June 16, 2024

Thrive Insider

Exclusive stories of successful entrepreneurs

Danielle Hughes Chief Personality Officer

Who are you and what business did you start?

Danielle Hughes
Chief Personality Officer
More Than Words Marketing, a copywriting and branding consultancy
I help individuals and organizations to develop their Genuine Personality Brand, creating content that sounds like you and giving you the space to truly be yourself in your messaging.

And while I can’t pull a rabbit out of my hat, I can hone your brand message, engage your audience and deadlift you or your employees, but not at the same time. That’s just irresponsible. (note: Danielle is available for office party tricks and accepts payment in bottles of Bordeaux.) 

What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I never wanted to be an entrepreneur, in fact, growing up the only reason I knew that word was the magazine!

But after spending a decade and then some in the corporate world doing Ad Sales Marketing for major TV networks, I had hit the ceiling of where I could go. I wanted to continue to write and be creative but as I moved up the ladder they wanted me to manage more and create less.

I pivoted to a small word of mouth marketing agency to hone my chops further in B2C content but after a massive downsizing the writing was on the wall. I went freelance as a copywriter and spent years just taking whatever came my way. Then about 4 years ago I realized I wasn’t being an active participant in my own career and if I wanted to control my clients and my message, I needed to do something.

So I hired a coach and started More Than Words Marketing, a copywriting and branding agency. Through the process of creating my website content and a bi-monthly newsletter, I developed a concept I call Personality Brand. Now this very thing is what people come to me for – both as a creator, speaker and trainer.

I’m now the Chief Personality Officer and I get to help individuals and institutions to put more of themselves into their message to create stronger and more authentic connections with their audience.

Describe the process of launching the business.

I spent months following coaches and other writers and business owners on podcasts and social media, soaking up all I could. I joined networking groups and started to play with my elevator pitch. I spoke with my coach months before hiring her. I needed to be ready. One day I heard her talk about a niche as not just something tangible but a niche as your positioning and it just clicked. I realized that I was the biggest asset to my business and so is every business owner. The more I started leaning into my own message the more business came in.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Networking! Forging connections with like-minded individuals has been the cornerstone. I also send out a newsletter twice a month and have been doing so since launch – never missing a week. This allows me to stay top of mind with my growing audience. I also do podcasts and conference talks whenever I can and facilitate workshops. Almost all of my business is referrals now.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Revenue has been up every year since I’ve started, with this year hitting an all-time high and an increase of 50% over last year. I’ve pivoted from strictly creating content to teaching people how to create their own Personality Brand via workshops, webinars and conferences. I’ve also shifted to train employees how to identify their own brand within the context of an organization to better understand how to advocate for themselves and showcase where they’re best served to their teams and manager.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

The more you lean into who you are, the easier it is to attract the right clients, and repel the wrong ones. We are our greatest assets!

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

My website, mailchimp for my newsletter, LinkedIn (a lot), slack for my coaching and networking groups, Instagram somewhat. I also use Asana to track projects, google drive to organize everything, Quickbooks to invoice clients, Docusign for contracts and have a Virtual Assistant to help with all my admin stuff.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Podcasts: Marketing-Mentor, High Income Business Writing, Unemployable. Atomic Habits book by James Clear.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Get support early and ask for help often. Find people who want to support you – who are ahead of you, alongside you and coming up behind you.

Where can we go to learn more?