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The Art of Positioning From Indistinguishable to Instantly Recognizable with Rebecca Gunter

March 20, 2023
The Recognized Authority Podcast Cover

The podcast that helps experts & consultants on the journey to becoming a recognized authority in your field, so you can increase your impact, command premium fees, work less hours, and never have to suffer a bad-fit client again!.

In this episode of The Recognized Authority, host Alastair McDermott is joined by Rebecca Gunter, a passionate advocate for marketing badassery and branding that defies convention. Through her expertise in strategy, creative copywriting, and positioning, Rebecca empowers businesses to create a magnetic, unforgettable presence.

Discover how embracing your unique identity can make your brand stand out and attract clients who genuinely resonate with your offerings. Listen as Rebecca shares her philosophy of focusing on turning on the right people, rather than worrying about turning off others.

Rebecca shares her insights on the importance of knowing your target audience, understanding their needs, and creating a brand that speaks directly to their hearts. Learn how to use personal stories and perspectives to set your brand apart.

Break free from conventional marketing, step into your unique identity, and make an unforgettable impact. Your journey to becoming a marketing badass starts now!

Show Notes

Guest Bio

The excitement of bold originality; the unapologetic power of knowing exactly who you are, who you serve, what they need, and why it matters; the potential to live each day as a magnet, attracting your perfect people and projects, authentically in alignment with your passion and purpose — these are the rewards of personal branding done right. The Art of Positioning is the fundamental formula that inspires Rebecca Gunter in her unique approach to creative Brand Strategy and Copywriting for entrepreneurially-spirited folks who crave relationship marketing because it nurtures a genuine connection between business, brand, and the people they love (who love them back).


people, brand, business, work, positioning, marketing, unapologetic, reputation, referrals, entrepreneurship, point, listen, long, long slog, coach, clients, beating, life, reverse, experiences

Alastair McDermott, Voiceover, Rebecca Gunter


Voiceover  00:00

Welcome to The Recognized Authority, a podcast that helps specialized consultants and domain experts on your journey to become known as an authority in your field. Here’s your host, Alastair McDermott.


Alastair McDermott  00:14

So hello, and welcome to The Recognized Authority. I’m here today with guest Rebecca Gunther. Rebecca, thank you for coming on the show.


Rebecca Gunter  00:23

My God, it’s my absolute pleasure and honor to be here and I’m so jazzed to meet you. Thanks.


Alastair McDermott  00:30

So, we were just talking about the the joys of life and everything. I have a construction site outside my window right here. So apologies if that’s coming through. But we are live and that’s that’s that. So Rebecca…


Rebecca Gunter  00:44

Raw. Unscripted.


Alastair McDermott  00:48

You champion marketing badassery for business accelerators and industry activists, you you love Brad’s strategy, creative copywriting and positioning, which is what I want to talk to you a lot about today. Let’s talk first about marketing badassery. What does that mean to you?


Rebecca Gunter  01:04

To me, Marketing Badassery, is really just kind of a North Star of brand expression that is bold, and unapologetic, and authentic and genuine in a very front facing way. So not trying to kind of “vanilla-ize” you’re the way you express yourself and the way you express your business and your brand and your entrepreneurial prowess, without obsessing over who it’s going to turn off, because that’s actually part of the charm of marketing, as well as turning off the wrong people, as well as turning on the right people. And feeling, feeling confident feeling like you’re living your best life, in your brand expression.


Alastair McDermott  01:55

Right, who he going to turn off, I like that. And that’s something a lot of people are afraid of is, you know, I’m going to I’m going to lose out on some of the market, you know, half half the people aren’t going to buy me if I say that.


Rebecca Gunter  02:08

That’s exactly right, half the people aren’t going to buy you when you say that and ends and that the best news ever, because the other half who will buy from you will be obsessed with you. And they’ll buy again and again and again. So, you know, taking it back to our old preschool, or I’m not quite sure, in Ireland with the young with the Wii, folks go and learn their lessons and their ABCs.


Rebecca Gunter  02:32

But pay attention to the people who fill your bucket and ignore the people who take from your bucket. And so turning off people is just as important. In fact, it saves you an infinite amount of time that you would have normally wasted being on the phone with the wrong prospect or the wrong client. So stop wasting your time. Be unapologetically yourself, be bold, be brave. And yeah, you’re going to turn some people off. And it’s actually great news.


Alastair McDermott  03:01

What, what’s on the pot apologetically yourself, like how does that actually come across?


