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May 9, 2023

Episode 43: Self trust, a rebrand and the decision not to pursue coaching with Georgia Mussett of The Brand Distillery

by Kristy Pask

About this episode:

Real talk: Making business decisions {especially big, business decisions} can be really hard… So how can you make it a little easier for yourself? And what happens if the decision you make turns out to be ‘not-so-right’ for you? 

This weeks incredible guest, Georgia Mussett from The Brand Distillery shares how and why she made the decision not to pursue coaching {even after she’d launched it on her website, spoken about it across all her socials, had clients and was making income from it} and why she instead decided to stay focused on her work as a brand strategist, designer and agency owner. 

In this episode we discuss:

✨ Georgia’s business journey - how she grew her agency and what’s next for The Brand Distillery

✨ Why she decided not to pursue coaching 

✨ How she made the decision and how she knew it was the right one for here

✨ The signs to look out for when something isn’t quite right for you

✨ What is a rebrand, what does the process look like and why she did it

✨ What you can do right now to up level your brand

About Georgia:

Georgia Mussett is the founder and lead creative at the Brand Distillery, a NT based creative studio specialising in brand strategy, identity, website design and brand management.

Connect with George on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_thebranddistillery/

Get in touch with Kristy

Connect with Kristy on Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/kristypask/

Learn more about working with Kristy 1:1 inside The Holistic Marketing Method: https://kristypask.com/the-holistic-marketing-method/

Episode Transcription:

Intro - Kristy: Hello, and welcome back to Unpack This. This week, episode is an interview with the incredible Georgia Mussett, founder and lead creative at The Brand Distillery, a Darwin based creative studio specializing in brand strategy, identity, website design, and brand management. 

George and I met back in 2020 in a mastermind. And at that time, George had made the decision to branch out into the coaching world while also running her creative studio, helping other graphic designers to build the businesses of their dreams also. However, without giving too much away, George loved what she did as a service provider and made the decision not to pursue coaching, a move that you definitely don't see a lot of people making these days. 

In this episode, George and I dive into her business journey and she tells us how and why she decided not to pursue coaching and to focus instead on where her true passion lies.

This is such an incredible story and a powerful reminder that your business is yours and you don't have to always justify the changes or the decisions that you make to anyone. And so with that, let's get into this week's episode. 

Kristy: Georgia, welcome to the podcast. I'm so excited to chat with you today. To kick us off, would you mind please jumping in and telling us a little bit more about who you are and what you do?

Georgia: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. It's such a pleasure to be here. I've been listening to your podcast for quite a number of years now.

My name is George. I am a brand strategist and designer. I'm the owner of a creative agency called The Brand Distillery. When I'm not working, which is a lot of the time I am running around after our two kids and my partner as well. So we have a pretty busy lifestyle and we're living up in the northern territory, which we absolutely love.

So a little bit more about sort of how we started or how I started as a graphic designer is that pretty much I actually did all of my year 12 subjects to become a nurse. For some reason, I just thought you know, nursing is sort of where I wanted to go. It's what I wanted to do. I wanted to help people. It seems like a really great career because there's jobs everywhere.

And then I'm not sure if the system is the same for you where your schooling was, but you could choose your preferences in the middle of the year to what university you wanted to go for, but then you could also change them at the end of the year. So during the middle of the year, I was still on the track for nursing. I loved everything about it. I chose all my preferences to go to university and do nursing. And then at the end of the year, the very last time that you get to go through your preferences something wild came over me and I opened the deacon course guide and saw visual communications, which is what they call the fancy word for graphic design. And for some reason, I was like, that's me. Like, that's what I wanna do. 

I didn't do any art in high school or anything like that. But for some reason, I went out on a whim and I changed all my subjects and I got accepted into a graphic design course. And then from there, I studied in Melbourne, and once we moved to Darwin, there wasn't a lot of capacity for any agencies up here. I think there were only two agencies at the time, and absolutely none of those two had space for a fresh out of uni graduate. So I started my own business and just sort of did it on the side freelancing. And over the last pretty much well, seriously, over the last three years is when I sort of took it full time. But before that, there was a three years before that where it was sort of a side hustle as well.

