Today, we're talking about how you can bring your faith into your business as a Christian business owner. You may not run a ministry or a specifically Christian business, but you feel a calling to integrate your faith into your work. But - how do you do that? If you are a copywriter, photographer, designer, or online course creator, it can be hard to see how you can really infuse your faith on a daily basis into your business.
A little behind-the-scenes: this is always an interesting discussion that I often enjoy having with friends privately and frequently think about in my own life. When my friend Brooke suggested talking about this on the podcast, I was so excited to hear her perspective and I can’t wait to share all of our insights on the blog here today.
I'm chatting with Brooke Jefferson, a business coach for moms with small businesses. She's also a photographer, podcast host, and an absolute expert in helping business owners get clear on their ideal client, offers, and marketing strategy for consistent clients and sales. With her experience building multiple six-figure businesses, Brooke's passion lies in teaching other moms to do the same.
In this episode, we talk about how to infuse your faith into your businesses and feel confident when boldly sharing about it AND we also explore the ins and outs of podcasting and talk about what it takes to grow a successful podcast in 2023 (even if you feel the podcast landscape is oversaturated). We are both passionate about both which makes this a really fun two-in-one interview.
If you're interested in faith in business and/or starting/growing a podcast, this episode is for you.
Before we dive in - are you in the Breakthrough Brand All Access Facebook Group yet? It’s free to join, and it’s where we take conversations like the one I had with Brooke today further. Pop in and ask questions, share insights, and get the inside scoop into what I’m trying lately. I’d love to see you inside!
LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE NOW:
First - Who is Brooke Jefferson?
Brooke Jefferson is a business coach for moms with small businesses and the podcast host of the Business Mamas Tell All Podcast. Brooke helps business owners get clear on their ideal client and offers and create a marketing strategy that results in consistent clients and sales. After building multiple six figure businesses, she truly enjoys teaching other moms to do the same.
Brooke is a believer, wife, and mama to two. When she's not teaching or photographing, you can find her reading a good book, hanging out with her family outside, or planning her next trip.
Why should we infuse our faith into our businesses versus just letting business be business and faith be faith?
First, I used to think the same way. I used to compartmentalize my life, thinking that marriage, motherhood, businesses, and faith should be separated into different boxes. However, I've come to realize (more and more!) that they are all intertwined and affect one another. For example, a bad mood can impact how I serve my clients. And as I've grown in my faith, integrating it into every area of my life has had a positive impact. I used to struggle with the term "Christian entrepreneur," fearing that it would alienate potential clients, but I've found that sharing my faith attracts like-minded individuals who value the same principles. So ultimately, while you might think that your faith is a completely different thing, your faith and values spill over into every aspect of life.
How do you talk about your faith in a way that's not alienating to someone who does not share the same faith?
So, this can look very different, but initially, I started by sharing small glimpses of my values and faith. In 2020, I became more bold about it. Faith has now become one of my brand pillars, something I am known for. I share it through snippets of me reading the Bible in the morning or if I listen to a church sermon or worship song then I share it. There are always one or two people who say, "I needed this today."
By sharing my faith little-by-little and eventually bringing it into my business, I gained confidence. I was initially scared and worried about alienating people or losing clients but really, it's important to remember that in business, you are always going to be attracting and repelling people. Not everyone will love you, and that's okay. Yes, you may lose followers or clients who don't resonate with the idea of faith, but remember that there are dream clients waiting to say "yes" to you.
EM: I would add that as personal brands, we are given a platform to speak about what matters to us, thanks to the Lord. Sharing our faith may not be for everyone, but if it's on your heart as part of your business, it's worth doing. I agree with what you said, Brooke. I love and respect and learn from many business owners (and friends) with different beliefs. When it comes to business, maybe someone else is into more new age and woo woo stuff, but I still feel like I can learn from them and buy from them and not have the same faith as them.
