Creative Business

Alexis Teichmiller on finding your calling, trusting your intuition, and involving your community in the process

This week on the Brand Your Passion podcast, I was joined by entrepreneur and creative, Alexis Teichmiller.

Alexis is a podcaster and coach who helps women live a deeper life, show up consistently for themselves, and be proud of who they are. She’s ALSO a consultant for SAAS companies, helping them grow their affiliate marketing programs. A multi-passionate creative with a passion for people, Alexis has an amazing understanding of what it means to embrace your creative instincts.

In this amazing episode, we talk about finding your calling, trusting your intuition, involving your community in the process, and more!

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for Canva and ConvertKit, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Thanks for supporting me as you grow your biz!

Welcome to the show, Alexis!

Thank you so much for having me, I feel like one: I'm so honoured to get to chat with you and your community today, and two: we're finally like chatting in real-life after being internet friends for years! So, this is like a double whammy of loveliness.

Well thank you so much for joining us. Do you wanna tell people a little bit about what you are up to, what do you do, what is your creative life like? 

Absolutely, so like anything and I'm sure everyone will understand this – it's just been such an evolution. You know, what I started out doing in my entrepreneurial days at 17, is very different than now at 27. So through a decade of what I would consider being a creative entrepreneur, I've done a lot of different things. And I think what that gives you is it gives you experience, and it also gives you space to figure out “what do I wanna do, who am I, what am I interested in, how do I wanna serve people?” And so throughout that interwoven journey, right now I have two businesses. 

I have a business called Deeper Life, I am a coach for millennial women and I help them create deeper connections with themselves through one on one coaching. I also have a podcast called Deeper Life, and I'll be coming out with courses. And my long-term goal is, especially post-covid, whatever that might look like, I wanna host small internet retreats for women, in the mountains. So that's my long term goal is to be an event based business. Which is hilarious because event-based businesses right now aren't as prevalent. But I thrive on intimate 1:1 interaction, so I want to have that be a big part of my business model. So that's one part of my business. 

And the other part of my business which is not connected at all, but it's rooted in my expertise, is I was the affiliate manager at ConvertKit for over 4 years and helped them build a really successful affiliate program. If you're not familiar with an affiliate program, think of it like a referral program. Over the course of those four years I ended up helping bring in about 23 million dollars of revenue, and really built up an expertise in affiliate programs, acquisition models, and all of that. So I do affiliate management consulting for tech companies in the SAS space. 

So those are, again, so random. They're not connected. My passion is Deeper Life. I love vulnerability and connection and really giving people permission to interact with their emotions in a healthy way. So often we want to label things as good and bad, and emotions are just signals. They're neutral signals that give us an opportunity to explore and be curious about what that emotion is trying to teach us. And so I love working with millennial women and giving them the permission and the space to show up for themselves. 

That's what I'm really, really passionate about, and then I've built this four and a half year, five year experience in acquisition and affiliate management and referral programs. So that's been interesting to see that play out now as a freelancer, and have those opportunities come my way that I'm not necessarily seeking out. I do believe that sometimes things chase you down. And you know, when things chase you down in terms of opportunity, it's important to ask yourself “what is this trying to teach me?” and be curious. And right now I'm in a state of curiosity towards that side of the business. 

I love the framing of being curious because it gives you an opportunity to not put labels on something and not try to come up with a definitive answer. It's just, “I'm curious, let me explore this, with no judgement, with no expectation, with no labels.” And there's a sense of creative freedom and empowerment that can come from curiosity too and so that's been really fun, to just give myself the space to be curious.

“there's a sense of creative freedom and empowerment that can come from curiosity”

I feel like so many creatives have that kind of duality of like, well this is what I'm really really good at and I have this experience and this path in, and I have this "career" in this one thing, but then I also have this other thing. And there's always this duality of passion. Because I'm sure, even with your affiliate work, it's not your main passion but you must like it and enjoy it? So there's this duality of passions and things that we are curious about, like you said, and wanna explore even though there's always many ideas. 

