Building a Digital Empire From Scratch w/ Melanie Brandt

Alex Morris (00:14):

Welcome back to the coaches to the moon podcast. Every one where today we are talking about the business of coaching with a very good friend of mine, Melanie brand. She's a fellow digital marketer. She's a social media expert. Self-Proclaimed and she's the founder of lifestyle in the industry or independent lifestyle industries, media, and marketing. She helps businesses grow their brands, make their whole digital landscape. And she's an all round legend, Mel. Thanks for being here.

Melanie Brandt (00:45):

Thanks so much for having me. I my diary is absolutely jam packed, but you know what? I was always going to make time for this because you know, we, we worked here.

Alex Morris (00:55):

Well, thank you. We do, we do. And I know you are one of the busiest people. I know. So you have full permission to be interrupted by a child or parent during this not a problem at all. I'm fine with that. And yeah. Thank you for making time, for sure. It's always a pleasure. So I want to start by saying that I know you've had some huge success in your company lately, but six years ago, you were a full-time working mom. You had that mom guilt and a lot of parents dads as well get these days. And you're just really not hugely happy with your life. Tough question. If you could summarize the secret to your transformation from full-time working mum to where you are now in one word, what would it be? Okay. Let's unpack it. Growth is a growth broad, and that's fair enough. Is it personal growth? What, what got you moving in the first place

Melanie Brandt (01:54):

To me, the pain of staying there, I was, you know, it was enough for me to, to start to open my mind on what was possible you know, much like everyone else. I sort of thought that you worked a nine to five and that's just what you did. You know, if you wanted to contribute to the household, you would need to have a baby and go back to work. And you know, I didn't really know any other way until, you know, the online spaces introduced to me and the kind of, I guess I was like a kid in the candy store. My eyes just lit up and went, are you kidding me? Why hasn't somebody told me about these? So, you know, I think when I say growth I needed to become a different version of myself in order to be able to maintain a business, you know, that is now extremely successful. So I, you know, six years ago, I wasn't this version of myself. And there was lots of things I needed to grow through and lots of healing that I needed to do from, you know, life and all the things that we get handed along the way.

Alex Morris (02:59):

Totally.

Melanie Brandt (02:59):

And I think personal rights are really big part of it, but what I, what I see a lot these days, I don't know if you see this as well, is coaches in the coaching space. They think they need to be perfect before they can achieve any level of success. And they think they need to be because they're a role model. They need to be fixed and healed in every way. But I know that I'm not fully healed. I'm not by any means. How, you know, do you think you need to do a lot of the personal growth before the business? Or do you think it comes with the business? I think, look, I dive straight into it. I didn't learn the process. I didn't learn, you know, I didn't get in to the online space and digital marketing. I started off in network marketing.

Melanie Brandt (03:45):

It, so I didn't, you know, anything about anything to do with anything really. So I just hit the ground running, but I had committed that I would learn along the way. So it was very uncomfortable as in, you know, every day it was like, oh my God, I'm doing what I'm doing. But I just did it. And then, you know, I called it failing forward. So every time I got it wrong, it wasn't like, oh my God, I, I completely just got that wrong. It was like, okay, cool. Let's try again. And let's not do that this time. And and I just continued to fail forward every time it fell apart, pick it back up, start again. You know, it was literally like getting pants 45 times a week, you know, it was like, okay, grab, pull them back up again. Let's keep going and running a little bit more bang.

Melanie Brandt (04:29):

They come down again. It's like pull them up, keep running. You know, it's the only way that I can put it. Cause some of the, some of them were complete an epic fuck-ups there's no other way to put it. They were, they were completely face down moments where I just went, I don't even know how I'm going to get out of this. I don't, I don't even know what the next step is, but finding the people that you can reach out to is key. You know, Hey, I'm stuck. Help me. What do I do next? And I, I guess for me, I was never scared of reaching out. Whereas I think a lot of people suffer in their undies because they try and do it by themselves.