So over the last six years, I've been growing it from just a really small hobby business into a business where we now have a junior who works under me. And, we're just sort of moving as we've just rebranded from what was Gemu design studio into the brand distillery. 

Kristy: Amazing. I did not know that about nursing, but I have to say I think that you would make the most amazing nurse as well. You are one of the kindest, sweetest, most generous, caring people that I think I've met. So it doesn't surprise me. Actually, I see you as a really great nurse, but obviously graphic design won your heart. That is such a fascinating story.
And obviously, in that time as well, you've had two children. You moved to Darwin, back to Melbourne, back to Darwin. And obviously the business has grown and changed quite a bit. So when we actually first met, Georgia, we were in a mastermind together back in the end of 2020. And at the time, you were really beginning to pursue coaching as a new direction or that was where you were thinking about taking your business. However, you actually decided that that wasn't the direction for you. Which I find really interesting because I feel like there is this really big, I guess, popularity and growth in the coaching industry as well. A lot of service providers are moving to coaching. What was, I guess, some of the reasoning behind that?
And what made you decide to stay with the business model that you have?

Georgia: Yeah. I love that question because it is such a big question. We do see so many people in so many different industries changing from being like a service provider into or having like a specialty, I guess, in whatever their industry is then moving into more of a mentoring and coaching space as well as what they're already offering. And, yeah, that's something that I was really looking into and looking at doing. 

I think the inspiration of it came from having done a course myself and really seeing just how profound the impact was of that course. So before the mastermind that you and I were in together, I did a group coaching program that was graphic design based. It was all about branding and graphic design work and all of that. So it was very specific to my industry. And that course opened my eyes one hundred percent to what my business could be and what it could look like and sort of a few tweaks and changes that might seem like, you know, people would already think to do that had such a profound impact on my business that helped me triple my income in one year and really changed the trajectory of my business. So from there, I thought, oh my god, this is amazing. I want everyone else to know this. 

I want there I want more graphic design specific coaches out there because that industry and that niche is quite small. So I really thought I could do that. I wanna be in that. But one of the things that I quickly realized after it is that holding space for people is a really huge skill in itself.
I thought, you know, that's amazing, like I could just talk to these people and I could teach them what I know and they would have big shifts and changes in their business. And the women that I did coach in the space did have those things, but for me actually holding the space for them, while I'm already holding so much space for my partner and my two kids. It was a lot for me.

I was not prepared for the energetic capacity that it took to hold all that space for everyone. And then also, I realized that it was taking me away from the things that I really loved the most and that is in itself graphic design work.

So I guess that's something to be really conscious of if you are going into the coaching and mentoring space and it is somewhat different to what you're already doing. It takes you away from something that you already love so much within your business, it gets really tricky. It also gets really tricky because all of a sudden you start to have two sets of ideal clients. So for me, I had obviously the businesses that I was working with and the brands that I was working with on a graphic design level as one set of ideal clients. And then the other set became graphic designers.

So you would have seen that for a while, I split my businesses into two sets. I had two different Instagrams. I had two different emails. I essentially was running two different businesses while you know, still running a family and all that kind of stuff, and it was just too much.

So it really just came to a point where I had to decide, did I wanna be that mentor? And did I wanna build myself into more of a personal brand? Or did I wanna go down the avenue that I had had you know, from the get go in of creating an agency and having graphic designers work under me? Where I still have that capacity to teach and mentor them in my own space, but I also have that teaching and education and mentoring capacity in my graphic design business because I do a lot of coaching and education when it comes to branding and marketing for the small businesses. So I definitely still get that element of branding and coaching and all of that, all in the one umbrella with my business as it is now. 

