Here’s proof that just getting started can be the catalyst for amazing business growth.
In this episode of the show, my guest speaker, workshop host, and brand consultant, Monique Bryan, shares her inspiring journey from breast cancer survivor to becoming a successful businesswoman and rockin’ it on Instagram.
She shares her juicy secrets for powerful personal branding, the evolution of Instagram, and the importance of authenticity and relatability in social media marketing while still keeping your life separate.
Monique also discusses her strategies for content creation, live streaming, and building a business with lasting impact.
Listen in to this insightful and empowering conversation.
In this episode of the podcast, we talk about:
- Launching a business while on your sick bed
- Forced vulnerability
- The “dirty thirty live” approach to building a brand
- Being bingeable instead of viral
- Being personable on social while protecting your privacy
- Monique’s juicy and delicious barometer
This Episode Was Made Possible By:
Riverside All-in-One Podcast & Video Platform
Visit Riverside and use the code DREA to get 15% off any Riverside individual plan. We use it to record all our podcast interviews!
Digital Brain PowerPack
Your past content has stories, insights, and value that deserves another day in the spotlight.
The Digital Brain PowerPack guides you in the tools and methods I use for my done-for-you clients to resurface your content treasures, allowing you to tell richer, deeper stories without the constant pressure of starting from scratch.
About the Guest:
Monique has a BA in fashion design, three startups under her belt (so she knows a bit about entrepreneur life) and has developed programming in partnership with companies throughout Asia and exciting global brands like PayPal, Burberry, Toms Shoes and Shopify. Bringing over 15 years of top-level industry experience in the areas of product development, entrepreneurship, branding, business development, and personal styling today, Monique runs a successful personal brand consultancy while being a brand herself. When you work with her, you’re getting a creative director for your brand. She will show you how to clarify your communication, build your unique brand personality and up-level your style profile so you can amplify your credibility in your industry.
Monique is a breast cancer survivor and has grown an engaged community of over 17,000+ people on social media, while in remission. She is a wife, a new mom, and the host of a 5 Star rated Podcast, The Juicy CEO. She speaks on international stages and has been featured on Global Television, in Entrepreneur magazine, Elle, Bustle, and countless podcasts.
Her motto is, “Our personal brand is all we have, so it is your job to control the message going out about you.
Follow Monique on Instagram @moniquebryan_co or visit her website http://www.moniquebryan.com
Watch the Episode Below:
Andréa Jones (00:01):
You always hear the phrase done is better than perfect. And today's guest, Monique Bryan is here as living proof that just getting started can be the catalyst for amazing business growth. We're going to dive into her stories today from breast cancer survivorship, all the way to a 30 day challenge that jumpstarted her Instagram success and the successful business you built today. Let's get into it.
But first we have an ad from our sponsor, Riverside. This is the virtual digital recording studio we use for our podcast. And as a listener, you get 15% off all of the Riverside plans. Head to Riverside fm or click the link in the show notes and use the code Drea, DREA at checkout to snag your 15% off. So worth it. Love using Riverside. Check it out. Monique, welcome to the show.
Monique Bryan (00:56):
Yeah, thank you for having me. I'm so happy we were finally able to do this.
I'm such a big fan of your work, of your podcast and we've done some work together in the past. So I am really excited about today's conversation.
Andréa Jones (01:09):
I am too because I feel like we've been connected for a while. And also, I don't know a lot about your story and your history and how you got started. You started sharing your personal stories about your breast cancer and survivorship on social media, correct?
Monique Bryan (01:28):
Correct. That was when I really got real on social media. Before that it was a real curated, what I wanted you to see very, I have to make this perfectly perfect before I ever posted anything, but that was really when I was like the filter came off. Yeah. Did you already have the business at that point? I did not. It's funny, I was just on a call with a client and I was looking up my name and he's like, you've got multiple Instagram accounts.
I've never shut the other ones down. I'm like, I do. I forgot about that. So I had one as my first one was when I was a jewelry designer and my friend was teaching me Instagram. I was like, you have to post your jewelry here. This is where people are. It's going to be a big deal. I was like, I don't know what Instagram is, but she was right, clearly. And then while we start many as an entrepreneur, I feel like there's many businesses in us, and that was one that was in me for a long time and then it just wasn't me anymore. So I left my jewelry company to join a startup and we were making money, losing money, making money, losing money again wasn't the one. And while I was figuring out my next move is when I got diagnosed with cancer, and it was the thing that shook me into reality.
