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Building Your Brand Identity

With Gabriela Lopez-Bucio, Madison Utendahl, and Nicole Leinbach Reyhle

36 minutes

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In many cases, your brand is the first thing a customer interacts with and the last thing they think about after they purchase your product or service. Building a brand that’s recognizable, highly resonant, and meaningful can supercharge how customers think about your business. In this panel discussion from the 2022 Women in Business Summit, hear best practices from brand leaders on how businesses can create an impactful brand, both in storefronts and across digital channels.


Moderator: Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, founder and publisher, Retail Minded

Gabriela Lopez-Bucio Founder and Owner of Gabriela’s Group

Gabriela founded Gabriela’s Group in 2018 with her brother Arturo to bring Latin representation to downtown Austin, Texas. In a few short years, Gabriela’s, Mala Vida, and Taquero Mucho reached an estimated worth of $3 million, making Gabriela’s Group one of the largest Latin-owned restaurant groups in Central Texas. She has since started three new ventures, including Revival Coffee, Seareinas, and Mala Santa.

Madison Utendahl Founder of Utendahl Creative, Vice President of Social Strategy, Known

Madison is a two-time Webby Award winning content and social director, specializing in content design, social media, and experiential marketing. She has been a creative on the founding teams of three cultural phenomenons: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, 29Rooms, and Museum of Ice Cream. In 2019, Madison launched Utendahl Creative, a social media and content strategy agency, servicing clients such as Refinery29, Milk Bar, Lemon Perfect, and Bandier. Madison believes in intentional hiring practices and advocates for providing opportunities to women and people of color in creative industries.

Nicole Leinbach Reyhle Publisher and Founder of Retail Minded

Nicole is a global retail thought leader, recognized by companies including IBM, American Express, and Vend, and has been within the top 10 of 100 worldwide retail thought leaders since 2015, including having held the #1 spot. In 2022, WWD recognized Nicole as one of 25 inspirational women leaders. Nicole regularly contributes to media outlets such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, and NBC and speaks at worldwide events with a core concentration on commerce and consumer experiences. She is also the co-founder of the Independent Retailer Conference, author of “Retail 101: The Guide to Managing & Marketing Your Business,” and has supported American Express’ Small Business Saturday as their spokesperson since 2014.

Emily: I would now love to invite our next session of speakers onto the virtual stage. This session is actually going to be led by a long time friend of mine, Nicole Leinbach. So great to see you, Nicole. And I’ll ask the rest of you ladies to join us as well, Gabriela, Madison. Here you all are on our virtual stage. All right, I’m going to just toss it over to you. No need for me to do more introductions. Nicole, take it away.

Nicole: We are so excited to be here. I think I’m speaking for all three of us when I say that. So thank you, Emily, and thank you, Yelp. Today, we are going to talk about building your brand, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have these two wonderful, very insightful, smart ladies joining me today. So I’m going to give a very brief introduction to each of them.

Nicole: First, I’m Nicole and I’m with It’s great to see you guys again. And we will start with Gabriela. If you could just say hi and give everybody a hello and let them know who you are.

Gabriela: Hi, everyone. My name is Gabriel Bucio. I am from Austin, Texas. I am a restaurateur and club owner here in the downtown area. I own one of the fastest-growing and largest restaurant groups here in Austin. I have about seven restaurants and two nightclubs in just three and a half, four years.

Nicole: Very impressive. I know I’m a big fan and we’ll have to talk about your social media presence later, because I’m a big fan of that as well. Madison, welcome.

Madison: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Madison: Hi, everyone. I’m Madison Utendahl. I am the founder of Utendahl Creative, which is an all-female design agency and also VP of social strategy at a firm called Known. Before building out my own company and working at Known, though, I was on the founding teams of Refinery29’s 29 Rooms, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and Museum of Ice Cream.

Nicole: Very impressive, ladies. Well, I’m going to kick off today’s conversation by simply asking you what lights your fire? What is it that truly sparked you to want to build the brand that you each have? Madison, why don’t you go ahead and go first?

