Ep 128. Ditching Perfectionism in Your Marketing with Natalie Blenkush

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Today’s guest is Natalie Blenkush, messaging and marketing coach for women online entrepreneurs. She’s going to talk all about how to ditch perfectionism in your marketing plan. So, let’s dive in!

Ashley: Hey, Natalie, welcome to the show, I am so excited to be here with you today, and cannot wait to talk about ditching perfectionism and being okay taking action when it comes to marketing, even if it feels a bit messy. So before we jump in, I would love for you to take a minute and just introduce yourself to our listeners, let us know who you are, who you live with, and what you do.

Natalie: Yeah, well, thank you for having me, I’m very excited to have this conversation with you. So I am Natalie, I live in Minnesota with my husband and our eight year old daughter. And I’m a messaging and marketing coach for women online entrepreneurs. So I’m very passionate about helping women, not make marketing complicated, show up, serve the people that they’re called to serve and connect with them in the simplest way possible.

Ashley: I love that. And I can’t wait to really talk about this topic today. Because I do feel like marketing can be one of those really big, scary, audacious things that we have to do as business owners, and a lot of people tend to shy away from it. And when I asked people in my community, what is your number one struggle, a lot of people say marketing. And I think it’s because it’s a corporate word, right? And it feels really big. And like we don’t want to screw it up. Right.

So do you think that people tend to overcomplicate marketing?

Natalie: Yeah, for sure. And just to echo with what you just said, Yeah, I have definitely seen throughout the years that I’ve been in business because I originally got started in 2018. That, that is always, you know, one of the top answers that I hear from women in terms of struggles in their business, right of the marketing piece. And that can show up many different ways.

So yes, I definitely see many ways that women, really overcomplicate marketing.

And, you know, even just thinking about specific ways that it shows up, and I was just talking about this on Instagram the other day, one of the biggest ways that I think women trip themselves up is thinking about it in this all or nothing mentality of like, you know, they have this big grand plan in their head of how they would ideally like to show up.

And you know, they want to have all these things going, right? And it’s kind of like, a good comparison is if you want to lose weight, and January 1 hits and you’re like, I’m going to work out for two hours every day, and I’m gonna drink tons of water, and I’m gonna, like, only cook, you know, only eat homemade food.

And I’m going to do this and this and like, it’s you’re jumping in, and you’re trying to do everything and make all these big changes at once. You’re not going to be able to sustain that very long. And so that is, I would say one of the biggest things that I see with women is having this all-or-nothing mentality, and then it stops them from actually implementing stuff and moving forward and seeing the momentum that they want to see.

Ashley: Oh, my gosh, yes. I’m like nodding my head because I’m like, Yeah, I’ve so been there. I’ve so been there being like, Okay, well, if I can’t do it all, I’m going to do nothing, right. Like, if I can’t show up the way I want to, I’m just gonna skip it. And I feel like that comes from just being overwhelmed.

And it’s, it’s hard when we have so many hats that we wear as business owners. And we think of marketing as this. Like, it has to be like marketing is the way right that we’re gonna get clients and we’re going to make money and we just put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do it. Right. Would you say that there are like seasons of marketing that like that different business? All businesses, I suppose would go through that kind of like, helps build that foundation?

Natalie: Yeah, yeah, definitely. And I think it’s, it’s helpful to look at business or marketing with this lens as well. Because, you know, if you look at even nature, like we have the different seasons in the year, right, and they’re very different, like in winter, you’re not starting new things like everything is frozen underground. If you live somewhere with Four Seasons, I’m in Minnesota, so I’m looking at piles of snow outside, but you know, winter the season is very different from summer when everything is in bloom and green.

So if you think about your business in a similar lens, I think it can just really help take the pressure off to realize that, one you’re not a robot, so you can’t be at 100% productivity or visibility or whatever it is all the time because you are a human and specifically as women to like I don’t know if you’ve talked about or if you’re familiar with cycle thinking at all. But I know that that One thing that kind of blew my mind when I started realizing, oh my gosh, me like, as a woman, I even go through cycles of my energy and where you know, my focus is best.

So in terms of seasons in marketing, and when it comes down to talking about messy action, which is something that I talk about a lot, you know, I really believe that everyone goes through this kind of cycle of, you know, when you’re just getting started, or maybe you took a pause on your business, and you’re just coming back, and you are trying to get in a good rhythm again.