Just we may not have all the time in the world that we think we have to get things, quote. And I have been helping women in business for a long time, and I knew I wanted to be some form of a business coach, but I didn't really own it. And when I was diagnosed, I was like, this is my chance to just do all the things I know to do because I don't know when I have a next healthy day. So I launched my business from my sick bed. I was on my healthy day, I am working, I am writing blogs, I am sharing my journey. And I started seeing people online who were like, oh, you're so brave to share what's going on with you? I'm not at that place yet. I wish I could share my story. And I was meeting such women with such incredible stories, incredible businesses, and I'm like, if they could just see all of their juice inside of this and how many people they could impact, they wouldn't have the filter on that they have right now.
And sometimes we don't all get, I'm going to call it an opportunity to have something in our life, shift us into motion. But I did. So I started out just coaching women in business and I was reaching out to past clients and being like, Hey, I can help you. And they're like, don't you have cancer? And I was like, that is old news. I have been seeing you online, girl, we need to fix this situation because I believe in what you're doing, but you are showing up all hella wrong. And that's really where it started. I just took one client at a time and one client at a time. I had all my offers on A PDF. I had a website that had a picture in my about. There was nothing there. And that was so outside of my comfort zone. I was so much about presentation and I was like, whatever, I don't even have time for that.
And I just kept making it better over time. And eventually I made enough money so then I could hire a designer to make my website what it was. I started really learning about how to show up on social media, what do people want to hear? How do I want to sound? What brand do I want to be? And that took time. And while I was out doing that, I had a friend of mine come to me after I was telling her about my next big launch. I was like the launch queen. I was launching something every five minutes and she's like, Monique, can I be honest with you? I was like, okay. She was like, can you stop doing all of these other things and just own the personal branding space? We all know that you do. And I was like, I don't even know what personal branding is.
And I started doing research and what I realized is just my background in fashion design, presentation, communication was the thing that I was coaching people on the most when I would work with them. And I was like, oh, this is the piece. This is the juice here. Because you can move from project to project business to business, and if you have a strong personal brand, your clout will follow you. Your audience will follow you. Your reputation follows you. And I was like, that is the future. That is where I want to be.
Andréa Jones (05:54):
Oh, I love the clarity there too, because exactly what you did from the jewelry designing business to what you have now. Yeah, and I think it's so applicable in today's market. I see a lot of people, especially now the state of the world, the economy, they are getting more traditional jobs or larger contracts, and it's still that clout, that personal brand that allows them to leverage that into other things while maybe still running their business or whatever the case may be.
And that is the power of the personal brand. So you're on Instagram now and talk to me a little bit about your approach and how things have changed over the years cos Instagram is a lot different than it was back then.
Monique Bryan (06:39):
Oh my gosh, can it stop changing already? I'm so mad and at the same time I get it's completely, I remind myself, Monique, this is a completely free platform to advertise your business. I'm like, why are you mad at them? I'm like, stop. Because I really prided myself on learning the platform and knowing it. I used to teach people how to leverage Instagram in a really big way by knowing all the intricacies. And then so many things change that I was like, you know what? This isn't where my zone of genius wants to stay. I'm not interested in bending to the whims of the constant change of a platform I don't own.
So I was like, that's just not what I'm going to be doing. So in the beginning, the very first thing that had me launch, I would say my career on Instagram was going live. It was something that not a lot of people were doing at the time. It was very scary to do. You can't edit yourself when you're out there. And I had a coach challenge me to go 30 days live because I had a offer that I had. I was like, she was like, oh, you have this really amazing offer. It launches soon. When are you going to tell people about it? I'm like, well, the offer isn't finished yet, so I can't tell people about it before. She's like, ain't nobody know you, man. She was like, you think you're going to come out the day it's ready to be sold and people are going to be like, I can't wait to buy this thing from this no-name person.
