“Don’t chase the marketplace, cause the right market to chase you” With Linda F Williams

Don’t chase the marketplace. Cause the right market to chase you. Don’t buy followers that fall-off after a few weeks or have absolutely no interest in your service or products. Build a strong foundation based on personal values and your unique abilities and then, stay in your lane. I had the pleasure of interviewing Linda F. […]

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Don’t chase the marketplace. Cause the right market to chase you. Don’t buy followers that fall-off after a few weeks or have absolutely no interest in your service or products. Build a strong foundation based on personal values and your unique abilities and then, stay in your lane.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Linda F. Williams, a Certified Executive Coach who shows exhausted C-Suite executives how to increase the bottom line with less stress, less conflict and plenty of time for personal and family life. She is a trained psychotherapist, nationally recognized behaviorist, and management consultant. She is the founder of Whose Apple Dynamic Coaching & Consulting, and the Award-Winning author of the Best-Seller, Whose Apple is it, Anyway!

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell our readers about your background?

I recently retired from almost 37-years in public administration with the federal government. During my tenure, I earned a Bachelor Degree in Organizational Leadership from Calvin College. I also have a Master of Social Work and Graduate Certification in substance abuse counseling from Western Michigan University. I have completed my dissertation and will soon have a Doctor of Social Work degree in Social Policy.

My experience as a labor-management leader and behaviorist enhances my specialization in work-life balance, employee engagement, and cultural transformation.

What inspired you to start your business?

Surviving trauma drives my purpose. I have been through molestation, sexual assault, and domestic violence. At one point I was homeless and unemployed. I think most women who flee domestic violence go through it — it is about survival. My problem was getting stuck in survival mode while failing to address the internally devastating aftermath of traumatization. It sidetracked my life. It sidetracked my relationships, and until I woke up, it sidelined my career. I tell you, I was a hot mess walking.

I broke free while writing Whose Apple is it, Anyway. That turned into a 7-year, 6-day blood, sweat, and tear-stained battle through self-loathing, guilt, shame, and post-traumatic stress. The subtitle of that book is, “Empowering Purpose to Achieve Your God-Ordained Destiny.” It is the perfect description of my transformation. My most profound takeaways from that experience were:

· The difference between victim and victor is making it count by turning pain into purpose.

· Leveraging lessons learned is the only revenge we get on a past we cannot change.

· My past does not get to dictate my future.

· Never believe the lie that fear is the end of my story.

· My greatest power resides in the truth of who I am.

· A lifetime of change is empowered by a single act of courage.

Many successful and powerful people are suffering stress and chaos perpetuated by a past that they do not realize is affecting them. I am a prime example. While I saw life through trauma-stained glasses, I earned two degrees, had songs recorded by a famous singing group, wrote a thesis that resulted in a Prison Fellowship partnership for an ex-offender reintegration program in my area. Everybody was impressed. The whole time I was clueless-at-the-helm because my personal life was in shambles and I did not know why. Many lives are affected by a single life changed. I live to facilitate that change in others.

Where is your business based?

While we are in Grand Rapids, Michigan, we are international. We have clients all over the world. It is one thing I love about what I do.

How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?

I started with a website to promote my book and then expanded to life coach services. Several marketing messages and website recreations later, I honed my ideal client and solidified my marketing message. I also registered as a corporate entity in my state. I hired a graphic artist to design my logo and then had it trademarked. This journey occurred over the past 3 or 4 years because I learned as I progressed.

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?

Relationship building is most powerful. I started out wasting much money on press releases, marketing webinars, and paid advertising. However, the outlay was not sustainable as a startup. I finally invested in a stand-out marketing workshop for LinkedIn. It was one of the best investments I ever made because it pushed me past major limiting mindsets, forced me to clarify my marketing message, and the course emphasized the importance of relationship as opposed to bombarding potential clients with automated emails and texts.

I found that this aligned more with my values while also pushing me past my comfort zones. By applying what I learned across all platforms, I more clearly communicate with followers and potential clients. Moreover, I can better provide the information they find valuable.

What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

My greatest challenge was starting a business while holding down a fulltime job. I overcame that challenge a year ago when I retired from a 37-year federal career. My second greatest challenge was getting an education. I realized that having a degree means increased credibility in the marketplace. At age 38, I went back to school to get my bachelor degree. My master’s degree came thereafter and I just completed my dissertation. By the end of the year, I will have a doctorate.

How do you stay focused?

Generally, I am like a Pitbull when it comes to accomplishing something. In hindsight, many of my accomplishments were achieved in the middle a jacked-up personal life and serious emotional turmoil. I think I used achievement as a distraction from trauma or whatever drama was playing out in my life.

