Rachel Beider Published in Forbes: Using Imago Technique to Deal with Unhappy Customers


We've all dealt with our fair share of challenging situations in the workplace, and among the most trying are unhappy customers. Sometimes our clients are having a bad day and other times the business is at fault for doing something genuinely wrong. Ten years ago, a co-worker of mine at a luxury day spa had a client come in and leave with an angry expression. He was expecting to have a sports-oriented massage and deeper specific work done on his shoulder area, but he felt that the service was too much of a generic approach. Later, when pressed, he complained that his shoulder still hurt. The massage therapist became defensive, insisted that he shouldn't have chosen the style of session he did and that he should have communicated more clearly. This approach did not help the situation, rather escalating it into a negative experience resulting in a poor online review. Most issues stem from either miscommunication or unmet expectations leading to disappointment. Using Imago dialogue may have prevented this situation entirely.

Often, clients just want to feel that they've been heard. Enter Imago Dialogue: a powerful tool to aid in communication.

Imago Relationship Therapy (IRT) was co-developed by married couple Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt in 1980. It was popularized in Dr. Hendrix’s New York Times best seller Getting The Love You Want. The technique uses Imago Dialogue to help couples understand, validate and empathize with one another’s unique reality, rather than resorting to anger and reactivity.

For nearly four decades, Imago Dialogue has helped people have intentional conversations and develop deeper, more mindful relationships. Each party comes into a place of mutual understanding and acceptance, creating a win-win situation.

Today, this communication tool is not only being used in romantic relationships but also by business professionals and clients. Imago is all about deepening relationships and turning conflict into an opportunity for compassion and growth. Imago Dialogue involves three steps: mirroring, validation and empathy.

Step One: Mirroring

Mirroring is when you repeat back everything that your customer has said, so they understand that you are truly hearing them. For example, a client will state their complaint, such as: "I was unsatisfied with my service today. I asked for specific work on my shoulder and it still hurts me." And you will restate: "So, let me see if I got that. You wanted specific work done on your shoulder and it's still hurting you, so you're feeling unsatisfied with your session today. Did I get that?" The client will agree with you if you understood. If not, they will clarify. If they clarify, repeat (mirror) the new statement until the client is sure that you heard them. It is important not to get defensive during this time. The only goal here is to make the client feel heard and understood.

If a client is triggered by the mirroring, it’s important to clearly communicate the purpose behind it, thereby helping to eliminate the “us versus them” mentality. Explain that your goal is to come to a mutual understanding about their concern and to make sure you're fully hearing them. It is a friendly but professional way to clarify your intention and illustrate your willingness to work together as a team.

Step Two: Validation

Make a validating statement that addresses the client's issue. For example, in the issue above try: "It's totally understandable ..." or "Anyone would feel that way ..." or "That makes sense to me...." This validates the client's concerns and lets them know that you're wanting to not only hear them but to also understand them. Make sure to ask: "Did I get that?" and get the client to clarify if anything is misunderstood. Validation is a necessary part of feeling heard.

Physical cues, along with timing and pacing, can help you accomplish your goal. Slow, long nods usually indicate understanding, whereas fast, rapid nods can convey urgency and impatience. Sudden movements or shifts can indicate an unspoken thought or feeling, while slight movements or changes in visual focus can mean your attention has shifted. Shrugging your shoulders implies doubt. Relax your shoulders down, away from your ears, to suggest ease and comfort. These subtle physical cues, combined with verbal affirmation, ensure validation. Often validation comes with visual signs of relief, especially because at this point in a typical conversation, someone may become defensive rather than validating. The unexpected validation can cause their walls to break down and a client to feel really good.

Step Three: Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and identify with another’s feelings, thoughts or attitude. Unlike sympathy, which calls for understanding and feeling concerned, empathy involves sharing another’s experience and having the capacity to relate. It requires an authentic, heartfelt, human-to-human connection.

Imagine what your client may be feeling in that situation. Try, "I imagine you feel disappointed or frustrated that your needs weren't met during your session today." Try to include "feeling words" rather than "thinking words" and ask after your statement: "Is that how you feel?" By placing yourself in your client's shoes, you communicate to them that you understand just how upsetting their experience must have been for them. This shows them that you're a human too, that you get it and that you want to get it.

Using these three steps might just lead to a better customer service experience and save a client relationship.



As seen in: https://www.forbes.com/sites/yec/2018/04/05/using-the-imago-technique-to-deal-with-unhappy-customers/#185ed4b327d8

Rachel Beider in Massage Magazine: 7 Effective Ways to Manage Your Stress


Everyone faces stress; however, studies show that some people are afflicted more than others.

For instance, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), women report feeling slightly more stressed than men, with an average stress rating of 5.3 on a 10-point scale as opposed to 4.9 from their male counterparts.

Furthermore, millennial stress levels are almost double that of “matures,” with scores of 6.0 and 3.5 respectfully.

While it’s only natural to experience some sort of stress in life, the problem with this particular emotion is that it can negatively affect your health, if it’s allowed to accumulate over time.

Case in point: the APA goes on to reveal that, along with higher stress levels, U.S. adults also have poorer levels of health than ever before. In fact, almost one in four label their health as either “fair” or “poor,” a number that is up four percentage points from just three years prior.

Certainly, there’s no way to get rid of stress entirely. However, there are quite a few things you can do to help ease it before it starts to affect your quality of life. Here are seven (and one extra) that work for other massage therapy experts, so you may want to give them a try.

1. Practice Time Management

Time management is really the key to creating balance in life,” says Amanda Mittan, Massage Therapy Program Director at Carrington College. “Making sure you don’t overextend yourself as a practitioner is so important to career longevity.”

If this is an area where you typically struggle, motivational speaker and self-development author Brian Tracy offers several tips to better manage your time. Among them are to take care of small tasks immediately when they arise, prioritizing your tasks so you always handle the most important ones first, and limiting your distractions so you can focus and get things done.

2. Seek Variety

Another stress-relieving tip offered by Mittan is to change up your routine. Incorporate variety into your day and you likely won’t feel so stressed out. One way to do this is to constantly learn new things, even if those new things involve massage therapy.

