Transcript: Do You Know What Makes You Unique? A Brand Building Chat with Laura Belgray

October 25, 2018


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Hey there, welcome back to another episode of The Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast. I’m your host, Amy Porterfield, and today we are talking about infusing your personality in all that you do online.

If you’re an entrepreneur then you’re also a marketer. You’re always marketing your business. When you write social media posts, copy for emails, when you put your webinar together, when you record a podcast, or write a blog post you always want your personality to shine through.

That’s easier said than done. If you’re not really sure what makes you different or quirky or unique then it’s really hard to put those special aspects into all that you do online. When you think you should show up a certain way or talk a certain way or be a certain way on video you easily lose that special uniqueness about yourself because you’re trying to be something else or someone else.

We’ve all done it. As entrepreneurs, especially just starting out, we tend to water ourselves down. I know I am incredibly guilty of this. Probably up until about two years ago when I started to take a look at what makes me unique and why people gravitate toward me and really what makes me feel more like myself.

I started to put that into my copy and social and podcasts more and more. The response has been amazing. So I know it works. I know it comes more natural to other people than it does to me so if you’re anything like me and being yourself and vulnerable and authentic and real online isn’t the easiest thing you’ve ever done then this episode is for you, my friend.

We are talking about finding out what makes you unique and infusing your personality in all that you do.

My guest today is Laura Belgray. She’s in the business of helping you infuse your personality in all that you do. Laura is a professional writer. She has written for NBC, ABC, Oxygen, Nickelodeon, VH1, and so much more, Bravo being one of my favorites.

We’re going to talk about Bravo. I also know Laura from way back when, when I was just starting out. We were in Marie Forleo’s Rich, Happy, and Hot mastermind together, which was tons of fun.

Laura also co-wrote Copy Cure with Marie Forleo. I talked about Copy Cure a few episodes back.

Laura and I have known each other forever. She is a master copywriter and she has a lot to share on today’s episode so let’s get to it.

AMY: Laura, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for being here.

LAURA BELGRAY: Oh my gosh, thanks for having me. I’m so excited to be on your podcast, Amy.

AMY: I can’t wait until you share your brilliance on how to create a personality-based business that will have people falling in love with us and lining up to buy everything we put out there.

But, before we get there, tell my listeners a little bit about you. You do some pretty cool things.

LAURA: Thank you. I would say that my business has a split personality, speaking of personalities. I still do a whole bunch of stuff for TV, which is what I was doing for years and years before I got into this weird online world.

I get called a bunch to do promos for Bravo shows, shows on WE TV and other places. I cut my teeth in Nick at Night and TV Land and now just do a lot of stuff for Bravo and reality shows and that kind of thing.

AMY: When you say you do promos, what does that mean? Give me an example.

LAURA: I’ll give you an example of my favorite one that I’ve ever done because it’s my favorite. We both watch Real Housewives, right? I love it whenever they ask if I’m free to do a Real Housewives promo. The answer is always, “Yes.”

It usually means I get a sneak peek at the season and then I get to write something about it. I did one once for Real Housewives of Beverly Hills that was a shoot. What you had was Lisa Vanderpump stepping out of a limo into a puddle and the puddle freezes. You have Kyle walking past a pool and everyone is in the pool and the pool freezes into ice.

Then someone is at a bar having a drink and their martini freezes and the lines says, “Sometimes, sunny Beverly Hills can be a cold, cold place.”

AMY: Oh, so, so good. That’s what you do. You make up those promos for some reality shows and other shows as well. That’s pretty dang cool.

LAURA: Thank you.

AMY: But that’s not all you do.

LAURA: That’s not all I do. I like to keep doing it because it’s cool and I love TV. But another cool thing I do is work with entrepreneurs and online businesses and small businesses, people like you, who want a brand with personality. I help them with the copy.

I’m a copywriter by trade. I teach people copywriting, I coach them with their copywriting, and I help them rewrite and write their copy, all of the words they use in their business, the words on their website, the words in their emails, and all of that kind of stuff.

AMY: Perfect. That’s how Laura and I have worked together. She’s helped me with copy, especially for the podcast. There’s a tagline with my podcast about “online marketing so easy you feel like you’re cheating,” that came from Laura, for the record.

We’ve done some other cool things together. We were in Marie Forleo’s Rich, Happy, and Hot mastermind together. We got ourselves into a lot of trouble because we would laugh and laugh and laugh. That was your fault, for the record We always had so much fun.

That’s how Laura and I go way back. Good stuff.

LAURA: Guilt accepted, by the way. I will put on the cuffs.

AMY: All your fault, definitely. So I would love for you to tell us the real benefits of putting personality into your business. What I think might be super helpful to my listeners is if you could give us some examples of real-life entrepreneurs that were not necessarily putting their personality in everything they were doing and how that shift really helped.

LAURA: Of course. As far as the benefits go, I think your listeners probably intuitively know that it is good to be you in your business, especially if they are the face of their brand, if it’s a personality-based brand.

