The Importance of Niching Down with Mallika Malhotra
January 18, 2022
How do you feel when someone asks you what your niche is?
If it makes you feel uncomfortable, you’re not alone. So many small business owners get sweaty hands when they think about niching down. But the truth is, choosing a niche for your business helps you stand out from the crowd, make your marketing clearer, and it help your network to refer the perfect clients to you.
Mallika is a brand photographer, an award-winning brand strategist, and the founder of The Brand Attraction Society. Mallika started her career working in corporate advertising working for huge brands like Loreal and Oil of Olay, and now she helps women entrepreneurs get clear on their brand message, show up as the face of their brand, and niche down so they can best serve their most ideal clients.
However, there is something you might not know about Mallika that I’m really excited to share with you. When she was in her 20’s she dreamed about becoming an MTV VJ, just like Downtown Julie Brown.
Too young to get that reference? 😳 Listen to the end of the episode and Mallika and I will explain exactly what an MTV VJ is and how what she’s doing now in her career isn’t too far off the path she had dreamed up for herself!
Is niching down in business really all that important? We think yes.
In this episode, Mallika and Erin discuss the ways niching down helps to attract the right-for-you clients and clarify your messaging. There’s no need to stress about what to say in your marketing copy when you clearly understand who it is you help, what you can offer them, and why your offer is better than your competitors.
Plus, niching down your messaging and marketing also helps the people who know you refer the right clients to you. And, this isn’t just your network who you communicate with all the time. There are, what I like to call, “the cheerleaders” out there who maybe signed up for your email list or followed you on social media or simply admire you as a business owner, but don’t have the need to work with you themselves. These “cheerleaders” are a wider base of referrals — they’ll help to bring people from outside of your network into your inner sphere.
But let’s talk more about our conversation on niching down
Some thoughts on niching down for small business owners and solopreneurs:
The big question: Is niche pronounced “neesh” or “nitch”. Do you think we’ll agree on the same pronunciation?
Does everyone need a niche? (We think it’s helpful for most people!)
The many reasons why niching down is actually helpful for your business overall, and also specifically for your marketing efforts
There are occasions when niching is not a good idea….we’ll explain when those are!
What to do if niching makes you feel anxious, and how niching down can actually create all the confidence you really need.
We answer the really big question on everyone’s minds: What do you do if you find out that your niche isn’t exactly what you want to be doing or if it’s not working out how you hoped?
There’s a lot you can learn from your ideal customers after niching down — we talk about the ways you can approach your ideal clients, take what you learn from them and use it in your brand messaging
I hope you enjoyed this conversation with Mallika Malhotra about niching down, and walked away from the episode with actionable steps you can take to stand out more in your business.
If you experienced any “aha” moments — or if you simply want to chat more on the subject of niching down — come find me on instagram @erinollila and we’ll continue the conversation!
“I think once you find your niche and then you tailor your message specifically to that person, you’re able to move from being this generalist to now being a specialist.” – Mallika Malhotra
“Once you narrow in your niche, once you put the stake in the ground, that you are an expert in this, and there’s a confidence that comes with that, then you no longer feel like an imposter, which a lot of us deal with.” – Mallika Malhotra
“You want to create a brand that has a reputation.” – Mallika Malhotra
Mallika Malhotra is an award winning brand strategist, confidence-stirring mentor, speaker and founder of The Brand Attraction Society. After years of working in corporate advertising on brands like L’Oreal and Oil of Olay, Mallika now helps women entrepreneurs get clear on their brand message, show up as the face of their business and find their power niche. Her friends and clients call her the brand energizer because she is a strong believer in getting out of your comfort zone, taking action. and implementing ideas. When she’s not building brands, she’s at home in Maine with her three sons and husband, drinking coffee or red wine and dreaming about their next global adventure.
Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform – and even transform – its intended audience. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and went on to co-found Spry, an award-winning online literary journal.
When Erin’s not helping her clients understand their website data or improve their website copy, you can catch her hosting the Talk Copy to Me podcast and guesting on shows such as Profit is a Choice, The Driven Woman Entrepreneur, Go Pitch Yourself, and Counsel Cast.
Read the transcript of Erin and Mallika’s conversation on niching down
NOTE: *Bots help to auto-transcribe the Talk Copy to Me episodes. We strive to do our best to make corrections, but please forgive us for any typos or confusing phases below.