Rebecca Gunter  03:05

I think that that means saying and being and doing things that maybe other people would be afraid to do. And that just means, I think a good example for that is the way that the beverage brand Redbull will have these like outrageous, and a vehicle race, I don’t even know what they’re called. But like vehicle races, where you have to like build this like crazy kind of go kart contraption. And imagine that leadership is saying, don’t do that, that would just damage our brand in so many ways. Like, it’s dangerous, and we’re liable. And that’s all kinds of bad press. And now that’s all anybody can think or talk about when they actually do it. So being badass enough to just say like, Okay, I know, that seems like it’s kind of off the wall here. But it’s the thing that people remember. So not worrying too much about who you’re gonna turn off, I think is badass. Right?


Alastair McDermott  04:09

So how do we take that and apply that concept then to like, you’re my type of business where we are service providers, we’re consultants, and we’re like, we don’t have like, we don’t have lots of cool graphics and free kinds of drink that we can give out to people and we don’t have crazy ideas like, like building go karts or diving off cliffs with wings on us. You know?


Rebecca Gunter  04:33

I don’t know what you’re doing a four o’clock. That’s what I’m doing. I’m jumping off a building with wings on entrepreneurship, right?


Alastair McDermott  04:43

That’s what it feels like sometimes. Yeah.


Rebecca Gunter  04:45

One way or the other ones still like in there somewhere like teasing it out.


Alastair McDermott  04:50

Yeah. So So like, if somebody’s listening to this on this thinking, you know, I need to do more of this. I need to be a bit more like this. Like how do they A lot of practical advice would you have for them? Like how can they actually implement this


Rebecca Gunter  05:03

Actual implementation is maybe more than just, well, it is more than just dreaming up the craziest attention grabbing, marketing campaign that you can think of it. To me, it’s about getting extremely focused on who your people are and what they need. So kind of not paying attention to the competition, really, I guess, now that I not only talk about it, you’ve got me to kind of tease out what is my marketing badass or, and what’s being unapologetic, it’s not really paying attention to what the competition is doing. And it’s not reading the comments.


Rebecca Gunter  05:38

So if for a service provider, like ourselves, or or someone who, again, you know, may not be a highly caffeinated beverage company with deep pockets, or an apple or a Volkswagen or something that you know, a brand that can really blow it out of the water and be unapologetic like financially and with infrastructure, we can do that. By getting to know who our people are so deeply and intimately that when we’re talking, they feel like we’re talking directly to them. And that is because we are, so really figuring out who are your people? What do they need? Who are you? What do you deliver? And why are you special different, or the one will allow you to be unapologetic in that brand. Because you’re not questioning yourself, you’re kind of out of if you have any kind of identity crisis, you can kick that kick that to the curb, and you’re out of the onwy and indecision that comes along from like a just kind of an anemic, Lee defined brand or, or just kind of not wanting to end offend anybody, well, we’re for everybody, well, sadly, then you’re for nobody. As if everything is special than nothing is special. And it’s so easy to get lost in just a sea of sound, the sames when you haven’t done the work of really defining who you are. And you can do that with a pencil and a piece of paper.


Rebecca Gunter  07:09

Once you know who you are, once you know who your people are, once you know what they need, and how you’re going to deliver it and why you’re the one to do it. Then being bold and unapologetic with your brand, is the matter is simply a matter of how you write how you talk, the pictures, you use the just the way you express yourself in business every day. And that’s the confidence of being apologetic comes from knowing exactly, to the target knows who you are.


Alastair McDermott  07:36

Let me, let me get into the weeds a little bit with you. You mentioned like because I know this is something that I hear from people that when I’m talking to them, and they say you know, I’m just an x, whatever x is, that’s their job title. I’m not really all that different from everybody else. And you’re saying all you need is a pencil and a piece of paper? Can you just walk me through how somebody can actually try and implement that they can? They can practically find what is it that separates them from the sea of sameness. Everybody else who does that same thing for those same types of clients.