Absolutely, and sometimes monetising your passion looks different to everyone. Sometimes monetising your passion doesn't work out. Maybe something that's a passion is just meant to be a passion and a hobby. That's why with curiosity, you're not putting expectations on something to be successful and I think that's something I've given myself a lot of space and freedom to just figure out what's working. Which can be really hard, because we live in a society that lives off of defining things and labels and we want to categorise where they fit in. and that can be really hard as an entrepreneur because you're like "what is my goal, what is my plan, what is my strategy?" I totally believe in systems and processes so don't get me wrong, but there's this other level of energy that you bring into your business where you wanna stay curious because it keeps you agile. It keeps you willing to adapt and figure out what's working, what's not working, and it's allowed me to pivot in ways I didn't really expect. Which kind of comes back around to branding, and who am I and what does this business look like, so it's all connected.

Yeah, for sure. It's always a thing I hear from other creatives, and a thing I've experienced about branding yourself, is how do you do that when you have a multitude of passions?

I think you have to ask yourself, what marketing power do I want to put behind different projects and different passions? I want to put a lot of marketing power behind Deeper Life, and so I'm going through a rebrand right now and once that rebrand is finalised then I'll start recreating and redesigning my entire website, new podcast art, social media elements will change. I just noticed that my brand with Deeper Life wasn't very cohesive. 

And then stuff on the affiliate management side is word of mouth and referral based, and right now I don't want to put marketing power behind it. If things are coming in - awesome, but if things aren't coming in it just gives me more time to focus on the business I want to take off. And with that, it kind of gives you clarity too, of even just “what do I want to build a website on? What do I want to build a brand around with building brand templates and logos?” And if it organically leads you down a path to one business, that kind of also gives you an answer. 

When I was asking myself those questions, I was like, “no I don't think I want to build a website for the affiliate management consulting. It might live on my about page somewhere, on my alexisteichmiller.com website, but no, I don't think I want to continue to try to put a lot of marketing and promotion power behind it.” And that can give you so much clarity too, when you're actually like making those things happen. You can decide what do you want, what do you not wanna you know move forward and put energy into.

So tell me a little bit about how you kind of got to where you're at now, and got to Deeper Life. What has your creative journey looked like to get you to here?

I would say I have always been an entrepreneur. In third grade I remember – this might be dating me a little bit – but like I used to burn CDs for classmates. So I would buy Shania Twain, Britney Spears, Nsync, Backstreet Boys and then I would burn them and I would sell the copies of them at school - which is illegal, a low misdemeanor for an eight year old, but still. I was like, “people want it, how can I take it and sell it to them?” So I'd sell these copies for 50c and get money for candy during recess and things like that. And that was just something I was always looking at. I was like, “where are the gaps, what do people want, and how can I give it to them?”

In my senior year of high school, I took a class called Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities and through that whole class my senior year we toured different businesses in my small town, and we had all these entrepreneurs come in and it was every single day my senior year from 7:30-9 in the morning so it was this huge immersion into entrepreneurship of multi-million dollar business owners coming in and sharing what they've learned. And it was such a great opportunity to hear the realistic side of entrepreneurship at a young age. 

I will say that from that point on I never romanticised entrepreneurship and I think that's something that we can easily do when we see people doing it online, or we see people being able to work remote and travel the world while running a six figure business and we can romanticise that. And as much as I think sometimes romanticising things gives you the motivation and the energy to do it, it also needs to be coupled with reality. I think at 17 years old, I was getting a very heavy dose of reality. 

“as much as I think sometimes romanticising things gives you the motivation and the energy to do it, it also needs to be coupled with reality”

One of the goals of that class was to create your own business, and you had to create a service or a product and sell it at a big trade show. That was at the end of the year, around graduation time, they had a big trade show and about a thousand people from the community came to the trade show, and we got to talk about our businesses and sell our products. And so I wrote a book. I've always loved reading and writing, and so I wrote my very first book called Investing in Human Capital, and it sounds very very fancy but it was all about relationships. And from the perspective of a 17/18 year old girl, what I had learned about entrepreneurship and relationship building and mentorship. Which is kind of ironic because so much of the Deeper Life is relationship and connection. It's very full circle. 

So I ended up writing that book and sold that, never got it published or anything like that, but got a bunch of copies printed and it was just such a unique experience writing something, printing it, and having a physical thing and then having someone pay you money to read what you wrote. That's such an incredible experience. 

