Our guest today is Rachel B Lee. She is the Co-Owner and CMO of StandOut Authority and help business owners and influencers create a strong personal brand, grow their influence and draw in amazing opportunities. Completing an MBA at The University of Texas at Austin led her to go corporate including a significant position in Microsoft. Here, her love for marketing grew more and more. Every single stage of her career eventually gives her the question, “What’s Next?”.
Learn more about LinkedIn and personal branding in today’s episode.
Visit Rachel’s website: https://standoutauthority.com/
Katie Brinkley 0:02
Hi friends. I’m Katie Brinkley and you’re listening to Rocky Mountain marketing. This podcast is all about helping Colorado-based small business owners, entrepreneurs, realtors and professionals discover the strategies and systems that take their marketing to all new heights. Let’s dive into today’s episode. Welcome back to Rocky Mountain Marketing. Today, my guest is Rachel B. Lee. Rachel is a fearless lady boss. After receiving her MBA from the University of Texas Austin McCombs School of Business, she entered the technology industry at Microsoft. Rachele achieved over a billion impressions. Yes, but billion with a B in 2017, as the social lead for Microsoft inspire, and won the speaker Excellence Award in 2018. For her session on modern selling, and LinkedIn, she has now left corporate to be co owner and CMO of standout authority, helping people create their personal brands grow their influence, and drive new opportunities through real human connections and the power of LinkedIn. Rachel, thank you so much for joining me today.
Rachel B Lee 1:11
Thank you, Katie. Great to be here.
Katie Brinkley 1:14
Now Rachel, you and I did get the opportunity to meet on the good old clubhouse. We were talking about clubhouse earlier. And I’ve had the opportunity to hear you speak a lot about LinkedIn and personal branding. So those are the two topics that we’re going to dive deep into today. But before we start talking about that, I want to hear a little bit about you in your corporate world because it sounds like it was a pretty cushy job and to leave it that had to be intimidating.
Rachel B Lee 1:41
Absolutely. I am that overachiever. I’m that ambitious? Lady boss. Yes, I identify as a lady and I love being a strong woman in, in the business world. And I’ve always, my whole life has been what’s next, right? If I’ve never done an MBA, nobody in my family has, oh, like maybe I should explore that. Right? You put it in my head. I go after it. That’s kind of how I entered into getting an MBA, I knew I wanted to work on corporate brands. For me, marketing was why I love marketing. I’ve always been doing marketing, business, undergrad, everything is because it’s about people. It’s really about how do you understand a person and find a way to connect with them? Through your product or service? Right? I mean, and that’s, that’s really what branding is about. And so my whole life has been centered around, well, am I going to climb the ladder and be a sea level, I always have had the entrepreneurial bug in me, my grandfather started his own accounting, business management firm, my dad took that over. So always had the entrepreneurial spirit. And what happened for me was that as I achieved the MBA, and I achieved the big cushy job at Microsoft, and then Gartner which is a 4 billion $5 billion company, and it research and consulting, is that I didn’t feel purposeful, and passionate. It wasn’t that I didn’t love the idea of what we were doing, or the people that I was around, although some places that people were better than others and teams, I felt like for me, Rachel B. Lee, that my purpose was much more than being part of a corporate dynamic that was not in touch with the customer as much I wasn’t face to face. And I really just had that sinking feeling in my stomach, Katie, and I knew, I was like, okay, either we keep going, we climb the corporate ladder, and they said to me, you know, you you have the capability to Rise, Rise, Rise, Rise, you know, keep going up promotion promotion, or do I leave and start my own thing. And after really doing some deep inner work, which personal branding is all about inner work, realize that the way that I can serve others and share my authentic voice was not going to be inside of a corporate environment. And I had to leave and take that entrepreneurship journey. I had to do it like now. You know, I didn’t think it would happen as quickly as it did. As soon as I set those intentions. One year ago today. One year ago, I started to think I’m leaving corporate, there’s something bigger for my life and I was manifesting and setting that intention within five months I my last day at Gartner happen. So, you know, I think that everybody’s story is different. For me my design as a human I just no matter what money, what opportunity, any job, that purpose and that passion is so Important into why I’m here on this planet. And I believe that everybody feels that way. And most people are really unhappy in their jobs and unhappy right now and leaving all these jobs because they don’t feel an emotional connection. Right? So entrepreneurship and working with my husband, who is a 20 plus year entrepreneur really has allowed me to expand and that anything is possible and create and really be in touch with humans and a one on one basis and support people and building their voice and, and being heard and being seen.