Rather than find a personality for your brand you just make your personality the brand. The brand is your personality and that’s the one thing you have a monopoly on. So many people can sell the same thing that you do but when people want it from you then you have the ultimate edge, when they want it from you because they know you.

That is the benefit of putting your personality into your business. It lets people get to know, like, and trust you. I like to add the last thing is stock. It gives you the know, like, trust, and stock factor that you really want if you’re going to be a star in your world.

I don’t want to put you on the spot too much but one example has got to be you, Amy, because if you want a before and after when you were starting out did you put personality into your business?

AMY: Oh my gosh, I’ve made such a huge transformation. You’ve been a big part of that. You and a few of my really close friends who know me and know me behind the scenes are always saying, “More stories, more vulnerable, show the back end of your business because it’s very different from what you’re putting out there.”

For so long I was way more polished and kind of trying to be everybody but myself. You are very right about.

LAURA: Thank you. I’ll take it. I agree because you have such a great personality and people did not know anything about it. You were hiding behind someone else’s brand and posting, “Five new tools you need to be using in social media,” and that was it.

There was nothing of you. Now we know that you air drop pictures to strangers on airplanes, which is one of my favorite things I saw in your Instagram story the other day. It’s so good. You’re my favorite before and after.

Another is my friend Susi. She is such a great example of a personable brand. She is a coach. She teaches people to have a side hustle and has a course in guest blogging. When she started off as a coach it was her side hustle. She was in the corporate world making a really good salary.

She was in a very corporate environment and that was the personality she picked up on, that you have to be corporate and business like. Her copy was super stiff. She was a newbie. She was a total newcomer in the coaching world and to be taken seriously you had to sound business like.

She would just rip off entire passages from the international coaching website and put them on her own website or put them in her emails because she didn’t know what else to say. She thought that was how you talked about coaching.

There was nothing of her in it at all and people who met her in person would hire her because she’s irresistible. She’s so much fun. You just want to be friends with her instantly and they would say, “I want to work with you.”

Not a problem. But that’s a very one-on-one basis. You can’t really go out and meet everyone in the world. It’s a numbers game. So your online presence has to do a lot of work for you. Nobody was signing up from her website. They would go to her website and be like, “Oh, I don’t know who this person is.”

People who met her in person would be like, “You don’t sound like this at all on your website.” No one was signing up from her website or form her Instagram posts or anything like that. Over time she learned that she could be herself in this business. She could actually be “me.”

She fills all of her posts with stories. She writes emails. Every email that she sends has some sort of personal story. She now talks like a person. Her communication is all original content. She doesn’t rip it off from anybody.

It all feels like her. People now sign up for her courses, they sign up for her coaching packages (which are $8,000 minimum and $15,000 average), and they sign up for them all the time sight unseen. They go to her website, find her through Instagram, find her from a guest post, and find her website and sign up and just write to her and say, “I signed up because I’ve got to work with you. I think we would be best friends in real life.”

AMY: That’s what you want. And I feel like for this perfect example of Susi transitioning from pretty much ripping off coaching content from the established website to making it her own and now people read her copy and say, “I want to be with this girl. I want to be her best friend. I want to pay $15,000 to work with her,” is a huge transformation.

I’m guessing it takes some mindset blocks. You actually have to move some mindset blocks in order to transition from this stuff, possibly too corporate, to polished copy that you are writing right now into something more gritty, more real, more you.

Can you talk to me about some mindset blocks that, as you’ve worked with hundreds and hundreds of clients, you know what’s keeping them from really expressing their unique personality.

LAURA: I see the same ones over and over. I’ve actually surveyed people to see where they have problems putting personality into their business. It’s just the same ones over and over again.

The biggest one, and this was Susi’s for sure, it’s the fear of looking unprofessional. Susi was afraid if she was fun and personable and truly herself she would look unprofessional and wouldn’t be taken seriously. That was drilled in her both as a corporate person, you have to speak in polished, professional language, otherwise you will not be taken seriously; and, it was also a fear that came from being a newbie and having zero credentials.

She just decided she was going to be a life coach and she was young. She felt in order to be taken seriously she would have to use professional language and I must now sound very formal and businesslike.

That’s true of a lot of people, especially the ones who come from a corporate or academic background or from a legal background. I hear from lawyers. There are so many reformed lawyers, refugees and escapees from the legal world, who just cannot get past what has been drilled into them, that you must have everything buttoned up and speak in complete sentences and punctuate everything right and spell out words completely and never use contractions.

The thing is, you could ask yourself when the last time was that you really wanted to hire or buy from anyone because they were stiff and formal.

AMY: Right, exactly. Never.

LAURA: Never. I think that style used to be what was known as professional, even in the advertising world. But now any brand that people admire speak in a conversational, informal tone. I would say conversational is the new professional.

AMY: Yes. Give me another one.

LAURA: Fear of turning people off.

AMY: This is a big one.