“The more disciplines of massage you study, the more diverse your work day will be,” says Mittan. “I love clinic work, but I know I can’t do that all the time so I integrate spa, sports, and Eastern theory into my practice to keep my skills in check and also to give my body the times to relax while I work.”

3. Spend Time in Nature

“I am really lucky to live in San Diego [California], where I can enjoy the ocean and our beautiful canyons,” says Kathleen Lisson, C.L.T., C.M.T., owner of Solace Massage and Mindfulness and author of Swollen, Bloated and Puffy. Lisson says walking every day helps her clear her head, something she has placed more focus on after being diagnosed with skin cancer in 2016.

“I knew it was time to lower my stress levels,” says Lisson.

What do you do if you live in an area that doesn’t have Southern California’s notoriously beautiful views?

“If there is no ocean or park near you, join a garden club,” suggests Lisson. “I volunteer pulling weeds in a public garden once a week and it gets me in contact with the earth. I can watch the plants grow, flower, and die back, immersing myself in nature’s rhythm.”

4. Engage in Guided or Silent Meditation

Another stress-relief tactic that Lisson uses is meditation. “I meditate for at least 10 minutes a day, most often in the morning right after I wake up,” says Lisson. “This relaxes me and lets me bring a peaceful attitude into my day instead of becoming overwhelmed with the things I have to do to run a massage practice.”

Lisson uses the free app Insight Timer, which has over 6,700 guided meditations, music tracks, talks and courses. If you prefer to meditate in silence, you can simply use the app’s timer to set your desired session duration. You can also set different interval bells, ambient sounds and ending bells.

5. Take Relaxing Breaths

Relinda Reynozo, lead massage therapist at The Elms Hotel & Spa in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, says breathing to pre-selected counts delivers a body-relaxing response. “I inhale to a count of six, hold it for a count of three, and exhale to a count of seven,” says Reynozo. “I do this three times in a row just about every night before bed.”

Not only can relaxation breathing make you feel less stressed, but the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health shares that engaging in relaxation techniques such as this can also have positive effects by reducing your risk of or symptoms associated with several physical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and rheumatoid arthritis, just to name a few.

6. Stay Physically Active

Rachel Beider, L.M.T., owner of Massage Williamsburg and Massage Greenpoint, both in Brooklyn, New York, finds that staying physically active helps her reduce stress levels. “I find it’s important to engage in physical activities at least two to three days a week,” says Beider, who finds solace in both spin classes and weight training.

The American Council on Exercise shares that exercise reduces stress in four different ways.

First, it lowers your anxiety levels. Second, the neurotransmitters and endorphins it releases creates a relaxation response, which also leaves you in a better mood. Third, it increases your feelings of self-worth; and, fourth, it encourages you to eat healthier, which helps ease your stress as well.

7. Get Regular Massages

Although this should go without saying, the one response that was received most often when asking a number of massage therapists about how to relieve stress was to get regular massages.

Take some time and treat yourself to the same form of stress relief that you provide to your clients daily.

That’s what Joann D’Armetta, L.M.T., with Advanced Wellness in Marlboro and Parlin, New Jersey, suggests because it offers two benefits in one.

“Not only will you be effectively reducing your own stress, but at the same time you can pick up some great techniques from the therapist giving you the massage,” says D’Armetta. “It’s a win-win situation!”

One Final “Extra” Tip…

Melody Althaus, L.M.T. with Here & Now Wellness Massage in Orange County, California sums up stress relief in one simple statement: “Do whatever makes you feel happy. Whether it’s doing some form of exercise, meditation, craft or hobby, just make sure you’re taking the time for you daily.”

Some massage therapists start their day with stress-relieving activities and others place them at the end. Wherever you decide to take advantage of yours, the key is to do them and to do them often.

In other words, make it a point to get rid of your stress before your stress threatens to get rid of you.

Article by Christina DeBusk for Massage Magazine

Offsite Ideas to Bring Your Company Together: Rachel Beider in Huffpo


Team bonding is made of more than water-cooler conversations and birthday cake in the break room. Moving these efforts beyond the office walls can help enrich relationships between teammates and foster a true sense of togetherness.

Whether it’s the more traditional retreat or company lunch or a more innovative idea such as an escape room or golf outing, these 12 entrepreneurs have got the right idea when it comes to successful team-building activities.

A. Volunteer Work Together

When our company volunteers together it creates a positive, intimate space for bonding over our shared values and goals. It feels amazing to interact with the community, and we come home feeling great that at the end of the day, we made an impact. - Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

A. Simple, Fun Activities

I try to pick activities where my employees can participate in a competitive activity or sit out the competition and just have fun together — something like a rock climbing wall/bar (seriously, they’re out there) where some can engage in something challenging and some can just kick back and have fun. That way, no one feels any pressure and everyone has a good time. - Kevin Conner, BroadbandSearch

A. Happy Hour

My startup was purchased by a major software design company last year. Fortunately, this came with many perks. Our parent company throws happy hour parties every month with live entertainment, great food and friends and family. This is a great way for the team to meet new people we coordinate with on different marketing strategies and it ultimately brings us closer together. - Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com

A. Escape Rooms

Escape rooms are a fantastic bonding experience for teams. It’s all about teamwork and problem solving, a fantastic combination for team bonding. They’re usually built for a few people, so it depends on the size of your team. - Ben Lang, Spoke

A. Company Retreats

Since we are a fully remote team, each year we host a company retreat. It’s the only time that everyone from the company is together in one location. This year we went to Orlando. We attended workshops, brainstormed and collaborated on new ideas. - Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

A. Competitive Activities

It could be bowling, kart racing or a 5K race, but if it’s competitive or allows us to compete against each other on a team or individual level, it creates camaraderie and understanding of each other’s strengths. It’s fun and so different than our regular work environment. - Drew Hendricks, Buttercup

A. Company Lunches

At the end of our first summer, when soliciting feedback from interns during exit interviews, a then-intern suggested we take small groups of interns out to lunch to get to know each intern in an informal setting. We have extended the tradition to employees and at these lunches, we only discuss work-related topics within the context of inside jokes. These lunches build cohesion and are fun for all. - Adam Mendler, Custom Tobacco