Madison: Yeah, thank you. When I think about what lights my fire or gets me up in the morning, I would say there are two associations I have. One is that I am a storyteller first, and it’s how I identify. So to be able to have a career that is rooted in storytelling is so exciting and thrilling for me and something I feel very grateful for every single day. And I would say the second thing that lights my fire is I work with an incredible group of women, and I think we underestimate how valuable it is to work around people that you really enjoy; that the company you keep has a lot to do with what gets you up and excited in the morning. So I would say the people and then the storytelling component is what lights my fire completely.

Nicole: The company you keep, I think that is so wise because who you surround yourself with really does keep our fires alive, so that’s great insight for those of us listening today. Gabby, what lights your fire? I mean, you said four years… That’s very impressive, by the way… of building this pretty incredible brand. So what’s kept that fire alive?

Gabriela: Yeah. You said what sparked me to start my own business? It’s not such a pretty story, but I used to work as a paralegal, 9:00 to 5:00 job every day. And at nighttime, I would bartend to just make extra money for all the things that Austin has to offer. And I just felt that my ideas weren’t being appreciated at my regular jobs. And one day my boss just told me “Whenever you own your own, you can do whatever you want. Until then, it’s going to be a no.” So that’s what sparked me to begin my own restaurants and my own business. I grew up in the music industry, so I have a passion for music and bringing music and food to the Downtown Austin area.

Nicole: I love that. And I would maybe assume some people could think that’s an abrasive approach that you took, but instead, that straightforwardness was actually exactly what you needed to hear, and I’m sure many people can appreciate that as well. Certainly, I can. So today, we’re talking about building the brand identity. And now we know what created you guys to give you that spark, but let’s actually dive into the conversation of branding. So when you actually went about discovering the names and the creative background and all the details that go into building a brand, what was that process like for you? Madison, can you share a little bit about that?

Madison: Absolutely. So we’re fortunate enough to build brands all the time, and we always start our process by understanding: What is our consumer’s “why?” Why are we building this brand and who are we building it for? And why does the founder want to get into this? And knowing your “why” when it comes to brand-building is crucial. Too often, I find that brands create a product or launch because they see a trend. Trends are not sustainable. They’re fleeting. That’s the whole a point of a trend. So you have to really have a genuine understanding of self and identify your “why.” And then, from there, I would say find your emotional tenets. So what are the emotional points of connection that connect you from your product itself to your consumer and how can you stay loyal to those?

Nicole: So much valuable insight there. So, fantastic, thank you. Gabby, what can you share with us?

Gabriela: I have Gabriela’s Downtown, I have a couple of night clubs, and I have three different concepts… or four different concepts of restaurants here. And each concept is different, but when you walk into a Gabriela’s Group restaurant, you know that they’re my restaurants. So it’s just being authentic and staying true to yourself. It’s how I was able to create my brands.

Nicole: So I love that you said no matter where a consumer might walk into, you know it’s one of your Gabriela Group restaurants. And so let’s unravel what that brand consistency looks like and staying true and loyal to your brand. How have you accomplished that, Gabriela?

Gabriela: I have a repeating motif throughout my restaurants. I have one that is an authentic Mexican restaurant, I have one that is a seafood restaurant, and I have a pink taquería that is very popular on Instagram. Well, all of them are really popular on all of our social medias, but it’s just the branding is similar but different concepts.

Nicole: So the aesthetics, the visual piece of the brand is how I’m understanding this, so that when someone goes in, maybe they don’t know exactly who you are or the connection between those two restaurants, but they’re able to easily understand and complement each other?

Gabriela: Yes.

Nicole: Madison, you do so much in the branding category, both for your own brand and other companies in which you support. Can you talk to what that brand consistency and brand growth looks like?

Madison: Yeah and, Gabriela, what you just said, I think, is spot on. Really, what is your brand wink? What is that little… Whether it’s a motif or a tagline or a color choice, what is that identifier that a consumer can see, so when they walk into your space or grab your product, they can quickly associate your brand to what you’re selling? I mean, if you think about the Nike swoosh, that’s the ultimate goal. All you need to do is see that swoosh on anything and you know it’s a Nike product. So for us, when we think about building brands, we always ask ourselves like, “What’s the wink of this brand? Is it a color? Is it that it’s a bright orange and so that color becomes what identifies the brand? Is it this tagline or a logo?” Having a wink is central to being able to develop brand loyalty and retention, because now, Gabriela, people can go from one of your restaurants to another, see that wink, and trust it. So brands that don’t have a wink or don’t have that clue that indicates this is a part of the same family of brands or from this founder, I think are really missing out because it creates a genuine sense of connection and trust with your consumer.