Katie Brinkley 5:34
Wow, Rachel, I love that you said to that you’ve always had that entrepreneur bug inside you, but didn’t really realize it. And I’m the exact same way I went to college, I went into radio, I then went into marketing and everything i Obviously I mean, I had my my dream job, I say I had my dream job three times. And but nothing has fulfilled me as much as being an entrepreneur. And looking back, I was like, Well, of course, I’m an entrepreneur, I’m, you know, my dad had his own business. And, you know, I was creating my own business. When I was like, 10, I was making art and you know, trying to sell it on the street corner. Instead of lemonade. I was selling art. But I mean, like there, I think some of us just have that entrepreneurial spirit within us. And we always hear you have to go to college, you have to get this job. What do you want to be when you grow up? And not very many people say, I want to start my own business. And it’s more, I think it’s becoming more common where you can do anything, you know, if you want to do this, sure, you can, whereas not very many, as many people are saying like, Oh, well, you need to go to school and become a doctor or lawyer or whatever. If you want to start your own business, I think that a lot more children are being raised to kind of think outside the box with being an entrepreneur. Now. You mentioned your husband, Joshua Bailey, he is the co owner of standout authority. Just tell us a little bit about what standout authority is.
Rachel B Lee 6:55
Yeah. So Josh, is actually he started saying that authority several years ago, it was one of the several companies he owned. His 20 plus years really started an online advertising he was across. When online advertising started working with MySpace and big companies doing you know, arbitrage buying, selling, making a shit ton of money, we love to curse on them, I will curse. Oh, you’re good, you’re good. And he realized that, that that wasn’t fulfilling, right, just ad spent and really monetizing wasn’t fulfilling for him. And stand out authority became what it is today, which is really all about being human online again. And we are behind the thought leaders, some of the best C level executives, business owners, entrepreneurs were behind them, leading their executive communication, leading their voice, their personal brand, and bringing that perspective that bought the leadership to market on LinkedIn. So and we do that literally on a one on one basis with top level executives, business owners, entrepreneurs, and then we also do training. So you know, we met on clubhouse that’s sort of top of the funnel awareness building platform for Josh and I to really bring awareness and to train people, what does it mean, to position yourself to have a position in the market, create that narrative, and then actually tactfully do it on LinkedIn, we think that LinkedIn is the best platform and vehicle for a professional business conversation, to grow opportunities where the real money were real, the biggest best decision makers are that that’s on LinkedIn, you know that this is the place where the money is at. So that’s where our focus has been. We’re working with the LinkedIn creator program, and really staying in close lot was where the platform is going. Because it is going in a place that serves people like you and I a lot more. And not just a place where you put your resume and you get hired, which it is all of that too. I work with, and work with students. Still I work with students at the University of Texas, Macomb School of Business still and MS students. And that’s a whole other conversation, right? How do you use it to get a job to get promoted? So there’s still a lot of that’s all it’s all about that as well. And now it’s also become a greater platform.