I was like, well, you put it that way, I guess you make right. So I took on her challenge before it was ready and I would go live every day for 30 days and just talk about what I know to talk about. And I called it the Dirty 30 Live because I said, how long can I go on Instagram and just talk without having to think too hard on it? And it was 30 minutes. So I essentially branded a show on Instagram and I showed up every day for 30 days, and then I started showing up three days a week live, and then I went to twice a week, and then I do once a week, and I've been doing that for almost five years. I will show up, I will talk about the thing I need to talk about, and hopefully that will give you some ideas into my world.
And what I've learned is the idea, my philosophy is be bingeable versus viral. People will find you if they love you or they even like you. They're like, I want more. Where can I find more? Make it easy for them to binge you and learn all your stuff. And I love that because it actually shortens fast tracks your relationship and shortens your sales runway. Because I have people show up on a discovery call and be like, I've been watching you for the last 30 hours and I went through all of your lives, and then I saw a YouTube thing and then I listened to your podcast. And I'm just like, I just love that because it's like, oh, all that work you put in that you don't know who's listening and watching is actually paying off. And that's really what my journey has been. And my goal now is very much around put out things where people can get to know you, your services, and decide if they like you.
Because likability, we underestimate it too much. People will buy from you and not know what you actually offer if they like you a lot. So make it easy for them to do that.
Andréa Jones (09:53):
Yeah. Okay. I want to talk about more of that in a second, but I want to go back to the 30 days of Lives because that's a lot of live streaming for me now. I know what goes into it and I feel like I know too much, but I also think when you're first starting out, there is this idea of I'm just going to do it and see what happens. So talk to me about your mindset at that time. What were some of the things holding you back and what were some of the things you discovered about yourself going through 30 days of lives?
Monique Bryan (10:25):
Oh my God, it was such a great training, honestly, because it forced me to show up when I wanted to hide out and make things perfect before I showed up. So what it really helped me do was get out of my own way, because so many things happen on a live first.
You're getting to know yourself, you're getting to know your content, you're getting to know yourself as a brand. I started rewatching my lives and hearing words, I would say on repeat, I was like, oh, there are taglines in there, Monique's philosophy in there, my brand values are in there. And I didn't have all the language for that at that time. I just started noting like, oh, I'm really starting to get a groove and I would never have found it had I not listened to myself back. Our brand is that living breathing thing. So that's why I encourage people to do it. I was like, I learned so much. So I'm learning about myself, but also I'm learning about, I didn't have a tripod in the beginning, so I like to use my hands many times.
I threw the phone while I'm talking. It's just ridiculous. I was knocking things over. I didn't have a mic. I was in an echoey kitchen. I was like, this is not a background. So it was learning as I was going and it really taught me to be able to laugh at myself. I have clients now who look back at older videos and they're like, please, please, please don't take it down. It gives us hope that it doesn't need to be perfect and polished. I was wearing black shirts and there's lint all over it, but you don't realize it in the shirt, not on the camera. I had the weirdest haircut. Everything was just bad shit. It just was not right. But it kept getting better. And now because I could see it, that is something that really helped me move forward. Today. I encourage my clients to go 30 days live.
I'll say most of them will not do it. They're just like, I can't go from zero to a hundred. I'm not saying you need to go live for 30 minutes, even if you went to live for five minutes, even if you use stories as you're live where stories is where people are hanging out, but it is about using this muscle. So you now feel really comfortable showing up as your authentic self over here on social. So I've learned over time that you really have to, it's this thing where people are really afraid to share their private life, and they always think that if you're on social, you have to share your private life. Everyone still thinks that you have to share your private life. Oh, Monique, you share so much about this and that. I was like, as much as I share there is so much I do not share.
You have to be personable, but you can be very private. So it's about being human over here, but you don't need to share your private life that your places where you're not healed and you have to comment on every political uprising that's happening in the world. I don't have it. I think social is a powerful tool to do amazing things, but I also think if you are in business and you are on social, use it as a business tool. Keep your personal life private, the things you want private, keep it off the gram and stay focused on why you're here. Who are you here to serve? What are you here to deliver for yourself or for your audience or for your potential customer? And do that. And don't worry about what everybody else is doing saying being, judging family members. It's always the family members.
Andréa Jones (13:52):
I love this and I want to talk more about the personal brand side of things. I do think there are some lines that get blurred, but we're going to take a quick break and then when we get back, we'll talk more about that.