Nicole: I love that, a wink. That’s such a great metaphor to relate to and understand. And it also reminds me of what it’s like to go from a physical brick and mortar presence, which Gabriela, that’s what you obviously have. You’ve told us today, you have all these great restaurants, but there’s also the digital component of that. You’re getting the attention of consumers often online, so digitally, before you ever bring them into your space. And, Madison, a lot of what you’ve told me in the past when we’ve chatted is about that digital component. So let’s talk about how you can brand both in a physical environment and that digital environment, and how they should still have that wink, no matter where you go. Madison, do you want to kick that off?

Madison: Yeah, sure. And this ties into what we were talking about earlier. The wink and how it translates digitally is I think social media in particular. Do you have a consistent and cohesive social media presence? Can I go to your Instagram and it have the same aesthetic that is on your website that’s also on your LinkedIn page? Too often, I find that brands aren’t thinking about the whole ecosystem of how they show up digitally. So you’ll see an ad from a brand and then you click the website and you’re like, “Wait, this is the same company?” You don’t want that. You want to make… There are digital winks that are the same needs that are in brick and mortar. Having that consistency throughout, using the same language, using the same color tones, having similar imagery is crucial when it comes to having a digital presence.

Nicole: I love the consistency. I always say that there’s four or five, depending how you look at it, Cs to success: clear, concise, correct, courteous, and that fifth would be consistency that I’ve added over the years. So super valuable. Gabby, again, you have the physical presence, but you have a huge digital stamp. How would you say that you are connecting to your audience in both of those ways with that consistency?

Gabriela: I can safely say we are one of the most followed businesses here in Austin with our social media. I think social media is great because, for the most part, it is free and it is a really fun and great way to give your message to your followers. And if you stay on top of it, you will get to know your followers in real time and you can be able to communicate with them, see what they like, what they don’t like. And just staying consistent, it’s helped us a lot.

Nicole: Yeah. I love what you said about getting to know your followers, because one of the key attributes of branding is, in fact, being relatable to your audience. So what are some of the tips that you can each offer in regards to not only staying authentic to your brand but relating and connecting to your actual consumer or audience, whether they’re existing customers or desired customers? Any tips you can offer there?

Madison: I mean, what comes to mind first is “be human” is what I always say to brands. Don’t try to sound like a robot. Use an authentic voice. And if you don’t know how your brand should sound, invest and take the time to come up with a voice identity. What are words that are on brand for you and words that are off brand for you, and how can you create a language that is consistent to your brand and what you stand for and then can show up on social? I find that the brands that are really, really strong on social sound human in how they’re communicating with their audience. They don’t sound super corporate. They’re not conservative in tone. They’re real and raw, and they answer people with an honest and emotional sentiment. And I find that that is a really powerful way to connect with consumers and just making sure that everyone who’s touching your brand is consistent. Consistency again, that’s the trend.

Nicole: The key takeaway is consistency today. Gabby, do you want to offer any more insight there?

Gabriela: Yeah, so I didn’t go to school for branding or marketing, but I do stay on top of the trends. I do. I’m very hands-on on all of our social medias. And what I have noticed is that people don’t want to follow a business. People want to follow real people, and yeah, following a business can be very boring, so I’m very upfront. On all of our social medias, you can see me. You can see my staff. We have developed characters within each business. So when people see our social media, not only they’re getting to know me, but they’re getting to know my staff and just, they like the people. They like realness. They don’t like a business.

Nicole: So is it fair to say that keeping it raw and real, so to speak, versus always having edited realities, but more so real realities?

Madison: Yeah, being human.

Nicole: So I have some great questions coming in, and I do want to go ahead and share some of these throughout our conversation today. This one is for you, Gabby, and they’re wondering how is it being a Latino going into the industry that you’re in, and how did you do that so fast within four years with such success?