A. Dream Day

One of the best days my team ever had was when I asked them to make a list of their “dream day” in our community and then we attempted to do as many of the things on the list as possible. We had drive time between activities to be able to talk and we had distributed ownership of the day because ideas came from everyone. - Hugh Weber, Institute of Possibility

A. Camping

Nothing brings teams together like spending 24 hours together having fun. Camping is an inexpensive and highly effective way of bringing teams together. Team members will start building a rapport with each other as a result of spending full days together. Think of how summer camps make long-lasting friendships. Soon, your employees will be writing home to say they don’t want to come back. - Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

A. Activities Fitting Your Culture

Activities that closely fit your company culture are the best. As an outdoor company, we go hiking, skiing, climbing and mountain biking together throughout the year depending on the season. It’s a great way to get out of the office and helps build a fun, enjoyable and authentic team environment. - Brint Markle, Mountain Hub

A. Employee Family Cookouts

We have cookouts with bounce houses and other children’s activities so that our employees can bring their families. We find that when our employees’ families hang out together it grows the bond between them, which leads to a better work environment. Our employees love it as well, because we are providing a fun activity for their kids that they likely wouldn’t be doing without us. - Scott Kacmarski, Reps Direct

A. Golf

A competitive round of 18 holes and a few beverages always unites the team. The best part about golf is that there is also a lot time to talk both business and pleasure. Golf also gives the team something to chatter about during the week, and is an occasion we all look forward to. - Chris Gronkowski, Ice Shaker

Article Seen on HuffPo

13 Options For Baking Philanthropy Into Your Corporate Culture: Rachel Beider in HuffPo


Research is beginning to show that charitable giving can be as good for the giver as it is for the recipient. As an enterprise, participating in philanthropic efforts not only gives you an opportunity to serve the community you work with, but also extends that possibility to the members of your team. Here are 13 ways your company can make philanthropy a part of your culture.

1. Volunteer Together

As a mission-driven company, we volunteer together on a monthly basis at events that we care about. We recently collectively decided to partner with Sanctuary for Families, which provides services for women who have experienced domestic violence or sex trafficking. Keeping my employees in the decision-making process for whom we wanted to work with makes them more invested.

- Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

2. Participate in Community Projects

Getting your company involved with community projects and fundraisers is not only great way to network, but it also gives your team an opportunity to see what some of the more challenging issues are within your community. Participating in 5K runs, bike rides or walks can bring awareness to things that your company might be able to provide a solution to.

- Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID, Inc.

3. Donate Your Expertise or Time

A great way to make philanthropy part of company culture without a big effect on the bottom line is to donate your expertise or time. You could find a cause you believe in and look into volunteering opportunities. The best part is that it can be done remotely if necessary. You could offer to write a guest article or maybe provide some assistance to the company in an area you’re well-versed in.

- Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

4. Take the Initiative and Volunteer

Having a company volunteer day in alignment with a charity is a great way to give back and spark philanthropic efforts in the company. You can also look for charities that are a good fit to your audience. For example, if you were in the weight-loss industry, aligning with a charity that educates youth on good eating habits would be a great combination.

- Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

5. Let Your Team Lead Your Philanthropic Efforts

Many companies have philanthropic components because it’s good for branding. I recommend treating this like a strategic initiative and bringing everyone in. As the CEO, don’t dictate what organizations to support; let your team’s passion guide you. Schedule regular volunteer days and donations, for example. If it’s genuine, you’ll make a bigger impact and bring more joy to your team.

- Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

6. Task Someone to Be Responsible for Charitable Giving

If your organization is large enough to have a social committee, you could reserve a seat for someone who will be responsible for charitable giving. This person becomes the main point of contact for new inquiries from local and national charities, and they can coordinate events, explain how their financial resources will benefit those in need, and rally your team to get engaged.

- David Ciccarelli, Voices.com

7. Integrate Your Philanthropic Work Into Your Business Mission

Integrating your philanthropic work into your business’s mission will force it to become a part of your culture. An additional incentive for doing so is that so many consumers now are deciding which company to use based on the good they are doing for the world. It’s a win-win.

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- Abhilash Patel, Abhilash.co

8. Set the Example

Philanthropy has become part of our company culture through my example as leader. I regularly get involved in community projects and ask local staff to join me. I also support what my remote workers do, and often contribute financially to their fundraisers.

- John Rampton, Due

9. Give Tangible Gifts

Giving tangible philanthropic gifts allows you and your employees to see exactly where the money is going. It is motivating for everyone to see that the money being spent on a new school or orphanage and seeing all the grateful faces. You could even have employees vote on the projects and submit requests as to where the new project should be built and why.

- Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

10. Set Up a Recurring Donation

Find the area where you or your team is passionate and set up a recurring donation to the cause. This small action makes a difference and can create abundance of care outside of the day-to-day work. You can include this in your marketing efforts, as well, however, being genuine in your giving may provide the bigger payoff.

- Nathalie Lussier, AmbitionAlly

11. Establish Quarterly Volunteer Activities

Create a calendar of quarterly volunteer activities that individuals and teams can get involved with during the week on company time or on weekends as paid extra time. This encourages philanthropy and giving to those in need.

- Drew Hendricks, Buttercup

12. Team Up With Your Customers

Communities are often intertwined with businesses and visa versa. This means that many of the issues you care about are likely issues your customers care about, too. To be a part of something bigger and give back to the community, find out what your customers care about or let them know more about the issues you care about. Then join ranks in some way.

- Derek Broman, Discount Enterprises LLC deguns.net

13. Organize or Participate in Charity Events

The best way to make philanthropy part of the culture is to start working it into the day-to-day by organizing or participating in charity events. If you do enough good as an entire company, it will start to fit into your culture. We launched a monthly charity board game night as a fun event for the community, but it has shaped how we have grown and influenced our culture along the way.