Katie Brinkley 9:34
Well, and Rachel, you you brought up so many good points here. And I didn’t want to to interject. But the very first thing I want to talk about is that you said, it’s not just a place for you to go and find a job and put your resume and I think that people still think that with LinkedIn, it’s like, oh, my husband, one of them. You know, I’m like, Hey, let’s get you going on LinkedIn. He was like, I don’t need a new job. I’m like, no, no, you you need to have that awareness. And so I think that a lot of people get still think that it is just that online resume or if you’re looking for a job, that’s what you do is you just put it there and, and they couldn’t be more wrong. Yeah, but it’d be
Rachel B Lee 10:10
more wrong. You know, LinkedIn is at 19 years old at this point. It has four core business units. One of them is around recruiting, which is 50 60% of the business, and really how it started, but marketing solutions, sales, solutions and learning. So just when Josh and I talked about LinkedIn, we talked about this in a very business minded smart sense. I worked at Microsoft, I was at Microsoft, when acquisition came through $26 billion. Microsoft acquired LinkedIn, most people don’t even realize that. So what are you gonna bet on? I’m pretty sure Microsoft is, if it’s not the top three, I need to look at the, you know, fortune 500. But it it is outpacing, it’s like Amazon, Google, you know, all the tech companies sort of battling each other out and the technology cloud market. I say all that because LinkedIn is now part of Microsoft. So that creates a lot of new and interesting opportunities in terms of integrations, productivity, all of that, and really about empowering. LinkedIn is about empowering the global workforce, Microsoft is empowering every person on the planet to achieve more. So when I think about just the overall like, how, where are you gonna bet, right, like, where do I want to spend my time? I think about Wow, there’s a huge vision behind LinkedIn with Microsoft. And yes, recruiting its app. Yes, it is a place to put your resume. But I’m sorry, like, if you are looking for jobs in 2022, and you think that your resume is going to get you in the luck, kiddo. Like, that is not how recruiting is happening right now. Recruiting the resume is like the submission and the hiring managers doing their quick scan with the computers to see if you’ve hit the mark. The next piece of that is how is this person showing up on LinkedIn, they’re looking at I’ve been hiring, I’ve been hired in corporate and I’ve been a hiring manager in corporate. And I continue to coach and work with the students who are in the recruiting process to MBAs. And, and so it is so much about how are you presenting yourself, your resume really does nothing. But your LinkedIn profile can actually show who this person is I can learn beyond what she’s done. I can learn why she’s done it. And I can look into the content that she’s producing to help really build out that story. So the other thing I want to just bring up, Katie, because I know I’m on my soapbox now, is most people don’t realize with LinkedIn that it is highly Google indexed. So from an SEO perspective, which means organic search. I know there’s a lot of people listening, that are smart and know digital marketing a lot don’t even know what SEO means. When you go on to Google. What shows up when you click on the whatever personal branding expert is Rachel gonna show up? Is Katie gonna show up? Right? It is 100% optimized LinkedIn for Google. So what that means is, and they actually this summer started to index posts. So not only are your articles and newsletters, but your posts are now indexable on Google. So I’m getting a lot of juice out of what I put on LinkedIn, not just for the people that are on LinkedIn. But for the people that are searching on Google. And let’s be honest, everybody’s searching on Google. And we’ve actually seen some really interesting case studies. And you know, David Tutera Yeah, yeah, to hear it. We he literally took a blog that was on his website, took the same blog, put it on on an article on LinkedIn, he started to show up number one on the Google search. So are you smart marketing folks. I think about how do I get the most out of my content, my reach and sell on LinkedIn?
Katie Brinkley 14:09
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that too, one of the things that I’ve learned is, if someone says, Okay, I’m, I’ll be on social media, Katie, and then they, they’re on Instagram, that is fantastic. And then they decide, okay, I’m going to add on Facebook to okay, I always tried to recommend to diversify away from just going all in on Mark Zuckerberg or all in on Microsoft. So if you are only going to be on one social media platform or two social media platforms, it makes sense to diversify. LinkedIn and Instagram, two of the I think one of the best places for organic search still, are those two platforms. I want to touch on to Rachel, what if somebody is a business owner or I know you work with a lot of executives and managers, but as a business owner, why would they want to have a strong presence? A strong personal brand over on LinkedIn or on any social media platform. Why did they want to have a personal brand? Should they be focusing on their business?