LAURA: This is a big one. They will say they are afraid they will turn people off and alienate certain people who disagree with them or don’t like their taste or who are offended by their language, lifestyle, or cheeseburger.

I have seen people who don’t want to say they are eating cheeseburgers or pizza because vegans will hate them. They don’t want to alienate them even though vegans aren’t really their target audience. They still feel maybe some of them will pay them and they don’t want to alienate the ones who might buy from them.

You have to give that up. There is absolutely no person or brand or artist that is for everyone. None.

AMY: That’s so true. We have to remember that.

LAURA: Oh yeah. I would challenge anyone who is disagreeing in their mind to think of one brand that is for everyone. I’ve asked people this when I’ve given talks. Someone will raise their hand and say, “water.”

I’ll be like, “Okay, but what brand of water?” They will be like, “Fiji water.” I’ll be like, “Are you kidding me?” You will rile up all of the people out there who are against bottled water and Fiji water is a scam and is the same as Poland Springs and they are ripping you off. There is nothing that’s for everyone.

AMY: So true. I love that one.

LAURA: Trying to appeal to everyone is just a surefire way of blending into the woodwork and being for no one. So you’ve got to drop that. The third one is thinking that personality is defined by, or embodied by, one particular personality. For instance, you see someone you admire and think that person’s so fun and sassy, “I’m not sassy but I guess that’s how you have to be to have personality”

Then you start opening all of your copy with, “Hey doll face,” or, “Hey gorgeous,” even though you’ve never said that in your entire life; or, dropping F-Bombs when you don’t normally in real life because you think that’s personality and you see somebody who has a great personality and you think they are the definition of personality so you have to copy that.

Another one is that a lot of people think they just don’t have personality, “I’m boring.” I would challenge that. Do people find you boring in real life? If you say yes then I’m not sure what to tell you. Most people would say, “No, in real life people actually like me. I have personality but as a brand or a business I don’t. I don’t know what my personality is.”

I would say to that you should share what you are interested in, what makes you happy, what makes you mad, what you want in life, your journey to achieving what you want in your life, frustrations and all.

All of those things. What you stand for. Who you love. All of those things make you unboring. They are what give you personality.

AMY: Yes.

LAURA: Everybody has personality.

AMY: You are boring. That is a total limiting belief that is not true. There are people out there that identify with you, resonate with you, are exactly like you. You need to find them if that’s who you’re trying to attract…someone just like you. But you are not boring. Let’s just make sure everyone hears that. It’s just not so and you have to remember that.

I love that you have one, “Nobody cares what I had for lunch.” That’s one thing people say, “I don’t get it. My personality. You want me to share stuff. Who cares what I’m eating.” Talk to me about that one.

LAURA: That is a big one. It’s true probably on its own, nobody cares what you had for lunch. No one cares about the sandwich, necessarily, unless you are in the food or nutrition business or you have a famously hot body and everyone wants to know what you ate. If you are Gwyneth Paltrow everyone wants to know what you ate. Or maybe you had an amazing sandwich at an incredible restaurant.

But if you have a point of view or a story about what you had for lunch that goes with it then they care, like I said, at the awesome restaurant. If you post a sandwich who cares. But if you post a sandwich and say, “Just ate at my favorite new restaurant,” or, “This is a sandwich I had on my perfect weekend day,” or, “I was having a lousy day until I ate this sandwich,” anything to give it context and tell us something about what it means to you. Then people care.

AMY: I love that you put it in perspective, when they care. When it’s just the sandwich? No. But, there is more to it than that and I love that you put it out there. Give me some more. There are a few more that I know. Remember guys, we are talking and I really wanted her to drill down. She’s surveyed her audience and she knows what those mindset blocks are.

You have one or a few of these and that’s why your personality isn’t shining through everything you do on social, your copy, your About page. Pay close attention and see if you see yourselves in any of these mindset blocks. Give me a few more.

LAURA: Another one is “I’m afraid I’m not delivering value.” This is a fear people have when they share things that aren’t necessarily teachable. I used to have this problem too. You knew this about me. All I wanted to do in life is write emails. I just want to write funny stories and send them as emails.

I would get really confused because something didn’t have value. It wasn’t teaching “five tips to make your copy more efficient” or something like that. I would say in this online business world, especially, we get what I call value goggles and think that everything we share has to be “five tips for this” or “ten mistakes you are making” when really you are providing value if you make me laugh, if you make me feel like I’m not alone, if you get me a little bit riled up, or if you make me see something differently.

If you connect with me in some way that is value. If you make me feel something that is value. If you make me smile that is value. Not everything has to be a teachable. When you do insist that everything you do has some sort of lesson or point you can always segue to it. Use your stories to segue into a point even if it is a ridiculously clumsy, awkward segue.

It could be, “What does this have to do with online marketing? Well nothing. But I wanted to tell this story and now if you want to learn three tips to XYZ then grab my freebie here.”

AMY: I have to tell you, I still struggle. So anyone listening that this just doesn’t come natural for, I do not think it comes naturally to me to just infuse my personality into everything I do. My excuse I usually use is that I’m always business minded. I’m always thinking of business and impact and my next step and what I’m going to teach and how that’s going to add value and how I’m going to sell.

