Episode 17:Building Your Brand – Define & Establish Your Brand


Tom discusses the three important questions you must ask yourself to create the life and business you want. This episode includes details on an upcoming special CPA Event on building your brand and finding your strengths.

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02:16 – How do you attract more and better clientele?

03:19 – The brand promise

06:21 – How CPAs have commoditized themselves

09:45 – Three ways to build a brand

19:20 – Learn Tom’s unique gift in regards to taxes

24:00 – Special CPA Event details

Announcer: This is The WealthAbility™ Show with Tom Wheelwright. Way more money, way less taxes.

Tom Wheelwright: Welcome to The WealthAbility™ Show with Tom Wheelwright, where we're always learning how to make way more money and pay way less taxes. Hi. This is Tom Wheelwright, your host, founder and CEO of WealthAbility™. How would you like to make your business the best-looking kid on the block? Today, you're going to discover how to attract the best clients and the best staff.

Before we get started, I want to announce a special event we have, which is December 6th through the 8th in Tempe, Arizona for CPAs, so if you know a CPA, if you are a CPA, please tell them. This is where we're going to revolutionize the CPA industry, and very excited to have everybody there that we can. We still have a few slots left, and we want to fill it up. It's December 6th through the 8th. Go to wealthability.com/event, wealthability.com/event.

Are your current customers, or your current clients, are these the ones that you want to have? Are these … If you look at your customer base, can you honestly say, “Look, these are the best clients I could have. They're spending the most money. They're coming back to us over and over for more and more services or products.” Do you have any members of your team that you'd like to upgrade?

We call it an upgrade at WealthAbility™. When we're looking for … Really, we want to upgrade ourselves, but we know that sometimes we want to upgrade our staff. We want to upgrade the team members around us. The question is, how do you attract more and better clientele and more and better staff? When we think about the clientele we want, we're thinking about those who spend more money with us, that come to us over and over. Think about the Amazon Prime customers. Think about the regulars at a restaurant. These are the clients that we're looking for. Are these the clients that we've got? If not, what's missing? That's the subject of today's show is what is missing.

When you think about it, it really comes down to one thing, and that's your brand. Now, brand is a term that is banded about all the time, and people are always talking about it. What even is a brand? I look at brand as who you are and what you deliver. Who you are and what you deliver. To me, that's your brand. I love the idea of the brand promise. What are you promising to deliver, and what can you actually deliver to your customers, and very narrowly, very narrowly defined.

You think about Coca-Cola. Well, what do they deliver? Well, ostensibly, they deliver soft drinks. But that's not what their brand is. Their brand is delivering happiness. If you look at any of their ad campaigns, they're all about happiness. They had a recent Diet Coke ad. It said, “You could run a marathon,” or, “You could do this,” “You could do that,” but you know, you can always have a diet coke because that will make you happy.

If you look at a McDonald's … I'm just thinking of some of the big brands. These are big brands. We all know what they are. Everybody knows what McDonald's is. Everybody around the world knows what McDonald's is. McDonald's is cheap food fast. It's not great food. Nobody's going to say McDonald's is the best food on earth, but it's cheap and it's fast and it's very consistent, so McDonald's has a very clear brand identity there. The only time they get in trouble, I think, McDonald's as a brand, is if they go off that brand identity and they change how they are.

Another interesting brand is, when it comes to authors, I look at J. K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame, she wrote a book after the Harry Potter series, and everybody hated it. It was actually a really good book. It was made into a mini- series by HBO, but it was completely different. It was about real people, modern times, and it was not her brand, so she made a quick adjustment. She decided she wanted to keep writing things other than stories about wizards, so she created a pseudonym, which was a different brand, Robert Galbraith. If you look up Robert Galbraith, that's a pseudonym for J. K. Rowling, and she writes murder mysteries, and they're great books. She's a great writer, and so now she can modify that brand.

Really, it's the promise. If you notice, when a brand goes awry, it's because it's not sticking with its promise, it's not sticking with who it is. If you hear a band, for example, that plays a certain type of music, and let's say they do ballads, and all of a sudden, they do rap, that could be an issue. I mean, what's going on here? I'm expecting a ballad here. It's important to maintain a brand, but most of us don't even have a brand. I mean, that is the raw facts of it. Most businesses do not have a brand, and I see that a lot in my industry, the CPA industry.

