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Marina Byezhanova: Why Every Leader Needs a Leadership Brand

Marina Byezhanova is the Co-founder of Brand of a Leader, a personal branding agency for entrepreneurs and executives. As an entrepreneur, global speaker, show host, and personal branding expert, she has been quoted and referenced in various publications, including Inc.com, Forbes.com, Yahoo News, Financial Post, Fast Company, and Success Magazine. Marina’s mission is to inspire entrepreneurs to speak up, stand out, and be radically authentic through the power of building their personal brands. She’s a tenured member of the Entrepreneurs Organization, having served in local, regional, and global roles.

Intro  0:04 

Welcome to The Future Is Borderless podcast with David Nilssen, we feature top entrepreneurs and thought leaders from around the world, those who bring a global mindset and a unique perspective to their life and business. Now, let’s get started with the show.

David Nilssen  0:23 

Hey, David Nilssen here I am the host of this podcast. The goal of The Future Is Borderless is to invite on business leaders who have what I think is a borderless mindset. And the goal here is to share best practices, new ideas and innovations, things that can be applied both to our personal and professional life and ultimately helping us to lead in a rapidly changing world. Now this episode is brought to you by Doxa Talent. Doxa Talent helps businesses to source full-time highly skilled workers from all over the world. And as a result, these companies can scale faster increase margin and improved culture, the most common roles that they help fill our virtual assistants, finance professionals, sales and service, help desk and even software engineers. To learn more about how you can leverage offshore talent to build your business go to doxatalent.com. All right, today, I’m excited for this particular show. Marina Byezhanova is an entrepreneur, global speaker and university instructor. She’s the co-founder of a personal brand agency called Brand Of A Leader. And Marina has been quoted and referenced in lots of different publications including Inc Magazine, Forbes, Fast Company Success Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Post, and many others. And she’s spoken all over the world to executives and business leaders in North America, Asia, Europe, and even the Middle East. She’s a tenured member of the Entrepreneurs Organization having served in local, regional and global roles. But Marinas mission is to inspire entrepreneurs to speak up, stand out and be radically authentic through the power of building their own personal brands. So with that, Marina, welcome to The Future Is Borderless.

Marina Byezhanova  2:00 

Thank you so much for having me, Dave, just you saying the word borderless evokes a lot of emotion in me. I grew up in the Soviet Union, where all we had was borders. And now to be sitting here. And just as you said the word borderless several times I noticed that I had this almost physical reaction that made me feel so elated. The future is borderless.

David Nilssen  2:22 

I’m excited to hear that. Yeah, I mean, I obviously am biased. And I totally agree with that. But I’m glad that you have a personal connection to it. Obviously one of the reasons why I wanted you to be on the show. Now it’s been a while since I had a chance to see Marina. I had an opportunity to see her speak in San Diego, she was fantastic. And I thought that this would be a topic it’d be really interesting for our listeners. So I thought it would be good to just zoom out for just a second and make sure that everybody has sort of the same foundational understanding. So in your mind, can you tell me what is a personal brand?

Marina Byezhanova  2:57 

So a personal brand, really, if we go down to a definition is a unique differentiator and consistent associations that your name evokes in people’s minds? And essentially, the process of personal branding allows us to build equity in our own names, recognizability and consistent associations of our names.

David Nilssen  3:19 

Yeah, it’s so funny, I hear that, but who actually needs a personal brand? I mean, what type of leader, what type of individual should be interested in building one?

Marina Byezhanova  3:30 

You’re hitting a sore spot here. And not only because, of course, I’ve had a lot of personal brand and Kool-Aid, this is my life’s work. But what my mission is to inspire people to have a voice and to use that voice. As I mentioned, I was born in the Soviet Union, I grew up in post-Soviet Ukraine, and it was the land of censorship. And then when I came to Canada as a teenager, I kid you not I was thinking, this is democracy. People can speak up people can say anything. And technically, yes, we can in practice, no, we don’t. I’m seeing so many people self-censor, so many inspiring incredible entrepreneurs that are hiding behind their businesses. So who do I think should have a personal brand? Well, first of all, I believe that everybody should have a voice. And sometimes that is a controversial opinion. But I believe that all because my audience is entrepreneurs, I believe that all entrepreneurs have the not only the right, but almost the obligation to inspire to impact to pay it forward at scale.