Gabriela: Well, there was nothing like me in Downtown Austin. There was a lack of the Latino representation. One of my first clubs, Mala Vida, it’s on the historic Sixth Street District. We’re known to be the live music capital of the world. And in its history, there was never a Mexican club that played musica regional Mexicana, so regional Mexican music. And I was able to bring that to the downtown area, and now people that look like me can come to Downtown Austin, barhop if they want, instead of going to the outskirts. And that just started a snowball effect, and that’s how I was able to grow so fast because there was nothing like me before that.

Nicole: Pretty impressive. I think that’s fantastic. Looking for that niche and opportunity, too, is so important. And speaking of niches and opportunity, Madison, we have a question for you about online services. So companies that are offering online services, how do you go about giving some of that wink strategy to online service-based businesses?

Madison: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think that the wink, if you have an online service-based business, is in your voice and tone. So how do you define and identify what your voice and tone is: how you sound. Are there taglines? Are there little signatures that you can have in how you reach out to people? That can be equally as powerful. I mean, how many of us know brand slogans and mottos? That can become as synonymous with a brand success as the actual Nike swoosh. So I would think and apply the same strategy you would if you were developing or had a super visual brand in your voice and tone.

Nicole: And these are great questions, by the way. So for those of you listening right now, please do feel free to chime in and ask any more questions because we do have about five more minutes together or so, and we want to make sure we are answering anything that you might be curious about. So let’s continue that conversation in regards to brand growth and the brand strategy. As business leaders, would you say that forward-thinking is important in terms of positioning? How do you guys go about looking ahead into the future while continuing to grow your brand in the immediate days ahead of you?

Madison: That’s a great question. I would say that there’s a way to be past-, present-, and future-minded all at once. I’m a big believer in that things like these can exist at the same time. So the way I would look at it, or how we design it with brands, is thinking in quadrants and quarters, if you can. So think about the quarter that you’re in right now, what your goals are, and then set goals for the future and always have a line of sight to them, but don’t feel that is the only thing you should be working on. I find that brands, there’s a lot of pressure and people are like, “By this time next year, I’m going to have this.” And then they get nervous and anxious on how is that going to happen? That feels unobtainable, even if it’s a really ambitious and optimistic goal to have. So think about what are all the baby steps that you can then set up from now until then that become these moments of checklists that can support you in that end goal. So that’s a way to be present and also future-minded, baby steps. Write them out.

Nicole: I love that. Gabby, do you have any insight you want to share here?

Gabriela: Just stay on top of what your followers like. Stay on top of trends. Yes, trends aren’t sustainable, but you can see what people are starting to like, what they like. My expertise is social media, so people like more videos and they like seeing videos, so then that’s what we focus on like, “We’re just going to do videos and next week it will be something else.” And just staying on top, learning the trends, learning what your fans react to, what they like.

Nicole: Is there a specific routine or habit that you each embraced as you continue to grow your brand, whether it’s personal time to give yourself that professional energy, or what habit or just idea, in general, can you guys share from your own personal experience?

Gabriela: I feel like I am my followers. I’m an Austinite, so I go to all these music shows and I go to eat to all these restaurants and just… I don’t know.

Nicole: Yeah, no, it’s a loaded question. So, actually, speaking of loaded questions, we have so many coming in, so I’ll switch gears.

Madison: Well, I actually think… I would love to answer that one.

Nicole: Yeah, go for it, Madison.

Madison: Because it’s something that I really, really, really believe in having a routine. The best advice I can give for people who are comfortable doing this is: I put my phone on airplane mode at night when I go to bed. You can still set your alarm, but what that means is when you wake up in the morning, you can take a moment to breathe and pause and have your coffee or brush your teeth before you get the influx of text and… I mean, I get like 300, 400 emails a day between working at Known and then things from my past business. So I would say that setting airplane mode is a really powerful routine. And then every morning I always do bullet journaling, which is a brain dump. So for anyone who doesn’t know what bullet journaling is, you essentially just sit with a piece of paper, your journal, and just jot down everything that comes to mind, so you can free yourself of the ongoing to-do list that maybe you were struggling to stay asleep thinking about. Highly, highly recommend it. Meditating as well. It’s been a game-changer as an entrepreneur for me.

