No longer will people struggle to communicate their value, their worth, their message, and their story. They can step fully into who they are in business and in life.
As a part of my Marketing Strategy Series, I’m talking with fellow marketing pros at the top of their game to give entrepreneurs and marketers an inside look at proven strategies you might also be able to leverage to grow your business or career. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Aleya Harris.
Aleya Harris is a Marketer with over a decade of experience, and also the owner of Flourish Marketing, helping empire-building business owners break through plateaus, bust burnout, and scale so they can flourish in business and life.
Thank you for doing this! Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting and what lesson you learned from that?
This is more of an ironic story than a funny story, but hindsight is 20/20 — so I guess it’s worth a chuckle. When I first started my business — as a marketer — I didn’t market my own business. I really thought that I could just build it and they would come! I didn’t realize how much effort is truly involved in building an audience. It’s not just about having a website and the right social media profiles; you need actual real traffic that converts if you want to make money.
A lot of the time, people give up on marketing early on because they think it’s not working. In reality, THEY aren’t working it. So picture me, the owner of a marketing business, looking at my website analytics wondering why I wasn’t seeing any conversions. I didn’t have enough traffic. Everything I was implementing for my clients and gaining their results was NOT happening in my business. It was a big “aha!” moment for me and it spurred me to start producing more (and better) content to drive engagement.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
Absolutely — there are actually two “tipping points” that have driven me to where I am today. Funny enough, both involved getting laid off! The first was when I was laid off from my job in cosmetics and the second when I was laid off as head of marketing for North America. While the idea of being laid off is enough to turn people’s stomachs, those moments were actually blessings in disguise for me.
Each time, it served as a wake-up call that I needed to realign and reassess what I was doing in my career and in life. Both times, I got closer to my heart’s center. Instead of listening to what I “should” be doing or was “supposed” to do, I began tuning in to my own inner wisdom about why I’m here on this planet. I asked myself what brings me joy and how I could serve those around me with the gifts I’ve been given in this life.
The reality is that I’m good at a lot of things. Most people have a laundry list of skills. But that doesn’t mean we need to focus on every single one of those things! I reflected on the highest good I could bring to my community, and the answer came resoundingly: I’m passionate about making money by helping other people make money. Moreover, I want to help people love the journey while making that money!
I had grown sad seeing people around me deal with burnout, unhappiness, and inconsistencies. But, it wasn’t until I was laid off with no backup plan to realize my true purpose. I decided to change my life, start Flourish Marketing, and never look back!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I have to shout out my publicist, Meghan Ely of OFD Consulting. I give her credit for launching my business. She didn’t know it at the time, but she’s really that great of a publicist!
I’ve been working with Meghan for almost two years, and she has helped me build my entire audience from scratch. As I said earlier in this interview, creating a website and hoping they came was not a strong marketing tactic! They say that the hardest business to market is your own, and, boy, is that true.
In a matter of months, Meghan was able to position me in front of my ideal client, so my business began to grow exponentially. One of the best marketing strategies is simply to be where your customers are hanging out, and that’s exactly what she did for me. I was on 30 podcasts in one calendar year, had 50+ guest blog placements, and booked speaking engagements across the country — all in corners where my customers were hanging out. I’m forever grateful to Meghan and the whole OFD team for helping me build and formulate a strong messaging and brand engagement platform.
Long story short: If you are struggling with getting out there, go hire a great publicist!
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
Burnout is caused by a disconnect between your goals, current capacity, and expectations. You haven’t factored in the good ol’ element of time and end up thinking you can do anything and everything right now. As a result, your priorities are off, and you’re barely getting by.
The reality is that burnout is the last step on a rather long road to realizing something is off. The best way to avoid burnout is to recognize some of those earlier signs so you can correct them as you go. It presents differently for everyone — some may experience stomach pain, others might notice anxiety creeping up, while still others find themselves apathetic about their businesses. You need to find a way to get in tune with yourself and discover a deeper understanding of when something is wrong and pinpoint what you’re doing to cause that feeling.
Better yet, start cultivating supportive practices and daily rituals to ensure you aren’t heading into burnout territory and getting eaten by the overwhelm monster. Daily rituals are more than just meditation and a morning cup of tea (although that’s perfectly wonderful!). It’s also creating a system to check in with your goals and keeping yourself aligned within your scope. Implement processes to prevent yourself from getting scope creep on your own project (growing your business) and keep yourself in line with your expectations.
Consumers have become more jaded and resistant to anything “salesy”. In your industry, where do you see the future of marketing going?
