“To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose under heaven” (The Byrds)
In July this year, after more than seven years of trading under the name Yoga Reach, I decided it was time for rebranding. It was a decision not taken lightly. I’d put considerable effort into building the Yoga Reach brand, most notably through running face-to-face courses around the country and presenting two years in a row at the Yoga Australia conference.
I had a steady stream of inquiries wanting business coaching, website design, copy writing and attending my digital marketing courses. Within the yoga world, the Yoga Reach brand was pretty well known. Yoga continues its exponential growth, moving from marginal hippie-types firmly into the mainstream. So why quit when you’re ahead?
Building the brand
When I started Yoga Reach in early 2008, yoga was just about to hit the mainstream. Seven years later, the market is saturated with yoga studios and yoga teacher training courses. Yoga on social media is a huge deal. I field lots of phone calls and have numerous conversations with yoga teachers who feel misrepresented by their yoga peers online.
And while I’m far from a yoga purist, I was feeling a bit tired. The more I delved into yoga businesses, the less inclined I was to actually practise yoga. Part of my decision to rebrand was to reignite my love and passion for practising yoga (not just reading, writing and talking about it), a love affair that has continued through highs and lows for more than 18 years now since my very first pose (which I remember vividly) in my first yoga class at age 17.
Pursuing my Ideal Client
My Ideal Client is idealistic, sensitive, creative and altruistic. They’re motivated by a larger ideal of what’s possible, not only in their particular field but in wider society. They tend to think with their heart more than their head in business.
They also think very deeply about things – they’re far less inclined to dive in and prefer to look at something from as many different angles as possible. They have bucket loads of integrity, letting their values guide their decisions, rather than being purely profit-driven. They don’t play follow the leader – in fact, they’re fiercely independent and proud of what they’re building.
They face the same challenges – burn-out and over-work, lack of clarity, stagnation and earning plateau, difficult prioritising and the desire to make business a little easier, working fewer hours while magnifying their impact.
Sometimes they’re yoga teachers or Pilates teachers. Sometimes they’re psychologists or therapists. Sometimes they’re life coaches or health coaches. Sometimes they run NGOs, think-tanks or social enterprises. They may also be GPs, osteopaths, masseuses, graphic designers, or obstetricians. The more people I saw in business, the less relevant their particular sector became.
Back in November 2014, I’d registered the business name ‘Hustle & Heart’ and the domain HustleandHeart.com.au at the same time. It’s a good idea to do both at the same time to ensure your can secure your brand.
Between November and June, I’d wasted a lot of time pontificating, procrastinating, doubting and all that other fun stuff before I really got going properly. I had, however, published a ‘pre-sales’ page with a sign-up form and collected email addresses from people who were interested to find out more once Hustle & Heart (finally) launched.
I’d considered announcing the closure of Yoga Reach to my list back in July which would have been the perfect timing, considering that our inaugural Hustle & Heart group began at the same time.
The reality, however, was I just wasn’t organised enough to:
- Tell all clients what I was doing before I announced it more widely.
- Change my Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube channels from Yoga Reach to Hustle & Heart or Brook McCarthy.
- Redirect all major Yoga Reach website pages to the relevant BrookMcCarthy.com pages.
- … On top of the 1,001 things that needed doing to get the first Hustle & Heart group coaching program off the ground.
So I got the first Hustle & Heart group bedded down first before, a month later, telling my community what I was doing.
Back to square one
I admit, I had become complacent in pitching. I’d had a few good years of business being steady and strong. I still pitched to people, but they tended to be people in my industry who already knew me. In other words, an easy pitch.
It was back to square one – time to get out of my sector and into the wider world. Time to pitch, hustle, promote and market my new brand.