Alex Morris (05:05):

It's like the pants get pulled down. They don't pick up again.

Melanie Brandt (05:09):

Yeah. Yeah. They, they much like being at a bucks party. They're strapped to the light pole, but naked, like no one's helping them. So, you know, it is, it's it, you've got to have the courage to go. I don't know what I'm doing and I need help.

Alex Morris (05:24):

Yeah. And that's why you and I both paid the same guy, 20 grand to band his mastermind. Right. You know and we both made it back and it's a scary, scary step to make. But you, you get used to, you know, investing in yourself and taking bigger and bigger risks, but you know, if you commit to it, like you didn't, you know, head down bum up, you just, you make it all back in waves pretty quickly.

Melanie Brandt (05:48):

I think it wasn't until I started investing, you know, before that I had some success, but it wasn't, you know, monstrous levels. And then as soon as I started investing in working with people that could help me get the outcome, I was looking for quicker, holy Molly, things changed completely. And then the investment started to get larger, you know, and it was still scary. It was still, you know, like, oh wow. You know what, if this doesn't work. But you know, the last investment I made has this completely turned my life around. So

Alex Morris (06:20):

Absolutely. And I know you also have a pretty big team of people. How many people are on your team at the moment Thinking about seven, seven people in your team. So that's seven paychecks you got to send out, having a team member is a bit of, a bit of a risk. How do you justify the risks of taking on a new team member? And, and that outlay of cash that you need to do. So,

Melanie Brandt (06:42):

Yeah. So I think really, you know, I work with my team members strengths, you know, I don't really throw them things that I know they're going to struggle with because that makes me anxious because we're on such a strict timeline and we turn over such massive amounts of growth for people. I think we've got, you know, 30 something website builds in progress at the moment. It's absolutely insane. So I need to make sure that when I bring team on that they have the strengths that I need at that time. And, and really, you know, it's just about understanding, like everyone starts somewhere. So, you know, we really guide them and teach them what they need to know. But I have specialists in every area I don't try and have one person that does it all. You know, I've got people that create my content. I've got people that build websites, I've got people, you know, that literally Excel in the areas that they love. And it means that it doesn't feel like work for them either because they're just doing what my lot.

Alex Morris (07:40):

Awesome. I love that. And that's a really, really cool philosophy. And just having other people help you with your strengths and that's what makes a business right. Rather than being a full-time job.

Melanie Brandt (07:51):

Yeah. And I think, you know, now we earn more than we ever have. And I probably, even though my diary is quite busy, I have more flexibility now than I've ever had. You know, so if I want to just go Mia, I can literally just hand my business over to my team and, and off I go and I can trust that it's still going to be a flight the next day. But yeah, I think, you know, there are a lot of risks that you need to take. And I guess I kind of try and remove the emotion from it. It's a business decision and if it works great, if it doesn't, then we just find another option.

Alex Morris (08:25):

Yeah. Great. I, I actually brought on my first full-time employee this morning and yeah, it's been a game changer. You know, this podcast, I'll send it off to him. He's going to clip it up, find the nuggets of gold that you have some direction it's going to go off on all my social channels with some content that's been created that he's branding up for me. And then your team is going to throw that out there and increase the engagement on it. And it's just stuff I used to spend such a long time on every week and is now open for either growth or, you know, doing what I want to do, like hanging out with my family. And you're a family lady, you know, it's a, do you grow your team with growth of the business in mind or with your own time freedom in mind?

Melanie Brandt (09:10):

I grew my business within the thoughts that I'm actually growing my family. So everybody on my team are incredibly important to me like out of business which is really, really cool because we are all invested in the end result of the company's growth. Which I think, you know, and we've heard it before that if you don't have a, a mission that your team's working towards, then everybody kinda just goes on, here's your documents, here's your here's whatever you need. And there's no love put into it. Whereas the people that I've brought into my company I've actually that have been in my space for many, many years and, you know, they, they felt honored to be on my team. So I think that that's really, really cool and, you know, I wanted to create, I didn't want to create jobs. I never wanted a job.