Rebecca Gunter  08:10

The crux of it, when you think that you’re not, you’re just you know, I am job title, and you lead with your resume, how long you’ve been doing something? I’ve been serving X kind of clients for X amount of years, because I am this thing that everybody knows that gets lost yet, how do you find yourself I mean, that’s as easy as saying, you know, to a person on a personal journey, let’s go find yourself and come back with a pen and paper and let me know how it goes. It’s not easy. And sometimes you need some deep facilitation, a business bestie someone you can bounce some ideas off of what happens in my opinion, is that we get really lost in the reality of our talent base or our core competencies to the point where we overlook the fact that not everyone can do it. Oh, everybody can? What I mean, I just wrote that down. I wrote a business letter why everybody can do that. What do you mean, I just figured out how to, you know, impact the customer journey by pulling this lever at the operations level, it’s just makes sense to me. Absolutely makes sense to you, because you’ve grown up in that kind of cosmology of that talent and not seeing it as special. So sometimes you need someone to pull that stuff out of you, and help you kind of deconstruct what you think everyone has, and understand what’s really special about yourself. And generally, I find that comes down to a personal story or some personal impact that you have with the work. So if I’m doing positioning with someone and I’m answering the following questions, who who are my people, what do they need? Who am I What do I deliver? And why whose special different or the one? Almost always the because only part or why am I special is a personal story or a personal stake in the work. And there, you can’t replicate that. You can replicate 25 years in the industry, you can replicate, you know, I’m a business coach. And I’ve been doing that for X amount of years. But you can’t replicate your personal journey or personal stake. And when you care so much about your people, it becomes almost like your imperative, you are called to the recall to this work to be of service in a particular way. And it takes some deep thinking about it, that’s for sure. In terms of facilitator.


Alastair McDermott  10:44

Yeah, I think that comment about the facilitator is important, because it doesn’t have to be a business coach, it doesn’t have to be a coach of any kind. It could be like a mastermind group. Or it could be, you know, a business peer, who you kind of partner up with and kind of act as each other’s therapist on occasion. I’ve done all of those things, as well as having coaches.


Rebecca Gunter  11:07

You’re really good at it too, you, I bet you have a perspective, a unique perspective.


Alastair McDermott  11:13

Yeah, I probably do. I’ve been there done that made every mistake.


Rebecca Gunter  11:16

So what I’m trying to I’m really actually tying two and two together right now in real time on this live with you is that if you can figure out what your zone of genius is, if you can figure out what makes you special, what makes you unique, and you can stand in that you can be unapologetic, unapologetic in your brand. And sometimes it is just a matter of figuring out what your POV is what your perspective is, that’s the uniqueness. I have this perspective in this way. Because of my experiences here and the people that I serve, so maybe it’s a little easier to think about your unique differentiator, or your because only or what makes you special, parsing that out just thinking about what’s my POV. And might that might be easier to articulate and not need as much facilitation, if you think about it as a POV, or a point of view or perspective rather than what’s my special God given talent that I can’t see. And everyone else can.


Alastair McDermott  12:25

Yeah, okay. And now, I kind of like that we’re getting a bit nerdy on some of this. But I’d like to dive into POV with your point of view. So one of the things about figuring that out is is sometimes it can be hard to to figure out what your point of view is because like you’re coming right there from it. One of the things that I like people to do as an exercise is to write I believe, x because y and write down a bunch of belief statements. And all of those being core core beliefs that they have about their industry. Is that an approach? Is that something like what you do? How do you how do you tease that point of view?


Rebecca Gunter  13:03

Oh, my God, I’m stealing that idea right now. That’s awesome. Can you give me an example? For yourself?


Alastair McDermott  13:11

Yes, I can you have a very simple one. So I believe that referrals are dangerous. Even though most of the industry in b2b, our referral based businesses, I think that it’s dangerous to depend on referrals, because your network can dry up. People can retire and go away. So so if you’ve got a dependency on referrals, your market unless you’re actively growing it all the time, it’s actually shrinking, and also a lot of referrals that come in, if you change your positioning, or you change your offering, the referrals can be irrelevant. And so I think that you’ve got to do something else besides referrals. And so for me, my point of view is that referrals can be a dangerous thing to to depend on. And so I think you should be doing something else as well.


Rebecca Gunter  13:56

Oh, my God, you blew my mind today. I would have never thought of that as a resource that was diminishing returns. At work, I would have never thought about I think the key thing you said there is understanding that it is a shrinking source or Wellspring unless you nurture it. So if referrals are the key than nurturing it will be the the Lifespring or shall we don’t just leap on and be like, Oh, I just don’t word of mouth all the time. And to your point of positioning for sure. If you go on your LinkedIn profile and just rearrange all of your skills and endorsements, and then suddenly no one’s endorsed you for them because they were kind of buried but LinkedIn kind of auto populated these skills and endorsements. That’s what people start knowing you for so you have to do a reset of expectations. You taught me something today for sure.


Alastair McDermott  14:57

Awesome. You Yeah, well, that’s that is one way that I like to help people develop point of view is, is by taking those belief statements, and in particular looking for myths that you want to debunk, or concepts that you can pick a fight with that, that maybe you disagree with the way everybody is doing it, or you don’t like it. Like, I really like the idea of creating an inbound lead generation system, which is usually creating a lot of content, like we’re doing right now. We’re recording this as a podcast, it’s being live streamed to about eight different platforms right now as well. Yeah, and but but creating kind of like that body of work that becomes this lead generation system, that body of work is is is bringing these inbound leads for you. And so yeah, that’s kind of the that’s my kind of point of view on lead generation. And so I’m picking a fight with the concept of referrals. And so that’s something I talk to clients about is, is there a concept that a lot of people in your industry believe in that you think that maybe it’s not quite right? And can you pick a fight with that concept, because it’s much better to pick a fight with a concept than with another person.


