radical things about Chick-fil-A that I really have been contemplating begging them to let me go through their training process to see how they brainwash these employees. But one person told me that they saw a girl jump out of a drive-through window because somebody drove off and forgot something at a Chick-fil-A. I said, “You are kidding me.” They were like, “No, I’m telling you Maranda. She jumped out the window.”

And then the other thing was my personal experience. I remember pulling up to the window one time and I had legit left my wallet at my job and I got to the window and that’s when I realized I didn’t have my wallet. And I was trying to explain to her, “I’m sorry, I forgot my wallet.” And she without even blinking said as she was handing me the food, “Don’t worry about it. The next time you come through, just pay us then.” “I’m sorry, what?” And so I hate to be putting this out in public because honestly, I feel like no matter who does that, they’re going to give them the food. I just feel like they’re never going to turn anybody away.

Rachel Brenke:
Well, you all have learned anything from this episode. You know how to get free food from Chick-fil-A. We’re not cordoning that. But I’ve been there and I get it and that’s the thing. And so what I’m saying is given a resistant free experience so that it is a positive one. And I think I love that. I keep honing in on that phrase from their mission statement. And you’ve said it multiple times through here is we could even transfer that back into this purpose aspect, right? When I’m finding my purpose of what I want to do, but also how I want other people to feel from what I’m doing. Because if you don’t have both of the pieces of the puzzle, you’re not going to be able to serve people and serve yourself like the goals and dreams that you have for yourself if you don’t have both pieces.

Maranda Joiner:
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. It’s absolutely vital to the strength of your business. You being successful is not just a quick fix. There’s no quick fix for it and you really have to weigh everything. You have to understand what your unique messaging is. You really have to understand who the person is you’re talking to because how can you speak to someone and change their world and their life if you don’t know anything about them, how can you do that to an audience that you don’t try to understand? And it’s really not as complicated as we think, it’s just about simply building relationships, right? Understanding what they care about, what they need and really organizing your business. I also find that a lot of entrepreneurs aren’t organized in how their business shows up.

So they don’t have mission statements or visions. They really haven’t put a stake in the ground about the services that they want to start out offering. And so it allows their room to feel all over the place. They haven’t thought about having a plan and a strategy. So when you get to social media, most people are lost as to what to say and how to show up. And they’re reaching for other people to give them content ideas, but it’s because they haven’t identified these first two things like what’s your purpose, what’s your unique message and who are you talking to?

Rachel Brenke:
And I love that because it’s easy. Now when I sit for the most part, I mean, it’s never always easy. Some days you struggle with writer’s block or whatever but when I sit down to do social media, those two pieces of what you just talked about, I just sit and think about that, it flows right out of me what I wanted say.

Maranda Joiner:
Yeah. Let me tell you what I do, Rachel. My ideal target person, I don’t have an audience. I have a person that I show up in my brand for the last couple of years that I’ve been working for myself. And I talk to her every day. Her name is Bridget. She’s 33 years old. She’s single, no kids. And she’s a nurse and has a side hustle that she wants to turn into a full-time business, but she just doesn’t know how. She socializes with her friends, hangs out at bars, this is pre-COVID, right? She likes to shop at places like Dillards and Belk, and she travels to all the vacation hotspots like Mexico and Florida and Dominican Republic. And she just wants to not leave this world without fulfilling her purpose or feeling fulfilled, right? And this is Bridget. When I show up on social media, Rachel, every day, I’m sending a text message in my caption to Bridget.

When I write the captions for everything that I post about my branding and marketing and brand strategy stuff, I pretend like I’m sending a text message directly to Bridget. So I use words like, hey you. I use direct words. I don’t say, “Hey everybody, hey guys.” I’m like, “Hey, what are you doing with this? Are you struggling with this? Did you wake up this morning and feel like going back and lying back in the bed because today just wasn’t one of those days and you felt like hiding from the boss, but you realized you’re the boss, right?” I’m talking to Bridget because I know what she’s struggling with. When you are very specific about that person, when you get to the caption part, it gets easier. That’s why I write all my captions from my phone so it’ll feel personal.