And that was when I realised I was really hooked on this idea that I could create something that people thought was valuable enough to spend money on, and that was really amazing. 

And then throughout college, I studied marketing with a creative nonfiction writing minor, and I always knew that I wanted to do something more. And without sounding arrogant or like facetious, I kind of at moments found college to be a little bit boring 'cause, I wanted application, you know? I wanted the education and application together, and so I felt like “I'm learning about marketing and writing and all of these things and I didn't have a way to apply it.”

So going into my junior year of college I started a women's clothing company. I got my business license, borrowed two thousand dollars from my Grandma, and just dove into having an online boutique. I did trunk shows, so I'd go around to people's houses and these were clothes I'd picked out from New York, and LA, and I'm from a very small town in the midwest, so I wanted to bring unique fashion to the area. And it was my way of just, going all in I guess, on an idea. I ran that for two and a half years, and did fashion shows, charity events, photo shoots and crazy stuff that I never expected, and that was when I really got into blogging and like social media marketing. 

The boutique was in person but it also had an online element running all the social media accounts. And then when I built up my website I had my web team, I was like, “you know what just buy alexisteichmiller.com and just like throw a blog up there for me.” This was in 2014, right around when blogging was becoming more popular again - it had always been a thing, but it was really getting more mainstream. And then I got into fashion blogging, moved to Nashville after I graduated college, started working in tech in online marketing, got the job at ConvertKit, and as a side hustle was doing fashion blogging. 

And then that kind of transpired into travel blogging. I worked with tourism boards of cities and states, hotels and car companies, clothing companies, and was really doing that like side-hustle travel blogger vibe for a couple of years while still working at ConvertKit as the affiliate manager full-time. 

And I think what I learned through that experience was how much I was chasing validation, chasing popularity, and wanting to feel important. Social media can be very addictive, it can be very unhealthy emotionally, and you can put a lot of your self-esteem, worth, and confidence in followers and likes. We know this and we hear this and we know that it's a thing that happens, but when you feel it yourself and you really feel like your identity is starting to change, the way you feel about yourself and your narrative starts to change about yourself, it can kind of break down how you see social media. 

“when you feel it yourself and you really feel like your identity is starting to change, the way you feel about yourself and your narrative starts to change about yourself, it can kind of break down how you see social media.”

Unfortunately, one of my best friends passed away in 2018 and it took losing her for me to kind of wake up and see the areas of my life that weren't authentic, that weren't very deep, that felt very shallow. They felt rooted in a lot of vanity and a lot of chasing down popularity and I really kind of went on this path of self-discovery. And you know, “who am I? Am I becoming who I want to become? How do I value things like kindness and vulnerability and connection with myself and other people?”

And that's what really kind of launched the Deeper Life thought process. I actually thought about Deeper Life two years before I ever launched it. I've been marinating on this idea for so long. 

And through that whole time too, I started a podcast in 2016 during the travel-blogging, and working at ConvertKit, called The Laptop Lifestyle. I ran that podcast for a little over two and a half years and built a great community of individuals who were working remote and wanting to learn about online business and to learn about how people were living a lifestyle kind of nomadically. And working remote myself, my whole career, it can be lonely, so I wanted to have a podcast about the laptop lifestyle and what that looks like. How do you build community and combat loneliness and anxiety working alone? That was really fun but it still kind of lacked the depth that I wanted. 

Alexis’ first podcast, The Laptop Lifestyle

And so then I launched the Deeper Life podcast in March, right after quarantine started. My husband was like, “hey you've been talking about this Deeper Life podcast idea for a long time, when are you gonna do it? Couldn't think of a better time because everything's cancelled and we're in our apartment 24/7 for weeks.” I was like, “alright I'm gonna just go in on the idea.” I was still working at ConvertKit at this point, in March of 2020. 