Rebecca Gunter  16:11

I don’t know to patent, those are fighting words. Just kidding. I would just add that if you’re, if your strategy is to generate content that then brings your leads in, you better, really lock your positioning in. Because if you don’t hear me spending a lot of time trying to vet and weed out the people who aren’t a great fit for you. So if you’re casting this lyric, really wide butterfly net, the things you’re talking about, better be on point for what your position are talking kind of directly to who your people are and directly about what they need, and directly about who you are and what you deliver. And getting passionate about your why for sure.


Alastair McDermott  16:56

So really cool meta thing is that’s exactly what we’re doing here today.


Rebecca Gunter  17:01

That’s exactly. It would be super meta if I position to you, if I positions you live. Maybe it’ll be up for that in a future episode.


Alastair McDermott  17:11

Yeah, yeah. That’ll be cool. I don’t know if we have time for that today. Maybe we do.


Rebecca Gunter  17:16

I don’t know that we have time for today. But we’re gonna at least touch on it. But I challenge you to go live with me and go through the discovery of positioning.


Alastair McDermott  17:24

Oh, yeah.


Rebecca Gunter  17:25

Why not?


Alastair McDermott  17:26

Absolutely. I’m up for that. Good. Okay. Well, well, then, since we’re, since we’re going to slightly park that I would like to talk to you about I don’t know, maybe this the same thing? Or maybe it’s not? Can you talk to me about how you think of positioning versus branding?


Rebecca Gunter  17:48

Yeah, thank you what a cool topic. Brand is defined so many different ways. And it’s to me, brand and culture are equally as nebulous and equally as impactful. And I would even argue that for kind of the same thing, that, you know, brand is kind of like culture for capitalism, or culture for products or business or commerce, where, you know, when we think about culture, we think about human behavior. Brand is been defined as a feeling. Brand has been defined as what people say about you, when you’re not in the room. I personally like to define brand as your reputation brought to life in words, actions, and images. So bringing your reputation to life is the kind of job of brand as like a human influencer, essentially giving me context or reason to believe and framework. And that is different than positioning, which is essentially giving yourself a very true, if you do it, right are very true and authentic touchpoint, from which you understand the context of that brand. So brand positioning, being kind of the articulation or the were the act of defining it, and then brand, self being the expression.


Alastair McDermott  19:23

I like it, I like it. This is something that I’ve heard so many people define brands in so many different ways. And one of my favorites is where somebody really confidently says, oh, yeah, that’s really simple. And then they give a totally different definition than everybody else. But I like I like it as I think thank you. You said your reputation in the form of images and words, and that I’ve encapsulated that right?


Rebecca Gunter  19:49

We are brand brought to life and worse actually life is. So what that tells you is there’s you can only control the conversation so much because you’re reputation is your reputation. That’s, I don’t want to say you can’t control because absolutely can you can create the narrative and give people reasons to believe, through positioning through messaging for core values, through mission through any of the ways that you want to express yourself. But you, your reputation is something that’s kind of in the hands of the people, shall we say? And so how do you bring that to life, identify the best parts of yourself or the things you want to reinforce. And then reinforce them through the way you write an email, the way you answer a phone call, the way you show up on alive, the way you put out a one pager, the way you start tech, our channel, the way you just express yourself in any kind of way, by controlling the conversation in these kind of like, you know, well articulated buckets, then people start talking about you in the way you want them to talk about you.


Rebecca Gunter  20:59

So if you’re if you’re, you know, it’s hard to use a, I don’t know, if and in Ireland, you’d have like really awful experiences dealing with internet service providers or telephone setup, or someone to come in and hook up some kind of utility, where the brand, everyone thinks of hassle, like hassle, weight and convenience, you know, that’s kind of like the reputation that a larger like, you know, cell phone provider, etc, might kind of have, and they can only control that conversation to the point where like, well, sorry, you’re one and a half hour wait times to talk to someone on the phone is reinforcing your reputation as being this kind of like behemoth of a hassle to deal with. So if a company wanted to start shifting that conversation, they might then think of more on a more unapologetic ways to be themselves. And maybe that’s around, you know, an app development or telling real stories from people who have waited an hour and a half in line, but then got something really awesome done, or kind of lean into. I don’t know, I’m making all that stuff up. But your reputation, you can control to some extent, and you can’t control to some extent. So if you start shaping the conversation, very specifically, by the way that you express yourself, hopefully, because you’re put your money where your mouth is, and you’re not just saying your these things without doing these things. And people recognize that. And when they start saying your words back to you on a sales call you you’ve made.