- Christopher Swenor, East Coast Product

Article in HuffPo

Rachel Beider featured in Entrepreneur Magazine: 5 Stories That Will Make You Rethink Your Leadership Style


When he first became a business leader, admits Krister Ungerboeck, CEO of Courageous Growth, in St. Louis, Mo., he was a bit of a jerk. “I assumed that the CEO should be the smartest person in the room,” Ungerboeck told me recently via email.

That was a mistake, Ungerboeck now cknowledges. Thanks to that mentality, he says, he tended to lead through criticism, he says. And that in turn led him to doubt the abilities of his team, and created an unproductive work environment.

But after receiving less-than-stellar feedback on an employee survey, Ungerboeck says he realized his leadership style wasn’t working. “When I finally realized that my leadership style left my employees struggling to feel inspired, I made a major transformation,” he wrote. “I learned that criticism is lazy leadership that is intended to pump up the ego of the boss by making the employee feel smaller.”

Since that epiphany, Ungerboeck has tried to do better by leading through encouragement. In fact, he now refers to himself as a “recovering a-hole.”

While his employees are now better off for the change, Ungerboeck is hardly the first boss to rethink his or her leadership style. Here are five stories of how other leaders came to realize they needed to do things differently:

Always be learning.

By his mid-20s Glenn Phillips was an award-winning entrepreneur. There was just one little problem: His software company wasn’t making money.

“While we delivered great systems and support, we were not profitable and I was not addressing the problem well,” Phillips told me. “I thought that I was smart enough and hard-working enough to ‘figure it out’ and solve our issues.”  

Eventually, though, Phillips realized he needed help. “I started educating myself about running a business,” he said. “The education included peers, classes and lots of reading. I studied businesses, cognitive thinking, sales, capital and more.”

Soon, his business began to turn around. Today, as the head of Lake Homes Realty in Pelham, Ala., he says he makes continual learning a priority for everyone at his organization. He says he hosts regular lunch-n-learns at the office and leads in-person trainings. The company even has a reading library, and if an employee finishes one of the books, Phillips takes that individual out to lunch to discuss what was learned.

Leadership takeaway: Set a good example for employees by constantly seeking new knowledge. This will ensure that your entire company will always be learning and improving. Tools like Workramp can help your team reach its potential.

Accept your new role.

When Rachel Beider, CEO of Massage Williamsburg + Massage Greenpoint in Brooklyn, N.Y., set out to expand her business, she quickly saw she was spreading herself too thin.

“I was trying to do too much, including still seeing massage therapy clients directly, and being involved in the day-to-day tasks,” she told me recently through email. “I started to feel perpetually stressed and burned out, and I knew I wasn't giving my best to the position.”

That’s when Beider set a deadline for herself so she couldn’t make excuses and put off the change. “Though it was a scary transition, it has allowed me a lot more time to work on important things and see the bigger picture," she wrote. "I had to learn to delegate. Now, I'm a lot more 'present' at work, with less on my plate, and open to more suggestions on improving the company.”

Leadership takeaway: First-time CEOs often need time to adjust to their new responsibilities. And it can be hard to give up old tasks that feel comfortable. But, as a leader, it’s important that you step up and accept the fact that it’s time to stop spending energy on things others can do, and focus on running the organization.

Be adaptable.

“When I had five or six employees, I managed them all the same,” Beck Bamberger, founder of Bam Communications, in San Diego, Calif. said in an email.

That worked for a while, she said, but once the company grew to dozens of employees, she saw she’d have to adapt. “There was one particular client meeting where I noticed a highly independent, quiet but well-liked employee was not taking my feedback as well as a bubbly, vivacious employee,” Bamberger went on to say.

What he told her, though, just didn’t seem to click. “We had this awkward pause in the meeting where we sat in silence for nearly 20 seconds before we started (thankfully) laughing. Then I said, ‘Okay, you're different from her.’ This was a little a-ha moment for me in terms of leadership that was adaptable for each individual.”

Leadership takeaway: Not every employee responds the same way to the same leadership style. Great leaders recognize each individual’s needs and adapt accordingly. This ensures that every employee can perform at his or her best.

Think quickly.

“A few years ago, when my companies were just starting out, my employees or potential business partners would ask me questions, and I would let them linger for a long time rather than answering them right away,” said Tony Jakstis, founder of Casa De Lago Event Centers, in Orange, Calif.

Not wanting to make a bad decision, Jakstis took his time coming up with the best answer. But, sometimes, stalling can mean missing out on big opportunities. “A good leader needs to be able to hear any kind of problem or opportunity and make a key decision that will benefit the company,” Jakstis said. “If it fails and something goes wrong, then at least I’ll find out quicker. If I’m right, the job will be done.”

Leadership takeaway: Don’t be afraid to be decisive. Even if a decision doesn’t turn out as planned, see that not as a failure, but a chance to learn.

Find support.

Danielle Wiley, CEO of Sway Group, in Corte Madera, Calif., never wanted to be a leader, she says. Nonetheless, she found herself at the helm of a fast-growing company.

“With the rocketship success that Sway saw in its first few years, my own personal leadership growth couldn't keep up,” she wrote in an email. “We were no longer a small company, but one that 35 employees' livelihoods depended on.”

The weight of that responsibility led Wiley to isolate herself -- and her team to suffer as a result. “I knew I needed to do better, I just didn't know how,” she told me.

Around this time,the executive attended a dinner for women executives. She was at the same table as a woman who kept talking about a CEO advisory group that she had joined. Wiley decided to give the group a go.

“At my first meeting, I quickly realized this group was exactly what I needed," she said. "I began to see that my concerns and frustrations were the same other CEOs were experiencing. The group gave me a newfound sense of confidence and direction that I was able to bring back to the team.”

Leadership takeaway: Being a CEO is an experience unlike anything else. Finding others going through similar situations can provide much needed support and guidance.

Article on Entrepreneur

Rachel Beider on The Next Web: 15 essential things to remember when crafting your brand story


Branding is the lifeblood of any business. It distinguishes you from your competitors and helps your products and services stand out in an ever-crowded market.

Creating a definitive brand story for your company can propel it to the next level and truly resonate with customers on the value of your offering. But getting it just right takes some effort, which is why I asked 15 members of YEC the following question:

What is one thing every entrepreneur should keep in mind when creating and communicating a brand story?