You know, this is why I started what I started. I wanted to be able to have that flexibility. And I wanted to be able to create positions for people that allowed them to work from home. So, you know, I I have a heap of moms on my team that raising little babies or cooking little babies at the moment and you know, this allows them to, to keep doing what they're doing and still have an income. And, you know, they're in complete control of how many hours that they take on board which is really, really cool, cause they've just designed their life.

Alex Morris (10:38):

That's super awesome. And you know, the way that you've said that you're building your business, that's what great business owners do is they think about how many people can I employ? How many people can I help with this business? Not how much money can I make. But my question is how do you get a remote worker working from home, believing in your mission as a company?

Melanie Brandt (11:03):

So I think, like I said, you know, it was really important for me to find people that were Australia based. That was very, very big for me. Because I needed the understanding of the company. I needed people to know my story. And this is why when I recruit, I quite often put it out on my socials because I want to recruit somebody that I know I want to recruit somebody that you know, has watched my journey over the last few years. So I think that's how I've done. It is, you know, I've just got people who are, you know, honored to be a part of what we're creating because they S they see themselves as, you know, a friend to me, you know, there's somebody that holds value in my life. And, you know, by holding that value, they don't want to let down, so they play at a higher level.

You know, they, they know what this means to me because they've watched me create it and not give up on it for, for almost seven years now. So, yeah, I think I had to, for me, I personally had to, to find people that wanted to be on this journey. And I had to find people that understood that, you know, if you stick with me in this growth mode, while things are messy, it's a beautiful mess at the moment it's organized chaos. You know, if you can stick by me through these times where, you know, things are messy and crazy, but so beautiful you're going to be very well rewarded, and you're going to be able to pick your wage and pick your business and pick when you work. And I'm quite happy to support him on that. You know, quite often I say to them, you know, I'll pay you eight hours online, which is nothing like eight hours in in the real world. And you know, if you only worked four of those and you get the job done, then perfect, this whole four hours paid off and I don't care. You know, so I think for me, I'm, I'm very, very, very understanding in, in the rewards that you get when you're in this team as well.

Alex Morris (13:11):

Yeah. And people coming through that organized chaos in any job, they are going to be very resilient, very systemized. They're going to know how to hustle. I remember when, when I was in in hospitality and restaurants, if I came from a place that was real hustle and bustle, 300 covers a night, you know, fast out the door. And then I went to a fine dining restaurant where it's all kind of like really slow and calculated. They had more skill than me, but I could handle better. You know, I could handle a mess better than naked. And I think, you know, and then you can develop the skills, but if you leave it in that part

Melanie Brandt (13:57):

Willing, you know, like some of the girls that have started they didn't have the skills that they have now, but I've, you know, I've, I've stuck with them and taught them along the way and said, Hey, you know, here's a course go and do that, go and do this. You know? So I'm, I'm forever helping them grow as well. But I think it's been, it's been quite easy because everyone in the team is aligned with their exact passion. So they're like, oh, you're giving me more work. Perfect. You know, they're excited about it. They're not like, oh my God, I just got another 10 hours there. They're like, yeah, sure. I'll build you 30 websites. You know, so it's it's tested people on many, many levels.

Alex Morris (15:01):

You mentioned that you were in network marketing, you were pretty successful in network marketing and you know, I'm a hundred percent positive that a lot of the fact you're so good at networking and sales and running a team comes from network marketing. What do you think you learned from that style of business that you can apply to a traditional business?

Melanie Brandt (15:37):

Oh, wow. A lot. A lot. I think there's a few good things and a few bad things. The good things are, you know, everybody wants recognition. Everybody wants to be the rock star. You know, everybody wants to be put on the pedestal. I also realized that if most people talk about me, results that they want that, no, sorry. They speak the truth about the results they want, but they talk about the effort that they're willing to put in. So I think it really made me watch people's feet, not their lips. Yeah. Cause a lot of people were like, and I'm like, oh, what have you done today? Oh, nothing. I took the kids to the park. Yeah. Okay, cool. That's not going to own your million dollars. Also I think what I realized was a lot of people are not willing to have short term pain for long-term pleasure.