And I think many people aren't there in life. We have a lot of cancel culture vibes going on and taking sides. But for those who can get to the point of saying, "Hey, we don't have the same opinions on this, and that's fine," it's important. Remember that just because someone disagrees with you on one thing, doesn't mean they wouldn't want to buy from you or work with you in other ways.
How can we infuse our faith into our client experience?
I love this question because I believe that the options are truly limitless. If you're afraid to share your faith but want to, I want to encourage you to start small. It begins with how you treat people and your company values. In today's world, bad experiences are common, and human connection is often lost. Watching business owners bash their clients breaks my heart because this world is too small for that behavior to not get back to them.
Leading by example is important. I like to think of Mathew 5:15-16 where it says “don't hide your light. Let it shine for all. Let your good deeds glow for all to see so that they will praise your heavenly father”. You don't have to shout from the rooftops that you're a Christian, people can sense it through how you treat them. Infusing faith in your business starts with your actions, you don’t need to feel like you need to have a banner saying that you’re a Christian.
Do you have any thoughts about digital products or product based businesses where we might have less touch points with our customers?
Yeah, so I've actually been the customer in these situations, and I didn't even realize it was a Christian company necessarily. But it made me want to spend more money with them. Not that I don't spend money with non-Christian businesses, as we touched on earlier. But for me, I prefer to spend my money where people have the same values as me (and I know I’m not alone - that's how society is these days).
I've seen people go the extra mile in their thank you cards. If I order something from Etsy, they often include a personalized business card or a thank you note with a verse on it. They might even mention that they prayed over the candle for me. It's so touching! There are different ways you can do this, even if you don't have physical products. It all comes down to follow-up. Sending a letter or a handwritten card with something meaningful to share is a great example. Another way is to simply pray for your clients without them knowing. I've had mentors who offered to pray for me in person, but I know others who prayed for me in private. It makes a world of difference to me.
How can we invite God into our business and bring him intentionally into our business and even into our marketing?
So first, I want to make it clear that I am not a perfect Christian. In fact, I am probably the most imperfect person on Earth. The ideas I'm about to share are things I strive to do every day, but I don't always succeed. I believe the first step is prayer. Before giving anything else your attention, take a moment to pray, whether it's for ten seconds, two minutes, or five minutes. Connect with God, whether through journaling or simply spending time in conversation. This helps you realign yourself with His plan and stay focused throughout the day. Inviting God into your daily life is as simple as maintaining an ongoing conversation through prayer.
EM: Yeah, I love that. It can be easy to fall into a routine of doing a morning devotion, going to work, and then coming home at five. It's like we're almost putting God away during non-quiet times, which can make it hard to stay connected. But bringing God into our everyday situations, praying throughout the day, and talking to Him is so helpful. Also, as you mentioned earlier, it's important to represent God well and show up as the Christians we call ourselves. I love that.
I know many people who are building personal brands may feel nervous about sharing their faith. What advice would you give them?
My biggest advice for gaining confidence in sharing your faith is to surround yourself with people who are already doing it. Watching and listening to others have made a major impact for me. You don't have to start big; you can begin with small steps like sharing on your Instagram stories or in an email. It could be a story about leaving church or something meaningful from your day. In the beginning, I used to share a picture or boomerang from my Bible time and add a caption about what was coming up for the day. Starting small with bite-sized ways will help you gain confidence and boldness in sharing your faith.
What advice do you have for someone who's wanting to balance doing the work God calls them to, and also feeling pressure from society to work really hard and make a lot of money?
Yeah, so I got caught up in the hustle culture, chasing six figures, and feeling like a failure when things didn't happen quickly in my new businesses too. But I'm grateful that I've grounded myself and grown from where I started. It's just so different now. The biggest thing was going through a season where I questioned myself. One day, I had a breakdown and felt God ask, "Do you trust me?". I had to ask myself if I was placing more trust in Him or in sales and my bank account number.