I started the podcast and I just felt this organic click of, this is what you are supposed to be doing. And I had been praying and journaling and thinking and asking for clarity, “give me clarity, give me clarity,” and I journalled for about seven months starting in November of 2019 until the day I quit in June. And I just was like - “I don't know what I'm gonna do but I know that I'm being called to something, I know that there's this energy pulling me in this direction and I'm curious and I wanna know what it looks like.” And again, being curious gives you the freedom to not define something. I just used that curiosity and followed that thread and it led me to coaching. And I didn't even know that I would love coaching, I had no idea. And I started one on one coaching and working with millennial women between the ages of 22 and late 30s, really connecting and seeing transformation in their lives. And implementing the Deeper Life framework and seeing it come to life made it feel real. 

It was like, “this is a business, there's something here and people are hungry for connection. People are hungry to know who they are.” And that's a common thread in a lot of my work is, “who am I? What do I want? I don't feel like I can voice my opinions. I don't feel like I can speak up for myself. I don't feel like I can ask for what I need.” Working with women through those different things has been such a gift to me and also has given me so much clarity on where I am now. So, that's where I am right now, friend!

I love hearing people's stories because it's so funny how  those things that happen when we were younger come full circle and they all are such a huge part of who we are today, even if we don't think about it at the time. 

So, when you started Deeper Life, in terms of the branding side of things, did you just start making your podcast artwork yourself and things like that? How did that all start?

Yeah, so one of my best friends is a fantastic photographer and she had taken some headshots for me back in January. And I knew the vibe of the show, I wanted it to be very cosy and conversational. I used the photo that she took of my headshot and then I made my own podcast cover art using Canva. And I'm not a designer. I love aesthetics and I am very in tune with the way things make me feel. I deeply appreciate good branding, I can see it, and I know what's happening, because I'm a marketer. Can I create it? No. I just  couldn't. I tried really hard and I had some friends help me and give me advice but at that point, I didn't really wanna pay someone to do it, I just wanted to do it myself and get it off the ground. I didn't want to use the potential resistance of "this isn't good enough" to just get it out into the world. It was kind of that "progress over perfection" mindset, and so I knew, if this takes off and this turns into something, I will take the time and money to invest in good branding, but right now I'm just gonna get it out into the world. And so that helped me get started. And so, from there I just did everything in Canva. 

Thank god for Canva, honestly.

Really! No, it's like, if you just want to get something out into the world, get something off the ground, test something, experiment, Canva's great. Especially for my non-designer friends, don't be afraid to just go in there and play around, see what works. One thing I do like about Canva is you can save your brand colour palette, and so in any design that you ever create, when you go up into the colours, your brand colour palette is right there. And I just love that. I don't need to buy a fancy designer software to be able to do anything, 'cause I find it's intimidating. And that's one thing about Canva, it's very DIY, easily accessible and there's a free version which is even better. Yes! 

Alexis’ Podcast artwork for Deeper Life.

So then I had a friend reach out – I guess I should say an acquaintance, now she's a friend. Acquaintances don't stay acquaintances very long with me! She reached out to me, she had been following me on Instagram for years and had really seen the evolution of my brand, from clothing boutique, to fashion blogger, to travel blogger, to laptop lifestyle, to then Deeper Life – quite an evolution of a personal brand. My personal brand was interwoven but those were all different projects, and it's like, “how do those all come together?” There was really no succinct brand. My photos, I guess you could say are very me, they're very aesthetically pleasing, and there's a brand element to my photography, but when it comes to fonts, and colour schemes, and my website - please don't even go to my website right now! It still says I'm a travel blogger. I'm waiting for this rebrand instead of working on the website and then needing to go back and overhaul things after the brand redesign. But she reached out and said “I've been following you for a long time and I would love to offer you a collab deal, where you share with your community who I am and my studio. And she's incredible, her name's Kristen and her studio's called Soul Beam. Which Soul Beam is like, you just feel a connection to that. And it felt very organic for Deeper Life, working with Soul Beam Studio on a big rebrand. And she really understood me and my vision, so I was like, “yeah that sounds amazing!” I knew that I needed it, but having someone seek me out and say "Hey, this is what I can do for you, this is how I'd like to work together" it was an easy yes. So I was like “I'm all in, let's go!” 

So you're right in the middle of the process right now, right? And you've been choosing directions with your followers? How's that process going?