Yeah. So they're all like, you know, I've got a family and I need to be there for my family and it's like, yeah, but there's going to be, you're going to have to give up something for a short amount of time. You're going to be a lot busier, but I can absolutely guarantee you that it's going to pay off for life. So, you know, there was a lot of things that came to fruition. I think another one of them was a lot of people want to be in the online space, but they don't understand attraction marketing. A lot of people sell and no one likes to be sold to it's yuck. So, you know, I guess that's kind of how I had created what I've created was understanding the gaps in the online space. So you know, some, some other things that I learned is that if you want people to know you like you and trust you, you need to go first, you need to go and get all the results and then, you know, yes, you can show people how to do it.

But I think there's a lot of coaches out there at the moment that are trying to want to miss a few 99, a hundred check me out. And it's like, man, you don't have the stripes on the board yet. You know? And I think some people agree, some people don't, but I think it's incredibly important that you stay humble to where you've come from, you know, and you stay true to where you're at. And yeah, I think, you know, as a coach understanding that our job isn't to convince people what they need to do our job is to help them unlock their purpose and passion so that they can align with exactly where they need to be. And something I've seen very, very recently as a coach that you know, is out there saying, well, don't do this and don't do that.

You need to focus on this, you know? And I think that's, that's really, really poor form. So, you know, yeah, I've never marketing showed me a lot, but it was my apprenticeship, like honestly, network marketing showed me how to build a mansion, but it also showed me how to build the concrete foundations at that mentioned needs in order to not fall apart as well. So did I do it correctly? Kinder kind of, not really. Did I follow, did I follow the correct? To-Dos definitely not. Did I learn everything for, I got started 110%. No. Did I rock up to everywhere that I should have been? Yes, yes. Did I show up every day? Yes. you know, did I show up on the days I wanted to quit? Yes. Every single time. And I think, you know, that's the difference in any situation, doesn't matter what you're doing, the difference between me and somebody who's not having results is I guarantee you that I didn't stop on the days that I didn't get the results. I found a way.

Alex Morris (19:14):

Yeah, you did, Mel. Yeah, you did. And that, like you say, you know, you've got way too much on at the moment and it's a mess, but you're gonna, you're gonna find a way. Right.

Melanie Brandt (19:23):

Yeah. But I think also, you know, I understand that it's not going to look like this forever. You know, the companies had monstrous growth that is not going to slow down anytime soon. And you know, at the moment we're building systems and procedures in order for us to move into massive, crazy automation as well. So there's going to be a time where, you know, the pressure is on and it is on thick and fast and it's coming in from all directions. And I'm kind of, I'm actually more cruising now than I've ever been. I'm like, whatever. I'm just gonna do a little bit over here and do a little bit over here tomorrow. We'll do a little bit more rather than like, oh my God, if I, honestly, Alex, if I looked at the end result, I might as well gone by myself, a straight jacket, a padded mouth, a padded room and a mouth guard because there's no coming out of this, like saying if I was to concentrate on the end result, I just need to concentrate on what's the next step for the company right now? What do we need to execute on right now? And where do my team needs to be? We just keep moving that, that little bit every day,

Alex Morris (20:28):

One day at a time. That's really cool. Yeah. So yeah, I know you've, you've grown massively and a lot of people could learn a lot from where you're at now, but what you mostly do is you work with small businesses as well. And so I want to get, pick your brain about small business a little bit. Now you help them with the social media. You help them build their websites. Pretty much everything from ground zero upwards. First thing, what's the biggest mistake you see small businesses make with their social media and what's the quickest way to fix it?