My mind operates in that business place. So when I take a picture of my lunch or share something behind the scenes I feel indulgent. It feels like a little much. However, if you allow yourself to do it you will slowly see that you get more feedback about the personal stuff than you do anything else.

I’ve talked about this a bunch. When I did an episode about why I don’t like video. It’s because of my weight. That gets more discussion inside of my DMs on Instagram than any other episode I’ve ever done about business on my podcast.

It’s also the case when I let people into my world with Hobie and Scout and all of that. My point is that it never feels totally natural to me. I’m not one who can just flip on the camera or snap a few personal photos and think it blends in well with everything else I’m doing.

I do it no matter what just because I know it works. Let yourself feel a little bit awkward in the beginning. That’s okay.

LAURA: Yeah, and it is so effective when you do it. Especially you, Amy. It makes us want to learn from you even more. And it makes what you’re teaching stick even more because we are connected to you. We’re thinking, “I know this about Amy, I know that about Amy. She’s like me. Now I’m really listening because she’s not just some robot or some faultless superstar. She’s somebody who struggles with this and that and loves her dog and her husband. She struggles with her weight. She is like me. I’m really listening now because I am open to what she’s teaching.”

AMY: That’s important. That’s the point I wanted to make. Thank you for hitting that home. I’m listening closer now. I’m paying attention. I’m more connected because I get this girl or this guy’s just like me or this guy understands me. Okay, cool. Take us home. Give me one more of these mindset blocks that keep us from really putting our personality in all we do with our brand.

LAURA: This is one that is common to anyone who is a bit of a private person. I don’t have this issue but most people do. They are afraid they are going to reveal too much of themselves. It is the fear of being too exposed.

To that I would say, first of all you don’t have to reveal everything in order to put yourself out there and be yourself. You do not have to expose everything. There is nothing wrong with maintaining some privacy. You do not have to share your realtime meltdowns. I would say you probably shouldn’t. We can get into that.

You don’t have to share your sex life or your digestive issues. You don’t have to share a single picture of your kids if you don’t want to share those. Some people want to talk about their kids but don’t want people to kidnap them or someday they are going to be mad that you shared pictures of them.

You don’t have to at all. You can keep that totally private and still be you. I would say on the other hand there is a lot to be gained by talking about things that make you human, things that embarrass you, things that hold you back, things that you feel reluctant to share.

For me it’s the more the better. You don’t have to share everything but I would say the more the better.

AMY: Let’s talk about this really briefly. I agree. I think we should be sharing this stuff. Brene Brown has this really cool phrase she uses, “Gold-plated grit,” is that what it is?

LAURA: I don’t know it.

AMY: Now I might have gotten it wrong. If I got it wrong you guys know I got it wrong and you know what I’m trying to say. Those who have no idea will just think I got it right so it’s all good. But let me explain what it means in terms that some people don’t like to share a side of themselves until they’ve reached the mountain or gotten past the obstacle or have really great results.

Now they can talk about the gritty part because it’s gold plated since you are already past it and all is good. I agree with Brene Brown in the sense that we need to share along the journey when things aren’t going so well even if we don’t have a solution. That’s why I did the episode about my struggle with my weight and getting on video.

I hadn’t started losing weight yet. I didn’t know what I was going to do but I wanted to be open and honest because I knew there were other people that needed to hear it. This is another one about your own personality and putting it out there. I had to say it. It had to come out of my mouth to liberate myself and break free of the shame and embarrassment.

Once you say it something happens. I don’t know what it was but I felt a little freer with it and a little less shamed. The point is that I like that part. Do you like the idea of sharing even if you don’t always have a solution?

LAURA: I do. I think that was so powerful. I think if it is what you do, for example say you are an abundance coach and you are having a hard time and are bankrupt and spent too much money and are really embarrassed and don’t know what to do then you are kind of eroding your credibility.

I don’t think that is a good time to share what is going on with you. But if you share some other struggle and are a money coach but you share a struggle like weight or food or something else like having trouble in your relationship and in the middle of a divorce or something like that.

Say, “This is a really tough thing for me to admit because I like to present a picture of perfection. But we are not always perfect.” I ask myself what I would say to somebody I’m coaching. I would probably give them this advice and that’s what I am going to try to do.

AMY: I am so glad you brought that up. I agree with Laura that if it’s going to really erode your credibility or if you’re helping people do XYZ but you are struggling with the very thing you’re helping them with you need to get real with yourself and that’s not stuff that you’re going to put out there because people will not think this is the girl they want to follow if she can’t get it together on her end.

Do a little inner work on yourself before you share that kind of stuff. That’s where the gold-plated grit kind of stops with me because I think you need to look at what you’re teaching and what you’re putting out there. Is it going to support or make people think you aren’t the right person for them?