Kristy: That's such a great way to put that such a great explanation of what was going on and how that tore you in a couple of different directions. It almost doubled the workload for you when you were already so busy. I actually had a great conversation with someone else the other day regarding that evolution and that changing of businesses as we grow and as we evolve and our business sort of changes. And I think sometimes we get stuck in that like this is the business that I started and therefore this is what I have to pursue or this is the decision that I've made and I can't change that now because I've already started speaking about it. You're quite a spiritual person as well, very intuitive, and I know that you really listen to the thoughts and the feelings  that are going on within you and around you.

But I guess, like, to help someone who perhaps is heading down a path that they're not sure that they wanna head down or they they wanna go down a particular path, but they've already decided to go somewhere else like, what are some of the signs that you sort of that that perhaps came up for you that people could look out for that would let them know that they're on the right path or they're on the maybe not the quiet right path, you know, what could that look like? 

Georgia: I think for me it really came down to journaling. I do a lot of journaling. I pull a lot of cards. I do that kind of thing. So in my human design…. category. I'm not sure.
Like, I'm not super into human design, but it's to follow, like, my gut instinct, like, I just know in my tummy like, if something is right or something is not right for me. And this has taken, you know, quite a number of years to really understand and learn how to trust myself as a business owner. I think knowing that at the end of the day, it's okay to change your mind. It's okay to go down a path and think, oh, this actually doesn't feel right or I'm putting in far too much effort and not seeing, you know, any kind of traction or it doesn't feel good. Then that's sort of when you really know that it's okay to change your mind.

It's okay to come back and it's okay to go in a different path completely, it's okay to go and get aside hustle, to help support, or go and get, you know, like a part time job to support, you know, your big dreams. It's okay to make decisions in your business that only you need to understand why you're making those decisions. You don't need to clarify that to anybody else. You don't need to make it look like it's something that it's not. You just need to follow your own intuition and your own gut.

So like I said for me, that was journaling a lot. And journaling for me, if someone is really new to journaling and you are sort of wanting to, you know, think about these questions within yourself and your own business and what sort of decisions and parts you want to take. You don't need to be looking for general prompts in particular, there is a journaling practice called Morning Pages. I'm not sure if you've heard of it, but It's essentially this idea that you just grab a piece of paper and you just scribble down everything. Anything that comes up in your head, it can literally be like some mornings for me.
My morning pages start with. It's five o'clock in the morning and my kids have had a terrible night sleep. I’m literally just thinking onto paper. And from there, your brain starts to just come out with things and you start to realise patterns, you start to realise what feels good and what doesn't feel good just by essentially thinking your thoughts onto paper rather than just thinking them in your head or sometimes if you know if morning pages aren't your thing, then do it in the car and actually talk it out. Talk yourself through things like you're talking to a friend, but you're actually talking to yourself.

Because when you start to do that. And I know it feels, you know, it can feel silly at this start. Of course, it feels so silly just be sitting in the car and talking to yourself. But once you start to do that and you start to listen to yourself and listen to what's on the inside, then you can start to trust yourself. You start to back yourself, you start to know yourself.

And I guess that kind of goes back to the whole, like, no, like, trust to buy. Like, people always just think it's that, like, trust. But before people even, you know, like you and trust you, they have to know you. And it's the same with yourself. You have to know yourself before you can learn to love yourself and before you can learn to trust yourself and then, you know, that goes from there.

So I definitely recommend that people are really starting to learn how to make those big decisions and trust themselves within their business that they start with something simple like a morning pages practice just to learn about themselves and learn to know themselves.

Kristy: That is so good. I love that. It's such a common theme that is coming up at the moment as well. There's so much about that self trust. I think so many of us really do struggle with that from time to time. And I love how you as well said, you're you're like the you're really the only person that needs to understand why the decision's being made. And you don't have to justify that to anyone. And I think that can be something that people get a little bit nervous about is, you know, like, what will people think or how will this be received, but you really just have to trust that you're making the right decision for you and you're following the path that's right for you.

Georgia: Yeah. I think it also becomes really important that you somewhat detach yourself from your business and the decisions that you make within your business. So I know spoke a little bit before about how we've just rebranded from Gemu Design Studio to The Brand Distillery. And one of the reasons that really felt right in doing that for me is that Gemu is spelled G E, that came from Georgia, which my first name. And then the M U is for Mussett, which is my surname.