Nicole: Great advice. I love that. And it leads me to some of these questions that are coming in, one of which is, how do you find that balance of time between your professional success but also having, hopefully, a successful personal life as well? Do you guys have any insight on that?

Gabriela: For me, personally, I’m just very passionate about what I’m doing. To me, it’s not work. Just crazy about my job, crazy about what I do. So if I’m at the restaurants, I’m at the restaurants. If I’m working shooting TikToks, shooting Instagram Reels, and when I’m at the shows, I’m at the shows enjoying the music, the artists that we’re bringing. So, for me, it’s just passion. I’m very passionate and I don’t think it’s work for me.

Nicole: Really good advice there. Madison, what would you say?

Madison: I don’t know if I… I think that, as women, that question can be very loaded because there’s so much pressure on us as like, what is work-life balance? Can you do both? So the way I look at it is that it’s always about compromise. So there’s some days where I work longer and harder, and some days I rest longer and harder. So I don’t try to put pressure on myself to have this 50-50 balance, because I think that’s unrealistic, but I let my days be flexible depending on what my needs are. So I’m the biggest sloth on a Sunday, you know what I mean? That’s my total rest and relaxation day. That’s the day I’m not working. So I would say don’t put pressure on yourself to have a 50-50 balance of work and rest, but try to just trust the process and flow. And when you need to work hard, work hard, and when you need to rest, listen to your body, listen to how you feel, and pause.

Nicole: And that leads me to another great question we have from one of our attendees is about how do you get over the fear of failure? I mean, I think that you guys have accomplished so much, so you put that fear maybe to the side and just kept going. What can you share for those listening to take their best efforts to get over any fear they might have?

Madison: Yeah. It’s a really good question. Elizabeth Gilbert, who’s an author that I’m a huge fan of, she has this belief system that you never get over fear. You just have to recharge and rework it. I don’t ever start a business and I’m just like, “Whatever.” I always, of course, have the… You run through ideas in your head of what could happen. You just can’t let the fear hold you back. We need fear in life. There’s times our fear is very valuable, like seeing a car and knowing to step back. You don’t want to get rid of fear. That’s unrealistic and you do have needs for it, but when it comes to your creativity, your entrepreneurship, you can’t let fear lead. That’s where you have to put fear aside and trust and say to yourself like, “What do I want long term? Do I want to say that I gave it a shot and I pursued my dreams and passions, or do I want to say I played it safe because I was afraid?” No one achieves great things, in my opinion, through fear.

Nicole: Very, very good insight there, Madison. I think that some people hold fear a little bit too close to their heart. Maybe too close is the wrong choice of words, but rather simply close to their heart. So having the strength to move ahead and looking at successful entrepreneurs, like yourself, is really inspiring. And keeping that in mind, what recommendations can you offer entrepreneurs who are building a brand that is actually of themselves? Many businesses have personalities being themselves and they have to build that brand. Can you guys offer any insight there?

Gabriela: Well, for me, it’s like what do I like? What do I want the viewer or my followers to see? And I also DJ, so I share a lot of my DJing, which is what I do when I’m not working. So just show the real you: what you’re into, what you like to do when you’re not working, or when you’re not running your businesses.

Nicole: So incorporating just your real life that complements your busy professional life too, so people—

Gabriela: Yeah, it goes back to just being a real person.

Nicole: Yeah. That makes sense. For sure. Madison, do you want to share anything else to that question?

Madison: I completely agree. I mean, I think Gabriela’s totally spot on in that people don’t want the perfect buttoned-up no face behind a brand anymore. You know what I mean? If you’re working really hard to build something, show people that. Show people behind the scenes and the nitty-gritty and what it takes to build a business. That’s really accessible and relatable. That perfect brand that maybe has a… you’re like, “Who’s behind this brand?” That ambiguity people are not interested in, so be honest and real and raw and showcase who you are and show the imperfections.

Nicole: So when you’re starting to identify how to build a brand as an entrepreneur or somebody just starting out, at what point did you realize this is worth investing in both my time and maybe even dollars in and this is not? Because we’re seeing a few questions around that. How can you guys give any insight here? What has been worth investing in branding wise and what hasn’t been? How did you identify that?