Rachel Brenke:
I like that. I mean, I never really thought about that the way that I’m developing content, this whole methodology or the purpose and who I’m talking to, but the fact of actually doing it on the phone brings a whole personal type connection because it’s like I’m picking it up and messaging my BFF from college, not sending down to schedule four months of social media content.

Maranda Joiner:
Yes. And the purpose of really… My clients really struggle with creating an ideal target person because I make them make her specific, like I said, Bridget is 33 years old. It is a female, she’s black and people are like, “But I want to serve everybody.” That’s fine. That’s fine. First of all, nothing is for everybody other than tissue. We learned during the pandemic tissue is for everyone. But most things aren’t for everyone. And so getting really specific and narrowing down your ideal target person to a specific person like I did, what it’s for is for you the entrepreneur, so that you can talk directly to this person. I speak life into Bridget every day.

And what happens is everybody that speaks that same language is Bridget, everybody that has the same needs and desires is Bridget, people who have kids, people who are older than Bridget and younger than Bridget but they can identify with me getting specific about how I’m helping her gravitate to me. That’s the trick. It’s not about eliminating them. It’s about getting specific and niche in how I talk and help Bridget. And so I’m not out here trying to help the 55 year old lady who is a gypsy. I’m not out here trying to help the 25 year old girl that just came out of college too, you know what I’m saying? So you’re all over the place trying to speak to all these different types of people but when you really think about it, and if you’re honest, every business brand and thing that’s out here has ideal, specific, almost stereotypical. What we’re taught not to do is put people in a box, but they almost have a type that is perfect for what it is.

Rachel Brenke:
Don’t put them in a box, put the box down and have them stand on that box and speak.

Maranda Joiner:
Yes. I love that, Rachel.

Rachel Brenke:
I feel the same. My girl’s name is Ava and she’s basically me. And so I’ve seen an evolution in my business and my messaging because Ava has gone through similar things that have also revealed to me purpose and what I want to serve. And so it evolves. Has yours evolved at all?

Maranda Joiner:
Yes. Mine did evolve. In the beginning while I thought it was a much younger crowd, I realized that I was attracting the early to mid 30s. So for me it did evolve into a more mature type of entrepreneur when I originally thought I was going to be attracting a lot of generation Z. Absolutely.

Rachel Brenke:
So that’s awesome. So we’ve seen this process of how you are specifically setting yourself apart as a brand strategist. And as you’re having clients come in, you work on purpose, you work on whoever their ideal client is, get them a name, get them very specific, have them stand on the box, where do they go from there? I mean, we don’t have to go through the whole process. I just want to give anyone listening and invite all of you all. I’m going to put all of Maranda stuff on our show notes page. But after that, what are kind of the forward looking steps?

Maranda Joiner:
After they complete the process, is that what you’re asking?

Rachel Brenke:
Yeah. I mean, identifying their purpose, getting their client avatar or audience avatar, whatever you want to call it, that ideal person that they’re trying to serve and reach, where do they go from there? I feel like that’s where a lot of the overwhelm and paralyzation comes from.

Maranda Joiner:
Absolutely. And I’m glad you said that because at the end of a few of my sessions, I had clients who said, “Maranda, this is way more than I expected. Way more than I thought, way more information.” And I was really stunned when this started happening that multiple people would say at the end of the sessions, “This is beautiful. I loved that. It’s shifted, but now I still kind of am like paralyzed. I don’t know what to do with all this information.” I really want to encourage people to understand that you really just have to start, right? Where I think without a doubt and I believe wholeheartedly that having a plan and a strategy is also very essential to have a plan like this is where you want to go, this is the direction you want to go.