Erin: [00:00:00] So, thank you so much for talking to me today. My first question for you, which is probably a question that we’ll have people, um, taking a 50, 50 split, but how do you pronounce it? Is it niche or niche?
Mallika: I like to say niche.
Erin: Okay, good. I’m a niche girl as well. I always hear people saying nitch too, and I thought it would be funny if we were saying different sounds for the same word in this conversation.
Erin: So, tell me from your own words, what do you think a niche is, especially when it comes to this world of marketing and branding and letting yourself kind of differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Mallika: Yeah. So I kind of think about a niche as kind of like a subgroup of a targeted market.
So let’s say you’re a brand photographer, but your niche is you do brand photography for women entrepreneurs, but specializing. Right. You’re going from a broad market and you’re going to somewhere more specific. I also like to say it’s, and there’s a lot of S’s here, [00:01:00] but it’s a specific solution to a specific problem for a specific audience. And really the niche is getting from being broad to something more narrow. So you’re getting super hyper. Right. That to me is what a nation.
Erin: That’s awesome. Do you think that everyone needs a niche? And if so, what’s the benefit for business owners who are looking to meet.
Mallika: So I think finding your niche is sort of an evolution. So when you start out in business, you’re really trying a lot of things, right? You’re validating your business, you’re validating your business model. You’re trying to secure that ideal client. So you might not be ready to niche down just yet. You’re kind of trying all the things until there comes a point, which I’m sure you felt. I know I have felt where you hit a wall and you’re tired of doing all the things and you want. Tighten up your message. And you know who that best client is that you really love to work with, where the one that you’re seeing the biggest [00:02:00] transformation you’re looking at your offers, and you know, that all the 10 offers you have only two are selling, right?
So there are different ways to sort of tight and narrow down. but in the beginning you might not be ready for that. And I say, it’s okay to be experimental. That’s where the research is. But over time, I think when you really want to accelerate your business, when you really want to stand out in your marketplace, when you really want to stop that spinning that’s where. Pause and do some of this work to figure out what your needs.
Erin: Yeah, that’s such a great point. And the other thing that I really think that helps is a benefit of niching is preventing burnout in your career. I think so many of us work so hard, you know, using the example you just said about having 10 different offers, right. You’re constantly. Doing the best that you can for all 10 different ways that you work with people which leads to burnout a lot quicker than just kind of niching it in, reigning it in a little and offering a smaller, targeted thing that you can be [00:03:00] better at. In regard to like accelerating your business and preventing burnout.
Erin: Do you think that when people choose to niche that it’s something that they can, they’re able to get those results quicker? Or do you think that’s also an evolution of getting that acceleration and getting maybe more of a better, like work-life integration?
Mallika: I think once you find your niche and then you tailor your message specifically to that person, you know, you’re able to move from being this generalist now being a specialist. So you’re actually figuring out your area of expertise and then you’re going from a broad audience to a specific audience. So once you tie that together with a message that incorporates both, then you become. Referrable share model find, will people have a picture in their head of who you are meant to work with rather than like, I work with women entrepreneurs, well, guess what? There’s a million of them, but if you can paint that picture of, I work with women entrepreneurs [00:04:00] who are, in saturated industries and they’re most service-based coaches or consultants who are struggling with standing up. Then all of a sudden people can be like, oh, I know someone like that.
And that really helps them accelerate your business because you’re building a reputation around something specific. You’re becoming a specialist, you becoming a master in that because you’re going from. What I call that junk drawer business, where you’re doing all the things to becoming a specialist in one thing for one client and with one solution.
So it becomes just easier for your audience to understand it becomes easier for you as a marketer. Well, and to communicate, and then it becomes easier for you to deliver great results because it’s rinse and repeat of that same thing over and over again.
Erin: Yeah. And especially speaking to what you said about being like easier to be referred to and, um, easier to share your messaging.
I think that’s a great thing to talk about. When we [00:05:00] consider copy, right? A lot of people will come to me and you know, let’s say their coach as an example, and they want to work with this larger group of people. Well, when I’m able to talk to them about SEO and how we can use targeted keywords to attract higher quality leads, I think it kind of clicks for them a little easier to say, like, They can remove the fear that comes with niching.