So Gemu was essentially like a way of me creating a name for myself that felt like me and, you know, a lot of personal branding and things like that. But I've found over the years that that has really made me feel really personally attached to my business, which is amazing. That's great. But it can also become a bit of a sticky place to be in when you feel so personally attached to your business that everything that happens within your business feels personal. Every time a client says no, it feels personal. Every time you get feedback on something, it feels personal, and it's not, it's nothing personal. Even if you're doing personal branding, there is an element of personal branding where you need to realize that, yes, you might be the face of your business. But what people say about you, it's none of your business. It doesn't matter if you know, they're saying it about your business. it's not about your personality.

So having that element of detachment within your business is really really important because it makes it really easy then to make decisions about your business because you're not making them on a personal thing. They're literally a business decision that you know, if you think about working for somebody else, then it's easier to make those decisions because you're like, cool, it's not my business. It doesn't really matter. 

I always say to everyone I don't work for myself. I work for my business. My business is its own thing. It's its own entity. I show up and I work for it. And it takes a lot of that pressure off when making those big decisions and having that kind of trust, I guess, because it's nothing personal. It's just business.

Kristy: I guess, making this big decision not to pursue that element of your business, to just focus on Gemu, which is now The Brand Distillery, has really meant that you can really give all of your focus, your time, and your energy when you're working to this one part of your business, which obviously prompted a really exciting rebrand for you and has it really allowed you to dive into that. So you touched a little bit on the decision to rebrand there. Can you just elaborate a little bit more on like what that like how you came to that decision that you, I guess, were going to draw that line in the sand and now become the brand distillery. And what that means and looks like for your business moving forward.

Georgia: Yeah. Absolutely. So the decision to rebrand and came a few years ago and it took me a little while to put my big girl pants on, and actually make the the change and take the leap, which again is fine because everything happens in its own time, but I had this name written in a journal from a few years ago, as I was really wanting to at the time, do the whole detach from my business, and have it as a business, and be the CEO of that business, but not have it be, you know, just me or my own sort of thing. So I decided at the start of this year that it was sort of a now, now or never kind of thing that I turn 30 this year. I don't know if it's something to do with that. It actually happens that I re-branded my business. I think near the last day of my saturn return, which is even crazy in itself, like, if you are into that kind of thing. But, yeah, having that idea that it was sort of a now and never thing. Like, it's time to put the big girl pants on. It's time to really step up if this is what I really want for my business and I need to stand up and make that big decision.

So from that decision of having the rebrand, we didn't change a lot of the visual aesthetic that I already had. For me, it wasn't really about having a whole new look and a whole new aesthetic. It was more about me going and re-strategising. It was re-brand of my brand strategy. Not really a rebranding of my brand visuals and my brand identity.

So from there, it really became the decision of really looking at what our goals are and what the vision and the mission are for The Brand Distillery, where we wanna go, who our ideal clients are. Because there has been a little bit of a shift in the types of businesses and the level of awareness that they have for branding and education, all that kind of thing. So there has been a little bit of a change in the ideal client and where that's going. And with that, we've then had to look at, you know, where we're positioning ourselves and that's been one of the biggest things. I know we spoke the other day offline about sort of being in the messy middle of things at the moment. And I'm definitely feeling that at the moment. There have been, you know, a few days and a few times since we've done the rebrand where I've thought, oh my gosh, this is so crazy and chaotic and overwhelming. And it's, yeah, it's been a lot to sort of get to where we are, but it's also been for the last few years to get to where I'm at as well. So I know that everything is what it is and it's it's all good it will be sort of what's happening. Yeah. It's really cool.