Their best answers are below:

1. Your “Why”

Every entrepreneur builds a brand for a reason but, ironically, when communicating a brand story, the “why” is often lost. You must remember why you started your business in the first place and show why what you do matters. When you share your “why,” others will see your passion and inspiration and want to support your brand as much as you do. Remembering your “why” is key. – Beth DoaneMain & Rose

2. Giving credit

Make sure to add names and mention the people that are helping you along the way. Giving credit helps humanize you, and too often entrepreneurs act as though they’ve done it alone. Doing this makes you appear out of touch when, in reality, it’s your mentors, partners and employees that are consistently supporting you. Share who they are and what they’ve done for you. – Krish ChopraNurse Practitioner Clinical Rotations

3. Your uniqueness

Ask yourself: If I ceased to exist tomorrow and stopped providing my services, what would clients miss the most about working with me? By asking this question, you get to the heart of why what you offer is different than your competition and what makes you unique. When communicating your brand story, you should keep this in mind and make sure to lead with it. – Rachel BeiderMassage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

4. Your message

When creating and communicating a brand story, entrepreneurs need to remember to deliver their message. That means having something to say about yourself and what you want to express to the world so it’s a better place. You’ll need to figure out how to weave your message into different platforms and audiences, but it can be done when you have a tight mission and message for your brand. – Richard FongBliss Drive

5. Honesty

It’s easy to exaggerate. I often see entrepreneurs in a race to the bottom (“I was broke and had $100K in debt!”) and race to the top (“Now I make a million dollars… a week!”), but people can smell the bullshit and the truth always comes out. Be honest about your brand’s story and what brought you where you are, because no good relationship starts with a lie. – Kelly AzevedoShe’s Got Systems

6. Brevity

An entrepreneur should be able to succinctly and clearly describe their company’s work. The same holds true for your brand story – the more briefly you can communicate your story, the more impactful it will be. Stories that are simple and powerful will resonate most with your audience, so there is no need to add unnecessary details. – Charles Bogoian, Kenai Sports, LLC

7. Simplicity and personalization

Keep your story simple but make sure it includes a lot of personalization as well. Your audience wants to know things like why you got into the business or industry that you chose and what makes you passionate about your product. Providing a few other personal details never hurts either. The story should be equally about you and your business. – Andrew SchrageMoney Crashers Personal Finance

8. Authenticity

Consumers today are savvy. They don’t just want to buy a product, they want to feel like they are part of the brand as well. They are looking for a personal connection. The best way to do this when communicating your brand story is to simply be human. Offer an inside look at your company, explain what you value, be you. – Jared BrownHubstaff Talent

9. Confidence

Brands are, by nature, confident, and you want that to be conveyed in the brand story. A brand builds customer confidence and trust, and establishes reputation. Make sure that your brand tells a story that shows confidence at the foundation. – Nicole MunozStart Ranking Now

10. Long-term ambitions

One mistake entrepreneurs make when crafting their brand story is they spend too much time thinking about past triggers that prompted the creation of their business. Instead, what they should do is take a more forward-thinking approach and talk about what they envision the brand to be five, 10 or 20 years from now. That way, customers can appreciate where the company is going. – Firas KittanehAmerisleep

11. Transparency

Today’s consumers really want transparency and to feel they can connect with the brands they interact with. Forget about the story you’re trying to sell them and instead focus on being transparent and genuine. This will go a long way in gaining consumers’ trust. – Marcela De VivoBrilliance

12. Sense of belonging

A good brand makes you feel included. The best storytellers know how to make people feel like they belong and are part of your brand and narrative. Be a participant observer of your own narrative and see if you even feel like it belongs to you. Sometimes the story we tell ourselves about ourselves is isolating. Try removing yourself from your own island and engage in your narrative. – Matthew CapalaSearch Decoder

13. Humility

Too many brands have a difficult time differentiating between confidence and ego. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in the message you’re trying to send, so be careful not to overdo it. You don’t want to come off as egotistical (unless that’s your shtick). Being humble and genuine will garner more response from your audience and help you build a more trusted, approachable brand. – Blair ThomaseMerchantBroker

14. Emotional appeal

When you create a brand story, you need to build emotional appeal. Emotional appeal is what connects the customers to your brand. Once you emotionally connect, then pricing will not matter as much, and you will get a long-lasting customer for your brand. You will have to learn how your product can satisfy a user emotionally and pitch it with that theme. – Piyush Jain,SIMpalm

15. A central theme

Every brand story has a central theme that is woven through every retelling of that story that provides the focus and differentiation to set the brand apart. Start with this and build the story out from there. – Angela RuthCalendar

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Personal Rules to Follow for Business Success: Rachel Beider in HuffPo


As your business starts to grow, you need to maintain a set of practices that ensure your continued success into the future. Establishing a set of rules for yourself to follow and sticking to them can make all the different when trying to avoid a potentially disastrous business mistake. We asked 15 entrepreneurs what personal rules they follow to help their businesses stay successful.

A. Give Before You Take

A general rule of thumb I abide by is to try to add value to those with whom I connect, rather than search for the ways I can extract value. I trust that it doesn’t need to come back to me from the recipient, but the karmic retribution of giving will circle back in time, from someone, somewhere. As a result, I’ve built a vibrant and diverse network who are happy to help me, too. - Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40

A. Work With People With a Good Moral Conscience

Choose to work with people who possess a good moral conscience. Not to say that immoral people can’t succeed in business, but that they will screw your customers, your culture, your coworkers and eventually you when the next opportunity comes knocking. When you run a company, you’ll be too busy to constantly watch your back. Choose people who will do the right thing when the going gets tough. - Raad Ahmed, LawTrades

A. Surround Yourself With the Best

I firmly believe that we become what we are surrounded by. If you surround yourself with the most inspiring mentors, positive teams and powerful information on a daily basis, you will succeed. Running a business is incredibly challenging, so look at every person in your life, every device you are using, and everything you are seeing and hearing, and decide if it’s helping you or hurting you. - Beth Doane, Main & Rose