David Nilssen  3:34

Yeah. And actually it’s funny as you were saying that I was thinking to myself, well, if really the brand is what people perceive you to be right. It’s how you make them feel. It’s what they believe about you. We all actually have a personal brand whether we want one or not. The question is whether we want to take, no you disagree, tell me why.

Marina Byezhanova  4:58

I disagree, you see, for two reasons. Number one, I think that everybody has a reputation and not everybody has a brand. And if you think about it in business terms, every business as long as it has some customers will otherwise it won’t be a business has a reputation. Not every business has a brand, right? Your corner convenience store doesn’t have a brand, maybe yes, maybe life, your corner restaurant doesn’t have a brand, no, but it has a reputation. I think the same is true for people. So I think we all have a reputation. A brand has this marketing angle to it. And brand has a unique differentiator. So for a human being to have a brand, we need to figure out what the differentiator is number one, and number two, because you’re saying, well, if I’m putting myself out there on big scale or not, people are forming their impression of me, thus I have a brand. But as human beings, we can be perceived in 100 different ways. And they’re all authentic, because we’re complex, right? If I told you write down a list of all adjectives that could describe you, well, you could write down a good 100. And again, they’re all authentic. What makes a brand a brand, however, is the consistency of association. So when people start describing you uniformly the same way, then that is a brand. So that’s the difference between branding and reputation.

David Nilssen  6:11 

I love it. And by the way, I love the fact that you just like outwardly disagreed with me, most people are really sensitive about how they spend that. I’d rather just have a nice discussion around this. But I like the distinction that you make between reputation and brand. I think that makes a lot of sense. So you said that you focus on working with entrepreneurs, and you’re helping them sort of uncover their own brand, right? Which is not easy, by the way. So I’m curious, because I think about the things that I believe the things that I do, a lot of it is intuitive, it isn’t like crystallized into something very specific. So tell us about the process that you take people through to help them sort of uncover what makes them different.

Marina Byezhanova  6:51 

It really is a process of introspection. And I think that’s what so many people get wrong. And so many people say, well, I tried building my personal brand that didn’t work out. And then we say, well, what did you do? Well, people told me to go on LinkedIn, and I posted something on LinkedIn, but then nobody was really reading it. And we think that posting something on social media is building a personal brand, because we’ve being told that very often, and it’s not true. So yes, it’s a process of introspection. And it’s a painful one, as all introspective processes are right, very often will have find, say, oh, I feel like I’m meeting with my shrink. Isn’t this supposed to be a brand insight session. So what we do is with our clients, we’ll go through a process of three interviews, three deep dives, where we talk about your childhood, we talk about all the things that made you you. What happens when you talk about people’s childhood, a lot of tears happen, a lot of opening up happens. But the reason we do that is we get to really the heart and the core of who you are, what makes you you to then extract that and build the unique brand positioning around that. One of the biggest mistakes that people make in personal branding is equating personal branding to what they do, and not who they are. So very often, you’ll hear people say that personal branding is about thought leadership. Well, not everybody is a thought leader, you have to be honest, they can’t cheat on the concept of thought leadership. Because there are scientists and academics and their thought leaders who are not all thought leaders. And that’s okay. And that’s also where often people will get very intimidated, I’m going to build a personal brand, I need to be a thought leader, one of my thought leader, and then it gets very uncomfortable. But when you build a personal brand around who you are versus what you do, and then what you do is one of your talking points to make a connection between you and your business. And that becomes a lot more powerful. And there’s a lot more profitability in that as well. Because what we do changes but who we are doesn’t.