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And we're back. So I want to talk more about personal branding, specifically boundaries, because I think there's, there's two types of business owners on social media. There's the influencer business owner whose business that model relies on them sharing their personal life, and it's really like they have affiliates that affiliate things that they're marketing, that's their business model. But then there's also the expert business owner who's usually selling a service or a course or a program. And the distinction between the two sometimes gets blurred. And you really identified that with talking about keep your personal life private, but be personal. Can you give me an example of how business owners can think about being personable but still keep their business their business?
Monique Bryan (16:59):
So one rule I have is don't put anything on social. You wouldn't put on a billboard if you don't want someone driving down such and such an avenue looking at it. Do not put it on social. That's a big mistake people make. They're like, oh, I really have to be vulnerable. This force vulnerability. You don't need to do anything you do.
So don't put anything out there that you don't want the whole world to see and don't share anything you're not healed from because the trolls are real. So I like to look at what are some of the things that always asking yourself, what are some of the things that are happening in your life that are every day people think they're every day mundane. Things are not things people want to know about. And that is exactly what people want to see. When people see the behind the scenes of your life, and I'm talking about things that you're willing to share and they could be the most to you may seem boring and not interesting.
That's what people seem to relate to the most, especially for myself. I know this is to be a fact because it's relatable and they get so many conversations, all they're getting so much thrown at them all day around, buy this, I'm selling this, you're not doing enough of this, so you need to buy my thing. Or advertisements from all the big companies. Isn't it just so great to go on somebody's stories and watching them make a coffee or watching them talk about their baby? People love babies. Okay, I know you have your 18 month old. I have my 14 month old people. I get the biggest engagement when I'm talking about Amari. That's, and not everybody shares their children on social, and I totally respect that. Actually, the first time I shared him, my husband was like, did we discuss we were or we're not sharing Amari on social?
I'm like, it's too late, babe. It's too late. Okay, Amari's a star and mommy needs to be posting him about. So we did that, but sharing little things around, do I even send them to daycare? I had such a big response around that because people have, moms have very strong opinions about other moms telling other moms what to do. Yes. So they were like, make you do what you got to do. I had the greatest support online, but all these little things that are happening in my life that contribute to me being a business owner are what other people in my audience who are mostly business owners can relate to. They're like, oh, it's not that she's just showing up and saying she has it all together. There are things that she's actually dealing with in life that I'm also dealing with in life. So that's those personable things.
Another piece is I like to share habits. So one thing, if you follow Monique online, Starbucks is a big habit of Monique. Caffeine in general is a big habit, and it has ramped up since the baby has arrived. And that's what I talk about. And people love it. They're just like, oh, Monique, you were so right. This pumpkin spice latte season. I never had one before. And they'll post them drinking and tag me. That's engagement right there. It has nothing to do with my business, but I'm always bringing it back to Monique drinking a Starbucks in the car, talking about business, talking about this amazing Starbucks, talking about Starbucks needs to step it up here the next, and sometimes I tag them and sometimes I don't. But all those little behind the scenes shopping, people want to see, oh my God, you got some really fierce boots, or you're trying this on, what are you wearing it for?
Well, I'm actually going to be speaking at an event about blah, blah, blah, but let's go behind the scenes and see what Monique is wearing. So all those little pieces make up the human being behind the service. And when it again comes back to that likability piece, that relatability piece want to work with people that they actually want to sit down and have a coffee with, they're going to spend some time with you. So I want to look at maybe you don't do things exactly the way I would do things, but I think we unquote could be friends.
Andréa Jones (21:00):
Yeah, and I think that's the piece that, especially now in the world, the state of the world that we live in, people don't want to be part of the masses. They don't want to feel like they're buying something and they're never speaking to someone or they're not an individual and they're not treated like an individual.
So even the people who sell larger programs or having more success with that personal connection, it all comes back to personal branding. People want to know what it's like inside of your offer, and you're giving them a taste of that on social media or giving them a sample of what is it like to work with Monique. I know that you show up in your stories a lot. You're there every day. I see the Starbucks. What's your strategy for the rest of Instagram? How are you using it to funnel people into your offers?
Monique Bryan (21:54):
So I'm definitely a big advocate for maximizing your okay above the scroll, right? So making sure your name field is optimized, your bio is clear, your top nine boxes make sense and tell people how to work with you. That's a big piece that I continuously audit for myself and then reels, reels and carousels, and that's it.