A. Remember Life Is Short

Every time I take on a new project, I ask myself if, at the end of the day, I will be proud of my work. As time is our most valuable resource, I try to stay aligned with my core values and keep in mind that we have a short amount of time on this planet. It’s difficult not to get caught up in day-to-day tasks, but regularly thinking about your legacy can help you see the bigger picture. - Matt Wilson, Under30Experiences

A. Build on Your Strengths, Hire for Your Weaknesses

I’m much more successful when I can admit that I don’t know how to do something, or need help with something. Being aware of my limitations allows me to hire and work with people who can do it better than I can. Together we accomplish a lot more in a lot less time. - Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

A. Be Efficient With Your Energy

Everyone focuses on time management, but I like to focus on energy management. When I have high energy (mornings for me), I can accomplish tasks in less time and more effectively. Instead of focusing on how I put in 15 hours yesterday, I focus on what I accomplished. Forget the time. This starts by defining my high-priority tasks for the day and looking back and asking, “Did I get them done?” - Michael Averto, ChannelApe

A. Level Up

Complacency is the enemy of continued success. When I first started with entrepreneurship, it was with an SEO agency. Then came a productized service and now, a software product. By constantly challenging myself and achieving a level of mastery before moving on, I feel my learning is accelerated and it helps put me in the best possible position to be a highly skilled entrepreneur. - Ajay Paghdal, OutreachMama

A. Finish What You Start

No matter what I’m working on, I make sure I complete it in some way, shape, or form. This is a way of sticking to my promises to deliver — no matter how challenging something becomes, I’m still going to find a way to achieve it. - Angela Ruth, Calendar

A. Make Time for Everything

I like working around the clock but I stop everything to make sure my wife, daughter, family and friends get the attention they deserve. I bring them with me and incorporate personal time into every trip. There must be time for sailing and escaping, even with all that I’m working on. - Murray Newlands, Sighted

A. Always Be Transparent

Being completely transparent with everyone you are in business with is the key to establishing meaningful, long-term relationships. Having trust is important in any personal relationship and business relationships are’t any different. Being transparent with your partners, employees, and clients establishes the highest level of trust. - Duran Inci, Optimum7

A. Pay It Forward at Every Opportunity

The concept of “pay it forward” says you should help others with absolutely no intention of ever getting paid back. In business and in life, failure happens. Success depends on climbing back up each time. Paying it forward has helped me create a strong network of true lifelong friends. They have supported me in my times of greatest need, and they are the reason for my success today. - Kevin Tao, NeuEve

A. Lead From the Front

Spend time in the trenches with employees every day. Exhibit traits that you want to see in them (productivity, direct communication, client orientation, fun, etc.). They are much more likely to emulate you than simply do those things because they are being told. - Amishi Takalkar, NAILBITER

A. Do It Right or Don’t Do It

Beyond a personal rule, this underpins everything we do as a company. There’s no halfway, and the entire organization knows that everything we touch must be done right. This gives our clients confidence that we’re going to deliver for them, and allows our team to push back if something doesn’t seem like a total effort. It also helps us filter prospects and avoid customers who don’t value quality. - Jeff Jahn, DynamiX

A. Never Stop Learning

There is always more to learn, no matter what industry you are in. Always strive to be on top of the latest industry trends and obtain as much information as possible. I take time out of each day to read, whether it’s newsletters, articles or books — it’s important to be in the know. - Jared Brown, Hubstaff Talent

A. Make Sure You Love It

If I don’t love what I’m working on, my work is not going to be top notch. I have to have passion for what I am working o. If I do not, I get out and move on to the next project. - Ben Landis, Fanbase


Article seen in HuffPo

How can I find my niche and define what is unique about my personal brand?


15 Ways to Define What Makes Your Brand Unique

1. Be Genuine But Be Different

People see right through fakers, so make sure your personal brand reflects who you really are. Find what the leading social influencers are doing and find something different to take a different segment of the market. I am in the fitness industry, which is full of individuals with no kids and disposable income. My personal brand is that of a family man who runs two successful companies and raises three kids. – Marc Lobliner, TigerFitness.com and MTS Nutrition

2. Find a Balance Between Passion, Knowledge, Profitability

Everyone is always talking about “niche marketing” like it’s the easiest thing in the world to figure out. Finding a niche is easy, but it’s not so easy to find one that you are interested in, knowledgeable in and also want to create a business around. Before jumping into your next niche focus, be sure it applies to those three factors and that it also shows off your expertise. – Zac Johnson, Blogger

3. Don’t Forget to Be Human

Marketers look around and see competition. Human beings look around and see other human beings. The best personal brands are the ones that make one-to-one connections from which to derive value. Thus, it’s less important to stand out and more beneficial to be human. – Logan Lenz, PartsMarket

4. Answer “What Would Happen If I Stopped Tomorrow?”

To identify what makes your brand unique, ask yourself the question: “If I stopped providing services tomorrow, what would customers miss the most about what I offer?” This is what makes you special and different from other brands. – Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

5. Do Something You Would Do for Free

The only way to become an industry leader is to do something the very best. That’s easiest when you’re fully enthralled in and passionate about what you do. You’re passionate about snowboarding? Make snowboards. It may take 20 years for you to become successful, and it may never even happen. It sure won’t feel like you wasted 20 years if you spend it doing something you love. – Ali Mahvan, Sharebert

6. Pull Back the Curtain

Publicly share who you are and what you are passionate about as an individual. Demonstrate value surrounding a potential niche by exchanging stories and knowledge with others who are already in it. Learn from those experiences and test other variables before deciding if that is what you want to focus on. Most importantly, be yourself. Authenticity increases the value of every personal brand. – Kage Spatz, Spacetwin

7. Don’t Force It

The best way to find a niche is to simply do your job and isolate your strengths. Then expand on those. Don’t chase the latest news story and build your niche around it. Instead, find what interests you and what you have a track record of success doing, and become an expert and opinion leader. – Ryan Bradley, Koester & Bradley, LLP