The future of marketing is about building human connections. The more you can personalize your marketing approach, the better you will reach your audience. It could look like creating smaller segments in your email list, using video in your emails (I like bombbomb), or building out different versions of an ad set to target smaller corners of your audience. Make it your goal to craft messaging with visual language that makes your ideal customer think, “Ooh, that’s me!” That is how you can break through the noise.
Another tip for cultivating human connections is to have some fun and be patient! Lean into your marketing funnel. Remember: When people first see your brand, the goal is not for them to buy from you. Instead, you want them to understand who you are, how you add value to their lives, and how you can solve their problems in a way no one else can. Only when you’ve built that recognition and trust should you start to sell. Marketing is all about the journey, so be patient and stick to a people-first mentality.
What 5 things do you wish someone told you before you started?
- “Aleya, you are organized but not THAT organized.” I wish I knew how much help I needed. I’ve since reached out and accepted help in a number of directions, but I wish I had done so earlier. I tried to do all the things which I could but not necessarily well. I needed help getting organized and focusing on my goals, so it would have been helpful to hire a virtual assistant or OBM earlier than I did. On a similar note, I wish I had formed my tribe of business besties earlier. I’ve found a group of people through my publicist that gives great advice — they’ve helped me avoid financial mistakes, made great recommendations for tools, and gave me multiple sets of eyes on my marketing. In addition to all of that, it also makes it, so I don’t feel so alone in entrepreneurship.
- “Ups and downs are natural for entrepreneurs.” New business owners fear failure so much that they view simple mistakes as the end of the world. I’ve been there. But, over time, I’ve learned that there are good days and bad days. You will have ups, and you will have downs. Just because you have a down period does not mean you are a failure! Your business is not crashing. There is always an up around the corner. If anything, downs are an opportunity to evaluate how you will move forward and stay aligned with your goals. Identify the obstacles that could get in the way and make a proactive plan. If you are looking ahead, you can alleviate some of the pain before it happens.
- “Bring your whole self to work every day.” Coming from a corporate environment where I felt like I had to fit in someone else’s box, it took me a long time to bring my whole self to my entrepreneurial journey. It was a habit to compartmentalize who I was and the skills I brought to the table. What I gave my clients was good but not the best I could be. Now, I fully embrace every corner of myself. I’m a bioenergetic business coach. I’m a spiritual coach. I’m a marketer with 13 years of experience. I’m a copywriter. I’m a strategist. I have a quirky sense of humor. I’m down to earth. ALL of these things represent who I am, and there’s no reason for me to set aside any aspect of my being. I do not have to ignore my own authenticity to win clients over (and neither do you!). In fact, the more authentic I am and show how much I care, the more my company grows. How’s that for a lesson learned?
- “Protect your time for outsight.” We tend to look inwards when seeking inspiration for our business, but that’s an easy way to get stuck and mired in your own vision. In order to keep looking forward and navigating the world, you must welcome fresh ideas into your life. You must keep consuming content — not just business books, but a variety of works. Fiction, nonfiction, biographies, everything! A visionary entrepreneur must consume so they can create.
- “As an entrepreneur, your creative space is key.” Your surroundings produce energy, but what kind is it creating? If your workspace is filled with clutter and old junk, it will drag you down and lock your thought processes into old ways. You must cultivate the space around you so can move forward with fresh, flowing energy. A cluttered space is a cluttered mind. Once I feng shui-ed my desk, office, and filing cabinets, I could feel the energy coursing through me. Since then, I’ve never let my office space fall out of order.
What books, podcasts, documentaries, or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skills?
I’m a big reader, so this list could go on! The first few are easy, though. My favorite marketing book is Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller. My second favorite is Marketing Made Simple — also by Donald Miller. In fact, I loved these books so much that I went and got certified in the StoryBrand SB7 Framework.
A few other books I love (some are business-based, some are more spiritual):
- Traction by Geno Wickman
- Start with Why by Simon Sinek
- The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra
- The Power Within You by John Roger
All of these books are ones that I find I keep going back to manifest more abundance in my business and life.
One more before we go: If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would inspire people to get to the root cause of their energy struggles and stop ignoring the fact that there are more causes to their blockages in their life than what they can see, touch, and feel.
This would be a movement of freedom for people to dive into their inner worlds and do that tough excavation work that so many people avoid. They’ll find their personal solutions to prevent burnout and misalignment, discovering how they can authentically connect with others.
No longer will people struggle to communicate their value, their worth, their message, and their story. They can step fully into who they are in business and in life. My bioenergetic business movement would open the doors for people to show up as their whole selves at work all day, every day.
Thank you for sharing your story and so many valuable insights with us today!