Alastair McDermott  22:39

Yes, yes, absolutely. I think having that language, you know, you know, you’ve got it when somebody repeats that the actual wording that you wrote in an email or having a sales page or something, you know that you nailed it.


Rebecca Gunter  22:51

It’s so surreal is so surreal. But if you can move, that’s the whole point of it, is when you can start using this like branded set of like words and phrases or actions or ideas or feelings. And you’re reinforcing them at every touchpoint is more than just saying it, you have to actively do it. So here’s a great example. One of my core values is to show up for people. And how that translates is that people say to me, you’ve never missed a meeting in a year, you’ve never missed a deadline. You’ve never done this, you’ve never done that. That’s the value showing up to show up for people over and over again. I don’t specifically say, I’m here to show up for you today. But it’s manifest in my actions and my reputation for being like when we have a call on the books. You’re not going to get a text from me 45 minutes earlier and being like, Can we do this? Like it’s not going to happen? So those are my actions, reinforcing my brand is someone who actively shows up for people. So this isn’t about my core value, like anybody’s core value, and how do you just make it come to life? It’s much more than what your graphics look like, or how you’re running your Instagram channel. It’s the things you actually do to reinforce or to break your brand.


Alastair McDermott  24:14

Okay, so I want to skip to a different topic, because we’re coming close on time. So I just want to I want to Oh, my God


Rebecca Gunter  24:22

already. Started. We’re


Alastair McDermott  24:25

flying. We’re 25 minutes in. Yeah, I want to ask you. I want to ask you if you were talking to somebody who has just left corporate, because there’s an awful lot of people who’ve just left corporate and they’re out there, they they’ve hung out the sign. They’re just starting their own gig. And there’s a lot of people who are experts, and they might call themselves a consultant of some type. And where would you recommend that they start with the whole thing of trying to brand themselves and trying to position themselves? I don’t know if I’m asking you to repeat yourself here and I apologize if I am But what if somebody is in that situation? They like, maybe they’ve got one client or they’ve got two clients on board. But they’re not really sure of any of this stuff. Yet what what advice would you have for them?


Rebecca Gunter  25:11

Oh my god, this is a topic near and dear to my heart. Because as an entrepreneurial branding person, I’m like one of the first people that the mass exodus from corporate comes to see, because they need some sort of website and they need copy, or they need to position themselves where they need to kind of get out there in terms of marketing. So I’m generally one of the first stops on that train. So I’ve seen a lot of people kind of in the, you know, exiting corporate and coming into an entrepreneurial space to hang out a shingle with their own thing.


Rebecca Gunter  25:44

First of all, I’ve got some great news. This is the time this is the time unlike any other time in our history, to be able to do that. You can take your expertise, and couple it with an insatiable curiosity and self directed learning that will allow you to bypass the hierarchy of the corporate ladder and go straight to the C suite with whatever it is that you are selling, you know, consulting, creative services, a package a program, employee development, leadership, whatever it is, you can use the digital space, the internet, to, you know, learn whatever you need to learn, bypass a whole corporate ladder, go straight to the C suite to sell. So that’s great news. There’s never been a time like that ever, where particularly women, you know, can go out and just make a name for themselves by hanging a shingle. So great news.


Rebecca Gunter  26:42

The bad news is that the mindset that many people have when they leave that is not running towards a new business, but away from a bad boss. So first thing I want you to do is like, take some time to deconstruct the workplace trauma that you’re currently taking to your new job, and your new job being hanging out your own shingle, because you did just by yourself a job until you make it a business. It may be the coolest job you’ve ever had. And you may be the worst boss you’ve ever had. My boss is relentless. She doesn’t give me any days off. She’s mad at me when I don’t work all the time. She has unrealistic expectations. She doesn’t pay me consistently, and she’s the worst. But if you’re willing to take on that boss, please know that you’re bringing baggage from this like really toxic work environment with you. And if you don’t take the time to re kind of like on pack unburden yourself with that, then you’re going to bring those fears into your business. And those fears might look like I don’t give away anything for free. I don’t you know, I won’t get on a discovery call with someone for more than 15 minutes. If it’s not a solid refer, I’m not moving forward.