Cause I think a lot of it is just mindset and people are worried that if they don’t attract a large audience, they’re not going to get a potential return on their investment of their work that they’re doing in their marketing offers. Whereas if they are repelling a little bit more and speaking directly to a smaller audience, they’ll have better return on investment when it comes to SEO, clearer marketing message when it comes to any type of marketing, social media marketing. Email marketing their website. Copy. It’s all going to be a little bit more direct and speak to the right person when they’re able to reign in their offerings and, and [00:06:00] talk to who they target a little bit easier.
Erin: you know, I think that’s it in a web copy perspective. Again, I promise I’ll get off of this is that, um, people come to me and even like veteran business owners who have been working in the online space and they tend to have a lot wider range of services. So one of the. Uh, points of friction that comes in a web copy project is getting people to narrow that down, right.
And say like, you know, what’s serving you best. Where’s the strategy to offer these things to your clients. And in that is niching is finding like the better clients that they like to work with and, and how they can present that offer to., and I think that the end result ends up being that clearer copy.
So people are easily able to walk through the sales funnel that they have and say like, okay, I like this person. Like I can like, you know, get attracted to say a personality. Let’s say I want to work with them because of that. I want to work with them because their copy is showing me that they’re [00:07:00] professional.
Erin: Is this something that you see in brand photography? That like when people are better able to identify what their niche is that they show up better in their brand images.
Mallika: Yeah, because I think once you narrow in your niche, once you put the stake in the ground, that you are an expert in this, and there’s a confidence that comes with that, then you no longer feel like an imposter, which a lot of us deal with.
And instead you step into being a specialist and a master and. You know, psychologically and in your mindset and makes you feel much more confident. You feel like you can communicate better because you’re not all over the place. It has a huge trickle event effect. And then when it comes to your visuals or visual brand, it means that you can become the face of your brand, um, with so much confidence because you know that you are.
Not all over the place and you’re really are a specialist and charging a certain prices because you are that specialist. [00:08:00] I think when you can define that specific narrow niche, when you’ve done all the exercises and the work to figure out, you know, what do you love to do? Who do you love to work with?
Where do you see the most transformation? Right? The most impact. And where is the problem in the market? When you answer those things and you look at your offers, your audience, and you kind of do that work to then narrow it down, then you feel like you’re in a place where you can become that specialist.
And then again, you become the face of your brand with much more confidence., and you’re able to sell much more easily. You’re able to attract people, because again, like you said, you’re repelling the ones that aren’t in alignment with you., so there’s a lot of great things that happen, even though I know the resistance is so much people don’t want to do it because they feel like I’m leaving money on the table or I’m multi-passionate.
And so I can’t do that. If you can narrow it in, it just will [00:09:00] help everything from your marketing and the clarity of your message and, you know, servicing a very small group where you can become the big fish in the small market. Right. And get known and build that reputation. And that’s what branding is all.
Erin: Yes, totally. And I mean, I get where people come from when they’re fearful for this. Like when, when I first started my business, I was working solely for significantly large brands, billion dollar brands and writing just blog content or ebook content, things like that for them. So when I entered. Online world space, joining groups of like small business owners, writers, freelancers everyone’s advice was to niche down.
And I just remember being like, oh no. I mean, I write about a lot of different topics. And I think what had bothered me specifically at the time was that I did not want to be known for one specific topic. Um, but I think that’s also that curse of that like new business owner, right? Like we want to do everything.
So I, I think over the years is [00:10:00] where I was able to. Identify what I liked doing and also who I like serving. So I think for all the new business owners that are out there and that are listening to this, or even in like the first year I do sometimes it’s like, you know, I know you had said this early on Malika, but sometimes it’s not the best idea to niche immediately.
Figure out what you like doing, and maybe that’s you try different services and different products that you offer. And then once you’ve gotten the, like your feet on the ground and realize this is what I can specialize in, because I’m getting great results for my clients, I feel lit up when I’m doing this.
That would be the good time to decide to niche for me in particular, I think what was like a turning point. I loved working with big brands, but I didn’t really feel as in control of my own business because all of my income and projects were dictated by other brands, marketing budgets, and, um, just whatever they were planning to do for their own, uh, marketing assets.
Right. [00:11:00] So I kind of worked at the, at their Beck and call. So I started working. Other small business owners. And I realized extra, really like working one-on-one with small business owners. And I didn’t know that because at the time I wasn’t really willing to put myself out there and start working with like those little tiny fish.