It's been really good, that was one aspect of the rebrand that I really wanted was, I want my community to feel like they're a part of the process. And I think so often we hold change so close to our chests and we don't give our community an opportunity to be a part of it, and then when the change happens they're like "oh yeah, we were are part of this this whole process and we did it together!" There's this kind of feeling emotionally removed from the rebrand, like “oh yeah new podcast art, cool,” but it's like “no, remember when we picked out the aesthetic, and we voted on the colour palette, and then we voted on the logo?!” So everything that Kristen and I are doing together, she then creates custom story graphics and then I upload them to my story. So I asked my community which brand aesthetic they liked in terms of design. And we went through that voting process and narrowed it down. And it's so funny, because the ones that my community are picking that win, are the ones that I like! Which just shows that there is that connection, that we're on the same page. My community is voting for this brand aesthetic that's the one that felt more organic to me. The same with colour palettes too – after we did brand aesthetic design, then we did colour palettes. And actually last night she just sent me her first rendition of logos and she sent me three different logo designs, and I get three iterations of logo designs that's included in the rebrand package. So my community will vote on those! And it's just been really, really fun to see her capture my brand essence. We did a like a two hour long meeting where she's just understanding my vision, what I do, who I do it for, who my ideal client is, and what my long term vision is. Not just in the next year but five years, ten years, because her and I are both on the same page of, “I want your brand to not only be elevating where you are now, but I want it to be able to grow with you as you scale and as your business really takes off.” We even got into, “how much do you want to be charging for coaching? What's your ideal charging rate? How much do you want your courses to be one day? How much will your retreats be one day?” And so as we're talking about these prices, you're attracting a different kind of clientele. Design attracts a certain type of clientele, we know this - and I just didn't connect those things. I never thought in a rebrand of “hey, you want coaching to be X amount of dollars, let's elevate that design to really attract that kind of client.” And that's just been a really lovely experience and has gotten me outside of my head in the here and now in the work that's in front of me, and really thinking about what's the evolution of my brand in five years, and I wanna be able to carry this colour palette, logo, aesthetic with me as I grow.

That's amazing. I always tell people to think about the future. And also different things that you want to be able to do in the future. Do you want to write a book in the future? Do you want to be an international speaker in the future? Then think about, is your brand gonna look great on stage behind you doing a presentation? Is it going to look great on the back of your book cover? You have to think about the future and how your brand's gonna apply long-term because otherwise you're just going to keep having to do it over and over and over again!

Totally, and I don't wanna do that! She said something that really struck me which is that I'm kind of in the early stages of this business and even though it's taking off in it's own way, it's still very much like a baby business. And she said the beautiful thing is that a lot of people don't think about brand design in the beginning and then they wait until a couple of years down the road and they're like, “okay now I guess we need to do a rebrand” and she said the beautiful thing about the timing of this is that you are elevating your brand visually at the beginning and you can really grow into that. You have so much room and capacity to grow into that brand. Instead of waiting years and years and maybe not attracting your ideal client. And now it's getting everything honed in so well, it gives me confidence too.

Yeah, you don't wanna miss out on two years of reaching that perfect audience for you and growing into where you wanna be. It's like, “no, I can do that now and make the most of that!” 

You mentioned that Deeper Life is at the point at the moment that's the most recent point in a journey that your  personal brand has gone through. And all of these different projects have been under the arc of you, as a person, Alexis, right? So has that been an intentional decision? Is your plan to have Deeper Life become its own, separate brand? People always ask, “should I have my name as my business name, should I keep things under my personal brand?” What have been your kind of thoughts on that?

I think it really depends on what you see the future of the business becoming. I always think that my brand will be Alexis Teichmiller, and then everything underneath that will be projects. Just like Seth Godin. Seth said, “I live my life in projects. Everything has a beginning, middle and end. But everything lives under Seth Godin.” And I loved that mentality because it gave me freedom to think I can continue to build my personal brand and pour gas on whatever project I want at whatever time I want. And then if I end up just like the Laptop Lifestyle with Alexis Teichmiller was a two and a half year project, and I closed that chapter, that podcast still gets daily downloads - it's still there, and I can reference it, I can point people there, but it's not something I'm actively working on. I like that, and Deeper Life with Alexis Teichmiller will very much be that too. And any book that I write, any other podcasts I might start one day, or products. Right now I really see myself going all in on Deeper Life for a long time, and creating a life and a business that feels really sustainable, instead of rushing to launch all the things and make all the money, not that making money is bad, like at all. I think I'm at a place right now where I just want things to feel sustainable and protect my energy and creativity in a way that's not going to create more burnout. 'Cause I've definitely been in a lot of seasons of burnout. I know what it feels like, and I know my energy level - and how long it takes me to bounce back from that. And I'm like, “how can I create a business around a life, instead of a life around a business?”

