“Quit hiding out” or what my VA taught me about branding

OK, let me start off by saying I have the worlds best VA’s.  Three of them actually!  (Sounds like a bumper sticker — “My VA could beat up your VA“, or “My VA got a perfect score on 1Shopping Cart today”…but I digress.  🙂

I’m going to be sharing a huge business lesson that my savvy-with-all-things-technical VA, Rachael Henning didn’t know she taught me, but nonetheless did.

If you have been reading my blog or newsletters for any length of time, you know I’m crazy passionate about owning your brilliance.  Getting your stuff out in the world.  Big and bold, baby!  Yep, that’s what I’m about.  So when I discovered something about Rachael lately, it triggered an “OMG that’s a blog article” moment because of the reaction I had.

Here’s the story =

Rachael used to be the VA for a colleague of mine, so I had seen her work for 3 years.  Earlier this year I hired her to replace my other tech VA and have LOVED what she does.  I’ve referred her to numerous friends and clients, and everyone thinks the world of her.  (In fact, check out the work she did for my new product.  I wrote the copy and told her to “snazz it up a bit” and this is what she created….amazing! –  Mindset And Marketing Magic.

And even though I know Rachael, I don’t really KNOW Rachael if ya get my drift.  While one of my other VA’s and I have many late night Skype chats and discuss my dating career, (grin!) and all things related to business, life and children, Rach and I have more of a professional relationship, but I have the highest degree of respect for her.

But the other night it all changed.  I know she had a baby a few months ago so I was asking if she had pictures.  She told me to go to her Facebook page and find the new pics of their little girl, Zuzu.  So as typically happens when you are surfing the social networks, going to her page took me to her husbands page, and it was there that I discovered something Rachael hadn’t shared with me before.

Rachael is an amazing singer and songwriter!

Ok, that may not mean much to you, but my reaction to finding that out is why this article is written.  As I shared, I rave about Rachael.  But discovering that she had this whole other aspect to her somehow made her more real, more approachable, more talented and more respected.  It was like her celebrity status shot up about 50% more in my book because of this new information.  So immediately I sent her an email asking why she was holding out on us!  (And asked her if it’s ok that she’s the focus of this article.  She gives her blessings, BTW.)

How does this relate to you, the business owner =

Did you notice that I already had known Rachael before I got her?  I didn’t choose her based off her website or by seeing her on LinkedIn.  I hired her because I saw her work.  But most of us aren’t that lucky.  Many times the first shot people have with us is our website, so this is why I implore you to put more of you on your site.  Now to some, Rachael’s singer/songwriter status may have nothing to do with her skills as a VA, but let me tell you this…if you are marketing to women, they base buying decisions on being relational and in finding commonalities.  Since I’m a bit of a singer myself, Rachael had instant rock star status when I heard her original compositions and beautiful voice.  (You can listen to her stuff at:  Rachael Palmer

I always ask my clients, “Why should someone pick you?  If there were 100 of you in a room, what makes them choose you?”  Often it’s not the qualifications or skill level, but these intangible sorts of things like hobbies, kids, geography, interests, etc., that make all the difference in the world.

And do you know what often gets in the way?  Mindset.  Yep – back to the old mindset thing again.  Why?  Because we play small, under value ourselves, and fear that if we really go big and bold, we will be judged.

I remember back in the day years ago when I had just moved into coaching and decided that I wanted to be known as “The Spunky Coach.” I felt so liberated when that name came forth.  And scared.  Scared that it was stupid, no one would get it, and I even had to fight my coach at the time on why it was so important for me to birth that new version of myself. But that became part of my brand.  People came to know me as that.  I grew into and it ordered how I showed up in the world. That’s the epitome of branding.  As we grow our business grows, but do you see that our business also forces us to be more, show more, and express more?

So what is it for you? What are you holding back?  What cool things do you do, what do you love, and what do you take a stand for that  your ideal clients could read and have the visceral reaction like I did to Rachael?  I guarantee that if you start infusing your marketing with these things…you’ll soon be working with much more cool people and marketing gets a whole lot easier.

My challenge to you is to make the commitment to yourself to get out there in a bigger way.  Want some ideas how?  Give me a shout.


Therese Skelly is a Mindset Expert and Business Coach who works with mission-driven entrepreneurs. A former psychotherapist, combined with years of marketing/strategy and consulting, Therese offer’s the perfect blend of both “inner game” work and tactical, real world strategies that allow her clients to see the results they desire.




  1. Thank you Therese for sharing. I’ll definitely have to looking into hiring myself a PA soon as my assistant just quit and is all good. 🙂

  2. Hi Therese,

    What a great post! And it completely ties into what I’ve always said “people do business with people they know, like and trust.” And when you share tidbits like you’re a singer/songwriter, it helps people get to know you on a deeper level. Think to yourself, what types of things can YOU share today that will make a BIG difference in the “know, like and trust” factor.
    .-= Michele PW´s last blog ..What If What You Learned About Marketing Was Wrong =-.

  3. Therese Skelly says:

    Thanks Michele, and you do a great job sharing fun things about yourself. Who else’s dog gets their own column in a newsletter?

  4. Therese Skelly says:

    Hey Winnielee, hope you can find a new assistant soon. I couldn’t live without mine!
    Take care,

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