Gabriela: What’s been worth is, again, I’m super big on social media and it’s what’s going to separate you from your competitors because I have a coffee shop, but there’s 20, 30 coffee shops within one-mile radius. So why are people going to choose my coffee shop over the other ones? So, for me, it definitely has been social media.

Madison: Yeah. And I would say, from my end, I always say invest in your design, invest in your logo, invest in the color choices. That is your first touchpoint is what people see. So the idea of not spending time and energy on how your brand shows up, especially your logo mark, to me, is a huge miss. That’s the worthy investment is how you show up in the world, which is the same thing as social. That is your touchpoint with your customer. That’s how I would think of it. And too often, I think people think of those two things last when they should come first.

Nicole: And that actually leads me to another question one of our attendees today has asked. They said, “Do you recommend to update your logos and mottos time to time as time or trend might change?” So what is your thoughts there, Madison?

Madison: That’s a great question. I’m in big support of rebrand. I wouldn’t say “time to time.” I would reference it every couple of years. And again, I think there’s a difference between a total rebrand versus a brand evolution. There are ways that you can upgrade your logo, tweak your color palettes versus completely starting over. But if you’re finding after two, three years of your business, that your customers are not engaging with your products, but you have enough capital to be able to redo your visual identity, it’s a great way to start over.

Nicole: Yeah, I would agree. I know personally building my own brand, I’ve done the same. And we have so many great questions, so I’m just going to keep asking you guys some of these.

Gabriela: I wanted to say something about that also when thinking of your logo, thinking of your colors, and your brand, from the beginning, think of something timeless. Don’t go with a crazy font or something that can easily go out of style. So from the beginning, you should think of something timeless.

Nicole: I love that. And also, something that I’ve often thought that, across the generations, you need to be able to see it and read it. If it gets too complicated, it can, you know, aging eyes, the generations mature. We need to be able to easily be able to read it with it, of course, still having that aesthetic to complement your brand. So we have another great social media question here. And that is, how do you balance quality versus quantity? So, of course, social media has stories and maybe you guys could speak to how you use stories versus posting and then, of course, the quality and quantity part.

Gabriela: Yeah. Right now, with social media, I mean, it is… Well, each platform is different. I feel with TikTok, TikTok you have to post three to four times a day… It’s insane… if you want to grow.

Madison: Yeah, sure.

Gabriela: But on Instagram, it’s a little bit less, but we do try to keep it to one post a day on Instagram versus on TikTok two to three posts per day, but you can have quantity. And now videos, everything they’re 10 seconds, so you can shoot something for 30 seconds and then just chop it up into 10 seconds, so you can still do quantity and quality at the same time, I feel like, because of how short everything is.

Nicole: Yeah, that makes sense.

Madison: Yeah. And I would say that the platforms have pivoted. A couple of years ago, especially on Instagram, having a super high-quality photo and shot with professional camera, that performed better. But the algorithm now, actually, favors things shot on an iPhone. So when you think about quality, especially for TikTok… And I hear people are spending all this money producing really high-end, fancy shoots for TikTok. That is not a platform to invest in when it comes to producing high-quality video. That is a quantity game. Gabriela is completely right. You just want to make sure you’re shooting with your iPhone over and over and over again and getting it out there. And then for Instagram, I would say, think about quality in terms of how your feed flows and the look there, but the iPhones are so… The cameras on iPhones right now are comp to professional cameras. You can shoot beautiful, beautiful photography with your phone, so that’s how I would do it.

Nicole: I want to remind all of our attendees today, too, to make sure to follow our great panelists today because we are getting some great questions about where you started, where you’ve been, your story. And so, because we only have about four more minutes, really, I do want to encourage everyone. So Yelp’s going to be making sure that they share their handles with you guys, because they do have a lot of insight on their social media like we’re talking about today. And one of the other questions I wanted to get to is, what would you suggest to someone who is considering leaving their corporate job and starting their own brand? So, Madison, I know you work with brands. Gabriela, you had that great story of someone telling you basically like, “Hey, the answer might be no until you work for yourself.” So can you guys each share some insight if that’s something someone’s considering?