Like I would be right. I’m a tiny fish compared to these big guys. Um, and then when I did it, I realized, okay, this is actually where my heart is. Like, I get so much more enjoyment in my job when I’m able to see this transformation, like on a much smaller scale. But it’s a much more massive transformation for the business owner I’m working with, who is suddenly able to like articulate their mission, you know, in regard for me to be copywriting or for you when they’re seeing these photos of themselves. And they’re like, oh my gosh, like, that’s me like, oh, I finally like, look like the face of my brand.
Erin: What advice would you have for those people who are in that transitionary period that I just mentioned, like I was in. So they’re finally starting to see what they like to do. They’re feeling [00:12:00] like they’re ready to take that leap and start to niche themselves, but they don’t know where to start.
Mallika: Yeah. Yeah. I think the first step I would say is when you’re trying to look at your target market, right. And you want to stop talking to everyone, do an audit. Go through your client roster, list them all out. See who you have to work with. See who you had the best transformation for. See who paid you openly open the wallets without fighting you.
Right? These things are important, you know, see whose problem that you solved. And then, you know, track those people, see if there’s a common thread amongst those people. Cause then maybe you’re not meant to serve everyone again. And now you’re being able to identify and define a smaller target within that client roster.
Right. Then look at your skillsets, all the things that you’re good at, you know, we’re, we’re all, you know, multihyphenate they call us. Right. We’re all good at all sorts of things, but it doesn’t mean you should. [00:13:00] You building your business on that. , so if you can write out all of your strengths and your skills and really try to understand and pinpoint, you know, what are people really coming to me over and over and over consistently for?
Is there something in the market that is a gap that I can disrupt that I can innovate because I have skills I can be leverage for that. I want you to really try to own something, claim it and commit to it. Instead of trying to be a Jack of all trades or a Jane of all trades, try to become much more of a specialist.
And again, when you combine the specific audience with a specialization, then you really start building a name for yourself. I want you to also look at. Um, the problems that you solve, you know, like, is there a certain problem that you’re really good at solving? And do you have a process that you’ve built a methodology, a framework that you can do on rinse and repeat, because that’s all part of that niche too, because you’re creating a [00:14:00] solution for that specific target. so I would say really trying to do that assessment. Auditing of your own services of your own clients, of your own process and see if you can then create a message around that. That is simple, that you can share with the audience because a confused mind never buys. So if you can simplify, you know, the problem to the desired result for that specific person for that specialty that you have, that you think can make that impact.
That’s where I think. You’ll be able to really define your niche. Um, and it will help you see a little bit more clear of where you should take your breath.
Erin: Yeah. That is such a good point and another, um, a follow-up step to that. I think once the person. Looking at what they’re doing and starting to figure out where their own niche is in the world, they could then contact those ideal clients they’ve already worked with and interview them, audit them and say, you know, like what [00:15:00] about the process?
Did you love, what did you enjoy working with me? How did I over-deliver uh, was there anything I didn’t do that you think I should do because that can help you as well, be begin to like narrow even the niche down, you know, let’s say someone decides they’re going to. B, let’s just say a photographer to start.
And then they’ve got to move into being a wedding photographer. Once they’re talking to some of these clients that they did weddings for, even if they were also doing pets the month before and babies, the month before that they can talk to these wedding clients and they could find out where they can step up better, what needs these people have, so they can begin to speak to those needs for future.
Um, customers, because like you said, you know, a confused person doesn’t, doesn’t buy. And if you speak to your general audience that you’re already worked with, that you enjoyed working with, they can give you those key differentiators of how to set yourself apart against your other competitors in the same niche.
Mallika: Yeah. I mean, one of the questions [00:16:00] I always tell my clients to ask when they do these customer conversations is why did you choose me over the rest? Like that direct to hear that Intel, that feedback of why they chose your brand right. And collecting that data and seeing what comes up consistently.
That’s a big part of your niche, your brand story, your messaging.
Erin: Yeah, I agree with you so much there. And I think that people are, are hesitant to do that. But what I have found with my own clients and as well as doing brand messaging, My client’s clients is that people actually want to help, like, like the people that you work with, they like you, they want to be able to give you the feedback to like benefit your business and make you a better service provider or product offer.
Right. So I think there’s a fear of asking our audience to help us grow our business or better our business. And I think that people really can put that fear aside because it’s not warranted.