Rachel B Lee 15:08
Given the company brand? Yeah. Well, you know, listen, I’ve run polls on this. And everybody says, I ask people, What do you think? Because I do social listening. Do you focus on company brand, a personal brand? 7030 personal brand, right? Even. And I’m talking about the leading experts, branding people at companies like Microsoft, okay, who are running the brands. And if they had to choose, they choose the personal brand. You know why? Because we’re in a massive transformation. Right now, our world has drastically changed and will continue to because we are in the digital revolution. And the pace of change what we’ve experienced in the last 20 years in terms of innovation, technology, I mean, forget like humanity and what you know, COVID all that is like unspeakable, right. And so we are writing the story now for the next 40 years. Right. And so, what that means is that people are now actually at the top of the list for who’s controlling everything. They were going to talk about the crater economy in a few weeks when we have our, you know, community caught, right? Like, this is where it’s going. Because people now are creating content, like cray cray. They want to own their content, they want to own their IP, they want to own their own ideas, and they want to make money off of it. They don’t want what do you think about it, like, here we are on clubhouse and LinkedIn, all these Instagram, we don’t own shit. No, we don’t get paid for my content. I am member, we are the user, we are the user, which means they get to use and abuse us, would they make money off of us? LinkedIn a little bit less, though, because it’s products but Facebook and Instagram, they’re making money off of your ad spend your data, it’s just backed. So because of that people have now become at the focal point in every company. And every company or your if you’re a business owner, I want to talk to you. I want to know why you created that company. I want to Why should buy for you, CEO, you entrepreneur, I don’t care if your business is five people, one people or 500 people, we want to know who’s working there. We want to know who’s leading the company. And what do you have to say? That is what is going to attract me to actually purchase. I’m doing an article right now on thought leadership. And there’s been studies that have done by LinkedIn, Edelman, etc. They saw that huge increase in purchasing by business decision makers because of the content they’re seeing from the thought leaders in different companies. It’s changed, things have changed. This isn’t 20 years ago, or even 50 years ago, right? Like now, we humans, while we’re being really controlled, we’re sort of also breaking free. And I think that just means that no matter what, you have a brand, you have a personal brand, and it’s your opportunity to really use it because this whole authenticity thing that people keep talking about. The only way something can be authentic is through human voice.
Katie Brinkley 18:27
Yeah, I mean, it’s so true. The opportunity to hear someone speak can move relationships at lightning speed. And I feel like like I said, before I hit record here. I said, Rachel, I can’t believe this is the first time you and I are actually see each other it feels like I’m just getting together with an old friend that I haven’t talked to in a minute. But this is the first time that we’ve actually had a face to face conversation. And it’s because of the power of voice and hearing someone speak. And I think that a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners are still like, well, you know, there’s a lot of people behind the business. There’s a lot of people behind the brand. But you have a lot of knowledge you have a lot to offer. And there’s a reason why you decided to go down this path. And everyone loves to hear a story. And they love to learn. And one thing that you have done in your career can help somebody go from step A to C or D or F you know, they can help them skip the line a little bit by sharing your story and different thoughts and experiences that you have had. I know that a lot of people with the personal branding, they’re like, oh, so wait, so I have to like go get pictures or how do I even start like with a personal brand? What would you say if they’re like okay, Rachel, you’re kind of convincing me that I need to start showing up and not just doing a whole bunch of business corporate branding. I need to start doing some personal brand. What would you say their first step should
Rachel B Lee 19:55
be? Go on LinkedIn. Well Listen, I’ll take Instagram to find because fine, we’ll take the boat with them. And first thing is that you need to understand, think about, what do I want to say? What do I want to be known for? What am I really good at that I have a perspective that I can even create content? Right? You don’t have to create that much content to be look legit and trustworthy and attract people, right? Like, I think people get really stressed out and I am one of those two. I’m like, Oh, so much content, but like, it’s okay. Like you can post like, a few times a weekend be good enough? Absolutely. Absolutely. That headshot, right? And all all of the well, we won’t get into visual identity, because that’s where I think people start getting overwhelmed. Yes, a headshot really starts is what do you want to be known for? Where I start, when I’m working with people, when I do my personal branding workshops, when people come into training or clients to say, I break it down into four pieces to define to so you can define what is your value proposition? So the same way in which I built company brand value propositions, which is you’re really like why people should work with you like, what, that’s what it is value proposition? I do that on a personal brand level. So I look at what are your skills? What hard skills do you have? So when I’m working with people, and they tell them really gritty, really resilient, that’s objective? That’s not a hard skill, great skill. It’s an obstacle scale. But like, truly, when I’m building a personal brand, it must be credible and trustworthy. And so that when it comes to a personal brand is based off of your skills and your experiences that’s comparable to like the features and benefits of what service you’re offering. Right? So what are your skills? For instance, one of mine is communication. Thus, I’m here speaking. Right?
Katie Brinkley 21:59
I have something in common there, Rachel.