From June to October, I’ve been seriously busy! First, there was the ‘Work Life Balance in a Get-Ahead Culture’ event as part of the Vivid Sydney Festival. My colleague Rebekah Lambert and I put this event on at the top floor of the Museum of Contemporary Art. The Harbour sparkled with gorgeous weather and a packed house of people attracted by the desire to change the stress, anxiety and overwhelm that modern working life (largely) entails. It was a completely different audience to my Yoga Reach community, though a few friendly faces from my community came too.
In late June, I presented on ‘Confidence and Credibility’ at the International UN World Yoga Day at Bondi Pavilion, and Alexa Nehter’s ‘Professional Yogis’ course. These weren’t exactly outside the yoga sector, but both events gave me the opportunity to keep working on my key messages of how confidence is a practice that can be cultivated, clarity comes through iteration, and credibility and professionalism are imperative to business.
Throughout July and August, I presented at four different business networking groups including Angie Cowen’s delightful Wellness Woman event where I spoke on ‘Marketing with Heart’. Again, this was a great opportunity to talk about Hustle & Heart – who it was for and the particular issues, problems and challenges that it was catered for, including harmful attitudes towards money and charging that so often trip up women in business. I also gave away my newly branded merchandise – Hustle & Heart mugs, stickers and business cards too.
In October, I presented ‘Branding You’ to a group of fine arts students at TAFE – once more this was a great opportunity to see how my words fell. There’s no better method of refining your elevator pitch or point-of-difference than seeing how your words and concepts are received by people who aren’t your close friends and family.
The boring, but essential stuff
First, ahead of exporting all 180 or so Yoga Reach blog posts, I went through and deleted several that I didn’t think did I great job of representing my brand. In some cases, these blog posts hadn’t aged well (such as ‘Why you need more Facebook time in 2011’).
Exporting all Yoga Reach blog posts was done by my tech team. Exporting blog posts from one site and importing them to another doesn’t take too long to do. The ‘clean up’ takes far longer – that includes moving all images across to your new site, adding new images, correcting links (though strictly speaking, this doesn’t need to be done since all links are redirected).
Rather than deleting all 71 Yoga Reach pages and 165 blog posts that escaped deletion, I set up 301 redirects using the plugin ‘simple 301 redirects‘ to direct all these URLs to the new URLs on BrookMcCarthy.com
When you permanently move a webpage, it’s always best to set up a 301 redirect on old URLs so that your web visitors won’t access an obsolete web page and won’t receive a 404 error message. 301 redirects are also important for your search engine optimisation (SEO) as it is the only code understood by search engines when indexing a site, not only helping your incoming web traffic, but transferring the SEO status of your old web page to your new web page.
The nutshell version of my rebranding
- Wrote the pre-sales page with a sign-up form for Hustle & Heart. There was very little information on this page.
- Ensured the new Hustle & Heart website and first intake of participants were first up and running.
- Told my clients about my rebrand.
- Told my list and social media community and my rebrand.
- Deleted several old blog posts that were no longer relevant.
- Exported all blog posts and replicated a few key web pages from Yoga Reach to BrookMcCarthy.com
- Set up 301 redirects at YogaReach.com.au for all pages and posts to BrookMcCarthy.com
- Commissioned some mugs, calico bags, stickers and business cards with the new brand.
- Went into promotions mode and ramped up my speaking and training gigs.
Important last note
Although I worked really hard throughout June, July, August and September, often working nights and weekends, I also took good care of myself. I said no to as many commitments as possible that weren’t essential to what I was doing. I had regular massages, spent a few morning lolling in bed with my laptop, and planned three weekends away in a row after the first Hustle & Heart group finished, to the Blue Mountains, Perth and Melbourne. This was also a fantastic opportunity to meet a few Hustlers from the first intake.
When you’re busy and working to a deadline (or five), it’s imperative that you prioritise rest and recuperation, even if it’s as simple as having a long soak in a hot bath before retiring to bed early. Relaxation is essential to productivity.
There’s so much more to do and so much more to come! My plans include more speaking gigs, more meet-ups with Hustle & Heart alumni and many more Hustle & Heart groups to come!