Rebecca Gunter  27:56

So like these defensive mechanisms that you’ve had for many years of being taken advantage of, or not being able to advance or step into your genius in a corporate environment, are coming with you to entrepreneurship. So take a breath. And put that aside, then step into entrepreneur as something, you want to be a goal you’re moving towards, not something that you’re running away from, clear your mind and start thinking about, who are my people? Who are they, I love working for this is not me, I’m just making this up. I love working for changemakers who are impacting the world but you know, are stuck in management roles, they can’t seem to lift themselves out of enough, they just took my advice. Think about it in these narratives that will help you start to articulate who you are and what you deliver.


Rebecca Gunter  28:49

When you do that your marketing just like it just like flows so naturally, because you can start talking to them directly. Hey, upper management leadership, are you stuck in a role you can’t seem to get out of because you can’t seem to break through the glass ceiling. I’m here to help. I’m the business and leadership coach that can help you you know, go from like, you know, director to VP in less than 18 months by shaping your mindset and giving you actionable goals holding you accountable, whatever reason, because I’ve been there myself. Like that’s the sales pitch that can come out of just articulating who are on people and what do they need? And that’s all position is who were people? What do they need? Who am I what do I deliver and why am I special different or the one and that special? Different other one is generally your personal stake, your unique point of view, or like you said, Alistair, like what are the things what are the things I’m punching down at right now? Or what are the hills I’m going to die on or what are the causes I’m going to fight or take up with or take issue and leaning into Problem Solver role. So take a breath, be glad you’re here. But also, you know, you really do have to leave that stuff behind. Or you’ll end up just working for yourself in a way that doesn’t make you happy. And there’s no point in hanging out, you’re hanging out your shingle if you’re not going to feel freedom, lifestyle freedom.


Alastair McDermott  30:24

Yeah. And I think that’s, that’s one of the first times I’ve heard anybody talk about, you know, I’m recording this, putting aside the PTSD of your job. But I completely understand that because because I probably had that back in 2007, when I left my corporate job, because I was, I was a terrible employee. And I needed to for my mental health, and for the mental health of anybody who worked with me, I needed to leave. That was the reason I went out on my own is because I just didn’t make for a good employee.


Rebecca Gunter  30:58

Same. I can’t I really, I’m Tara, I cannot work for somebody else very successfully. For for lots of the same reasons. And I think many entrepreneurs are wired like that. And if you’re a problem solver, or you’d like to do things differently, or you know, you can make an impact, you will probably, really kind of it’s in the DNA of who you are. But many people who go into business and hang out a shingle now, it’s not the DNA of who they are, they’re running away from a bad situation, or just like crappy culture, or toxic boss or unrealistic hours or shitty pay or any of the reasons that we do. And sometimes that can mean you go from being an employee mindset, right into a job. It’s like making a job for yourself just happens to have your name on it. And you still have an employee mindset. For many years, I was the best waitress in my own business, I’m probably still have my days where I’m just like, the world’s greatest waitress and my own.


Alastair McDermott  31:56

Okay, let me ask you, what is one thing that you wish you knew before you started the business?


Rebecca Gunter  32:01

Hmm. I think most people would say wishing you all one so hard, I’m actually glad I didn’t know that it was so hard, might not have really had the courage to do it. I think the long thing that’s the most shocking, or where I wish that I had been privy to is that there’s just a such a long slog of never knowing if you’re ever really going to air quote, make it easy. There’s no like when you’re, when you’re in school, or college or university, it’s pretty good to show up for class, do your homework, take the test, make sure the professor knows your name, you’re gonna pass pass those classes, you’ll have a degree entrepreneurship, it can be 10 years down the road, and you’re still like, well, on paper, I’m still kind of actually bankrupt. I would someone else would say this business has failed. But you’re still showing up day after day after day after day after day. So like, when you first start out, you’re like, well, in three to five years, I won’t have this problem. You’re right, you have different problems. And it’s still hard, and you still feel like a newbie. So grant, get get a grip.


Alastair McDermott  33:21

Get good a grip. Yeah, that’s true. That’s true.


Alastair McDermott  33:24

Get a grip.


Alastair McDermott  33:25

It’s something I you know, I think because I’ve got a podcast with over 100 episodes. So I’m able to do the long slog. It’s something I think about, you know, that I don’t really have any calibration on what it’s like to have a normal job anymore, because it’s it’s too long since I did have one. And so I have no idea if I’m being productive on a daily basis. I think that sometimes I have days where I get a week’s worth of work done for a normal employee, and then I have weeks where I get a day’s worth of work done. And I don’t really have any calibration on any of that. So it’s that that is one thing I do find a bit difficult sometimes.