Madison: I’m extremely biased here, but it is the best decision I’ve ever made. I can’t encourage it enough. We have one life that we get to live, and if you think about where you want to see yourself, do you want to have been in the camp that was pretty apathetic about how you spent your time and your work, or do you want to be in the camp that was passionate and gave it a shot? For me, personally, I wanted to be in the camp, just like Gabriela, of people who were passionate about their jobs and excited to wake up in the morning. And I think, yes, corporate life can provide us with a lot of safety. It doesn’t always provide people with happiness. You have to question, ask yourself what’s more valuable to you? What are your values in that way? I encourage it immensely. It’s scary. If it was easy, everyone would do it, so remind yourself of that over and over again. It is a risk, but I’m not in the camp that can say it’s a risk not worth taking. It is.

Nicole: Well, it’s easy to see your passion, Madison. And like you said earlier, you don’t live with fear. You put that to the side and get going forward, so great advice there. Gabby, what would you offer to someone who is considering leaving their corporate job?

Gabriela: I’ve never worked at a corporate job. I’ve always worked at small law firms. I’ve always worked at the small mom-and-pops restaurants. So I mean, I’ve never liked having a corporate job, so I would just say, “Go for it.”

Nicole: Or even a boss in general. I think a lot of our listeners simply have someone else telling them what to do and maybe they just simply want to be in control.

Gabriela: Yeah. I think they should just do it, and if you don’t like it, then you can always go back, but you should at least try it.

Madison: Great point.

Madison: Yeah. I think that’s a great point. I think that we put a lot of pressure on ourselves like, “If we start our business, we can never go back to having a full-time job. You can never go back to corporate life.” And that’s just not true, you know what I mean? You 100% can go back. That’s always going to be there. So I wouldn’t think that way if you can, because I think that’s what holds people back a lot is like, “Am I ruining my chances? Could I ever go back to having the consistency I used to love?” Yes, you can. It’s still there. It’ll always be there. Corporations aren’t going anywhere, unfortunately.

Nicole: So I have one more quick question, and then I’m going to ask you guys each a final piece of advice, but we’re closing in here on our last, but if you guys could offer any other marketing strategies beyond social media in the digital space, what would you say there is to do? So beyond social media, but still digital marketing, what can you share?

Madison: But still digital? I would say get on the ground, do grassroots marketing. Go out into the streets, meet people, share your… I mean, that is actually really interesting. Now, there are a lot of studies showing that because we’ve gone so digital, brands that are finding a lot of success or the ones that are going back to analog. So the ones who are doing posters and standing outside handing things, we’re so not used to that anymore that we actually start to pay attention again. So we’re going backwards in an amazing way. So if social media is not your jam, think about how you can get in front of people. We’re also in an era of life where people are really ready to get back out into the world. Our eyes are open. We’re paying attention. We miss connection and community, so I say go grassroots.

Nicole: Great. And actually, just because we have less than a minute now, if I could get each of your final piece of advice. Gabby, why don’t you go ahead and share that?

Gabriela: I would just say get on it. I like to tell people there’s never a perfect time to start your own business. There’s never a perfect time to start branding.

Madison: So true.

Gabriela: It’s never going to be perfect. Just start it today and then build as you go.

Nicole: Great advice. Madison, what can you share?

Madison: The quote I live by is, “Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.” So the more you keep telling yourself, “You’re not this, you’re not that,” the more you’re not going to be able to achieve those things. Start changing how you speak to yourself. So start saying to yourself like, “I can do this. I can achieve this. I’m going to be a successful restaurateur or social media marketer or whatever it is.” Don’t argue for your limitations. Be your champion. Truly start speaking to yourself differently, and it will go a long way.

Nicole: You ladies are so inspiring. Thank you so much. I’m going to hand this right back over to Emily, who’s also an inspiring leader herself. So thank you guys, and I hope everyone listening had a great time today.

Madison: Thank you. Thanks so much.

Gabriela: Thank you so much for having me.

Emily: That was so fabulous. I think my favorite part was remembering to have a little wink in your marketing and branding. That was awesome. I’ve been ferociously jotting notes down myself. So thank you, ladies, so much for your time. It was great to have your expertise on the stage. We really appreciate you joining us.

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