The last thing I’ll say, and I could totally get on a soapbox about this so I will say one more thing and I’ll be done, I thought if I shared my weakness of my weight problem and it keeps me from wanting to do video, if I shared that maybe my audience would think I was weak and not a good leader.

I have a problem. I can’t overcome my weight issues. You’ve got to get honest with yourself. Is that your insecurity? Is that the scary place in your head talking? Is it real? That’s why all of this is so difficult sometimes, sharing your personality, you’ve got to get real with yourself.

Me not sharing about my weight was just my insecurities. But if I shared with you about how I can’t make money online then I’d better stop teaching how to make money online. Get real with yourself and don’t let the fear keep you from sharing your vulnerabilities.

LAURA: Exactly. And, on the flip side of that, you don’t want to be constantly faking the funk. If you do teach how to make money online but are not making a dime please don’t rent a private jet and stand in front of it. Please don’t rent out the Ritz and show that you rented out the Ritz because you’re doing so well and then a year from now say that you have to admit something, “A year ago I was bankrupt and I couldn’t make a dime online. But I’ve figured out this system.”

People do that all the time and it drives me bananas. We know. We can smell the B.S. So I would say don’t fake it either. If you’re in a position where you can’t share the complete truth at the moment about something maybe you don’t fake it either. Don’t create a picture of perfection. Find a way around it and share other things.

AMY: I love that so very much. I want to transition and talk to you about the idea that sometimes we follow our mentors and we start to sound like them. Oprah once said she felt that she needed to sound just like Barbara Walters to be taken seriously. Other people that follow Marie Forleo, I’ve seen a lot of people start talking like her and sounding like her in their copy.

I think it’s an innocent thing that we admire somebody else. We follow them so much. We hear them in our ear so much that we think, “That’s what I need to do.”

We obviously know we don’t need to sound like Barbara Walters or Marie Forleo or anyone else, for that matter. But can you give us some tips around this? What do we do instead?

LAURA: There are a couple of things about that that are funny. Oprah was thinking she had to sound like Barbara Walters. Now everybody thinks they have to sound like Oprah. Another is that it is true that we hear someone so much. They are in our ears, we’re reading their stuff, I think it’s like when you go to England for a while and you come back with a slight English accent. Madonna.

AMY: Madonna, yes.

LAURA: We just pick up that accent. So you have to be conscious when you are picking up someone’s accent. The answer is, of course, to be you with your own voice. Be conscious of the expressions you use versus the expressions someone else does or the tone of voice.

If you use somebody else’s you are just going to sound silly but your personality isn’t just how you talk. It’s the whole picture. For instance, how do we know Oprah’s personality? Oprah’s personality is not just the way she yells, “John Travoltaaaaa!” That’s one part of it.

But her personality is also what we know of her. It’s in her story. It’s her struggles with her weight and fried chicken, ordering fried chicken the second she gets to a hotel. I think I read that somewhere. It’s her best friend, Gayle. It’s her, maybe, I can’t remember if this is current, her boyfriend Stedman.

AMY: Yes, that’s current.

LAURA: It’s whether Stedman is really her boyfriend. It’s her love of books and her movement of living your best life. All of those things make up Oprah’s personality. It’s not just the way she talks. I’d say likewise you look at Marie. Marie is somebody that people like to imitate a lot.

Her personality is not just how she talks. It’s the whole pu-pu platter of things that make her Marie. If you follow Marie you know she loves hip hop and her dog Kuma and the stories she tells about working on Wall Street and then she worked in magazines and she didn’t want to be her boss so she quit. You know that whole story.

You know that she cares about women making their own money and she has a dangerous Jersey side that can come out sometimes. It’s the whole collection of things that make up her personality. You don’t want to rip that off.

The point here is that you have that too.

AMY: That’s the thing. We all have a collection of things that make up who we are. You’ve got to identify what they are.

LAURA: Yes. Exactly.

AMY: That leads us so perfectly into my next question. Let’s help our listeners if they are struggling with this find their personality. Sometimes, for some people it’s just not as easy as for others so I like to help the people who are struggling.

If you have no idea what your personality is or if you want to hone in one it and really get your collection of things that make you “you” help me do that. I know you have three different ways to do so.

LAURA: My first one, which is my favorite, I think you’re supposed to end with your favorite but I’m starting with it, it’s what I call the coat of arms. Do you know what a coat of arms is?

AMY: Yeah, but just help me to make sure I’m on the same page as you.

LAURA: This is like from olden times. It’s an oldie timey thing with castles and knights. On their shield knights and castles had a collection of symbols that represented what that kingdom stood for. Another word for it is a crest, like a family crest.

AMY: Got it.

LAURA: Schools have crests so if I had video right now I would show my school crest from my high school because it was an all-girls school that was very serious about learning. It’s crest had an oil lamp. I think that was for working into the night. It had a stack of books, obviously for reading and learning. It also had a stack of beavers, the mascot of my all-girls school.

AMY: I’m not touching that. Moving on.