Erin: one more thing you said to that, like a minute ago [00:17:00] was you said, you know, commit to a niche and just take that risk, go all in. And one thing that I think people forget. Is that if it doesn’t work out, they don’t have to do it like you don’t. If you decide that you’re a photographer and you’re going all in on that wedding photography, and you hate it, like you hate working on the weekends, you hate like all the love between these couples
Mallika: The pressure
Erin: Yeah. Yeah. Then you can decide at some point in time. Okay. I have gone on all in on this. I, it didn’t work for me in the way that I hoped it would. But you’re not really starting at square zero at that point, right? Like, because you’ve already start to get brand recognition. People are beginning to trust you, you have a portfolio.
And even if it’s in a different niche than what you are currently working in right now, you can use that as a step up to move into a new niche and try something else on. I just think the key, what you’re saying. [00:18:00] Commit to one thing at a time, right?
Mallika: Commit to one thing at a time. Give yourself a timeline though.
Like you don’t want to say 30 days and it’s not going to work. Things take longer than 30 days, right? Rants are not built overnight. It takes time. Maybe give yourself six months to test this out, to see if you like it, to see if you’re getting traction. If you’re attracting the right class. Um, do those customer conversations all along the way.
And if it’s not working out, you might have to pivot, right? You might make some tweaks. You might have to ask yourself those hard questions because you want to have a sustainable business. You want to create a brand that has a reputation. That means it’s going to be. No longterm reputation. That’s something that you’re constantly changing from month to month, because then the trust factor is going to be damaged with your audience.
Erin: Absolutely. Um, one thing I noticed a lot during the pandemic when I was working with new clients and previous clients was people were [00:19:00] beginning to step out over their niche for literally financial reasons. You know, like for example, they might’ve offered something that was not relevant or could not. Accessed in a remote world. So they needed to adjust their niche a little bit. And there was a lot of either fear or worry that their marketing would then take a, like a direct hit from that. But there are so many ways to, I think, um, widen a niche once you’ve already niched down. . So if people like use me for an example, as a website copywriter, if people get very used to referring me to write websites, Are not going to automatically think that I could then write an email campaign for them because they’re going to see me as this website person, but if needed. And I do for my previous clients write emails, right? In that type of world, like in the pandemic, as an example, I could easily go on social media and be like, Hey, Hey, who needs some emails? Right? Hey, who needs this? Who needs that? Because. It’s a skill that’s related to my overall [00:20:00] niche. All I’m doing is Whiting it up and then remembering to take in it back up again. Once the world becomes a little bit more, um, less turbulent .
Mallika: Yeah. I mean, sometimes things happen in the world that become volatile and we need to survive. We have to be in survival mode. And then when things kind of get back to normal, you might want to then tighten it up again. So that you’re you feel like you’re in more control of who that exact person is that you want to serve? Yes.
Erin: And from a strategic standpoint, what I’d like to recommend to people in this situation, because it doesn’t have to just be the pandemic. It could be like your own personal life turbulence. Maybe you need to have some offers to make, you know, a set amount of income that month, whatever the case is. , but what a lot of the questions I was getting asked or request I was getting was to change their website, copy to reflect this like widening of their niche. And I recommended. Against that for so many of my clients, I think when we have like this turbulence [00:21:00] or an adjustment of niche, the best thing to do is to keep your web copy. If you think of it as like the foundation, keep that consistent, but then open up your arms, such as email marketing or social media marketing to these new changes.
Let those be the things where you’re able to go and amplify those messages because they’re more of a temporary marketing perspective.
Mallika: Yeah, I think that’s really interesting. I think that’s a good point.. Right? How many times do you post on social media anyway, right? That might be the place to broaden your target or your message. I think that’s a smart strategy.
Erin: Thank you. And when it comes to offers in particular, I just want people to remember, they can throw up a landing page that has like, as a sales page, as an example, without having to change their entire website to show that there has been like. Shift in their niche or shift in what their offerings are. You know, one landing page could do all of the work for you. And eventually if you decide not to offer it anymore, you just take it down. , so [00:22:00] that, that was my suggestion to a lot of my clients who are, I think, very worried about the shift in their own business in their specific, personal and professional journey.