Or maybe you just pivoted your business, you really need to embrace that imperfect action to you, it probably feels really like, oh, my gosh, I’m showing up as a hot mess.

But if you’re anything like me, and you have really high standards for yourself, it’s realizing that, you know, my quote, unquote, good enough is actually really amazing.

And so just allowing yourself to, like, give yourself permission to throw spaghetti at the wall in that season of, I’m trying to get back to this place of consistency and showing up and finding a good rhythm for myself. And that’s where you’re at. And that’s totally fine, right? And then once we’re in that messy action season for a while, we get to a point where it’s like, okay, now I’m really craving structure, I’m craving more, you know, I need walls around this, like, it’s just too fluid, and I’m flying by the seat of my pants. And now this is stressful, right? And then you enter a season of maybe getting systems set up. And then again, you might circle back around to well, now something feels off, this feels out of alignment, or I don’t know if this is really what I’m doing is lining up with where I want to go in my business, right, and then you enter back into the messy season.

So that is one thing that I do really firmly believe that we all go through these seasons, and even just identifying kind of where you’re at, in terms of you know, are you really embracing messy action? Are you craving structure and consistency and frameworks? Or are you in the season of, I need to readjust, I need to pivot, you know, something needs to shift here can really help you give yourself grace, ultimately, for wherever you’re at right now.

Ashley: I think that is so important to note, too, and showing up authentically, right? Like, I think that’s where you’re, where you are kind of heading with this, too, is like not showing up as someone that you’re not right now. And just being who you are in that moment. And I think I struggle with this as a leader. And maybe you do as well. But like, feeling like we always have to show up on right. Like, I have to be ready.

When I’m showing up on Instagram, or you know, I have to look like I have everything together. But really, when we show up authentically, we’re giving other people the space and the permission to show up messy also, which I think is really important because we live in a world that is so focused on aesthetics, and looking a certain way and having the perfect life. But in reality, that’s just not real. Like that’s not and that’s not how I want to live.

So why do you think that is Natalie, that we feel this pressure to show up perfect?

Natalie: Yeah, I mean, one thing that comes to mind is just kind of the model like if you’re, if you’re looking at busy, you know, moms working from home running a business while also raising kids. Um, a lot of the models that you see for running businesses, we think about either corporate or just kind of like traditional business models.

And I know my very first year of business, I had to really give myself a permission slip to show up real because all the examples that I had around me are most of them were women who either didn’t have kids, so they were running their business, and they had all the time in the world. Right. And not only that, they had their set business hours, and they had their perfect office background and their desk and I was like, I’m working in my bed while my daughter is sleeping next to me are from the kitchen table. Right?

And so it just, it was like two totally different worlds. And so I think comparison can play a huge role there because we are comparing ourselves to what we think we should look like, right? Or even just trying to mimic how other people show up in their business. Right? There are some people who always have their hair done and their makeup done, and their kids are gone when they’re jumping on stories or lives or whatever. There are other people who don’t have that. Right.

And you and I have talked about this in terms of like having your kids around. Well, it’s going to look a lot different for you. And so I know comparison plays a huge role in that because you’re using someone Also his life and business stage and everything too. You know, as a measuring stick, and then ultimately you’re feeling like I’m not where I’m supposed to be. And so I can’t show up. Right and it, it causes you to shrink back ultimately.

Ashley: Yeah, I can totally relate to that, for sure. Like, having pivoted to homeschooling my kiddos just two years ago, it’s changed a lot for me. And I have to get used to working with them again because I was used to not having them home. And it does feel hard. And I often find myself being like, Oh, they’re home. And they’re noisy. So like, I just can’t record a story right now. Or, you know, I’m, I’m telling them, Hey, I’m recording the story be quiet, when really it’s like, everybody that follows me, for the most part are moms.

And they understand that I’m a mom, and probably seeing my kids in the background is like refreshing, because they’re like, look, she has her kids running around. And like she doesn’t have all this time in the world where she can record stories in perfect silence, like if she can do it. So can I. And I think that’s really, that’s really important.

It’s really powerful to give moms that support as well that they can show up and it doesn’t have to be this perfect situation. Yeah, exactly.