LAURA: Don’t touch that. So your coat of arms, or crest, is a collection of things that you don’t just stand for, but that you love and that are a part of you. It doesn’t have to be four things but I would start there. What are your recurring themes?

What makes other people think of you? For instance, what would someone post on your timeline saying, “This made me think of you” For instance, mine might be Real Housewives, because I’m always talking about Real Housewives.

AMY: Me too.

LAURA: A bowl of spaghetti; my husband; the Statue of Liberty, because I’m all about New York City; my house dance class; and maybe a glass to someone’s ear because I love eavesdropping on people and that’s kind of a running theme.

AMY: I love it. This reminds me of a group I had. I’m looking right now so give me a quick second because I have it. Here it is. Give me a quick second. The Shop Forward. I wanted to give them a shout out. We’ll put it in the show notes.

The Shop Forward makes these bags where you put four of your favorite things on these beach bags. They asked me what my four were and then they made it for me. It’s on my Instagram channel. I said: Scout, Real Housewives, Hubby, and Kombucha. Those are things I am known for.

Hobie, my husband, asked how he made it down the list and Scout was first. It’s like the dog is first and my husband is third. I didn’t mean to put them in that order, for the record. But that’s exactly how The Shop Forward does the beach bag that is just like what you were saying, “What would you put on your bag if you were going to put four things that say you.”

I had to really put some thought into that one.

LAURA: It’s hard. I have heard that you put basically Dorinda Medley above your husband. She’s from Real Housewives of New York. I approve. I think mine might be in the same order. I saw this and loved it. That’s exactly the coat of arms. What do you put on your tote bag.

AMY: That’s what I was looking for.

LAURA: I was surprised by kombucha. I was like, “Wow! You’ve gone healthy.”

AMY: It’s a thing. It’s a thing.

LAURA: We’ll have to discuss that. I think kombucha reminds me of when I was bartending and I would have to come in in the morning and change out the citrus, the lemons and lime slices. They had all turned overnight and fermented. I took one whiff of kombucha and it was the saddest part of bartending.

AMY: You will never love it then.

LAURA: Nope. No I won’t. But I love the tote bag, coat of arms.

AMY: Same thing. Yep.

LAURA: These are your recurring themes. These become sort of like an end joke that your audience is waiting for because you will mention them again and again. You don’t have to shoe horn them into everything but they come up. Those are part of what makes you “you”.

AMY: Okay, give me another way to find your personality.

LAURA: Online personality tests. Entrepreneurs love these, the Myers-Briggs, the Fascinate test, the Enneagram test, or even your horoscope. If you just go on Google and Google “Free Personality Tests,” you will come up with so many. Even if it’s, “What kind of pizza topping are you” on a Domino’s quiz.

Take those. They aren’t necessarily an indicator of your personality. You might not agree but they are a great conversation starter for yourself. What do you agree with? What do you disagree with? What illustrates that about you?

Say you discover you are an introvert, which many people do, what is a good example of that? I always have to run home from a party and soothe myself by eating a bowl of cereal because I’m so glad to be alone.

You kind of start collecting things that illustrate what you are if you agree. It’s a really good conversation starter.

AMY: That’s a good one. Give me one more.

LAURA: I love writing prompts and questionnaires. If you Google writing prompts you are going to find a goldmine of things to talk about that reveal your personality and you don’t have to be a great writer. You don’t have to consider yourself a writer. You don’t have to be writing a book or even blog post though I assume most people are writing these things.

Writing prompts, just start answering them or take a questionnaire. I love the Proust questionnaire in Vanity Fair. They interview celebrities. They do this every month. Some of the questions are like: What is your most loathed quality in a person? What is the quality you loathe most in yourself. There are also some more upbeat questions

but the answers are such great indicators of that person’s personality. You get a really whole picture of them.

AMY: I like that a lot. I think that gives you some really good insight. The good thing is you created a freebie for this episode. If you go to you can grab it. Laura is going to get into these three different ideas more specifically and kind of lead you to where you need to go to dive into really figuring out what you’re all about and how that can make its way into all you do online.

If you liked the ideas Laura had but you want to drill down into them you can grab the freebie and get it done so you can move on and start writing some great copy that makes people think, “I’ve got to work with her. That’s exactly the person I want to be around. She could be my best friend. I want to hire her.” That’s where we’re going with all of this, right?

LAURA: Yes. Just investigating these things, these questions and tests, they open up the flood gates and you realize how many sides there are to you and how many things you have to talk about and how many things you have to share that people will connect with.

AMY: That’s so good. Moving on. What are some of the tips we could use to start putting more of our personality into our business? I know you have this cool thing, you call them the five Ps with the P being personality. You have five Ps. Would you break it down for us?

LAURA: Absolutely. By the way, I’m a big fan of acronyms. I really wanted to make up an acronym that was personality where each letter stood for something. But it’s such a long word. It’s ridiculous. I got up through p-e-r-s-o and I gave up so the five Ps it is.

My first P is probably the most important. They are all important but I put primacy on this one. P is for pepper. Pepper in story everywhere.