We've done a horrible job as CPAs. We've commoditized our profession. Now, if you think about what a commodity is, commodity is one thing is not different than the other. It's like gold. Gold is gold. It doesn't matter if it's a nugget or if it's a coin. It's still gold, and it's a commodity. That's a commodity. Food, commodities. You think of commodities, these are things that are interchangeable with each other.

Well, as CPAs, we've done this to ourselves, so a tax return, doesn't matter. A tax return's a tax return. It doesn't matter if you do it yourself with TurboTax or you go to H&R Block. That's all the same as going to a CPA. Well, those of us in the profession know it's not. I see horrible tax returns prepared all the time, and it drives me crazy. We've done this to ourselves. It's very important that as we look at our brand that we figure out what is our brand. That's the subject of discussion here is what is our brand.

Again, I want to remind everybody, if you are a CPA or know a CPA, please remind of them of our event. It's no charge. No charge for this event. There's a small deposit to hold your seat, but we actually refund the money at the end of the event. It's December 6th through 8th in Tempe, Arizona, that's Phoenix, and it is at wealthability.com/event, wealthability.com/event.

Let's talk about how to figure out your brand. Most of us who get into our own business do so because we're really good at something, we're really good at something, and we want to make more money, and we want to do it without a boss. We go out on our own, whether it's making pies or baking cookies, or whether it's a restaurant, you're a chef, or whether you're a CPA, frankly. A lot of CPAs, they go out on their own, they find they can actually make a lot more money on their own, but there's a lot of things that we're not taught. We're taught in school how to do our profession, but what we're not taught is how to run a business. Nobody teaches you how to run a business, unless you go to entrepreneurial school, and even then, you're being taught a lot of times by people who've never run a business, which is a little troubling, but that's completely different. That's a completely different podcast.

I believe there are three steps, and these are mine. I'm sure that there's multiple other steps that you could take, but these are my three steps. You go, “Why is a CPA talking about a brand?” Well, we've actually been very successful in creating a brand. Our brand of tax services is very distinct, and so we tend to get much better clients and we attract a certain type of staff.

Now, not all staff wants to work for us because we are not your tax return mill. We have a very unique view, and we require a lot of our staff. I'll talk about this in just a minute.

I believe that there are three ways to build a brand. I'm also associated with one of the great brands of the world, Rich Dad, Robert Kiyosaki in Rich Dad. I mean, Rich Dad, Poor Dad was written 21 years ago, and it is still a number one best-seller. It's like, we found out that Rich Dad, Poor Dad's like number six in France. They've never been big in France. Here's a sustainable brand. Well, you know what you're going to get with Robert. If you've ever heard Robert, you know what you're going to get. There's a very distinct brand. It's a very rebel brand, and they're very distinct, and they know who they are.

The very first thing that we have to do if we're going to decide what our brand is or what we want our brand to be is we have to ask the question, so ask yourself this question, what do you love about what you do? Just write that down. What do you love about what you do?

Let me give you an example in my business because I only know my business. I can't give an example of somebody else as well as I can my own business. What do I love about what I do? I love creating tax and wealth strategies. I love planning. I love helping clients see the future. That's what I love and what's possible. That's what I love about taxes. I don't love doing tax returns. I don't.

Now, my wife Lou Ann has her own CPA firm. She has a very different brand than the Tax-Free Wealth brand. It's very different. It's compatible, but it's very different than my brand. I look at what she loves to do. She told me early on, and we've known each other for over 20 years, and she said, “You know what? I love the puzzle. I love the puzzle,” and I've watched her do things like handle an IRS audit, and she handles it completely differently than I would, and absolutely as successfully as I would. She sees it as a puzzle, so she wants to make sure all the pieces, all the puzzle pieces are put together, and she loves that. She loves preparing tax returns. Absolutely loves the tax return process because it's a puzzle to her.