Rebecca Gunter  34:01

Well, I would I would coach you to kind of recalibrate what your definition of success is. And what did come out of that. A couple of weeks ago, I had a miraculously blank week in my calendar like unbelievable. No calls, so I blocked it. And I was like, I’m gonna write the introduction to this book that I’m working on. And that’s what I’m gonna do and Macare whole week to do. Amazing. I didn’t write CIT, from that introduction at all, I did not. And I might if if I had kind of like the mindsets that you’re describing, I might beat myself up about it like a whole week and you didn’t do anything. But what I did do was come up with this idea that a sense forth, taken like a huge life of itself, that I might not have come up with that idea if I didn’t have the whitespace to just be and exist. And instead of like beating myself up about how I’d never wrote the introduction to the book, I celebrate now how I came up with this like a crazy idea to create a board game around branding. And that wouldn’t have come out if I hadn’t given myself that whitespace. So I will coach you to kind of like recalibrate your relationship to your idea of productivity and sometimes a few weeks is better than pages and pages of deliverables and a single day.


Alastair McDermott  35:23

Yeah, I think I’m not beating myself up about it. But I just do wonder sometimes. I really do.


Rebecca Gunter  35:31

All right, but that’s from the outside, right?


Alastair McDermott  35:33

Oh, of course, everybody’s doing all right. Like every, like, nobody shows the tough days on their on their Instagram highlights reel. You know? That’s, that’s the other side. Yeah, I mean, I’m doing okay, I’m happy with where things are at taking a long time to get my business to six figures. But I’m happy that it has a sustainable income and, and it’s paying for itself. So no longer do I consider the podcast a loss leader, it’s actually paying for itself. Now, finally. But you know, it did take the best part of 100 episodes to get there. That’s 100 weeks. That’s, you know, that’s, that’s yours. So, you know, when you got to be able to make that work, you know, and that’s the part you do. Like, I was talking to a guy who is a Americans have this horrible word, the winningest he’s won the most boxing fights of any boxer in US history. His name was cam awesome. I put out his podcast episode this week. But his his approach is, you know, if you if you just basically tolerate failure for long enough, you will inevitably be successful. If you just don’t give up, you will be successful.


Rebecca Gunter  36:43

Beating you against the rocks is honing you for that level of success. But a lot of people want to get out of the rock beaten.


Alastair McDermott  36:52

This is. Yeah, I think that you do need a certain mental strength. And maybe you get that maybe that’s something that you’d get from entrepreneurship as well. Maybe it creates that I do I have to watch the clock for for us here. I want to ask you, what is the number one tip that you would give to somebody who wants to build their authority?


Rebecca Gunter  37:15

Listen. That’s the number one tip I have is to listen to what other people are telling you. And I don’t just mean business coaches, I mean, your clients, I mean, colleagues that you’re running into, if you hear it once, it’s interesting, if you hear it three times, it’s a pattern. So listen to what people are telling you that you’re either places you delivered value, or things that were confusing, or just just any kind of feedback that you’re getting from the world and use that feedback to kind of help you shape your path and what you’re going to become recognized. And I started out as like an, like a just a rounds, Minh for marketing, like, oh, you need me someone to run your Facebook page, I’m your girl, you need someone to do this. I’m your person. And then from there, like no, I really like is the copywriting piece of it more than anything. So then I really kind of like leans into copywriting. People are telling you what they really get value out of is when I do the brand strategy piece. So then I start moving in that direction. So it’s really like listening, and not just assuming the way I’ll make it out here is to kind of be a jack of all trades for marketing. Not true. Actually, as you kind of go through and you just listen for feedback. And you shape how you move or kind of carve your path. It’s almost kind of, as you mentioned earlier, like the process of getting beat against the rocks, you emerge an authority in that piece. Because you’re leading with listening with curiosity. And then also with that entrepreneurial superpower of self discovery and self education, that will you know, I’m really curious about how that happens. And then you go down the rabbit hole of research and you’re able to integrate that into your knowledge and those things over time. So listen, be curious, and kind of let feedback carve your path.


Alastair McDermott  39:14

Yeah, really great answer. Thank you. Can you tell us about a business mistake or failure that you’ve experienced and what you learned from it?