So many creatives have had that experience of burnout and there's been such rhetoric around hustle, hard work, working all the time, and that kind of intense, masculine energy. but actually for a lot of creatives, slowing down and creating a life that allows you to create and be inspired and not be burnt out is incredible. And if you can intentionally build your business that way from the beginning, it's a lot easier than having to retroactively break your business apart and start from scratch.

At Convertkit, I was the affiliate manager so I worked with six and seven figure earners in all aspects of online business and sat at their houses or in their offices with them building affiliate strategies, and really got an opportunity to build really close meaningful relationships with them. And also see how they ran their businesses, and if they were happy, and what energy they carried. And I've seen really successful entrepreneurs have a team of 20 people and then a year later have one assistant because they just didn't wanna have a team anymore. And you know, it's like the rush and the rush, and the open/close cart and the energy around that hustle culture. I think that there is a season for that and when you're in a season of getting things done, working with a lot of clients, I don't want you to find shame in those seasons, or judgement in those seasons. But also just be really mindful of your pace and your mental health. And I think seeing that, I was removed from it, and I was seeing it happen in people's lives, it gave me an opportunity to ask myself as I started this business, what do I wanna do, you know, is this how I want to feel? Do I want to feel exhausted and anxious and nervous about hitting payroll? I don't think so. I don't think I want to feel that way. And not every one of their businesses were like that, but there were certain entrepreneurs. And some of them thrived in that environment you know, and some people love that. So do that, do whatever it is that you want to do and at a pace which you want to do it. But I think it gave me an opportunity to recognise that that's not for me, and that's okay, and I don't have to be lesser than or have less. I don't have to play small, I'm just recognising, this is my game that I'm playing with myself, and I don't have to play it with anyone else.

What are your plans for Deeper Life going forward? You've mentioned that there are retreats maybe, and more coaching coming out. What are your plans?

I can walk you through my funnel because I feel like that is really helpful for creative entrepreneurs to hear - what is the process which you lead a potential customer through? I'm always, especially working at ConvertKit, even in marketing, I always think in terms of the funnel. 

So my freebies are journal prompts and the journal prompts are focussed on self-connection and connection within relationships and community. That's the freebies for giving away on the podcast, giving away on Instagram, so its' people's first opportunity to print something off and think through questions about themselves. 

And then from there I launch a five day challenge, it's a five day self-connection challenge. It's a paid challenge but it's at a lower price point at around like $60-$70 and I ran that late this summer in July and August and it went really really well. So I'm probably gonna do that every other month as a lead gen into my paid content. 

And then from there, the next step is a group coaching programme, which is a three month programme going through the Deeper Life framework. There's nine pieces of the framework and I’m going through each one of those. 

And then from there, after the group coaching programme, next up is one on one coaching. It's working with people one on one and really going deeper into the Deeper Life framework, giving them additional support, and custom journal prompts. It's very complimentary to therapy and I really love working with clients that are in therapy and doing coaching with me. 'Cause therapy is very much past focussed, focussed on past trauma, past experiences and healing, and coaching is really focussed on the present looking towards the future. And so, I love working with clients one on one on those action items that they aren't necessarily getting from therapy. I love that dynamic. 