Erin: So, let me ask you a question then, because I know that you have actually had a couple of different careers within the same overall marketing world. Tell me about your niece journey and, and how you moved from being a photographer to a brand strategist while also still continuing to be a photographer as well, because I think it’s so interesting.
Mallika: Yeah. So I feel like I’ve had my own sort of evolution of my brand. And so, you know, the Niki photo brand has been around for 14 years. Um, I started doing children and family. Um, and then I started doing headshots and brand photography. I started doing workshops on Instagram and vision workshops. And so I call that phase my junk drawer phase.
Right. I did not have any issue. I was doing it all. And honestly, I was burned out. [00:23:00] People were confused. I kind of was a commodity brand versus a specialist brand because I was just competing on price because no one knew what I did. And I saw that there was a need in the market in 2015 for brand photography, there was more presences online.
There was a blogging. There were newsletters and social media was kind of on the rise websites. Everyone had a website and I was like, okay, I’m just going to cut everything else out. And I’m going to go all in, on brand photography. And so many people we’re like, are you kidding? You know, but I just knew that if I focused, I would probably grow a lot faster than competing with everyone who was just doing the same thing. So in 2015, I focused on brand photography and started building a name for myself where people started tagging me. Anytime someone had a question on what should I wear? What stories should I tell? You know, what are the key locations to go to? So many questions that were asked to me, [00:24:00] I actually started to create a Google doc, which I later wrote a book about the brand photography playbook. , but as I started doing more brand photography, I learned that the best. Brand photos with those that were grounded in strategy.
So I started doing a lot of strategic work with those same clients. And so it became like this balance of doing strategy, helping them get clarity on who they are, who they’re meant to serve, you know, what are they good at? How are they different? They never ask themselves these questions. They just were diving into photos.
Um, and then as I started doing that, clients started coming to me for just brand strategy. So. It was probably about two or three years that I only did photography and gotten to be a master that before I decided to extend my brand to then introduce , brand strategy. . And I think that’s an important lesson. Like if I just did both and position myself for both in the beginning, I don’t think. I could have had the success that I had by being [00:25:00] focused and being a mastering one, and then earning the trust of my audience and having the results and that improves to then move to say, okay, now I also do brand strategy and then growing that sideline business slowly.
So I did group programs, and that group program then transitioned into a membership, which I launched in 2019. Luckily right before the pandemic. Because honestly, since the Panda. Brand photography has to become a very small piece of my business. So I have completely evolved my own brand, my own niche. Now it’s not brand photography, it’s more brand strategy. if you’re in business long enough, you go through twists and turns, you see openings in the market, you leverage your skills and your strengths in new ways. You look at what people are asking you for, and then you go all in on that.
And so, right. Now almost 2022. My core offer is really the membership. I do have a few brand photography clients, but I’m not [00:26:00] marketing it as much. I’m really just marketing the brand strategy.
Erin: Oh, I love that., let me ask you that question. Before you wrote your book. Did you write it because you wanted to be an author or did you write it as an asset for your business?
Mallika: I wrote it is definitely an asset for my business. I mean, I always had on my vision board author one day, but I think I just saw an opportunity, right? No one had in one resource, everything you needed to know to plan a brand photo shoot, no one had the pictures to show you what the end results would look like. No one could talk about styling and props and posing. Like I wanted to put it all together and do it in a way that it wasn’t like. A business book with no pictures. Like I treated it almost like a magazine, something a little bit disruptive, something different, like a coffee table book. Yes.
Erin: And it is as beautiful. I remember seeing it. It is a beautiful book. It is definitely not your like, Hey, come look at this workbook guide you have, or like, you know, this 200 [00:27:00] page text only book it’s very magazine, like, which is exactly an amplifies your own brand. Right. And then leads people to, even though the book is focusing more on the photography, it’s showing the strategy that goes behind it, which also is your niece. So all of that has really helped to evolve your brand to be the consistent. Person in marketing that you are the like the visual photographer to this brand strategists that knows the whole outside realm of how to brand yourself and your business.
Mallika: And it’s definitely opened doors for me. As soon as people hear that you have a book, it all of a sudden. You know, elevates your brand a little bit, you know? And so for podcasts for virtual summits, as soon as they hear that you’re a strategist, a photographer, a speaker, an author, it’s it opens doors for you. So it’s definitely worked really hard for me. This book, you know, I’m not in the book business where I’m selling. [00:28:00] You know, it’s making a huge impact in like my revenue or how I live my life. It isn’t, like you said, it’s an added bonus. It’s almost like a tool for my own personal brand that opens doors for me for more opportunities to scale.