That is not to say that I never have focus-related challenges. I notice that if I do not get my rest, the next day is a wash. In those situations, I’ve finally learned not to even try to focus — it’s not going to happen. On those days I deliberately give myself a break from the guilt, curl up on the sofa, and watch television until I drift off.

I have a mindset-procrastination issue about which I must be mindful. There have been times that I have sidelined a task because I had convinced myself that it would be too complicated, take too much time to learn or figure out, or that I just wasn’t up to it. That was my reality until I recognized that nine out of ten times nothing was further from the truth. Almost invariably, once I dove in it was neither complicated nor difficult. Now, I push myself to just get it done.

How do you differentiate your business from the competition?

Wow. This has been one heck of a challenge. Credibility is of utmost importance to me, both personally and professionally. Life coaches are a dime a dozen in an unregulated field with no credentialing requirements. Being aware of this, I acquired certification as a life and executive coach. Thankfully, my degrees coincide with addressing mindsets and the psychological dynamics that hold us back.

The power of this business is a been-there-done-that perspective that, in tandem with my psychotherapy training, behavioral science background, and strong faith, gives me insight into what lays between the lines of people’s stories. The things they don’t say. Those stories they think are too true to tell. These untold stories become the scripts by which we live our lives. It took me decades to figure this out in my own life and it breaks my heart to watch others going through it.

What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?

Aside from relationship building through my social media platforms, Facebook videos have been highly effective in establishing brand recognition and exposure.

I should do more blogging because it is effective in establishing oneself as a thought leader. However, I am not a prolific blogger because I find it difficult to write just for the exercise of writing. I have to be inspired. I have to have something substantive to contribute. I want the reader to walk away with actionable steps to address their challenges; not just a to-do list. By adding a company logo, tagline, and call to action, social media content becomes a marketing opportunity, as well.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?

Don’t chase the marketplace. Cause the right market to chase you. Don’t buy followers that fall-off after a few weeks or have absolutely no interest in your service or products. Build a strong foundation based on personal values and your unique abilities and then, stay in your lane.

Take these steps to build a foundation:

· Know who you are and the “why” behind what you do. This includes identifying your personal core values, translating that into your mission and vision statements, and using this as a roadmap to appropriate opportunities. If the offer or opportunity fails to align with this, don’t do it. This will save you a lot of lost time and heartache down the line.

· Building on the “why” identify your ideal client. What are the pain-points that drive their desire for your product or service?

· Develop a crystal-clear message that focuses on the ideal client or customer. Speak to their pain upfront. Reiterate their pain, present the solution, then tell them why you are the go-to person.

The time it takes to establish a solid business foundation is worth it because failure to do so will have you taking a lot of backward steps due to setbacks and changes in direction. I made the mistake of not identifying my ideal client. Therefore, my marketing message was muddled. Getting clear on that resulted in multiple updates to all my social platforms, website included. It was time-consuming and tedious.

Finally, make sure your social media posts provide substance and value to your ideal client or customer. Become their first stop for helpful tidbits and encouragement. I made the mistake of being all over the map with my social media. Once I solidified my message, posting content became consistent and a lot easier for me.

What’s your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?

Apps: All apps that allow me to maintain my social media engagement from my cell phone are tops with me. I prefer my laptop to a tablet or cell phone. However, I like the convenience of having access to business tools while traveling. I mostly use the Facebook Business and LinkedIn.

Blog: Forbes. This company has protected the integrity of their brand for about 100 years. I can trust what I read and the information is from established leaders.

Book: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is the book that most impacted my business life. Also, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou because she was a remarkable woman who struggled with trauma and rose above it.

What’s your favorite business tool or resource? Why?

I am trying a couple of other platforms that allow me to schedule social media posts, but I have been using Post Planner for about a year and a half. I am a bit frustrated right now because I recently moved my Facebook pages to their Business Manager application, which has blocked my posting directly from websites. Arrrrghh!

Who is your business role model? Why?

Warren Buffet said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and only five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you will do things differently.” In all his years in business, the man has conducted himself, made business decisions, and developed a reputation in keeping with principled leadership.

What do you have planned for the next six months?

I will finally achieve my doctorate (a major time commitment). Then I will focus on developing an online course for leadership. I want to do a TedTalk and increase the number of speaking engagements this year.

First, I was working full time while building my business on weekends, at that time I was also addressing the challenge of completing doctoral studies. Finally, I will be able to focus on the business.

How can our readers connect with you?

All roads begin at where they can connect with me on social media, email me, and download valuable free resources.








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