And then after one on one coaching, it's my goal to have small intimate retreats with 20 women at a time and I'd like to host two or three of those a year I think and those will be heavily focussed on self-connection. And I'm still building out what that can look like. But I'm picturing a lot of time in nature, a lot of time in full body movement whether that be dance or rhythmic movement, or yoga, and a lot of journaling and a lot of vulnerability conversations in smaller intimate groups. I've been to a lot of conferences, and a lot of retreats and masterminds, and a lot of those are focussed on what you're gonna do and I feel that not enough events focus on who do you wanna be? And how do you wanna feel? Not, what are you gonna do? Like, action-oriented, production-oriented, you know, but who do you wanna be? Let's focus on being. So that's what my in-person retreats will eventually look like.

Wow, it sounds like a dream. Like, I wanna come. I'll fly to the other side of the world, and I'll come. 

Yes girl, I would love that. Right now I think I'll probably host a lot of retreats domestically in the States, but I would love to host international retreats. I mean I'm such a travel lover so I think that would be like a long term goal. And also I'm so open to hearing what women want at self-connection retreats too, so this is kind of what I envision but I mean, I am such a big advocate of asking your community. What do you want? What do you want? What do you want? And then asking them and creating it for them. So that's been the big thing that I've tried to focus on is not, you know, keep things so close, I'm like “hey, what do you think about this? How many days would you want it to be? What would you pay for it? What would you wanna learn?” And then just getting all of this feedback is amazing. And sometimes we can be scared of that feedback, because we're like “what if it doesn't match our vision?” But I think one of the best things you can do as a marketer, above building a list, above everything, is knowing your community really well, and knowing how to serve them. So you get to know them well by asking them questions. And so that's been something that I'm continually learning and tapping into.

As a creative it can be quite difficult to put your work out there, especially if you are just in the early stages of thinking about an idea, or you've worked on it a bit and you're a little bit precious about it because you're like, “I love this idea and I just want everybody else to love it!” But it's awesome when you do get your community involved and they can see it coming to life and get excited about it with you. 

Yeah, my Instagram community, 'cause that's like where I hang out all the time, they're always voting on Instagram stories. I had them vote on the podcast cover art. Everything that I've put out in the last year, my community had a say. Does that mean that I'll always do what they say? Not necessarily, because at the end of the day, I need to feel like there's alignment with my choices. But I love the idea of them being involved and there's just so much buy in. They're excited for you. And at the end of the day you're creating it for them. So when there's excitement from them, toward whatever you're creating, you know there's immediate buy-in and action that they're able to take instead of always feeling like you have to do a big launch that's a secret. What if the launch was like, there was already so much energy around the process that now the outcome is so much greater than you could have ever expected because you didn't have to hype it up in 24 hours, you hyped it up over a month?

Alexis’ Instagram, where she connects and shares her process with her community

So through this journey of creating Deeper Life, and you've had experiences building other brands and different projects as well, what do you think has been the biggest lesson that you've learnt about branding your passion and turning something that you love into a brand or a business or a project?

Never underestimate your intuition. Intuition is something that needs to be stretched, and built overtime. And intuition builds confidence, and security. It builds this belief in yourself, that I can do it. That I believe in myself enough to know myself enough and be in alignment with my values enough that things are organically a yes or organically a no. And sometimes when you're building brands or building businesses, there's a lot of doubt and there's a lot of second guessing and there's a lot of "well I don't know." This might sound contradictory to me just saying you should ask your community what they want, but I think that you're the one that has to lay your head on your pillow at night and go to sleep with your choices, so as much as it's great to ask for advice, or ask your community, or ask mentors, never underestimate the power of your own intuition and the direction that your body, that your soul, that your mind and your spirit is leading you, because sometimes that can be more powerful than anyone else telling you where you should go. 

And I think that for a really long time, I felt this pull, like this natural force pulling me in this direction and I didn't go, because I was seeking affirmation. “Do you think I should go in this direction? Do you think I should go in this direction?” Instead of just being like, “Alexis, intuition. Trust yourself and trust the fact that you're having these feelings and these desires for a reason and they're pulling you, not pushing you, they're pulling you naturally into this direction that's organic, that's not forced.” And we often want to get that affirmation or validation. And as much as that can be really helpful with launches and prices and all the things that's great, but when you can really come down to this grounded, rooted feeling of knowing that you're in a direction that really aligns with you, it really aligns with your values and your dreams and you're becoming who you want to become every single day. You can't learn that from someone else, someone else can't teach that to you. That's something that you really have to tap into yourself and I think that's been the thing I've learned the most over the last 10 years is that confidence and trust in myself, and valuing that equal as someone else's opinion or even more. Instead of putting someone else's affirmation or validation 50 steps ahead of what I think I should do, instead I’m just kind of evening those out and seeing. I'm still open to feedback, I'm still open to other people's thoughts about where I should head, but at the end of the day I'm making the choice and there's power in that.