That's what I'm going to be married to in terms of capacity. I know that Instagram is favoring those who do reels, and it helps with the searchability as well. So reels is where I spend the most of my content creation time. And then carousels is the other one where I can give informative things and have people constantly swipe in terms of what I'm outside of the stories. Those are the two main pieces. Also, I still go live on Mondays for 30 minutes. I think I've rebranded it and maybe rebranded again, but Juicy personal brand, the show on Mondays, and I'll pick a topic, we'll share it, and I'll give you some actionable things, make it worth your while to be there. And I would say that's the piece. I think another piece that people fail to do or they don't think about or they're doing poorly is tagging.
So I get tagged in a lot of things that are just random. I'm like, how is this relating to me whatsoever? But when it actually relates to somebody, tagging can be a very powerful tool to get your content reshared out here online. But I do find people take that information and are just tagging you. I don't know if this happens to you. I'm just random tag. I'm like, it's so invasive. It really is annoying. It's like somebody somewhere, some marketer said, tagging people works, and then they're just like spray and pray tagging. It's as almost as bad as the random spam DMs. It's too much. I should take it back because I don't want people out here thinking that it's okay to be tagging people. Ask permission, know your peoples.
Andréa Jones (24:04):
Yeah. Well, one of the things that I'm so curious about is your own personal brand. You use the word juicy a lot. What's the history behind that?
Monique Bryan (24:12):
Juicy! There is a very deep connection to that word for myself. So when I was going through treatment for cancer years ago, I had a coach who had really, I was in a coaching leadership program, but then when I was diagnosed, she was the head of this program and she said, I am now your official cancer coach. And I was like, I don't know what that means, but I don't even want to talk about cancer all the time, so you want to talk about it with me? Fine. We'll see. She is an angel. First of all. I love her. She's one of my favorite people in the world. But basically what she offered me was at any point in time and any time of day, you can call me if something's going on, and I didn't take her up on this offer enough because I don't want to be a bother.
And that's where we are. A lot of the times. We don't want to be inconveniencing people or burden. But there was one time where I called her and I'm so present to it that I'm feeling very emotional just every time I go back there. And I was telling her about all the things that were going wrong and all the things I was mad about, and I was like, I'm finished. I'm not going to do treatment anymore. I'm not going to do anything. And she was listening. She didn't say anything for a long time. And then she said, Monique, I know this is hard, but I promise you when this is done, you will go on to live a juicy, delicious life. And she said, it was so much emotion and so much feeling that it just shook me. I was like, do you not just hear everything I just said to you?
Did I just not tell you about my hair falling out? And every symptom you can think of, I was just like, this is what's happening. How dare you tell me that. But when she said it, it was so, I just believed her. And from that moment, it was like, if it's not going to put me towards my juicy, delicious life, it's a no. That's clients work business. It doesn't matter what it is. It's juicy or delicious or not at all. And that's what started that was the DNA of the brand always. Because I'll get presented with an opportunity, and sometimes we're always on the fence. We think, oh, this could be good for business or this could be good for a collaboration, or I really want to be connected with this human. But if in your body it doesn't aligned, you always know. But sometimes we just ignore it.
And my barometer for those things is, is it juicy or not? So when people are building out their personal brand or building out anything, a lot of the times what I should do or how I should sound gets in their way, and we'll always just stop the conversation. And I'm like, how does it feel in your body? Does it feel juicy? Are you feeling juiced? And they're like, no, Monique, I don't feel juicy about this. I said, then that ain't it. That ain't it. They're like, because when it's juicy, it's like, so that's where it started, and that's where we continue to be the gauge now. That's what I got.
Andréa Jones (27:28):
Yeah. Oh, I love that. I love that so much. I love that story. I love the word now. Every time I hear it, it's going to have a bigger impact. I love that. As we wrap up our conversation, I'm curious about how your juicy life has shifted as being a new mom. I know, especially for marketing, I know for me personally, things had to change. I didn't have a choice they had to change. So I'm curious from your perspective too, as someone who is this personal brand, this iconic person, what has changed for you post baby?