Erin: Yeah. Which then gives you the return on investment. And I think that’s what people forget about different types of marketing assets. They can serve you well in a way that you might not see an immediate financial reward to that. Yeah, you’re getting such a, , growing your network, getting a popularity boost, like building that trust in your actual structure, diegetic intelligence, because people know that you put the time and effort into creating that asset and it still is working consistently well for your business.
Mallika: I mean, I wrote that in 2017 and I’m still like, surprise me. People still buy it. People still mention it. They use it as a tool. So it’s, it’s been great to have.
Erin: So, before we end our conversation, when I introduced you, I told everyone that you had a [00:29:00] prior dream of being an MTV VJ. So tell me, tell me a bit, a little bit about this. I felt the job was so exciting for you when you were younger. And how do you think that you would have aced that career? If you went down that career path versus the one that you actually went down?
Mallika: Oh my God. So, you know, I love music. I love hip hop music. I mean, MTV, I don’t know how old you are, but you know, downtown Julie Brown, like she was the person I wanted to be to like be introducing and talking about music and being with the stars and like having like the people dancing. It was just so fun. So creative and. You know, so different than the world I was brought up in, you know, my parents are in the medical field. My dad’s a doctor, my mom’s a nurse. I was just something I never thought I could even do. I mean, I ended up doing advertising, which is kind of linked into media in that way, but yeah. Um, there was just a lot of energy and fun and [00:30:00] creativity that I saw in that, you know, combined with the music. , and it was always like a dream, you know, like to be on screen and to be visible and to be talking to these really talented artists would be just the whole.
Erin: Yeah. You know, it’s so funny though, because knowing you as a business owner, like in some ways, I’m what I’m listening to you and watching you right now, we’re on a video call, we’ll be do this. And I’m like, D you did that though. Right? Like as the brand strategists, especially as the coach brand strategists, you. Totally lift up your community. You teach them, you build that excitement with them and they’re all, most of the people in your community have a lot of creative factors. So you are kind of living this life that you wanted, right? I mean, it is different. You’re obviously not, you know, onstage, you’re not talking. I mean, you’re potentially not talking with celebrities. You may be some of these people you’re working with, but you’re, you’re building that brand with them. Right. And you’re, let’s share leading them, which is [00:31:00] kind of what these VJ’s did, uh, for any like, um, young people who are listening to this podcast. Well, if you don’t know what an MTV VJ is, a VJ was a, a video jockey. So back in the day before there was like this MTV show that used to have like music videos on it, radio jockeys, where people who like discussed music on the radio. And all of a sudden when we were younger, MTV came out with these video shows. So. To show like any new music that was released, they’d have a video that went with it and they’d have live audiences and people would come and they would introduce the,, the recording artists, let’s say, uh, interview them a little bit, talk about the video that they were releasing and just kind of like pump, pump up the audience and build excitement about , these songs.
And it was a big cultural change at the time, too. Right. Like we didn’t have, that was a very MTV was really groundbreaking with having these video DJs and, um, I, I think you would have been excellent at that job,
Mallika: really influencers back then, you [00:32:00] know, downtown Julie Brown. I mean, An influencer, I guess you would call her in today’s day and age, but she was absolutely.
Erin: Yes. And you would have been great at it. So before we end, tell me quickly, how can my listeners find you on.
Mallika: Yes, this has been awesome. So you can find me right now. My brand is still Miki Foto, and my website is www dot Miki, foto.com or find me on Instagram. That’s where I spend most of my time in my handle firstname.lastname@example.org, which is a mouthful, but I’m sure somewhere in the notes, you can write it out to find me and connect.
Erin: That’s wonderful. And don’t forget if you’re listening to this. We actually have a brand visibility booster that you offer to your audience that you’re going to share with our group. I will link to that in the show notes. It talks about the six images that every entrepreneur really needs with their brand.
And I think it will be great to help people on the beginning of their leasing journey, or if they’re doing any rebranding to really make sure that they’re nailing. [00:33:00] Key elements that they really need with their brands. So thank you for sharing that with my audience. You’re welcome. Thank you so much for having me today.
All right. You have a great day now.
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