Melanie Brandt (20:58):

Their branding branding, I think, is the first thing that I see. A lot of people are confused about. I'm not quite sure about it, so they're just putting up whatever they hear and when they put up whatever they think they should, it's usually not going to be right. So you're hurting yourself even more by by not finding a way. So I think that's the first thing I always attack is your branding, your vibe and what you should be sharing because that's so incredibly important to align you with the right people. Then the right conversations are going to start, then their conversion is going to happen, you know, and it starts to be this, this domino effect. And it starts with, if you're not clear on who you are and what you're about, you're not going to go anywhere.

Alex Morris (21:40):

Right. So what did they do to remedy that?

Melanie Brandt (21:44):

So it would be sitting down with them and working out, you know, their branding. It might be tweaking their name, colors, palette, style, live theme as well, especially for Instagram, you know, like athletically, is it pleasing or are they just roll in a heat, but images up? So yeah, you know, that's definitely the first thing that they need to work on. You know, making sure they've got a really nice trickle of organic followers coming through that they're connecting with. You know, and then from there it's, you know, working with someone like you you know, to, to work out, right, what's their strategy moving forward for their marketing, how are they going to have a constant you know, tap turned on of leads coming through, but honestly, you know, you don't want to turn that tap on and have those leads land on a page that doesn't look the part.

Alex Morris (22:32):

Yeah. People need to go to you before they come to me. You know people need to have an established brand or established mission and established product before they go and invest in digital marketer.

Melanie Brandt (22:42):

That's it, they need to have the assets, you know, like if you're trying to have a million dollar business and you don't even have a website, like it's not gonna work because people are going to go and search you and they're not going to find you and they're not going to trust you. So, you know, I think that's, it's so incredibly important, but I think also, you know, spreading a little bit of gray or spending a little bit of light over the gray areas of your business and saying, okay, well I really work with people with the five to 10 year vision. Like, what is your business going to look like in five to 10 years? I don't really care about your website that you want to build now, what do we need this website to do in five or 10 years? Because I worked with a platform that you know, is, is completely different to what most people are using. And it's because, you know, the people that I work with their businesses are going to be monstrous in five or 10 years. And that, that small build isn't going to work for them.

Alex Morris (23:36):

Yeah. I've come across that a lot. People who I'd built sites for last year now they come to me like does not fit on the same website anymore.

Melanie Brandt (23:47):

Yeah. So I think it's just, you know, and this, this is what I feel a good marketer is, is someone that can go, you know, what, what I build for you, isn't, it's not what you need. You know, and many times, if somebody comes to me with a WordPress website, I'm like, I can't help you. I'm not even, we're not even having this conversation because it's not what I do. So, you know, I think it's really about having the right people in your corner, you know, like you will, you for I and going, Hey, I, I'm not going to help you because it's not what I do, but here's someone that can help you. And I think that, you know, that is true. Leadership is when you can go, Hey, I'm not even going to try and execute because I think a lot of people get caught in the money, but I need the money. I need the money. So they take on the job and they either can't execute it or they execute it. But it's really not what the client needs over the five to 10 years. So that clients now are going to have to go and invest more money and have it done again, which, you know, guess who they're not going to be happy.

Alex Morris (24:42):

Yeah. That's an awesome tip. Really. That's a, game-changing thought for me, and the way I work with my clients.

Melanie Brandt (24:49):

You know, even if you don't do the job, you can still be the absolute rock star for that client because you were the one that helped them get what they needed, love the person that built it for them as well. But let me tell you the trust that you would have built by saying to them, Hey, you know what, I can't really help you, but this person can because of X, Y, Z, they're going to go, wow, wow. You know, the way you do business is incredible because you were invested in their end result. You weren't invested in what you were going to get out of it.

Alex Morris (25:24):

Boom. That's a lovely, lovely, I'd love to finish on that because that's such a good thing to say, but I'm not going to finish there because I have a little speed round for you just to ask you a few, really, really quick questions. You have to go and do a thousand things speed round. If you could only use one social media platforms now on what would you use?