David Nilssen  8:44 

I think that’s really fair. In fact, I remember years ago, before I had even launched my own site and sort of thought about how I want to be perceived. I’ve always struggled with the fact that I wasn’t sure at least in that business, if I was a thought leader, if I was somebody who was going to be creating lots of content and providing some sort of unique perspective in the market, at least at that time. And I struggled with that. So I love the fact that you sort of called that out. You also said something a second ago that was something that I’ve wondered about as well, which is how connected should your personal brand be as an entrepreneur to the business that you serve?

Marina Byezhanova  9:22 

Depends on your goals. So if your goal with your personal brand, or at least one of your goals is to serve the business so for example, attract customers to the business or a players or retain employees because people like working for inspiring leaders, right we know that and know what your values are and what your mission is and all the different things you’re trying to attract investors to the business. So if you throw your personal brand, you’re trying to service the business then yes, there shouldn’t be a connection. But what that connection is, is you building your personal brand, talking about two to four topics consistently and staying in those lanes, not talking about 10 different things, not talking about anything and everything that came to mind in the morning. So two to four topics, one of those topics is one of your businesses. And then if you have another business, then that’s a second topic. And then one to two topics that humanize your brand, that have nothing to do with any transactional value of any sort, just things that you’re passionate about, or things that you stand for maybe a core value, something completely disconnected from the business.

David Nilssen  10:24 

Maybe you can give me an example. So like when you think about your own personal brand, obviously, branding is a portion of it. But what are the one or two things that maybe you speak about that sort of personalized or humanize yours?

Marina Byezhanova  10:36 

So my personal brand is all about standing out, speaking up and being radically authentic. That is what my brand is all about. So one of the topics that I talk about on the credibility, expertise building side of things is, of course, personal branding. But then a second part, the humanizing pillar, if you will, is my immigrant life and my immigrant journey. I talk about the difficulty of standing out when you’re an immigrant, the difficulty of speaking up when you’re an immigrant, and not a difficulty, but lack of acceptance when you’re being radically authentic as an immigrant. And so of course, being Ukrainian when the war in Ukraine started on February 24 of this year, that expanded a little bit. So I’m still talking about my immigrant journey, but also what it is to be Ukrainian. And I talk about Ukraine quite a bit and giving voice to that. But see, it connects that humanism pillar needs to connect to the overarching position. And so for me, that is, as I said, standing out speaking up being radically authentic. And that’s what we do with clients as well, we’ll figure out the overarching, and then the credibility pillar and the humanizing pillar have to support that in building up the brand positioning and associations.

David Nilssen  11:41 

Yeah, I will want to appreciate you sharing that connection. I know, that’s a tough time for your home country. And hopefully, hoping that that works itself out pretty quickly, because I know that it’s been a very, very tough, tough time. But you said something a second ago, that actually reminded me of a class that I took. I had a chance to go to IMD in Switzerland for a what they call high-performance board training. One of the things that they talked about was ESG, or CSR, which is your corporate social responsibility or your environment, sustainability governance initiatives. And they talked about how so many people get it wrong, because they put something out there that doesn’t actually connect to their business in any way. So it’s like, it might be good for the planet. But if it’s not good for the business, and or connects to the business, then it doesn’t really work. And so I love the fact that you talk about your connection to your brand, your why and then of course, the things that you speak up or out for. So I think that’s very, very cool. When is the right time, so, here I am, I started my business, I’m a new entrepreneur, when is the right time for me to start thinking about my brand?