Kristy: I actually really love as well that you mentioned there rebranding how you did sort of touch on the visuals and the graphics a little bit, but it was so much more in the background as well. And I know you really focus on is branding and I guess if you're okay with it, I'd love you to dive into a little bit more as well like, can you just break down for people, what is the difference between a logo and branding

Georgia: Yeah. Absolutely. So your logo, it's a visual element that shows who you are and obviously, it's a recognisable symbol. If you think about any of the big brands like an Apple symbol or a Nike symbol, like, you know, the symbols there, their logo.
But branding is all of the work that happens before you even get to the stage of designing something. So when you're looking at your brand and you’re looking at what the goals and the visions are for your business where you wanna go. Branding is essentially a strategy. It's essentially a road map that helps you to get from where you are right now within your business to where you wanna go. So your brand strategy is a long term game.

It's a long term strategy that you put in your business to help you to get to where you wanna go. And before you, you know, start to do any of the design work, before you start to do any of the marketing work, you need to look at your brand strategy so that you know exactly who you are and the core DNA of your own business through your ideal clients are and what makes them tick and what's gonna make them want to buy from you and be a part of your story and all of those things. So before you do the logo, you have to figure out all those things so that when you do create something, it's backed with strategy. It's not just a pretty logo.

It's not just a pretty colour palette that has the potential to go out of date in a year or two's time. It's actually back to his strategy, and it not only helps the clients and the customers and the audience that you're trying to target to resonate with you. But I personally think that it really helps business owners to feel that connection within their own business as well. Because then they can look at their visuals, which a lot of people are, you know, humans are so visually orientated. They can look at those visuals and not get bored and not wanting to change their visuals every few years.

I know so many business owners who would be like, oh, I'm so sick of using the same font. I'm so sick of using the same color, but when you back it with strategy and you know that that visual element doesn't really matter as much, the thing that matters most is having the strategy back behind it and having the complete repetition of using that over and over and over again. So that at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what it looks like as much. It matters about it being easily recognizable by your ideal client.

Kristy: Oh so good. I think that's such a great description as well that really I think helps, I guess, build a picture, understand, like, how big a rebrand actually is, you know, to start with we might just see nice photos and pretty colors and a new website and things like that. You think that someone's rebranded and perhaps that's what they've done. But actually, it's so much bigger. And as we've spoken about as well, it's such a big job so much goes into it.
It is quite literally months and months of planning and preparation and strategising to get to that point where everyone actually sees the rebrand. There's so much work that goes into it behind the scenes that you're just not even aware is happening.

Georgia: And a lot of the time that strategy is, it's sort of behind the scenes, like, Everything that happens in branding and marketing, like, nothing's a coincidence. Everything is done so meticulously and so strategically that by the time it gets to the consumer, the consumers are bound to buy it. Because there is so much that goes on before that has essentially put, say, whatever brand it is at been put in front of that person for a reason that has been done, you know, back with strategy and back with marketing and back ads and all of those things. Like, it's just it's so I personally think, like, I always tell my clients, don't waste your money on, you know, a $250 logo if you're just gonna change it in a few years' time. And I think over the last, you know, four or five years for me, I personally have had clients come to me, say, you know, four or five years ago and asked for a logo at $250 and tell me that that's too expensive. You know, that's not in their budget right now. To then come back to me, you know, last year and pay me ten times as much as that for brand strategy and a logo. But the strategy now that they're really starting to see and understand is a really big importance in their business. 

Kristy: Absolutely. That's such an interesting story as well. Having those people, like you said, they don't realize what's involved to start with, and then think that does happen naturally like when we start our businesses, we're not really sure exactly what's involved and perhaps what that looks like and how much that actually takes. But, yeah, people they buy into brands. They wanna be part of that story.

Like you said, everything's done so intentionally and deliberately, and that brand has been presented to them for a reason and there is so much strategy behind it all. I was going to ask you as well, just on that like the business evolution and just how, you know, these decisions that you've made from Gemu to The Brand Distillery thinking about and beginning to take on coaching to then that’s not the path for you. How do you think, as a business owner, how do you think you've grown and evolved? And what are some of the things that you do differently now than what you did when you started?