And again, this goes so deep. To truly understand it, you would need to bring on a neuroscience coach, going all the way back to our childhood stories. But my biggest struggle in life has been feeling like I always had to take care of myself. I couldn't depend on anybody. I couldn't let a man provide for me. Doing it myself was a big part of my story.
Bringing that mentality into business and learning how to balance it is truly upside down and backwards from what the world tells you. But as a Christian, I believe in God's upside down kingdom. So you have to do things a little differently. If you're struggling with finding balance between chasing after money, hitting sales goals, and trusting God, the answer, honestly, is surrender. It may not make sense, but that's what you have to do on a daily basis.
EM: You are right it doesn't necessarily make logical sense. But once you experience the need in your business to do that and realize that your success is not all your own, it becomes a lot easier. Living in the false reality that everything is because of our own efforts makes it harder to do what you're saying. But once you recognize where your strength comes from and how God blesses your business, it can be truly helpful.
How would you encourage Christian business owners to show up bigger?
Yeah, I think we could all ask ourselves that. So, let's ask ourselves, how can I take my next step? How can I go bigger if I'm already talking about it? And for me, it's about being more bold. My biggest ask is for you to stay true to your values and not be ashamed of what you believe in. Because the world is crazy out there, guys. It's only going to get worse. The Bible preaches and teaches that persecution is a natural part of this journey because you are walking the narrow path. So, I just want to encourage you to be bold.
And on those days when it feels like people are tearing you down or you get a nasty message in your DMs (which by the way, has only happened twice in the entire 10 years I've been online), I want to encourage you guys that I'm here for that. I mean, it just doesn't happen. Maybe it's because I don't have a million followers, I don't know, but I'm prepared for that when it does happen. And on those days when you feel really lonely and you're in your own corner, know that there are many Christian business owners who are here with open arms to support you, encourage you, and cheer you on. So yeah, just be a little more bold today. That's my big ask.
EM: Yeah, and that's a good point. It's going to look different for everyone, and maybe even asking God, like, "Hey, what are you calling me to specifically?" It might look different than Elizabeth and Brooke, or different than this other business owner over here. But how is God calling you to show up in your business with your unique clients and customer situation and your unique platform too?
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Can you share a little bit about your podcast journey?
I wasn't really into podcasts when I started mine. I would listen to a show here or there, and I was very new to the podcasting world. It was a year after I left the classroom when I started my podcast in 2019. No one asked for it or begged me to do it. I just felt compelled and called to start. So, I did. I began with zero audience and grew it from there. In the first three months, there were probably a maximum of 10 to 12 listens per episode. Then, I started doing guest interviews, which helped grow the audience and gain traction.
The first podcast I built was the “Book More Clients Photography podcast”. It's like your hub for all things photography, business, and marketing. I grew that show consistently, unlike anything else. If only I could be as dedicated to fitness as I am to podcasting, I would be in great shape right now. But that show is now approaching half a million downloads, which is pretty exciting to see how far it's grown.
More recently, I started a new podcast called the “Business Mamas Tell All Podcast”. The whole reason behind this show was to provide short and actionable episodes for busy moms who don't have time to listen every day. It features solo episodes with quick and practical tips, as well as interviews with other moms in business discussing their entrepreneurial journeys. I wanted to create this podcast to encourage moms and provide them with practical business strategies.
Why did you decide to start a new podcast instead of rebrand your old podcast?
Yeah, that's a great question. I really struggled with it and had to spend some time journaling, praying, and sorting through all my confusion. There are actually two reasons behind this decision.
First, as I prayed and journaled about it, I strongly felt that God was telling me to start fresh. He wanted me to clear the bench and begin anew. He promised to guide me through this new business pivot if I put my trust in Him.
Secondly, I wanted to avoid any confusion among my current listeners. Not everyone in my photography audience is female or a mom. I didn't want to do them a disservice. Although they could still benefit from the business strategy, I know my niche and my ideal client so well that I wanted both podcasts to remain valuable resources.
It basically came down to conviction and doing market research.
What did you do differently (and what did you do the same) when you started your new podcast?