You start out by writing down what is it you love about what you do, what aspect of what you do is what you love because that's the beginning of your brand. That's where you start thinking, “What do I want to share?” Why would you have a brand that you don't care about or that you don't love? You're not going to be passionate about it. You're not going to come up with creative ideas of how to promote your brand, so do what you love because there are people out there who will be attracted to what you love. There are people out there …

Lou Ann's clients, what they love about her is her organization. That's what they love. They love her organization. What my clients love about me is my creativity and my planning, my forethought. That's what they love about me. Now, is it important to do all those things Lou Ann does? Of course. Does Lou Ann do planning. Yes. It's just not her brand. Her brand is organization and making sure nothing gets dropped. If, actually, you'll go back to our podcast with David Kolbe, you'll understand, Lou Ann is a nine, follow-through, and I'm a nine quick start, so our natural instincts tend to come out with what we love to do about what we do.

Number two, what energy do you want around you? Think about this. Take some time. You might want to listen to this podcast a number of times, but think about this. What energy do you want around you?

Now, for me, I look at what I want is I want high energy, creativity, innovation. That's what I want to be around. That's why I only work with entrepreneurs. I left the big four accounting firms and Fortune 500 companies because I don't want to work with those people. I appreciate them. It's great. I mean, Amazons and Googles and Apples and Microsofts, who are all great, they provide a lot of good things, they're just not the … I just don't want to be with corporate America. That's not interesting to me because it's not the energy I'm looking for. The energy I'm looking for is high creativity, innovation, and risk-taking, frankly.

What I end up with is that's the type of people I end up attracting both for clients, so I'm going to get those entrepreneurs that are really creative, and for staff. I'm looking for staff who they really want to be creative. Now, it's a little bit out of their comfort zone sometimes, but they have this, I have this one tax staff, and he is just, I mean, he's like ideal for me because he's just, he's creative, he wants to learn. All of my staff want to learn. All of them want to learn more. They want to understand more, and that's the same with our Tax-Free Wealth Network™. Everybody in that network, they're dying to get better. They want to learn. They want to improve, and they're willing to be creative about it, so they're entrepreneurs.

I'm only attracting, I know at our Tax-Free Wealth Network™ we're only attracting those CPAs that really are entrepreneurial, and that's the type of CPA that should be coming to our class in December. Lou Ann is very different. If anybody ever meets Lou Ann, Lou Ann is the person you want to be around because you just love her energy because it's very calm and it's very steady and there's no drama. It's just this calm, collected energy, and so who she attracts, her staff, are those calm, more subdued, quiet people.

Lou Ann's very deliberate. She tends to attract both clients who want that deliberacy. It doesn't mean they're deliberate, but they want that deliberacy, and she does tend to attract staff. I've noticed that her staff, they're very deliberate people. She tends to attract that high follow-through individual because that's part of her brand. She's attracting people that she wants in her energy. She's very careful about that. That's number two. Number one, what do you love about what you do, and number two, what energy do you want around you? What energy do you want around you?

Number three, what unique gift do you bring to the world? What is the unique gift that you bring to the world because that's the gift that you have to offer. Why would you offer something that is not unique? I believe we're all born, every child is born as a genius in their unique gift and that that unique gift, I think it's our obligation actually to share it with the world.

Kim Kiyosaki ribs me from time to time about how much I like to sell. When I explain why do I like to sell, I don't like to sell period. I like to sell what I have, and, in fact, I feel an obligation. If you have something that is unique to the world, I believe we have an obligation to deliver it and to let people know about it. That's all sales is. Sales is just education.

How you sell is very different than the fact of selling, but the reality is, we have unique gifts. Every one of us has a unique gift. You have a unique gift. That's why in our CPA network, I'm not looking to make everybody the same. I don't want everybody to be the same. I want every independent CPA to be the unique. I want them to deliver their unique gift. I just want to give them the tools to deliver it in such a way that they can get better clients and make more money, and that they can actually spend less time at it.

That's part of what this CPA class is, December 6th through 8th, again, in Tempe, Arizona. Go to wealthablity.com/event. I know I'm really, I am pushing this. See? I'm selling it because I believe that what we have to offer … We did this in June. The result was amazing. What it told me was is that there are people out there, and I don't believe there's a lot of them, but I believe there's 10,000 of them, and that's who I'm looking for is the 10,000 worldwide. There are people out there that are CPAs who want the energy that we deliver, the unique gift, that they understand the unique gifts that we have.