Natalie: And that relatability piece is huge, right? I’m drawn to the people like you, you were asking me about from a leadership perspective, right? So thinking about it from that lens, if you can show up authentically, in this season of having littles or homeschooling and running a business or whatever it looks like for, you know, anyone listening, you are giving other people that permission slip and showing, you know, that like, hey, if I can do it, so can you and that is really refreshing in the online space. You know, especially because it’s, it’s interesting how, for me in the marketing world, the stuff that is that has people talking right now is like the AI and like a lot of that stuff when it comes to automation. And to me, I’m like, okay, that emphasizes, even more, the need for, like people want real they want, you know, the messiness that is being a being a human.

And we’re not robots, we’re not machines. And so yeah, just remembering that when you are able to be relatable and show up with the real-life stuff, it allows you to show up as a leader in another aspect.

And one other thing that came up for me when you asked kind of going back to your question about if I experiencing or if I experienced those challenges as a leader, something else I would say in terms of overcomplicating marketing, as well as thinking about it in a very specific lens of, you know, sometimes marketing is very external, like we’re showing up, we’re getting visible, we’re posting on stories, we are doing podcast interviews, right, like, there’s a lot of that kind of stuff.

But sometimes we’re behind the scenes, and we’re serving clients, and we’re refining our program and our systems and maybe getting referrals or just having conversations in the DMS like, you know, to kind of take that pressure off of yourself, especially when you’re in a season that’s very full, and just reminding yourself that those things that move the needle forward in your marketing and in your business aren’t always going to look the same. And it doesn’t have to always be visible to the public to.

Ashley: Yes, very true. And I think like one thing that I really kind of want to shift into, because for people who might be listening, and they might still be feeling like marketing is so scary, like, can you maybe like, give a more simplified, simplified term to like, what does marketing even mean? Like somebody who is ready to be more visible in their business? Like, how can you kind of just simplify it and bring it down to like, really basic terms?

Natalie: Yeah. Okay. I love this question. Um, so I would say, to really distill down what is marketing, it’s not scary. It’s essentially how are you connecting with the people that you’re called to serve? Right? There’s lots of different ways that it can look, I’m a very firm believer that marketing, just like anything in business is not one size fits all. And so you do not have to, you know, you don’t have to have a Facebook group, or do a podcast or live videos or whatever it is that you see a lot of people doing, just because someone else has seen success with that strategy.

And I actually have, I don’t know how detailed you want me to get into this, and so you can let me know. But when it comes to marketing, I like to look at it I talked about it as your marketing roadmap, where there’s just kind of some essential elements of what you need. To have a solid, successful marketing strategy that flows, and there’s so much flexibility within that to find things that work for you. So I can get into that if you want me to share kind of some examples.

So when it comes to your marketing roadmap, and you know, thinking about marketing is not complicated, right? It’s just how you’re connecting with the people that you’re called to serve and thinking about what’s going to work best for you.

And your business will kind of take it down from the top down. So at the top, you have your external visibility, or traffic, as as sometimes people refer to it. So you’re thinking about, how are you getting in front of new faces, new people, other people’s audiences, potentially. So external visibility, you can do things like podcast guest interview swaps, or reaching out to new people on Instagram, or local outreach, right, like virtual or in person networking. So there’s a lot of different things that you could do to get in front of fresh faces.

So that’s right there at the top is external visibility, and thinking about getting in front of new people. And then you take it a step down, and you think about your internal visibility. So this is your community, and also the content that you’re creating. And so again, there’s a lot of flexibility here, I’m not going to tell you that there is a certain social media platform that you need to be on, or that it needs to look a certain way. But you do want to think about, like, what is my, my main community when it comes to social media or connecting with me, so you know, whatever that platform is for you make it really clear, so that you have a main place.

And same with your content. And this can, you know, I know, a lot of your listeners are photographers. And so this could be, it could be a blog post, where you’re kind of showcasing past clients and their shoots and just kind of telling a little bit of the backstory. And capturing those moments, or it could be like for you, and I, Ashley, we have our podcast, right. And so those are the ways that like, internally we are, we are getting in front of our own existing audience, and nurturing those familiar faces, right.

And then you take it a step down, and you’ve got your sales tool. So whatever you use for turning potential clients into actual clients, right. So this could be a free call, it could be a free downloadable, that gets them onto your email list. There’s a lot of different things there. And then of course, the next step down is your offers.