8. Determine Your Value-Add

As an entrepreneur, there is something specific to the value you bring to your company, relationships and areas in which you serve. Identify your unique skills and attributes and expand upon them. Identity the “why” behind your “what” and you will quickly find that which makes your personal brand unique. – Jennifer Mellon, Trustify

9. Create Buyer Personas

It’s better to laser-focus and do an excellent job for a niche group of people than do a mediocre job for everyone. This creates loyal brand ambassadors for your product. A place to start is to create buyer personas for your customers. You don’t have to start from scratch; there are many free online templates that can guide you through the market research. – Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

10. Know Who You Are and Bet on Yourself

Sometimes, we have to try different things to find our niche and what we’re really good at. Choose something you’re passionate about, already know or are skilled at, and continue to build based on that. Once you’ve found your niche you add your own sauce to it with your personality, which makes it unique. Now your personal brand is easily defined by who you are and what you do. – Daniel Griggs, ATX Web Designs, LLC

11. Talk to Friends, Family and Colleagues

In my experience, the best way to do this is to talk to your friends, colleagues or family members. Ask them what they think you’re good at. How would they describe you? What do they value in you as friends or family? Tell them to be brutally honest with you. I found that my friends and family were really able to give me insight on my personal brand and what I’m able to offer others. – Johnathan Solorzano, Solo Media Group

12. Make It Personal

If a brand is personal it is, by definition, unique: It is an expression of an individual’s interests, values, priorities and style of communication, among other things. If you do not introduce consumers and invite them to experience your world, there is nothing unique for them to witness or enjoy. Let the following rule govern your brand: Stand apart by standing out. – Alexander Westgarth, Westgarth Wines

13. Be True to Who You Are

Dr. Seuss had it right: “No one is youer than you.” Be true to who you are. Authenticity goes a long way in entrepreneurship, as customers and investors see straight through facades. Credibility establishes a strong foundation with others. No need to be a distraction to yourself while trying to be someone you’re not. – Jessica Gibson, Ariel Precision Medicine

14. Run a Competitive Analysis

Take a look at your competitors, compare topics and figure out the intersection between the topics they are talking about and the most popular questions online relating to your industry. Dive deeper into topics people aren’t diving that deeply into, and you’ll be able to find and develop a loyal niche for your personal brand. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

15. Create a Personal Brand Blueprint

Finding your niche can seem daunting but there is an exercise you can do that makes it much easier. Start by creating a three-circle Venn diagram: One lists your strongest skills/expertise, another your strongest passions, and the third lists the market’s strongest needs. Once the lists are done, pick the top choice from each and you now have the theme of your personal brand. – Dan San, Meural


How To Effectively Foster Customer Confidence In Your Brand. Rachel Beider for HuffPo


Any business leader knows that if someone isn’t buying what you’re selling — figuratively or in the most literal sense — your business isn’t going to last long. But how do you get customers and consumers to have as much trust and confidence in your brand and your company’s capabilities as you do? Here’s how the experts weighed in.

A. Be Attentive and Personalize Customer Support

Customer service goes a long way toward developing trust. If customers have questions or problems, they want to feel they can reach out and get an answer promptly from someone who knows what’s going on and can really help them. If your customer support is outstanding, people will be much more inclined to trust you and rate your business highly, even if you’re not always perfect. - Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

A. Connect and Communicate

Communication is key to retaining trust. Implement procedures to immediately connect with your client to find out what exactly went wrong. Genuinely thank them for bringing it to your attention. Then actually reconnect when the issue has been fixed. Encourage your entire team to thrive from your customers’ positive and negative feedback and you’ll have an army of loyal and supportive customers. - Meghan Larson, Adistry

A. Have a Consistent Marketing Strategy

Be consistent in your content marketing strategy. Post daily on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Be consistent with your email marketing newsletter. All these efforts establish confidence that you’ll always be around and won’t just disappear on them one day. - Jared Atchison, WPForms

A. Establish an SEO Presence

People generally trust organic Google search results. If a brand wants to create trust with consumers, getting into those top three Google search results for your target keywords immediately establishes trust. Create blog posts with customer FAQs, execute backlink building campaigns and implement an SEO strategy to begin the journey of getting your company to rank well on Google. - Brett Farmiloe, Markitors - Digital Marketing Company

A. Show Off Your Expertise

If you want to win your consumers’ trust, you need to prove your value. Put out content that illustrates why your service or product is the best available option out there. A great way to do this is to get published on platforms your consumers already trust. Writing a piece for the industry’s leading publication will beat out a hundred half-hearted blog and social media posts every time. - Ryan Wilson, FiveFifty

A. Put Customers’ Interests First

People trust brands that appear to put their interests first. They don’t like brands that mislead, overpromise or are obviously manipulative. If you want to build trust, focus on building genuinely useful products and cultivating meaningful relationships with customers, not on wringing every last cent you can from them. - Vik Patel, Future Hosting

A. Encourage Feedback

We encourage our users to send us feedback about any issues they’re having or questions about their most recent purchase, our app or our website. We then try to get back to them as soon as possible. Providing consumers with the means of easily getting in touch and being able to quickly respond back to them is essential to building trust. - Brian David Crane, Caller Smart Inc.

A. Connect Personally

Focus on building a relationship, getting to know your customers and sharing more about you as a company and team. Share and communicate, listen and help, and deliver on what you say. Consider it a two-way street and be open to feedback. - Cynthia Johnson, Ipseity Media

A. Be Responsive

A brand is a living story. You can’t just declare what it means and expect it to stick. You have to respond to attempts by the market to assign new parts to your brand identity. One of the worst ways your brand image can change is through bad experiences with your products. For example, a lot of airlines have recently had their brand defined by notable bad experiences. You have to be ready to respond. - Adam Steele, The Magistrate

A. Listen and React

Your customers are what keeps you in the game. Listening to them and responding will show them that they matter and also that they are heard. This line of communication is a direct builder of trust. - Colbey Pfund, LFNT Distribution

A. Deliver on Your Promises

The top way to create trust between your brand and consumers is to deliver what you promised and hold up your end of the bargain. Create a service or product that you can stand by with pride and integrity. If something goes wrong, handle it quickly and effectively to maintain trust. - Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