Rachel B Lee 22:01
Katie, guess what one of your skills is communication, too. So you know, what are your skills? Who is your audience? This is a big one. I think that people and you tell me, Katie, you know, people will say, Well, I want to attract this kind of person, I’m looking to attract millennial women that are moms and dads have the data, right? And then you look at them. And they’re not a mom, they’re not a millennial, they’re not a woman. Right? They’re great. And so when it comes to personal branding your audiences who can relate to your background, your experience, and that doesn’t mean looks like you necessarily, but it means you have shared experiences. So people are usually going after these aspirational clients. And why won’t they come to me? Well, you have no credibility. You don’t have customer testimonials like that yet. So we first your target bull’s eye is going to be people that can truly relate to your background, your experiences, and that can buy from you, which means they trust you. So your audience, then what is your differentiation? Differentiation is the most important piece of branding period. Because there’s a lot of people doing the same thing. And so your differentiation when it comes to building your personal brand, when it comes to building your persona out there is going to happen through What experiences have you had that are different than others? So for instance, Katie, you’ve been on TV, right?
Katie Brinkley 23:39
Yeah. So I used to be a radio reporter.
Rachel B Lee 23:41
Okay. radio reporter, pretty great differentiator for you. I cannot say that I’ve been a radio reporter. We both can say we know personal branding, but I cannot say I’ve been a radio reporter. And I can say I have an MBA, and I was in corporate. And I don’t think you had a corporate job. I did have a corporate. But I didn’t I don’t have an MBA. No, I don’t know that. Right. So some people will say I speak five languages. Oh, that’s amazing. Yeah. A lot of times people actually don’t realize they’re different. I find this in particular with women. I find this a lot with working professionals find this a lot with people recruiting, they’re like I’m no different than anybody else. Well, languages you speak. You’re first generation you’re born in a different country. Sports you’ve played I mean, there’s all sorts of things that make you different so that your audience can relate to you. Lastly, what are you passionate about? Katie, I think this is most important in building a personal brand, because it’s not just how people see you. It’s how you see yourself. And we started this conversation about, you know, leaving this cushion job to be an entrepreneur. It was because of this passion piece. It was because I didn’t feel fulfilled, like you said, that fulfillment, that purpose, that passion, so many people can be passionate about the companies that they work for. That’s great. Most companies need to figure out how they can get their people more passionate about what they’re doing. That’s a big problem. Most people don’t give a shit about the company’s what they’re doing. But that’s my other soapbox. So what is your passion? And you can figure this out? by really understanding what gives you energy? When are you lit up? What are people, when you ask people? What are my superpowers? That’s where you start to understand. And I think some people are like, Oh, I’m really passionate about like cooking food. That might be the case, are you gonna make money off of that? Maybe, maybe you are. Maybe the passion, if cooking food has nothing to do and you’re, and you’re like a finance kind of person. Maybe you can use that cooking food passion to help tell your story to help draw analogies to help humanize you. Right? So all those four elements to me are where you start to think about how do I want to position myself and you create your personal brand statement, your value proposition. So for me, I help people businesses, find their voice, build their confidence, and grow their influence, so they can change the world. And I do branding. And I talk about personal branding all the time. It took me a long time, though, to get there, Katie?
Katie Brinkley 26:19
Oh, yeah. I think that that’s exactly what you’re saying, Rachel, it’s a lot of people say, Oh, I’m not special. There’s really nothing different about me. But the way you broke it down. There’s little things that make you unique. And honestly, I was that same way. And I was like, Well, I mean, I don’t know nothing really spectacular about me. But then once I started well, yeah, I was I did was a locker room. Reporter it’s pretty cool. Because it was back before a lot of women were in the locker room doing sports reporting. Oh, yeah. Well, I did play collegiate softball, like it was all these different things that I didn’t realize that it was some a different way to connect with someone until you start sharing your story and start speaking. And that all happens when you start embracing yourself as the brand and growing your personal brand.