So just bringing it back to like trying to make it as simple as possible. You’ve got external visibility, getting in front of new faces, you’ve got internal visibility, what’s your community? What kind of content are you creating? How are you’re nurturing your own little ecosystem, and then whatever you’re using as a sales tool, and then that leads them to your offers. So you know, just just viewing it as kind of almost like mapping out what is that client journey that you want to take people on, and being clear in your mind so that you feel like it’s not all over the place.

And I think looking at it from the standpoint to helps you identify any gaps, you know, if you’re missing one of those pieces, then you can go in there and fill that in so that it is a smooth process for them.

Ashley: Who this is good. Okay. I love, that you talked about this process, I have a similar process, but I name it something different. But it’s essentially the same thing. Like it’s getting visible in front of new audiences. It’s making sure you have a nurture plan, like how are you going to create that know, like trust factor with these people? And then how are you going to engage with them? Like, how are you going to keep them interested? How are you going to eventually invite them right? So like, if you’re not inviting people with a call to action in your marketing, your marketing will fall flat.

And then finally, like delivering that great client experience. So you get those referrals and they start to market your business for you. So I think like, now that our listeners have like a clearer picture of showing up messy right note noticing that there’s seasonality in how your marketing kind of ebbs and flows and knowing sort of like a plan of what what to do. What do you think would be like, some first steps so people are like, okay, Natalie, I’m understanding this that’s making sense, but like, how do I actually do this? Where do I start and how do I show up messy? How do I ditch that perfectionism?

Natalie: Yeah, yeah. Um, just to clarify your question, so getting started in terms of like, they have their marketing plan mapped out or like getting the clarity to create that marketing plan. Does that make sense?

Ashley: Yeah, I think just like, where do they start? So now that they know, like, I need to be visible, I need to have a, you know, like long form content on my blog to start sharing on my social media, I need to have a sales tool. Do you? Like do you recommend they start with that external visibility first? Or should they start with their long form content? Like, I’m just trying to, like, break it down practically? Like, whose listeners leave today with this information? What do they do next? Like what would be like a good next step?

Natalie: Yeah. Thank you for clarifying. Yeah. So I do actually recommend that, if you’re just getting started with this process, and mapping out those pieces that I just shared to actually start with the internal visibility.

So you want to, you want to have a place to send people to write to, to connect with you in your world. So having your community figuring out what type of content you’re creating, and if you’re just getting started, you know, content is even something that can sound big and scary, like, showing up a few times a week on social media, maybe you’re sharing recent client photos on Instagram, and, you know, jumping on Instagram stories, or whatever it is, like, that’s great.

Just know, you know, know what you can start with right now and commit to, and go with that. And so I would recommend that step number one is, focus on that internal visibility piece, make sure that you have your community, you are showing up in some aspect, and creating content to nurture those connections and get to know those people that are already in your world. And that you have the sales tools and the offers, right? Like you have that created there.

And once you do that, then you can shift to focusing on an external visibility. And I see, I see this mentality a lot with marketing as a whole. And it’s very interesting to me, like looking at kind of how a lot of newer business owners approach visibility, they come into it with this mindset of, I need to get in front of new people. And of course, we always want to like continue to grow our audience, right and find new clients.

But often, there’s a lack of focus on just nurturing the people that are already in front of you. And I recently did an episode on this where I talked about how your audience size doesn’t matter. And essentially, I was sharing this, this idea, right that, like, yes, you want to get in front of fresh faces. But don’t forget that there’s already people in your world, right?

So you could just be like, day one, just starting your photography business, like, Alright, I’m posting and I’m sharing that this is what I’m doing. And I’m opening up spots, right? But don’t get so focused on the grass is greener, like I need to, I need to meet these new potential clients that are out there and aren’t following me yet. And forget that there’s already people in your circle.

And so that’s, that’s for sure. Like step number one is start showing up there. It’s kind of like juggling to like, You got to get a good rhythm with showing up for your own audience before you send a new people because otherwise, it’s almost like another analogy, but it’s almost like inviting people like, Hey, should come back to my house. We’re having a party and they get there and there’s nothing happening. And they’re like

Ashley: That’s such a good analogy. I love that.

Natalie: Yeah. Yeah. So that’s definitely like the starting point. You know, step one is just doing that. So I’ll pause. There’s anything you wanted to add there?