The biggest mistake, or rather a learning lesson, was waiting too long to pitch an offer on the first podcast. For the entire first year and a half of the Book More Clients podcast, there wasn't a single pitch. It was all about providing free value. But now, I see selling in a different light. I understand that I serve through coaching and selling. So, on my episodes this time, I won't wait as long to make a pitch. Moreover, I'm using the first podcast as a model for building a successful one. I'm following the same structure to create this second podcast and using it as a benchmark for comparison.
You mentioned interviews really helped grow your podcasts, can you talk about that more?
I've noticed some podcasters who are willing to host anyone and everyone on their show and so I do want to caution that a little. Personally, I've always been careful about who I invite to be a guest on my podcast. Whether someone is pitching me or I'm reaching out to them, I make sure that they align with my audience. If the topic is too advanced or irrelevant to my clients or business, I decline. My podcast's success comes from mutually beneficial collaborations, where we share each other's audiences and provide valuable content that aligns with the overall theme of the show. In my opinion, it's important to be mindful of who you invite and what you discuss, as that greatly contributes to the success of the podcast.
EM: I love that! Guest interviews can be hard, in my opinion. Some people prefer only doing guest interviews because it feels easier to them, but personally, I find solo episodes easier both for planning and at first I felt interviewing people a little intimidating. It took me a while to have a guest on my podcast because I was afraid to interview someone. Everyone has different perspectives on this, but I can totally see it. I've also witnessed how interviews help grow shows on my own podcast.
What would you say to someone who wants to start a podcast but is worried it’s oversaturated?
So saturation is a topic I can riff on all day long. But here's what I'll say: podcasting is growing because there is a demand for it. If you desire to have a podcast, there's a demand for it. My biggest golden tip is to get specific about what your podcast is about and who it's for. Many people think that being broader will attract more listeners, but I invite you to use podcasting as a revenue generator in your business.
The Book More Clients podcast is the number one sales generator in my other business because I have been specific about the target audience and the topics we discuss, keeping everyone on the same page. Don't be afraid to be specific, you don't need a broad show.
Another point I want to make: don't start a podcast if you can't commit to it. Consistency is what builds trust with your audience. I want my listeners to expect a new episode from Elizabeth every Tuesday. That's the kind of anticipation you want your podcast to create. So make sure you're ready to commit before you start.
That isn’t to deter you either! It's cool that we can do incredible things like batching podcast episodes to be more strategic and consistent. Many industry peers and friends start and stop, feeling like they have to recreate the wheel and momentum each time. So, with that being said, I wanted to give that caveat. But, yes, there aren't too many podcasts out there, and you could be someone's next favorite show. Your people are out there waiting for what you have.
Elizabeth’s Thoughts on Starting a Podcast
I agree with you - there's a podcast graveyard of so many shows that have stopped after just maybe 10 or 15 episodes. And you know what? There's no shame in that. Podcasting is harder than people think. Sometimes people are like, "Oh yeah, I'll start a podcast, just record a little bit and that's it." But let me tell you, it's an investment of your time and your business finances. I mean, I'm spending probably a couple thousand dollars a month just for the production between my team and software for my podcast. And we're not even talking about the time I spend on it. It truly is work.
But you know what, don't let that intimidate you. I hope you won't be afraid to start or try it, even if they're not sure if they can fully commit. Remember that you have the flexibility to choose your podcast release frequency - be it monthly, bi-weekly, or even by seasons. My recommendation is to start with a minimum viable product concept, committing to a specific number of episodes (e.g., 10 or 6). Then only after this period, evaluate if it aligns with your business goals and schedule. If it does, then commit to a consistent schedule, whether it's every Tuesday or every other week.
But you know what, don't let that intimidate you. I hope you won't be afraid to start or try it, even if they're not sure if they can fully commit. Remember that you have the flexibility to choose your podcast release frequency - be it monthly, bi-weekly, or even by seasons.