Marina Byezhanova  12:51 

Again, it’s a sore spot, right? Because I really am quite disturbed by how many people, incredible people, incredible entrepreneurs silence themselves and hide behind their businesses. I think that it is a disfavor to everyone and anyone. I was at a learning event. And I was sharing a cab ride with an incredible entrepreneur here in Canada. And he said, I’m very curious about the whole personal branding thing, but I don’t think I’ve have anything of value to say. I said, really, it’s interesting. I said, you build a successful business. He said, yes. I said, well, when you have meetings inside your organization, are you typically sit in there and you have nothing to say? Or do you feel that you bring value? No, I bring value. Do you feel that you inspire your team? He said, well, yeah, I think I really do. Like, okay, when you meet with fellow entrepreneurs, and they present their problems to you or their issues, do you usually are you at a loss of what to say to them? Or what to recommend? No, typically, I have a lot to bring to the table. I said, okay, well, so you could be doing exactly that, but at scale. And so as entrepreneurs, as business owners, as professionals, of course, we already have our circle of influence, right? We are influencing people, we’re doing things, we’re impacting people, we have people that come to us and say, you impacted me, you inspired me, you influenced me, right? You have people coming to you, I’ve no doubt about that. Imagine that. But at scale, that is the power of personal brand building. So when should people be doing it? Well, as soon as possible, and not necessarily looking for a transactional benefits to that. If we think of oh, my God, if I just put myself out there a bit more. And I can influence people, I can inspire people, I can pay forward, I can make a difference. Well, why not do it? And of course, if it translates into transactional tangible business benefits for businesses, or if we’re employed for a career, well, fantastic.

David Nilssen  14:42 

By the way, I love how you sort of backed him into a corner with all of those questions. You had them trapped physically and mentally. I love it. It’s funny though. I’ve never really connected these dots. But tomorrow I’m actually doing a presentation on the future of work and some of the trends that are starting to emerge in this what they call the great attrition. And funny enough, McKinsey did some research. And one of the things that they published is that nearly a third of people who are turning over effectively leaving their jobs are 1/3 of them cited that uninspiring or uncaring leaders, was the reason. And I had never really contemplated that going through the process of sort of clarifying your brand and being radically authentic, as you talk about may actually help in terms of people not only wanting to follow you, but stay with you. So that’s interesting. I did some research, obviously, in anticipation of this particular episode, and I read an article that you had written on the five steps to building a personal brand. And one of the things that you talk about is choosing a platform that works for you. And so I thought, maybe be good for us to talk about what are the options when you say, a platform? What are those options, and what is each generally used for?

Marina Byezhanova  15:58 

Thank you for reading my article. It’s a good one. I’m proud of that one in particular, and I’m proud of it for a couple of reasons. There are two things, two mistakes that I noticed people making, again, because of a lot of poor advice that we get out there. Number one, building marketing or personal brand and choosing a platform does not mean choosing a social media platform. That’s really important to mention, we know of people who have huge brands, big visibility, and they’re barely on social media, they use it as a dumping ground. Seth Godin is a great example. He’s an author, he’s a best-selling author, right? He has a fantastic newsletter. If you are not signed up for do it. It’s daily, but it’s short punches. It’s great. He’s phenomenal. And even though he’s a marketer, he barely leverages social media, right. So number one important to mention that social media, but of course, it gives us scale. Of course, it gives us more visibility and eyeballs, but it’s not the end all be all. That’s number one. Number two, one of the other things that I mentioned in this article is the biggest mistake that people are making when marketing themselves, which is so there are five steps to marketing. You’re figuring out your personal brand and marketing yourself. Number one, you have to figure out what your unique positioning is. Right? We spoke about it, without it, there is no brand. Number two, how do you want to be described for that consistency of associations that we spoke about? Number three, well, who is going to be your audience who’s going to care about what you’re speaking about? Or whom do you want to see caring about your message? Then number four, what are you going to be talking to those people about? We spoke about it as well, right? What are going to be your content, pillars expertise building, and also humanize it? And then finally, what you’re asking me about now is platforms. And thing is, most of us when we first started putting ourselves out there, aka building your personal brand. Did this exact same thing follow this exact same process, but in the exact opposite order, right? Typically, it goes like this. Somebody tells you, you know what, Dave, you’ve got to be on LinkedIn. Are you on LinkedIn, you’re not on LinkedIn, so you’ve got to be on LinkedIn, you go to linkedin.com, you open it, like, okay, I’m on LinkedIn, I’m going to post something today. So that’s step number five. Okay, what am I going to post today? What should they talk about? What should they talk about? Step number four, Who’s going to care about it? Let me write in this form. We’re writing it for potential clients, like my buddies, entrepreneurs, I’m I writing this for my employees, right? Step number three, what are people gonna think of me? Are they going to think I’m showing off? I’m just bragging? And then we don’t even get to step number one, which is, well, what’s my angle here? What’s my positioning? Right? So in the ideal world, before we get to deciding what platform we need to figure out, well, who is our audience? What are we talking about all those different things, because some of that can dictate the platforms that we’re going to build our visibility on. And the platforms can vary from social media platforms to having a personal website, launching a newsletter, writing articles for a variety of publications, print or digital, writing a book launching a podcast, as you did guests in other people’s podcasts. So there’s a wide variety. And the choice depends on A; your comfort level on those different platforms. Which one would you enjoy? Or which one would you dislike the least? Because I have a lot of people say, I don’t want any of them. I don’t like this stuff. Do I need to do this? So at least starting with one that you dislike the least and then committing to that, and then whatever resources and time permits because the more the better, but you want to choose dependent on your time and availability?