AMY: Yes, story, story, story. Okay, talk to me.

LAURA: Story, story, story. We connect with stories. One thing that gets people tripped up, they think a story is going to be too long. They don’t want to get off track. But a story doesn’t have to have a beginning, middle, and end. A story can be just an element of story, a slice of story. You can sprinkle on just a touch.

I’ll give you an example. Instead of just sending your list as three tips to simplify your website, that’s something anyone can send and that we’re not going to be too excited about if we’ve been subscribed to a bunch of things for a long time.

You might start with a story about your first website and how very bad it was. Or you might tell a story about how much you’ve always hated a vegetable medley because you didn’t like the mish-mash look of it and you were punished as a kid for not finishing your vegetable medley and how a jumbled website has the same effect on you now. It depresses you and you don’t want to touch it.

My friend, Michelle, who is very minimal is actually in the web development business. Minima Designs is her company name. She is super minimal. She doesn’t like getting too thick into stories so she just puts in a little touch of it.

In one recent email she talked about a pair of Nikes she could not bear to part with but that had been discontinued. They were the perfect shoes for slipping on and off at the TSA line at the airport and they looked cool with skirts. They had been discontinued and she can’t bear to part with them.

She talked about the sunk costs of those shoes. She would spend time all day long looking online on eBay for these same shoes. She said once you’ve spent a lot of money or time on your website you might feel the same way. You don’t want to part with it even though it’s terrible and beat up and needs replacing.

Do you see what I’m saying? Instead of just launching into the sunk costs of a website she has opened with something personal about shoes. It was a short, brief bit of story. That is the first P, pepper in story.

Next is to paint a picture (that’s two Ps for you) using concrete details. If you’ve ever taken any kind of creative writing course or even read a blog post on creative writing there is an expression in writing, “Show, don’t tell.”

This means to use details to paint a picture of something rather than telling us. Rather than saying, “So and so got mad,” you say, “So and so punched his fist through the wall and stormed out of the room.” That’s how you “show, don’t tell.”

You want to get in the habit of doing that in all of your own content and copy. For example, saying something like, “I was born an ambitious, driven type. I’ve always been the hardworking independent kind of person.” That’s telling and it shows us nothing.

Anybody can say that and it has no personality. Instead, what if you said something like, “I had five jobs when I was 11 years old and one of them involved cleaning up someone’s dead cat.”

Now we know what kind of person you are. You are hardworking. Already, at age 11 you were willing to do what it took, cleaning up a dead cat and working four other jobs to make a buck. That shows drive.

AMY: Yes, for sure.

LAURA: It is all in the details. It paints a picture.

AMY: Got it.

LAURA: Three is to give everything a point of view. A huge part of your personality comes from your point of view, how you see the world. For example, how do you show that? We talked about the sandwich before, now the green smoothie.

Supposing you post a green smoothie on Instagram which people do day in and day out.

Instead of just letting it sit there with #greensmoothie or #sundayvibes take the extra time to tell us what that smoothie is to you. How do you see it? It might be, “I detest green juice but I’m trying to be healthy.” Or, it might be, “I splurged on a fancy pants juicer and it’s the best thing I ever did.” Or, it might be, “Green juice is a total scam and full of sugar but I fell for it and got addicted so here we are.”

You see, those are three totally different points of view. They would come from three totally different personalities. Each one shows us something about the personality. Does that make sense?

AMY: Yes, it does. A lot of times when we talk to Instagram experts, or really any social media experts, they always say it’s all about the caption. The picture’s got to be great. It grabs their attention but. They’re going to stay for the caption. They’re going to resonate with the caption so I think this is really good in terms of putting your point of view out there.

It goes back to not being afraid of turning other people off because they’re not the people you’re trying to attract.

LAURA: Exactly. That leads to P #4 which is to take a position, as in take a stand. You want to think about what you stand for. What hill are you willing to die on no matter who boos you for it. Because somebody’s going to if you take a stand.

What opinions of yours might be unpopular. Those are the ones you really want to put out there even though it can feel uncomfortable because you’ll see it. Anytime someone takes a stand on social media or I their email or anywhere. That’s what engages people. That’s what gets all of the comments.

That’s what people remember. That is what draws in the right people and repels the other people. It repels the wrong ones. You might be thinking that you don’t want to get political. That’s not who you are or what you like to talk about.

I’m not at all talking about getting political unless that’s you. This doesn’t have to be about veganism or global warming or anything like that although it can be. This can be about work. It can be about language. It can be about dating. It can even be about something as silly as cookies.

Everyone loves examples. I have a post on Instagram that I put up recently that says, “I empower women to stop saying ‘I empower women’.” That is a hill I’m willing to die on. Not everyone’s going to like that. But I find that to be really squishy language and meaningless and overused and everyone says it.

I was willing to put that out there even though I knew a lot of people were going to be mad at me and a lot of people were going to unfollow me. I knew that other people were going to be like, “Hell yes! Thank you for saying that. Thank you,” and that they would enjoy it.