My recommendation is to start with a minimum viable product concept, committing to a specific number of episodes (e.g., 10 or 6). Then only after this period, evaluate if it aligns with your business goals and schedule. If it does, then commit to a consistent schedule, whether it's every Tuesday or every other week.
In my case, I release episodes every Tuesday. However, during my postpartum phase, I had to adjust due to the added responsibilities and did every other week for a while! It worked well for me. I didn't make a big announcement or anything, just did it and thought, "Hey, you all can deal with this." I became more intentional about the episodes I put out, but consistency took a hit. It still worked, and I liked that. It's not oversaturated; there's room for you in podcasting.
With your podcast, do you batch record in advance?
So it depends on the season. My ideal schedule is to batch episodes in advance, which would be the absolute ideal situation. However, sometimes in the past I would overly batch episodes, already having them scheduled and edited, and then decide to throw in a random promotion which I then couldn’t talk about in real time on the podcast. Now about 30 days in advance works well for me, with a couple of extra episodes that are not yet edited, just in case I need to pull from something during a busy season. Other than that, it's too far and too much. And if COVID taught me anything, it's that life is no longer predictable.
Rapid Fire Questions with Brooke Jefferson
What’s an unpopular opinion about podcasting?
Okay, so here's a pet peeve of mine. I can't stand when I tune into a podcast and have to endure 15 minutes of unrelated riffing and ranting. This isn't storytelling or life updates. It's simply complaining about dinner or bad customer service. Can we get on with it? Just my personal preference, but I don't enjoy shows like that.
What are your favorite tools for podcasting?
The tools I currently use are Buzzsprout for hosting my podcast. I started with Buzzsprout and absolutely love them. It's a paid tool. Another tool I use is Fathom, it's a free AI tool. There are many tools out there, I know the one you use is Riverside which has cool production features. But for my podcast interviews and coaching clients, I use Fathom. It records the entire conversation and summarizes it better than I could. I find it helpful for planning bullet points and show notes. Recently, I discovered a new paid tool called Cast Magic. It allows you to upload your podcast or YouTube and it creates newsletters, show notes, episode titles, blog titles, and keywords. It's like having a virtual assistant for podcasting.
You just bought the Carrie template! What would you say to someone considering an Elizabeth McCravy template?
Yes. I recommend your templates all the time because when photographers switch from something like Pixie set, which is easy but not customizable, they often feel overwhelmed. But with your templates, it's easier because they come with instructions, videos, and a little course on how to use them. You provide everything they need. I also love how different each template is. You can even combine multiple templates to create your own website. I've done that a lot. I take sections from older templates, mix them with new ones, and customize it. It's amazing to see how unique each website looks. By the time this airs, my website should be done, and you can see what I did with the Carrie template.
Any last words of encouragement about sharing our faith bolding our business?
Yeah, for you, it's all about deciding how much you want to infuse your faith and being bold about it. As for me, it's been a journey. I used to share very little because I feared what people would think or say, worried about losing clients. But in the last three years, I have become super bold about expressing my faith. I'm not afraid to go against the norm or share my opinions. My advice to you is to feel encouraged that you can have a successful business while embracing your faith. In fact, I've never lost any clients due to it. I even gained a client who appreciated that I could still serve her through coaching, despite our different beliefs. So, don't let the fear of being open about your faith hold you back. You can still be successful and attract clients, regardless of their beliefs. Remember, this is just one of the enemy's tactics to taunt us. Stay strong and stand firm in your values.
Want more from Brooke Jefferson?
You can find and chat with me on Instagram! Also, don't miss out on my podcasts: "Book More Clients: Photography" for photographers and "Business Mamas Tell All" for all the mamas in business. I’d love to connect!
Watch this episode on Youtube
Listen to Elizabeth’s Episode on Brooke’s Podcast
Scripture mentioned: Matthew 5:16
Connect with Elizabeth on Instagram
Connect with Brooke on Instagram
Check Out Brooke’s Website
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October 10, 2023