David Nilssen  19:19 

Yeah, I’m gonna go on a hunch and say that most people that are listening to this podcast, including myself will say that I’ve been guilty of taking steps five through one verses one through five, that is just, I think it’s impossible not to identify with. I use brought up social media a second ago, and I want to talk about that because you teach a university course on social media ROI, I think. It’s been around for two decades, social media and maybe even more, but it still seems to be a hot topic. People don’t really know how to measure it. They’re confused on how to use it. So you teach this course, like what are you telling your students at this point on how to think about social media and to determine whether or not it’s working for you.

Marina Byezhanova  20:05 

So social media strategy, and ROI is the course. And I was quite flattered when I was approached by the university to teach it. They saw me speak at an event. And they approached me and they wanted me to teach the course. And I said, great. Let’s look at the outline. Let’s look at the curriculum, I’ve looked at it. And I said, this is a little bit of old news, what you’re teaching a; and I said also b; my focus is not social media strategy, and ROI in general, I’m a personal branding person. So I will teach this course if you allow me to modify the outline to talk about social media ROI of personal brand building on social media. And so they said, yes, and I started teaching the course. And it was fantastic, because there was half of the people that absolutely hated me in that class, because they just wanted to know, for a company, what am I posting? And how am I getting followers, and half of the people couldn’t believe that this content was available at the university. And we were talking about personal branding. So that was my angle, I was speaking about how to build presence for an organization for a company, but by leveraging personal brand building off its leaders, and also employees, because there’s also a big part where if you create ambassadors for your organization, by helping your employees build their personal brands, that’s a lot more power than you trying to post about awesome events you’re hosting at your company on your company’s page, or having your HR talk about how you are a great organization. So there’s also that angle personal brand building is not just for the entrepreneur, him or herself. As business owners, we can leverage it in many different ways. So I teach that.

David Nilssen  21:41 

Let’s talk about that a little bit more. That’s fascinating. So I think amplifying, or having evangelists or influencers within your own organization is fascinating. So how have you seen that sort of play out? Is there any sort of case studies, you don’t have to name any companies, but case studies that you’ve seen where that’s worked out really well?

Marina Byezhanova  21:59 

It works out extremely well. And there are studies that show that posts that come from employees accounts talking about the organization are substantially more effective than posts that are coming from the organization itself. And obviously, right, because there’s that lack of trust factor, right? Of course, they’re saying they’re great. But if they are a customer service rep is saying what a great company it is, oh, wow, it must be really a great company. Right. So that’s one of the things that had been the leader we started working with organizations on is coming in and conducting workshops to teach employees how to build their personal brand. So this is the value that we’re bringing them. Because you can get a group of employees and say, be ambassadors for our company, right? That’s really hard. But if you’re saying, well, we’re going to have a series of workshops, where we’re going to teach you how to build your personal brand, everyone’s interested in that these days, right? Nine out of 10. And the younger, the more interested, right, so we’re going to teach you how to do it. And as part of it, we would like you to include content about our organization, in the content plan that you’re going to be creating for yourself. And we’re seeing that not everybody ends up executing on it, but people that are bring quite a bit of value to the organization.