Rebecca Gunter  39:24

Just today, count me every day. It’s a litany of mistakes that you’re trying to learn from. I think probably the biggest mistake I ever made was very early in my entrepreneurial journey. And I worked in restaurants and I had worked in independent restaurants and I had a strong network of restaurant tours and I was married to a fine dining chef. And so I thought and the market in Washington DC, where I lived, where I lived, was emerging for independent food businesses, food halls. There’s really this renaissance of having to independent, quirky little restaurants, and I thought I could help them compete with the corporate, you know, landscape by bringing my knowledge to the table. I could, but what I call it, it was operations, not marketing, because I thought, well, this is operational. No one has a budget for strategy, or operations and food, they have a budget for marketing. So because I refuse to call myself a marketing person, refuse to acknowledge that what I was doing was actually marketing because I wanted to be a consultant, that’s the hat I wanted to wear. I never made any real business, if I had spun myself as a marketer, or a branding person, which is what I really was that people had a line item for, that they could recognize, I probably would have had a less rocky journey of five years of abject failure with that business, but I learned a lot. And now I listen. When people say, you know, I have a budget for a marketing person, but not operations.


Alastair McDermott  40:54

Yeah, it’s it’s really amazing how, how humbling these kinds of experiences I’ve been, I had something similar I refer to as my MBA because it cost me about the same amount of time and money.


Rebecca Gunter  41:10

So yeah, exactly. Five years $20,000 a year investment?


Alastair McDermott  41:15

Yeah. Like, it’s, it’s tough. Okay, what about resources? Is there a business book or resource that’s been important for you, or that you’d recommend to people?


Rebecca Gunter  41:24

I can’t not lean into, you know, search cliched marketing, to talk about Seth Godin. But Seth Godin really does understand the way that marketing is spiritual, in a way and that how you can express yourself as a brand is very, very powerful. And then I also kick it really old school with Guy Kawasaki, who was an evangelist for Apple way back in the days Marvel and DC were competing, he really understand his this beautiful book called enchantment, which is about how to create a relationship with not only your customers, which is where he kind of leads, but also your colleagues and other people laterally kind of in your pod by just not by under promising and over delivering, essentially. And I think that those are two, there’s two beautiful authors to really lean into.


Alastair McDermott  42:21

Yeah, two great authors. And I’ve been following both of those for a long time. What about fiction? Do you read fiction? Is there anything you love and recommend?


Rebecca Gunter  42:29

I do, I love novels. I’m obsessed with this novel, it’s probably I don’t know, 30 years old at this point, by the English author, Martin Amis called “Time’s Arrow”. And I just gave a beautiful reread, and it’s so fascinating speaking of perspective, because the entire book is told in reverse, from like, a Nazi war crime, general, like from the from his death, essentially, in reverse of his life. And when I tell you in reverse, it is in the reverse, so you have to do the mental gymnastics to understand that he’s like eating soup or getting dressed, because it is literally like, he threw up all over a spoon, like, it’s all like in reverse. And you’d have to, in your mind mirror the actions to understand what he’s actually doing. And it’s just a really interesting kind of walk through one human experience. Backwards, like, in reverse. So “Time’s Arrows” are really neat.


Alastair McDermott  43:34

That sounds very strange and very interesting.


Rebecca Gunter  43:37

He did a lot of really meta, and you know, fourthwall stuff when? So, highly recommend “Time’s Arrow” by Martin Amis.


Alastair McDermott  43:46

Cool. Okay, well, it’s definitely the first time that has been recommended on the show. So thank you for that. Okay, well, Rebecca, we’re gonna have to wrap it up. Where can people find you if they want to learn more?


Rebecca Gunter  43:57

Thank you for asking. I have a beautiful new baby brand bouncing on the marketplace right now called Stoned Fruit. S-T-O-N-E-D-F-R-U-I-T dot com. And that is a place to learn big time about positioning and messaging. I have some DIY resources up there other content sources to learn about this and copy and we’re having a really good time over there at stone fruit. The copy is hilariously fun. So come and check us out.


Alastair McDermott  44:32

Yeah, I love your imagery and, and photos and graphics and everything looks cool. So yeah, I recommend people check that out. Well, thank you so much for coming on and going live with us today.


Rebecca Gunter  44:46

Thank you. What a cool time. I hope we’ll have another show here coming up where we’re going to do some positioning for you.


Alastair McDermott  44:52

100% Absolutely. I’m gonna do that. So thanks. Thanks for listening or watching and see you in the next one.


Rebecca Gunter  44:59

Bye. My pleasure. Thank you.


Alastair McDermott  45:04

Thanks for listening, I know that you’ve got a choice of podcasts and shows that you can listen to. So I really do appreciate your time and your attention. If you did find this episode interesting, I would truly appreciate if you could take 30 seconds to rate the show in your podcast player, or even leave a text review. It won’t take you long but it has a huge impact on the growth of the show. And it also helps to motivate me and continuing to do it. So it’s right where you’re listening to the show. You can also find a link in the show notes which will take you to rate and review. Thank you again. See you in the next one.

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