And you will be amazed how many people don’t dream big. They don’t know what the end game is for their business. This is weird to think steps ahead because I think out of fear of failure, fear of it not happening, fear of having to hold themselves accountable and so forth. It could be like a list of things, but you really do have to set a mark and a destination and say, this is where you’re going. Because if you get in a car and just start driving, and then at some point you’re going to get to water and realize that your destination was China, and that you’re not equipped to get into the water. In 2020 nobody’s destination was China, but still that’s doesn’t-

Rachel Brenke:
The only destination is anywhere outside their house, that’s what-

Maranda Joiner:
Anywhere outside is pretty good based here. China was the one I use all the time and then the pandemic hit and it’s hard for me to stop saying China.

Rachel Brenke:
I know. You can substitute any place that is far away.

Maranda Joiner:
Any place. I will say Bali because Bali is where I want to go one day. But bringing it back to your business, you really do have to sit that stake and say, this is what I want my business to look like. I want you to dream big and think about it and then come back to where you are in that space and say, okay, what things can I start doing to move there? What is the next actionable step that I can take. And really sitting down and coming up with a plan for the way that you market. So once you identify your purpose and identify who you’re talking to, then you just got to start building the relationship and having the conversation, right? So you have to set up a marketing strategy, figure out where is this person? What are they doing? How are they connecting to you? What are they doing in the meantime? Who’s doing something that you’re doing and how are they connecting to their audience?

Most people are connected and addicted to social media. So really I transitioned into social media marketing because it’s where most people are. And really understanding that there are so many things fighting for our attention, not just in our phones, but also in this world that the better you understand to really stand on that unique message and really talking directly to one specific person is how you catch my attention on the timeline. The thing that stopped me on the timeline are things that resonate with me personally. And so you want to make sure that you understand who this person is. That’s why it’s so vital to understand it. Again, it’s like dating. Like how do you know if you’re dating somebody and you bring them flowers and you bring their roses and they’re like, “Yo, I hate roses.” And actually you bought those roses, right?

It’s very equivalent to how we treat our target audience. We give them the things we want to give them instead of what they actually want and need. It’s like the five love languages. Think about it like that with your… Be intimate and affectionate with your audience, stop viewing them as numbers and data and look at them as real people. And then you’ll start talking to them and meeting the needs as real people. And this is what connects you. So the next steps are just to show up, start showing up. And the only way you can get to know somebody is by having a conversation. People are scared to get it wrong. And there’s this overwhelming desire from people to be perfect, to have everything hit the screen, when they do their website it has to be perfect, when I post it has to be perfect.

But the reality is that you’re trying to figure out who your audience is. So you have to ask questions. You have to put things out there and see what’s working. You have to put a post up and then just be okay with the fact that this post didn’t do as good as the other posts. And as an entrepreneur, you have to pay attention to those trends as you’re moving along to understand who’s moving towards you and what they’re liking, and what’s working and not working.

Rachel Brenke:
100%.

Maranda Joiner:
You really do have to play the game of connecting.

Rachel Brenke:
I was having this conversation with our team this last week, we were going over analytics. And I don’t know how many times in the span of like 30 minutes I was doing our whole monthly report, I was like, I would’ve never thought that that would have resonated. And I was like, why didn’t this one not resonate? Like, why is the engagement on this one? And it’s just revealing to me because I went through these stuff like you talked about. So I was like, this is what I might put out there, but what trap did I fall into? It was, I was putting out what I wanted to put out, not what they were wanting to consume.

Maranda Joiner:
Yes. So we have to learn how to put ourselves down a little bit and create a brand that your person loves. And I started creating a thing that Bridget love. And even if I didn’t care for it or I didn’t think it was whatever I had to remember this is what she’s responding to. This is what she needs. And so I need to give her more of that. And she-

Rachel Brenke:
For example, I’m an attorney. People don’t love talking to an attorney, right? So what I do is I get them in because I’m fun and drink coffee with them and then I stick them in the backside with all the legal stuff. I hit them upside the head with that later. So you got to coax them in with the things that they want. And then you give them really what they need too. I mean, I’m not saying bait and switch. That’s not what I’m suggesting, but you can slide in there, especially if you’re the expert, you know what they need. They just may not be buying them.