Melanie Brandt

Facebook.

Alex Morris

Why?

Melanie Brandt (25:49):

Because I love connections. Connections is where I make all of the conversations happen and I find out the pain points in people's lives and I offer a solution.

Alex Morris (26:00):

Nice. Love it. If you were just starting out and you had five grand to spend on your business, where would you spend it?

Melanie Brandt (26:07):

I would literally spend it on getting my assets set up so that I had the authority. So when I talk to people, they're driving down the highway and I call them and tell them about what I do. They can go and check me out. And the trust is there.

Alex Morris (26:22):

So websites etc?

Melanie Brandt (26:24):

And probably website. I would definitely, you know, if I didn't know how to do it myself, I would invest in someone to show me how to do my branding, my color palette, my Instagram theme, and start to get some growth happening on that account. So that when people drop on the account, they can see, you know, that you know, that you're a service that exists. You know, I'm not a massive believer. I mean, Jesus, my first Instagram got hacked. My second it's about, I think we've only got like three or 4,000 followers. But you know, I don't always think it's about the numbers as such. I think it's more about, you know, that business and their service because you know, not every business is going to have that strategy right now. Instagram's not my strategy. Yes. So I think it's just about, you know, if somebody refers you that's where you need to be looking because they've already had a, you know, a good experience.

Alex Morris (27:14):

A hundred percent. I do it for restaurants. If we're going to go to a restaurant, I'm looking it up on Instagram straightaway, but Facebook is a great place to network. Aside from yourself, who should people go and follow for some branding, business, lifestyle, inspiration,

Melanie Brandt (27:31):

Branding, business, lifestyle, inspiration. I think if you're in the online space, social Sam is really good. Like she has some amazing ideas. You know, yourself, you're putting up some really, really quality content. I think that's great. But you know, I think to be honest, all I did was find three to five people that have what I want and mirror what they're doing now, mirror and copy are very, very different mirror is have a look at what they're doing and get inspired and come up with your own ideas. So yeah, I've always had people where I'm like, I'm feeling really uninspired right now. I'm going to go check out what they're doing and I can guarantee you by the time I've had a quick scroll and I'm back in the game again. So you need to have people that, you know, have what you want.

Alex Morris (28:17):

Fair enough. It was a very broad question. Everyone wants to follow different stuff, right? So that's a really, really good answer. Finally, Melanie brands, if you had to start again today with zero followers and $0, what's the first thing you'd do

Melanie Brandt (28:32):

Exactly what I did. And that was just hit, go hit, go, and just work it out as you go, like, just find your first clients and then find your second one and then, you know, go all in with your clients. I go absolutely above and beyond with my clients and a quality problem that they don't want to leave. You know, which has us at full capacity constantly. But you know, you've got to go above and beyond because these people are investing in you. They're trusting in you. And I think more people need to take it serious.

Alex Morris (29:06):

Yes. I love that. I love above and beyond. You've gone above and beyond just by rocking up this podcast today, Melanie brand. Thank you so much. You've been inspiration inspirational to me. I'm sure to a bunch of other people out there, where do we find you? You've got your build your empire podcasts. Where do we find that?

Melanie Brandt (29:26):

Yeah. So build your empire podcast is on Spotify. It's on a podcast, it's on all the channels. You know, we have website, which is lifestyle. I N d.com. Otherwise I'm on all the socials, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, all of them. But you know, if you want to chat, then definitely flick me a message on Facebook because that's where people do all the chatting. Yeah. So thank you so much for having me and I love what you're doing. I love, I love watching it along for,

Alex Morris (29:54):

Thank you. It's a lot of fun. We're side by side on this big journey together, Mel, and then nipping at your heels. We'll all get there one day. Thank you so much for listening, everyone. Everyone who's watching live. You're amazing, Melanie. Thank you so much. One more time. You're welcome. And I'll catch you all next week with another episode of coaches to the moon, peace out.