A. Create a Manifesto and Origin Story

People connect with other people. Spend time writing your manifesto. Talk about the values, the team and the current state of the company, including the warts. Get specific. Also, talk about why the company exists and how things came together. By pulling back the curtains, you give people the opportunity to resonate with you because they understand the “why.” - Ajay Paghdal, OutreachMama

A. Be Authentic

The key to creating trust between your brand and your consumers is consistent authenticity. The more genuinely your products and your process reflect your core values, the more naturally all stakeholders — including your customers — will cherish your offerings. - Adam Mendler, Custom Tobacco

A. Be Transparent and Consistent

People are looking for someone they can rely on and trust. No matter what you’re selling, your customers want to know that they can count on you and that you’ll be there for them in their time of need. They want to know that there are real people behind your brand who have the same values, goals and priorities as they do, so stand up for what you believe in and let them know about it. - David Tomas, Cyberclick

A. Enable a Steady Stream of Relevant Reviews

People read and rely on online reviews more and more every year. Ask your customers to leave reviews, good or bad, and keep a close eye on them. We’ve had great success attracting new customers by climbing the rankings through Yelp, local Google targeting, industry reviews, etc. We can tell clients how great we are, but until they read it from others, we have a hard time gaining their full trust. - Matt Murphy, Kids in the Game

Article from Huffington Post

Rachel Beider in HuffPo: Essential Ways to Keep Your Remote Team on Track


With more tools and programs than you could count now available to connect people from around the globe, remote teams are more in touch and telework is easier than ever. We talked to 14 entrepreneurs to find out what tools keep their remote teams productive and on the ball, from communicating across a country to ticking off tasks with ease.

A. Asana

I love using Asana to manage tasks for my team. We work very closely with each other on projects, so when employees are remote, Asana helps divvy up tasks, create timelines and keep us on track. - Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

A. Basecamp

Basecamp has brought transparency, structure and accountability for our teams across time zones. For various types of projects, we have defined sample to-do lists in Basecamp; every time a new project is kicked off, teams can replicate those steps. I love the automatic check-ins that one can set up to remind team members. Also, via the Schedule feature, you can quickly spot whether your team has missed any milestones. - Shilpi Sharma, Kvantum Inc.

A. Bookend Meetings

We start and end every week with two critical meetings. Monday is focused on planning out the week, delegating tasks and ensuring everyone has a game plan. Friday is focused on reflecting on the week, noting any lessons learned and areas of improvement. This regular check-in cycle is critical to keeping everyone on track. - Ross Beyeler, Growth Spark

A. Cloud Tools

We’ve been managing remote employees since 2002, and cloud-based services (public and private) have kept this productive. Using online customer relationship management tools like Salesforce.com or Pipedrive, communication tools such as Skype and Slack and infrastructure services like AWS and Ring has made it possible to keep our team of over 30 members cohesive even though we’ve never shared an office. - Tim Maliyil, AlertBoot

A. Confluence Wiki

We use an active Confluence wiki to keep everyone connected and focused on the tasks at hand. It provides us with one written record of the decisions from our meetings and one version of product specs. If anything changes, everyone gets automatically notified because Confluence sends out an email for wiki edits to the relevant parties. - Brian David Crane, Caller Smart Inc.

A. G Suite

We set up remote teams for a number of companies and we then integrate into the platform that they use. G Suite is definitely the most used platform among the companies that use our services. When we ask our employees which platform they most enjoy using, G Suite is the winner there as well. Google has done a great job of integrating everything our employees need to work with the companies. - Scott Kacmarski, Reps Direct


JIRA has been the most effective tool for managing team members by departments, improving our development workflow and allowing us to keep communication centralized to increase accountability. It’s the single best platform for managing a team with multiple skill sets and with integrations for numerous other business applications that we utilize daily. - Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

A. Podio

I love the Podio management software for engaging with our remote team members over multiple locations of my business. It enables us to come together on projects, assign tasks and troubleshoot issues as a group with all of the knowledge in one place. I also love using it for company culture; we have a book club through Podio! - Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg


A. Slack

Slack is one of the best tools for keeping team members connected, but it can be distracting without the right organization. If you want to use Slack for your team, I really recommend making full use of channels to separate different clients/topics/projects, because that will make everything more efficient. I recommend getting the subscription, because it allows you to keep old messages. - Adam Steele, The Magistrate

A. Teamweek

Teamweek is a great tool that lets you know what your team members are working on and vice versa. It’s especially great for osmotic teams whose work may overlap more often than not. When your team has a tight deadline, you want to make sure that you’re gelling all on the same page and being efficient, and Teamweek makes it easy to synchronize with one another. - Reuben Yonatan, GetVoIP

A. Telegram

We have found that the simplest and fastest ways to communicate are the best. Telegram is a great and secure way to communicate in small teams if you’re running time-constrained day-to-day operations, because you can organize into groups, easily find past conversations and quickly share files and information. It’s also very easy to onboard new people. We complement that with Asana for ongoing projects. - Patrick Linton, Bolton Remote

A. Timedoctor

We use Timedoctor to define project tasks and track the time and activity of remote teams. Timedoctor is a very strong tool: It can capture screenshots, track keyboard activity and pauses taken by remote workers. It will automatically detect a break and also analyze the type of websites and applications used. This helps us manage the team as if we were all in the same office, and it is also a very affordable tool. - Piyush Jain, SIMpalm

A. Trello

Hands down, Trello wins for us. Their free plan is more than enough for our team, but we organize every project using it. Nothing is better than content teams knowing where development teams are without having to ping them for an update. It’s fantastic for a meeting-less culture, but it takes discipline to truly make it powerful. Our team of 20 remote workers has fully embraced it, and we aren’t looking back. - Nick Reese, BroadbandNow

A. Zoom

Zoom is the best and most stable conferencing tool that I’ve found. It’s very good for video conference calls that won’t take forever to set up because someone’s sound is not working. You can also set Zoom up in the background and everyone can “co-work” from different locations, but be virtually together in a room. - Adelyn Zhou, TOPBOTS

These answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Article Seen on: HuffPo