That was a little bit of a risk. It doesn’t always have to be a huge risk. I have one friend who is stirring up a big debate on Facebook saying that Double Stuff Oreos are a worthless cookie. It was part of an ongoing thing. His name is Saul. He has a thing called Full Disclosure Fridays.

This was his Full Disclosure Friday. He said, “Double Stuff Oreos are terrible because the cream filling is the crap part.”

AMY: I love it.

LAURA: He was willing to die on that hill. I have another friend who said Honey Crisps are the only apple worth eating and people are mad at him. I was mad. I was like, “Where are my wine sap people?” I’m all about wine sap.

AMY: Isn’t it funny. It’s like you just have to stand behind things whether they are silly things like the apples or they are serious things like, I don’t believe in hustle. I hate the word “hustle”. I’ve said it many, many times but I know Gary Vee is a huge fan of it and he’s way more popular than I am and so if I’m going to put a stake in the ground there I’ve got to be ready to defend it.

Everybody else who doesn’t want to hear one more thing about hustle will come listen. They are going to get on my side and they’re going to resonate with me. So I love this idea of really putting it out there and taking a position.

LAURA: Exactly. And you might lose some people. That is totally okay. Often the people who disagree with you will stick around anyway.

AMY: Isn’t that funny. I totally agree. Alright, drive us home with the final P.

LAURA: Okay, the final P is for plain, as in speak in plain human language. I talked about this before. You want to relax your language and keep it conversational. Remember, I said conversational is the new professional.

Just plain spoken works really well. I know people are like, “But I can’t. I don’t know how. It doesn’t come out of me that way.” There are a couple of tactical things you can do. One is to use the apostrophe. If you touch type that’s just your right pinkie, the little right finger touches the apostrophe.

So, start using your right pinkie. Use the apostrophe.

AMY: I remember you told me this in copy. You were looking at some of my copy years ago and I would say, “you are” a lot: You are going to learn this or you are meant for greatness. You said to change that to you’re.

LAURA: Exactly.

AMY: Did I say that right? It sounds weird when I say it like that.

LAURA: In the case of “you are meant for greatness,” you might want to be full out. The play, the Elephant Man, he says, “I am not an animal. I am a human being.” That would be a little silly as, “I’m not an animal, I’m a human being.”

But in general people forget to use contractions and that is how we talk. On your website when you say, “Hello, I am so glad that you are here. Now I am going to teach you the basics of XYZ.” Instead, you would say, as a person, “Hey, I’m so glad you’re here. I’m going to teach you the basics.” Contractions. Contractions.

The other main one is to read your stuff out loud, especially if it’s whether you’re writing a script for yourself or it is on the page read it out loud and see where you end up changing it naturally as you speak. That’s an indication of where you should change it on the page. If it sounds like writing you want to rewrite it.

AMY: Got it. Perfect. I love that. It makes perfect sense.

LAURA: It makes sense and you have to remember that the root word of personality is person. I like to say that sounding like an actual person is half the battle in showing your personality.

AMY: Yes. That’s so good. Relax your language. This is so important. This is something I learned from Laura early on and I’ve carried it into current day when I’m writing my copy and I just want to keep it conversational. I love that.

As you and I both know, Laura, we live in a society where it’s not hard to get sucked into the comparison trap. But I love that what you shared today shows us that it’s not about comparison or trying to copy somebody else but it’s about being the best version of ourselves.

First of all, I want to thank you for being here. So, a big thank you.

LAURA: Thank you so much for having me.

AMY: Of course. And #2, I know you created a really cool freebie just for this episode so can you tell my listeners a little bit about what you created?

LAURA: Sure. We talked on this episode about the three ways to find your personality. I’m going to give you a cheat sheet for those and go a little more into them. I might even give you four.

AMY: Do it. I love it. Then where can people find out more about you? What if they want to work with you? What if they want to check out what you’ve got?

LAURA: Please come by I’m sure that will be in the show notes but it’s spelled exactly how it sounds, Talking Shrimp. I’ve got freebies there but I would love for you to get on my email list because that is where I put all of my personality. It’s a great example for you and we can get to know each other.

AMY: So good. I cannot wait for people to check you out. You guys are going to fall in love like I have. Again, Thanks, Laura, for being here. It truly was a pleasure.

LAURA: The pleasure was all mine, I swear to you, Amy. Thank you.

AMY: There you have it. I hope you loved this episode as much as I have. Listen, I know that you are unique. I know that you have special attributes and characteristics and little quirks that make you special.

I hope that you let that shine in all that you do online. I’ll make a commitment to let my own uniqueness shine through more and more if you do the same. Deal?

Before I let you go, don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast. I’ve been doing more and more bonus episodes. so if you don’t subscribe to the podcast you won’t get notified of any bonus. Subscribe on iTunes or wherever you listen to this podcast so you get notified the minute it goes live.

Thanks again for tuning in. I cannot wait to talk to you again soon. Bye for now.

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