Monique Bryan (28:03):
Oh my God, that's a podcast in itself, Andréa. Honestly, I feel the whole thing has changed. Everything has changed. I was very confronted with the question of who am I? Once Amari was born, it's like you think and then you have a human, and all the things that you worried about before, they don't seem as significant. And where you spent your time doesn't seem the same. And how you want to show up may even be different. And I was just like, I remember a point where I was watching back my videos holding Amari probably it was probably four o'clock in the morning.
He would never sleep. And I'm like, who is that? I recognize her, but that's not who I feel I am anymore. And that freaked me out because I had spent so much time fostering that brand and who that person is. I didn't recognize her. And I didn't know at the time that I was dealing with postpartum anxiety, postpartum rage, girl, there's a postpartum dictionary. And it took time to feel one normal again, but also somewhat connected to that person. So I wasn't completely different. I thought I was. But as I started to come out of the fog some and show up some, I realized I'm still, there are pieces of me that are still her, but there's a whole new me that has shown up in my life, in my business that I'm getting to know. But it shifted how I show up, where I spend my time, who I want to work with.
It's really like even just the legacy I'm building, I always say, would this make Amari proud one day that I'm doing this or doing that, or is this thing really significant at the end of the day? Or is personal branding going to be my legacy? I don't know. But it has me continuously question just not just what I'm doing, but what kind of footprint is this going to leave in the world on such a profound level for me that I really have to look at the opportunities in front of me before I say yes or no. So I don't know if that's been like that for you. Also, I had to let my whole team go before I had my baby. It just wasn't a fit. I realized this isn't a fit. And then, I mean, that shook me too, because the whole business, I found the holes.
I found the systems that were not in place, the things that were holding it up were on a very fragile ground. And I didn't know that I was micromanaging quite a bit. So I learned just how it cannot just be, I'm not an influencer. I'm not interested in being at the center of everything. And if I remove myself, the business does not exist. And before that, I would've said, it's fine. As long as I'm healthy, I can go and make money. I can do anything. Then life happened. I was like, no, but maybe I don't want to have to do everything all the time. Maybe I want to remove myself for months at a time to do a quote mat leave. That didn't really happen. That was just a real shift, eyeopener for myself. Even to this day, I'm like, how can I systematize what I do and my business?
How can I make it live beyond me? What is it I'm actually building? Because it can't just be from one thing to the next thing. It's got to be in service of the big thing. And the big thing is still being formulated.
Andréa Jones (32:01):
Yes, I've been thinking a lot about the word legacy. What am I leaving for my children that will impact them? And then especially the history of my family too. There's not generational wealth passed down in my family's history. No, neither. My great grandmother was born on a pig farm that was just seconds from slavery. Her parents were slaves. And so when I think about all of that and then getting mad at the Instagram algorithm, I'm like, wait, does this matter? So I love these deep questions and I don't know, that's one of the benefits of having kids, is that you're in this position where you think about it a lot more. So thank you for sharing that. That was so beautiful.
Monique Bryan (32:57):
Andréa Jones (32:59):
Alright, Monique, we're at the end of the episode, but I want to give everyone a way to work with you. I know you have your quiz. That's amazing. Can you tell us about that?
Monique Bryan (33:08):
Yes. So many. I was working with a lot of clients who would come to me and not know where they were in the journey of building their personal brand. And everyone usually goes to, well, I'm going to build a website. Can you build one for me? And I'm like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Back up. Can we find out what's the big vision? What's the mission? And I realized I'm talking a lot, but I didn't give anybody something to follow. And people need instructions. So the quiz is all about finding out where you are on the personal brand, on your personal brand journey.
And wherever you are is fine, but there are steps that you need to take inside of the level that you're at. So that's what the quiz is all about. It's about figuring out where you are and all the pieces you need to get to the Promised Land.
Andréa Jones (33:51):
Yes, go take that quiz y'all. I'll put it in the show notes along with all of Monique's links, her Instagram, her latest projects, which is coach with monique.com and all of that goodness you can find at onlinedrea.com/ 2 9 2 onlinedrea.com 2 9 2. That will be all the links. Monique, thanks again for being on the show.
Monique Bryan (34:12):
Oh, thank you so much for having me.
Andréa Jones (34:14):
And thank you, dear listener for tuning into another episode of the podcast. Make sure you leave us a five star review on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. It helps keep us in the top 100 podcasts. Y'all are great for making sure we stay there, so keep up the good work. I'll be back soon with the new episode. But that's all for today. Bye for now.