Now, I look at my unique gift in my business. My unique gift is that I look at taxes from a very positive point of view. I see taxes as a series of incentives for entrepreneurs and investors. Most people see taxes as something to avoid, something to be afraid of, and my unique gift is to make it fun, to make it easy, to make it understandable, to see that taxes actually conserve you, that the tax law actually can make you better. It'll make you a better business person. It'll make you a better investor. It'll make you more money, and not just by saving taxes, but the tax law actually will make you more money once you understand how the tax law works.

I spend all of my life simplifying the tax law. That's what I do for a living so that I can present this positive side of taxes. It's unique to me. That means it's not anybody else's by definition. Lou Ann, her unique gift is her organization. I have never seen anybody quite as organized as Lou Ann and able to attend to the detail and, at the same time, do the planning, so she can think way outside a box, and she's always wanted to learn, but at the same time, she's got this intense devotion to organization and detail.

I don't have that. I recognize the importance of it, and so I hire people who do have that. It's not my unique gift, so it's not going to be my brand. Her brand, it's not her unique gift to simplify things and make taxes fun, easy, and understandable. Her unique gift is organization and detail so the people that she's attracting, again, that's part of her brand. That's the gift she delivers, and those people who are dying for that love every single thing about what she does because that's what they're dying for.

I'm talking about a brand here, and Lou Ann's a, she's a home business, and she's managed to create a brand. She only hires working moms. That's how work for her is working moms. Her staff, it's small, and it's all working moms. I'm so proud of her because she knows herself so well, and she's, not even on purpose, but she's developed this brand.

My point is, is that we can all do that. We can all develop a brand. We can all figure out what do we love. We can all figure out what energy we want around us, and we can all figure out what's our unique gift. I think it's harder for some than for others. It took me a long time to figure out what that unique gift was. It actually started when I was a Mormon Missionary, and I was leaving my mission in Paris, and my mission president, he was the one in charge, he was a real adult. I don't think of 21-year-old boys as adults, but he was the one in charge, and he asked me. He says, “I'm writing this letter to people back at your home. What is it that you think is that it's your unique gift?” I said, “I have a great smile.” He just looked at me, and he goes, “What?”

But when I think about it, that was the beginning of my Tax-Free Wealth brand because it's that positive outlook on the world that is translated into the most complex topic in the world, taxes and finances, and translated into a positive look at that.

I've had such a good success. I mean, our business is growing so fast. Actually, part of what we want from our network is we need more capacity because we have such demand for what we do. I'm looking for those few people, those few CPAs who really want to deliver on the promise of taxes are fun and taxes are not that hard and taxes, by the way, will, if you follow the tax law, will really help your business. That's part of who we are. That's the major part of our brand. That's who I'm looking for.

If you have anybody who wants to come, again, it's December 6th through 8th. It's wealthability.com/event. You sign up. There's no charge for it. By the way, there's 22 hours of continuing education, 22 qualified hours of continuing education in all but a few states. There are a few states that are just too hard to deal with, frankly, but it's on our website so you can look it up on wealthability.com/event. It'll tell you which states that we have CPA for, which is like 95% of them. If you know a CPA, you have a CPA, invite them to come. Suggest they come.

In fact, if you have a CPA, by the way, it'd be worth it for you to make the deposit so that they come because they'll get two and a half days of so much, and we have so much fun. Oh, my heavens, we have fun. This is not your father's CPE class. This is not like any other CPE class you're ever going to have. This is going to be fun. This is personal development. This is about how do we build our businesses, and we'll talk more about brands at that time because I think the brand is such an important part, but really, that's important is that we're finding the clients that we want to find, that we're attracting the people in our life. Why would we want to be around people that we don't like? Why would we want that?

Let's attract those people that we do like. It's going to be different for all of us. It's unique to us, so please, take the time to develop your unique gift. Take the time to share that with the world because when you do, you're always going to make more money and pay way less taxes. Thanks. See you next time.

Announcer: You've been listening to The WealthAbility™ Show with Tom Wheelwright. Way more money, way less taxes. To learn more, go to wealthability.com.