David Nilssen  23:06 

I love it. I think that’s a really cool idea. And I think it’s something that more companies need to think about. Because yeah, to your point, when I see a company post about themselves, I know it’s bias, right. And there’s a commercial opportunity that’s tied to it in one way, shape, or form. I see somebody post about their employer, and I’m intrigued by it, because it’s credible, right? So makes total sense. Marina, let’s talk about your entrepreneurial journey. I’m just curious, at what point did you decide to go down this path? And then second part of that question is at what point did you start to identify with being an entrepreneur?

Marina Byezhanova  23:39 

What a complex question. I never wanted to be an entrepreneur, as I mentioned, well, I was born in the Soviet Union, I was nine, when the Soviet Union or part of Soviet Union finally became Ukraine again. And that was 1991. And the first thing that my dad did was go and register a business. So my dad was one of the first entrepreneurs in Ukraine, I can proudly say, and I saw how hard it was, it was terrible. And he was so proud of it and so excited. But trying to build a business and both Soviet Ukraine. One of the things was in was a software business, it was quite progressive. But if you were to pay all of your taxes at the time, they are in Ukraine, if you were to pay all of them, the sum would be over 100%. And they did it intentionally on purpose so that if you were running a business, they knew that you were a bit of a crook, right, that you weren’t paying all of your taxes, did it on purpose that the government could always have a bit of control over you. And so one of the reasons why my family ended up moving to Canada and then again, I saw my dad build his business and was so hard. I had zero interest in anything remotely related. I wanted to have a corporate career, and I wanted to be in a SkyRise with the view of downtown and take pictures and send them back home. And Marina made it. So entrepreneurship found me. It was almost serendipitous how I started my previous business. And I did not think that I was an entrepreneur for the over a decade of running that business. I did it. And in all of my talks, I called myself accidental entrepreneur. And I talked about how I was not an entrepreneur. And every time I would be in a room of entrepreneurs, I felt the deepest, biggest sense of belonging. But I was completely convinced that nobody else felt that about me. So I felt this is my feeble, I’m not the only weird one. This is a whole bunch of weirdos, but I felt like an imposter. And then when COVID hit, my business got hit really, really hard. It essentially got disseminated overnight, we went from doing fantastic growing nationally, reputable, recognizable, HR consulting firm, and we went to zero revenue overnight. And this is when there was a big decision that I was faced with, do I fight for the business and rebuild that a business that I had fallen out of love with? Or do I pursue what I knew was going to be my passion building a personal brand and agency, which was part of the vision, but three years later, so COVID accelerated things as it did for many of us in many different ways. And so when I started Brand Of A Leader, and when in a completely different vertical, and when it took off, and now that we have clients in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, in a blink of an eye, this is the first time that I said, you know what, I am an entrepreneur. Because if you do it once, it might be luck. But if you’re doing it a second time, it might be a thing. So it took me many, many years to acknowledge that I guess I am.

David Nilssen  26:46 

Yeah, I think a lot of entrepreneurs feel impostor syndrome, which is why I like that question. Because the day you start as an entrepreneur, the day you feel like an entrepreneur are often very, very different. So I appreciate you sharing that. The podcast, this one, is The Future Is Borderless, and I’m just curious, what is it about you or your business, outside of the fact that you come from Ukraine, you live in Canada, you’ve traveled all over the world, what makes your business borderless?