Maranda Joiner:
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. Just find out what is it they need, just have the conversation, try things. I just want to encourage entrepreneurs to just try stuff. We’re so scared to try because we’re scared to fail. And the reality is if we could fail in private, we would fail more often. And the bit of when you peel back fear of failure is really based on what people see in the perception. It has little to do with failure because failure can’t harm us. Failure can only teach us. The things that work can only teach us what’s not working. It is a thing we need in order to do the right thing. It’s like a navigation system. This didn’t work, I need to go another way. But if we could fail without people seeing us, people would take more chances, right? Make sure they would.

Rachel Brenke:
I love it. And I think that’s a wonderful place for us to kind of end here because… And by the way, you all listening normally are very quick podcasts, but as you can see, Maranda’s like right on point. The last month, we’ve been talking about simplifying, getting into your messaging. And I love her added level of digging into your purpose. And so I really wanted to walk through this entire process from beginning to where we’re ending here not only just because it was great inspiration, but there were so many great foundational nuggets for you, whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or you’re just getting into it. And even I learned a ton just sitting here talking it through.

This is something that I feel like you should always be working on. You have to see, are there changes in who you’re serving? Are there changes in you? Is there new things that happened in your life that maybe have shifted your purpose and how does that impact your business? So I love this Maranda. Thank you so much for bringing this on. I am going to put all of your contact information on the show notes page. I want you all to dig in, take a look at all that she has. I know that when I was poking around, I saw that you have discovery calls, 30 minute consult calls all the way up through like a complete branding experience, which as you all have seen you got the goods here, you got to see the real inside hard stuff.

You’re not going to be talking just colors and fun terminology. You’re going to be digging into your purpose and how that intertwines and how that fulfills you. Because as we, my entire brand is about real business, real life. And it’s no point in having a successful business if it’s not supporting the life that I want to have. So I encourage all of you, this was a long episode, please feel free to pause, go back, listen, take notes. As always, we’re going to have the show notes page and we’ll have information there for you, some of the resources that we talked about here as well as all of Maranda’s stuff.

Don’t forget to please jump into the Business Bites Podcast Facebook group. As always, we will have a thread specific to this topic, and I want to hear about your all’s purposes. I want to push the envelope here. I don’t want to hear just the standard who your client avatar and all that is. That’s wonderful. And we’ve gone through a really good process, but I want to hear your purpose. And the reason for this, this is the professor coming out of me, I want you guys to push and really tangibly use this episode to drive your business forward. So again, thank you Maranda and everyone. I will talk to you next week.

Maranda Joiner headshot

Meet Maranda

Maranda Joiner is a Jackson, MS native, and mother of a newborn teenager. From 2003 – 2017, she worked off and on at WJMI as an on-air personality, including a stint on the Morning Show for 3 1/2 years. 

She is the co-creator and host of Synergy Nights, a monthly open mic that includes a live band and live painting. 

Recently, she stepped into the world of entrepreneurship as a Brand Strategist. And in less than a year, she saw over 100 entrepreneurs and creatives, helping them connect to their audiences through brand clarity.

She has consulted and served as the brand manager for talent, placing them in a position to perform at Essence, on Comedy Central and TruTV. 

Maranda has been featured on WJTV news giving branding tips, developed articles for online publications, and has even hosted a TEDx Talk.

Website | Facebook | Instagram |

Hi, I’m Rachel Brenke

Rachel Brenke

As a mom, team USA athlete and cancer-survivor, I want a real life while I have a real business.  This is why my resources don’t promote hustle-culture, rather tough-love and no-holds-barred tips to achieving both.  In addition to this website, I have a top-ranked business podcast, been featured in places like Forbes and work 1:1 with so many of you.

Enough about me though. I am proud of you for pursuing entrepreneurship. It is rewarding and amazing.  Keep at it!

Now enrolling: RealBiz Accelerator[GET INFO]
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