Georgia: I do absolutely everything differently now to how I started. I think, you go in and what you don't know, you don't know, obviously. I think a lot of business owners come into business thinking, okay, great. I've got a product people might like. I'm gonna jump online and I'm gonna sell it maybe once or twice a month, and that's it. And then they think that that's what's gonna them be a business owner and gonna make them sell products. And it's not like that. When I was doing coaching with these graphic designers, and it is something that I still put into conversations that I have with business owners that I work with. It's that you can't get through entrepreneurship or having a business business without having some kind of personal development going on at the same time.
There is so much intertwining of professional development and personal development. And I personally don't think that I would be in the position that I'm in right now if it wasn't for a lot of that personal development journey as well. So I, you know, I have been journaling a lot. I pull cards a lot. I am very intuitive, but I I wasn't I wasn't this person before I had a business. I wasn't pulling cards, I wasn't journaling. I wasn't doing any of that before I had a business. But I sort of started to realise that, you know, if I had questions and if I had big things that I wanted to achieve within my business. Like, I needed to be my own business bestie.

I didn't have anyone really to bounce those ideas off. And I didn't have anyone to really think about all those things with. So it really has been an evolution with that professional development into, you know, what I can do today and how I do things. But I also just do things so differently in every aspect like my project management system is completely different the way I invoice all of my admin. It's all online and everything has a space and, you know, before that I was just writing things down in a notebook and hoping for the best or, you know, not even writing them down and forgetting everything which I think is know, largely also to do with the fact that I have had those two kids and I have the biggest mum brain ever.

So everything really has changed, but it's been a lot to do with the evolution and the growth. And also understanding in branding you know, just how important customer experience is and making sure that all of those things really do align and that they're all similar for every customer I work with. So that's why it's all automated online now because it just makes it so much easy for me, but also means that they also get, you know, the same experience or a very similar experience to my previous clients.

Kristy: You have given us so many amazing golden nuggets and so many incredible pieces of advice, you have shared so much that I just know people can take and like I feel like I'm gonna have to come back and listen to this again as well because you have shared so many incredible pieces of information. Before we wrap up, is there any last words, anything you'd like to add, any final tip for everyone that you'd like to share.

Georgia: I just think if you are starting a business or if you're in this place where you've been growing your business for a while and potentially you're not seeing the kind of traction that you're really looking for. Maybe you are and you know now that it's just time to up level. To have a look at some kind of level of brand strategy within your business. If you're not in the place right now where you can financially invest in, you know, brand strategist or an agency or anything like that, take it upon yourself to really look at what those elements are.

You can so easily go onto Pinterest and have a look at at, you know, maybe like a free ebook for how to determine your ideal client or how to understand your brand foundations or something like that just to start taking a bit more accountability for yourself and for your business so that you can learn to trust your business more and you can start to feel more connected to the actual DNA of your business. But I think it's just really important for every business at every level to have some kind of understanding of their own brand strategy, whether you're doing it DIY for now or whether, you know, you are investing in an actual strategist. But take some accountability for that kind of thing because it is really important. And I can guarantee that if you do and you start to really understand those things and understand your ideal client, you will see really big shifts within your business.

Kristy: Thank you so much, Georgia. And how can people I will of course share links in the show notes to help people get in touch with you and find you. But before we wrap up, would you just like to tell people, please, how and where they can find you and connect with you?

Georgia: Yep. Absolutely. So you can find me on Instagram. We are at@thebranddistillery on Instagram, but also on LinkedIn, which is just me. It's just Georgia Mussett on LinkedIn.
I am connecting with a lot of businesses on LinkedIn at the moment in finding that it's really a great place to connect with CEOs and that kind of thing. So if you are a CEO and you want to reach out, you can also catch me over there. But all the links to our website and all of our services are available through the link that's in the buyer on the Instagram. So definitely head over there and you'll be able to find the website, inquire, look at our price guides, all of that kind of thing if you're interested to work with us this year.

Kristy: Amazing. Thank you so much Georgia. I have absolutely love chatting with you. Thank you so much for joining me today.

Georgia: Thank you so much for having me.

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