Marina Byezhanova  27:14 

Everything is the core of the business and how it was built. So we’re building Brand of a Leader with a zero employee model. And this was by design before COVID hit and before I knew that I would be building Brand of a Leader sooner rather than later, as I mentioned to you my other business was in HR in the HR space. And so everything that we’ve done from recruiting for organization to work in a company culture, programs within organizations, employer branding campaigns, HR and talent is something that I got to know very, very well. And the struggles associated with it. I got to know the pain points very, very well and my own pain points with my own business that I was building. And I remember interviewing somebody for a podcast, she wrote a book that’s called Million Dollar One Person Business. She’s actually Vern Harnish’s ghost writer, Elaine Pofeldt from New York. And so she was on a quest to interview people who built multimillion-dollar businesses with no employees on payroll. So of course, with teams, but no employees on payroll, multimillion-dollar businesses, and she was finding them and she was finding and finding and finding. And so I remember interviewing her about that, just as COVID was about to hit us all it was in March 2020. And I remember telling her, that is my dream, this is what I want. I want a big team, but no employees. And 2020 March, that wasn’t really a big thing, right? And so she goes, well, why don’t you then pursue that Marina, why don’t you build what you want? And I said, but I have employees, where are they going to go? And then poof, COVID happened. So when I started building Brand of a Leader, I said no, I’m now going to do what I want to do. I’m going to build a business with contractors, subcontractors, freelancers, and white labeling of other agencies services under the brand of Brand of a Leader. And so now we have teammates from all over the world, but not a single person on payroll except for my co-founder and myself. And I do believe that it is the future. I know that not every organization can do that fully at 100% as we can in professional services. Of course, that is our edge in that but I believe it is the future for everyone.

David Nilssen  29:32 

Well, I certainly agree with you. I think it’s really interesting, some people are doing what you’re doing, which is fully what I would call well, no, you called it no employees, and then they’ve got those that have all employees and then those are in the middle. But I certainly think that there is more moving towards the sort of distributed offshore contracts like that is certainly the way of the future and I believe that too. I know we’re getting close to the end of our time, but I wanted to just ask you, what I found about entrepreneurs is that they’re lifelong learners. And so I’m curious, if you think about the things that you’re trying to learn or develop today in you, what are you focusing on?

Marina Byezhanova  30:12 

I am learning to be more structured. And I’m learning about processes and procedures, all the stuff that us entrepreneurs will love so much. We know it’s important, but we don’t love it. But I learned how very important it is, and especially managing clients and team members that are globally distributed. And being able to be really structured becomes really, really important. So that’s my big focus right now, among others. But that is a big one.

David Nilssen  30:40 

Well, one, I’m not surprised, because I think that is something that a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with. But given the your business model, the fact that you’re decentralized, and distributed means that you have to spend more time sort of coordinating, creating clarity, timelines, deliverables, all that kind of fun stuff. And as you’re obviously growing really quickly, that’s going to become more and more important. So it’s very cool.

Marina Byezhanova  31:01 

It’s a different way of building a company culture, right? I know how to build a company culture in the traditional model. Because well, not only did we do that with our previous organization, but we consulted companies on it. But in this case, it’s very different. So there’s the benefit of nobody quite quitting on you, because they’re not tied to you, you’re not at the risk. So there’s a benefit, but also, how do you create that buying and a culture within, I think it’s a fascinating thing to be uncovering. But with incredible amount of talent found all over the world, it’s good problems to be solving.

David Nilssen  31:36 

Absolutely. Well, I think you’re right, how we build culture is going to continue to shift. I don’t think a lot of people realize that now, I keep hearing that, when things get back to normal, but I think there is a new normal people just need to be able to sort of settle in to absorb that because the reality is that the days where we all do everybody in one office, and you could train by sending somebody next to them, you picked up culture through watercooler talking, what have you, those days are gone. And so we’re going to start thinking about it very, very differently. So, glad to see you’re ahead of that curve. Well, we’ve been talking to Marina Byezhanova from a Brand of a Leader, Marina, where can people go to learn more about the work that you do?

Marina Byezhanova  32:17 

So of course, I’m on LinkedIn, because that’s the platform this day for those of us in business. So I am there, I post there regularly. And of course, our website www.brandofaleader.com.

David Nilssen  32:33 

Awesome. Well, we will put those, both your LinkedIn profile and the website in the show notes. But thanks again for being on the show today.

Marina Byezhanova  32:41 

Thank you so much for having me, Dave.

Outro  32:45 

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