“you're the one that has to lay your head on your pillow at night and go to sleep with your choices, so as much as it's great to ask for advice, ask your community, or ask mentors, never underestimate the power of your own intuition and the direction that your body, soul, mind, and spirit is leading you, because sometimes that can be more powerful than anyone else telling you where you should go.”

Wow, I feel like I, and everyone else that's listening needs to work with you, immediately!

Ohhh thank you! 

“I'm still open to feedback, I'm still open to other people's thoughts about where I should head, but at the end of the day I'm making the choice and there's power in that.”

I just feel like thinking about yourself and your own feelings and your own intuition like you said, is quite contrary to what a lot of the industry says. And you know, when you are running your business online there is such a feeling that your success is aligned with how many followers you have, how many people are buying your thing, or who is voting on your Instagram stories. Not a lot of people are doing what you're doing and talking about “okay, that's fine, but also how do you feel and how do you build something that is aligned with you, what you're about, your vision and your mission and everything?” And I think that it's a really refreshing approach to business and life. It's wonderfuland I think everybody is going to love listening to this and hearing that and will hopefully be a cool way to look at them building their own creative business. 

Thank you. And the beautiful thing too, is that mindset of building intuition and security in self, it's really rooted in connection with yourself. I feel so connected with myself, I know myself so well, that I know that this is a choice that I want to make. And whether that's in business or your brand, or your life. The questions of, what are you gonna go to school for, when are you gonna get married, when are you gonna have kids? Everyone has these thoughts and this path that they put you on – I call it "the path of should'' – you should do this by this certain age you should should should. And that's fine in it's own right, but I don't subscribe to that anymore and I ask myself, what path am I on and what pace do I want? When do *I* want to get married? When do *I* want to have kids? When do *I* want to start my business? Do *I* even want any of those things? And if I don't, that's okay. And that intuition that's calling you away from motherhood or into motherhood, or away from marriage or into marriage, or away from your dream job or into your dream job, following that energy and really learning. Because if you push yourself into an area of life or into a decision that you feel like you're being pushed into, instead of pulled into, you are compromising yourself, you're compromising your values. And there's no shame of judgement there but just be conscious and aware of who *you* want to be, versus what society or your family or your partner or whoever is pushing you to be.

“if you push yourself into an area of life or into a decision that you feel like you're being pushed into, instead of pulled into, you are compromising yourself. You're compromising your values.”

Thank you so much for this conversation Alexis. Do you wanna let the people know where they can find you, or what you've got going on right now that they can check out?

Absolutely, so you can check out the podcast if you just go into your podcast player literally wherever you listen to podcasts, and just type in Deeper Life, my podcast will pop up and you'll see my face. I'm wearing a big white hat in the podcast cover art. Or you can follow me on Instagram which is where I'm most active aside from the podcast and my Instagram is just alexisteichmiller.

On the podcast there's 2 episodes a week, there's a solo cast with me and there's a recorded conversation with a friend. I don't like to call them interviews because they're really conversations about all different kinds of topics, but yeah check out the podcast, follow me on Instagram, or you could email me too, at alexisteichmiller@gmail.com. I love hearing from people, talking to people, mentoring people, jumping on random zoom calls with strangers from the internet - that's the stuff I live for. So, always happy to help there too.

Thank you so much to Alexis for joining me on this episode of Brand Your Passion – I just LOVE Alexis’ approach to business, creativity, and community, and I hope you do too. 

Please follow Alexis on Instagram and support her work however you can! 

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Hollie stands resting her hands on the white desk behind her, wearing a black t-shirt tucked into orange pants and clear glasses, and smiling into the camera.

by hollie arnett

The brand coach for creatives, hand-lettering artist for herself, and cup of tea lover forever.

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