Ashley: Yeah, no, I think that’s great. Because I think a lot of people just really struggle with getting started. But then you you hit on something so important was the consistency piece. Like if you just show up, and your marketing here and there occasionally, and then you’re like, oh, shoot, I should mark it again.

And then you’re not doing it. Like it really is hard for people to want to stick around if there’s nothing going on to keep them entertained or to keep them wanting to come back for more. And I always like to share to like if you’re not really busy in your business, it’s okay to share your personal life because a lot of people really are more connected to your personal life than your business anyways, people buy from people and so show who you are outside of your business.

If you’re in that waiting game where you’re like I you know, I’m a little bit slower and I don’t have client work to share. That’s fine. It’s okay to show up and show Do yourself and what you’ve got going on and be authentic about that. I mean, maybe don’t like shout out from the rooftops like, I’m not busy, like because you know, you want people to think you’re busy, but also what can you do in that slow time to still show up and be consistent? Yeah.

So I’d love for you to share one last final thought before we end. But how? Like, if you could sum it up in like a few sentences? Like, how can these mamas ditch the perfection? And the mentality of like, showing up perfect all the time?

Natalie: Yeah. So it really does go back to what I said earlier about the all-or-nothing mentality, right and thinking about it in terms of the compound effect. So really focusing on the fact that every time you take little baby steps, right, so to you, it might seem really insignificant, the fact that you’re just kind of chipping away at these big projects or big goals that you have for your business.

But actually, those are really significant, because with time, like, if anyone’s read atomic habits, if you have not read it, definitely check it out. But they have, they talked about that approach in there of like, essentially, like you’re always getting 1%, better like, like, you’re just slowly building and creating momentum.

And that is how big things happen. And so it’s really about shifting your focus to looking at the little micro actions and the little baby steps and just moving the needle one inch further, right.

And so, at the core, I would say it’s really a mindset shift of just like, releasing yourself from this expectation that you have to be crazy productive and get like these, you know, big strides down in your business every day and just look at like, How can I move the needle a little bit more forward in my business today?

How can I move people maybe one inch closer to working with me or whatever that is. And so that’s what I would say, and you know, something that’s been really helpful for me is kind of finding a motto or something that really resonates when it comes to taking that imperfect action. And so it could be for you, like, embrace messy action or Done is better than perfect, or my goal is good enough for whatever, like, just putting that like on a sticky note.

And I do this all the time, I’ll stick it on my desk or computer somewhere that I see it regularly, to just remind myself that my goal is to just be present and show up. And I can release myself from having these crazy high standards.

Because I know that and at the end of the day, I do have that strong work ethic. And I do show up with integrity, right. And I know for anyone listening are the same way, right?

Like you have that integrity. And you’ve put so much heart and soul into serving your clients or your potential clients that you will be serving one day. And so just remembering that you can take the pressure off and just kind of chip away. And that is going to amount to great things in the long run. That’s how you get there.

Ashley: So so good. Natalie, thank you so much. I love just that one step further analogy of like, just do the thing, right? Don’t worry about all the logistics of everything. Because honestly, in the grand scheme of things like it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you show up, and you’re consistent about it. And everything else will fall into place after that. So yeah, yeah. I really appreciate you taking the time to be here with us today.

I’d love for you to take a moment and share with everyone where they can find you and how they can connect with you.

Natalie: Yeah, for sure. So I’m over on Instagram, you can find me @natalie.blenkush. And then I also have a podcast as well, which is called Wildly Aligned Marketing.

Ashley: Awesome. And I’ll make sure I link all of that in the show notes. And maybe you can give us the link for that podcast episode that you mentioned as well, because that would be so helpful for people that maybe are starting with a small audience and just need that boost to help them out.

Natalie: Yeah, definitely. I’ll definitely do that.

Ashley: Awesome. Well, thanks for being here today. And until next time, guys, we’ll see you.
Yeah, thank you, Ashley.



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My mission is to help fellow momtogs (mama photographers!) experience success in business and in motherhood. As an Arizona brand photographer for mompreneurs, I’m passionate about capturing authentic images that show off my clients’ unique personalities so they can connect with their ideal clients. And as an online business coach for momtogs, I LIVE for helping mamas experience incredible transformations that help them build a business they love, without sacrificing their precious time with their littles.

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