Rachel B Lee 27:08
Yeah. And I love what you just said that you play collegiate softball. I didn’t play collegiate softball, but I was super into softball, varsity and played my whole like six until 18. Right? And so immediately, now we can have conversations around softball. And people will forget to put that on their LinkedIn profile. They’ll forget to even put that in the resume, right? Where it says interest, things you like to do. I love that section of the resume. It’s like my favorite part. Here’s all the boring stuff. What do they like you but like, those pieces are often left out. And as we think about this, humanity coming back, which it is, people want to connect with other people, people buy from other people, people hire from other people, those little pieces of information that you totally don’t realize, matter matter. And in a social media worlds, where you have to break through and break through fast. It’s those little tidbits in the visuals in the copy in the daily content that bring on one extra follower, one person, one person and one person. And it’s an every day process. And I you know, Josh, and I say this a lot like if I can touch one person today, or whoever, I don’t know how many people will listen to this. It could be two people, it could be 30,000, I have no idea. But one person can walk away and say hi, I learned something or she helped me I’m like, that’s that I’m good. I’ve served, I’m doing the right thing, one person, one person, can I make a difference and touch them today? Then I fulfill my passion. I’m doing the right things.
Katie Brinkley 28:56
And that’s why I wanted you on the podcast here, Rachel, because that is the whole basis of my podcasts. You know, like I’ve said before, on on the show here, if it was not for people, giving me the gift of their time and just sharing, you know, this is the mistake I made or this is what’s helped me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. So that is entirely the whole basis of the show to help people learn and continue growing. I can’t thank you enough for coming on today. And like I said, it does feel great to actually see you and have a conversation because we’ve we’ve spoken together so many times and it’s just like connecting with an old friend again. Before we finish up. Is there anything I didn’t ask about during today’s discussion that you think is important to share important for people to walk away with?
Rachel B Lee 29:37
I mean, we’ve just scratched the surface, you know, and I think what matters is that you realize that you matter. And that if there’s any time to start putting yourself out there and getting a little uncomfortable, now’s the time and that all of us have started from nothing. And I don’t even consider myself like that. Anything really. And every day, keep putting myself out there more opportunity comes, the more that I am very in touch with who I am. That’s why this work for me. The reason why I left corporate The reason why I do personal branding sway it’s coined is because ultimately it’s about people, fulfilling their purpose and serving others. And we need so much of that right now. We need people to stand for others, we need people to light up other people’s souls, we need people to be honest, we need people to care. Right? And that if you come from a place of that, everything is possible and anything is possible. And the personal branding work will get you there. Right, it will get you there will help for a minute. And then of course, you know, LinkedIn is where we believe so much passion we have so much passion about if you’re listening, please connect with me. The Rachel B Lee on Instagram everywhere, Rachel B Lee on LinkedIn, I would love to hear from you. We have an awesome workshop coming up. We’re totally changing the game this year with Josh and I, providing more free opportunities and more intimate opportunity. So we would love to just meet you and LinkedIn is where it’s at. So get your butt on.
Katie Brinkley 31:18
Yeah, I 100% agree. I think LinkedIn is kind of, I don’t know why it feels like a lot of people just kind of write it off. But it is one of my favorite social, social platforms. And I do follow you and you do give a ton of free advice and tips. And you know, you go live on there. So again, if you are not connected with Rachel on LinkedIn, check her out. Rachel B Lee, her all of her contact information will be in the show notes. So be sure to check that out. Rachel, again, thank you again, so much for coming on the show today. I really appreciate it.
Rachel B Lee 31:50
Katie Brinkley 31:51
I love that Rachel was able to come on and talk about how you are the brand, I know that it’s hard to kind of wrap your head around will bleed a second, you know, I spent all that money on logo and brand colors and fonts. Now you’re saying that I should, I should be the brand. And personal branding is everything people want to buy from people people want to do business with other people. And unless you have the the Nike swoosh or I can’t even think of another, the Apple half eaten Apple as your logo. Your logo is still extremely important. But how are you showing up people want to hear your story. And when the more you share, the more people understand about you and in your background and your experiences. They’re going to connect with you and they’re going to want to do business with you. If you’re not spending time on LinkedIn, building out your personal brand making those connections have today be the day that you start. Because as I said during the show, I think that LinkedIn does get a little bit of a bad rap. It’s not just an online resume anymore. It is a fantastic space for you to network and meet new people and grow your personal brand. Tell your story. Because that’s what people want from your business. They want to hear from you. Why do you do what you do? Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can visit my website at www.nextstepsocialcommunications.com. Connect with me on LinkedIn or check me out on Instagram. Let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights.