Dream Again Marketing https://dreamagainmarketing.com Storytelling Branding & Premier Design for Small Businesses Mon, 11 Nov 2019 21:01:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.4 https://dreamagainmarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/cropped-Dream-Again-Marketing-Social-Favicon-32x32.png Dream Again Marketing https://dreamagainmarketing.com 32 32 Cinderella, Survivor’s Guilt, and Psychological Freedom? https://dreamagainmarketing.com/cinderella-survivors-guilt-and-psychological-freedom/ https://dreamagainmarketing.com/cinderella-survivors-guilt-and-psychological-freedom/#respond Tue, 12 Nov 2019 06:00:00 +0000 https://dreamagainmarketing.com/?p=207449 For all it’s convenience and triteness, the Cinderella fairy tale packs a powerful, psychological punch.

And it comes down to ‘Survivor’s Guilt’.

I kid you not; I struggle with ‘survivor’s guilt’ a lot. Obviously not as seriously as those who have endured life-shattering, traumatic experiences. But the principle is the same.

And when you’re a small business, you could be hamstringing yourself out of success (not to mention your wellbeing) if you’re functioning from such a place.

What am I talking about?

Well, Cinderella is a time-tested tale that’s been retold in countless cultures, in countless ways for centuries. Not because it’s a girl’s wish fulfillment fantasy. But for much more important reasons.

You see, it comes down to narcissism, co-dependency, and survivor’s guilt.

From an early age, Cinderella lost her family, and therefore lost the only community she knew that taught her she was valued, and valuable.

She grows up with a terrible, narcissist family. And if we know anything about the narcissists in our lives, they see everyone else as a object, to be used, or fed off of as a source of emotional supply. They’re like vampires. And they frequently gravitate to positions of authority and power, because it feeds their ego.

On the other side of the equation is us. The narcissists in our lives who generally affect us are people like our parents, or authority figures like teachers or guardians. And as much as we may hate or resent them, we become codependent (defined as ‘excessive emotional or psychological reliance on another.’)

Dr. Karyl McBride has dedicated her career to counseling people about how to handle these relationships, with her blog, ‘Will I Ever Be Good Enough.’

It can feel impossibly hard to get away from these terrible figures. Which brings me to my last point, ‘survivor’s guilt’.

At the end of the story, Cinderella is faced with a life-changing choice. To accept the prince’s offer to utterly transform her existence for the better. Or to stay with the devil she knows, and refuse.

For those of us listening to such stories, it seems so obvious what the choice should be.

But in the moment? After a lifetime of conditioning to put yourself last?

How many of us are given choices that we’d love to accept, but we feel guilty about enjoying a good thing that others don’t have?

I admit to really struggling with this. And it’s with simple things, like doing something I enjoy.

I constantly berate myself that so many others don’t have these options, and have to grind and suffer. What gives me the right to be happy in this moment, to enjoy this experience?

From some magical source deep within, Cinderella got past all her psychological conditioning and accepted a chance to change her life for the better. There’s the power of that story for us.

How many of us have thought about making a change, however small or big, and shied away from it for the psychological or sentimental comfort of our status quo?

I’m not talking about some sort of Red Bull hoohah. I mean even doing something that is meaningful to you, purely because it’s a good thing.

This is something I’m learning; not to let survivor’s guilt hold me back from doing things I enjoy.

Perhaps we could think of it in this light; if it were our best friend being offered an amazing chance, how would we react? Would we encourage them to go for it? Why can’t we give ourselves the same kindness?

This has made me realize that the point of life is to work hard to make the ideal real, not the real the ideal. That’s the magic of the human condition; if we can dream it, we can make it. Not abandon the dream the moment we hit turbulence, or decide realpolitik is more practical.

Can you imagine avoiding the smooth lanes of a highway just because it’s normal for everyone to bump across a potholed backroad? Does it makes sense to never do something better or greater just because others don’t have the chance?

Perhaps we could recognize a beautiful and powerful fact.

How much more good could you do in the world if you did accept that life-changing goodness? Or that small moment of wonder? How much of a better person could you become? What kinds of better choices would you make after living in those new conditions?

That’s why we read Cinderella to our kids, and think about her swift, happy choice. It’s not about the prince and princess.

It’s all about the inner freedom to accept goodness when we see it.

Dominic de Souza

Storyteller, Marketer

Born in New Zealand, raised in Australia, studied in Fiji and France, now living in the United States. After writing my first novel at 13, I spent 15 years in marketing and design. Today, I help wildly-passionate small businesses clarify their story to spellbind audiences.  Sign up for my weekly digest!

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Challenge: Create 12 Ads in 30 Minutes – Coffee & Archetypes https://dreamagainmarketing.com/coffee-archetype-challenge/ https://dreamagainmarketing.com/coffee-archetype-challenge/#comments Mon, 11 Nov 2019 16:40:06 +0000 https://dreamagainmarketing.com/?p=207493

If there’s one thing I love about understanding a brand archetype, it’s the clarity it can bring to how you pitch and present your marketing.

There are usually 12 ‘themes of humanity,’ broad strokes do more than just express who we are. They can also connect us more quickly with our ideal client. 

If you aren’t already familiar with archetypes, here’s an article I wrote a while back. And if you want to figure out your archetype, here’s a free quiz (my favorite).

For this article, I gave myself a challenge.

  • In a half hour, I wanted to create 12 different ads. The product is the same: a completely fake brand of coffee from Ethopia, organic, wholebean, to be made at home, something a cut above Folgers, for a more discerning palate. Let’s call it, ‘Tana’. 
  • Each ad would tailor the message for the different archetype.

The idea is to show that your brand could sell something 12 different ways. Under most of these, I’ve included alternate ideas for taglines and headlines.

Perhaps looking over these ‘ads’ gives you some ideas! Maybe one of them jumps out at you. That might be your archetype, and could be a way for you to start marketing your brand.

Creative Archetype

Fuel your creativity

The best coffee brings the best ideas. Invent with Tana.

Ruler Archetype

Bring order, justice,
and coffee to all.

Only the best for you. Drink Tana Coffee.


  • The best for the best.
  • Win the world right after your coffee. 

Caregiver Archetype

when you feel special, you make others feel amazing.

Gift yourself a cup of Tana.


  • Take a moment to indulge. Bring your best self to others with the best coffee.
  • Self care with special coffee.
  • Smile on the go all morning with just one cup of Tana.

Everyman Archetype

The sensible brew for a sensible you.

Every day, no frills. darn good coffee that tastes like the good days.


  • Exactly what you need for a good day.
  • Join the millions who love Tana, every day.

Jester Archetype

ready to be the life of the office? heck, the life of the party?

Drink Tana coffee.


  • A little fun, a little crazy, and no joke.
  • Wear the red pants today. You’re drinking Tana.

Lover Archetype

Indulge in the aroma and ardor of the old world.

A lightly roasted, creamy complex with notes of chocolate, cardamom, and burnt vanilla, harvested with care from the ancient Ethiopian highlands.


Hero Archetype

Never back down again.

Start with Tana coffee.


  • Be ready for anything
  • Take on the world like a champ
  • The coffee of kings and warriors, the brew of battles and champions.

Magician Archetype

You fascinate them with the new and the strange.

Now its your turn. Tana awaits you.


  • What dark mysteries will the magic of ancient Tana inspire?
  • The world awaits your magic, right after your ritual of coffee and silence.
  • Prepare to dazzle.
  • Theyll all ask, how did you do that? One cup, and you’ll spellbind all day.

Outlaw Archetype

Normal is for them.

You’re different. You play your own game. Drink your own brand.


  • Let them all drink the rest. This is for you.
  • Forget that. It’s old. This… this is something you’ve never seen.

Discoverer Archetype

Never look back.

From the ridges and ranks of an ancient, undiscovered world, Tana brings you an experience to re-invent your normal.

  • Enter a world of new tastes and experiences
  • You’ve never experienced the depth and detail of these beans, and the ancient story that births them.

Sage Archetype

Now, now you’re ready.

Open this secret of a lost world, and tune up your mind to spectacular.

  • 60% of thinkers function at 90% capacity with one cup of Tana.
  • A little more power to your morning could give you the edge you need.

Innocent Archetype

Ancient, sustainable, & pure.

Tana is like a weekday Christmas, and good for you.

  • More than just another brand. Tana is a mark of beauty, a calming, brightening brew to surprise and inspire you. A coffee that gives back as much as it gives you.

So a little on the nose, sure. 🙂

But you can see now how your next ad could dial in to one of 12 different archetypal messages. And by doing that, appeal to more distinct people with greater success.

Marketing to everyone is so often blah and boring. But advertising to the archetype can become more instantly interesting. 

What do you think? Did one of these jump out at you? Drop a comment how you’re toying with the idea of archetypes for your next ad. 

Dominic de Souza

Storyteller, Marketer

Born in New Zealand, raised in Australia, studied in Fiji and France, now living in the United States. After writing my first novel at 13, I spent 15 years in marketing and design. Today, I help wildly-passionate small businesses clarify their story to spellbind audiences.  Sign up for my weekly digest!

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From Laid off to Lit Up | My ‘Aha Moment’ Story https://dreamagainmarketing.com/from-laid-off-to-lit-up-my-aha-moment-story/ https://dreamagainmarketing.com/from-laid-off-to-lit-up-my-aha-moment-story/#respond Fri, 08 Nov 2019 06:00:00 +0000 https://dreamagainmarketing.com/?p=207443 For most of us, the choice to start our brands falls down to a single moment. An experience. A choice.

It’s that moment like in all the movies where we decide if we’re going to commit, or walk away.

And it’s important to know the story of that moment, because it’s a part of your overarching brand story.

In my case, it went something like this.

I’d been working with a startup in web design and marketing for the last two years. I signed on as a web designer. Along the way, I discovered a complete passion for branding, helping each client market themselves as unique, and discover what made them stand out. Once that happened, I realized they had amazing storytelling potential. But that wasn’t part of my team’s game plan.

And then, somehow, my role shifted to include support tickets, and I found I was fighting fires alongside handling client calls and new website builds.

I’m ashamed to say that I crumbled. My brainstorming, story-loving mind couldn’t see a way out. I got the work done, and did my darndest to keep every client happy. But at my expense. I became morose and bitter.

And I started dreaming about my own company.

You see, a few years back, I’d seen a video of a couple of Instagram influencers visiting Positano, Italy. I was blown away by the beauty and charm of those serried homes and stacked restaurants, cascading down into a crystal bay. I did something I’d never done; I changed my desktop wallpaper to a photo of the Amalfi coast, and stared at it hard, trying to imagine what it would be like to see that in person.

That action haunted me during my dark days.

But then, to make matters worse, the tenant in the upstairs apartment slept during the day, and started his laundry every night at 11pm, and didn’t stop till 3am. My small family and I were sleep-deprived for weeks.

We would leave every night to find a hotel just to try and get 8 hours. That Thanksgiving, we all just slept in the freezing car because a rowdy party upstairs had us worried.

In the middle of all of this, I was intensely grateful to have a job that kept the lights on and food on the table, as much as it was grinding me down.

And that was when my boss sat me down for a ‘contract review’.

And apologized. And laid me off.

He had a load of good reasons, chief of which was that I was his highest-paid investment, and the company was unable to clear every deal fast enough to pay all the employees.

And also, the writing was on the wall. I’d been frank earlier about wanting to start up my own company, and what its focus would be.

I remember everything in the world going still on that call, and I steeled my face to not show surprise, or make him feel uncomfortable.

But inside, a whole lot of screaming.

In that moment, a lot of what he said went into a blur. And I had two options.

Either find a job that took me away from my family for hours at a time – and we had just bought a home far from the city in a new state. My wife was too ill yet to cook or care for our daughter.

Or start up my own brand, and give it everything I could.

Starting my own company had always been a private wish, and an ancient nightmare. Ever since I was a kid, I watched my dad utterly kill himself every single day, working himself to the bone to get enough speaking gigs and recurring sponsors to put food on the table.

His panic and pressure was my experience of being a solopreneur, and I swore I would never do it for myself.

And all of a sudden, it was my only choice.

I knew what the answer had to be.

Not just for practical reasons, but for personal ones. I’d just figured out a brand name and direction. Time to use it.

So my challenge had changed. I’d hoped for a 6 month transition, to ease out of that brand into my own. I now had 4 weeks, with no runway, no clients, no prospects. Into the valley of death, volleyed and thundered, rode the 600…

The next day, I bought dreamagainmarketing.com, threw up a draft of the website. And went ham on LinkedIn with content and connections.

The ride has been crazy so far. We’ll see where the future goes.

But I’m now grateful to that one bleak moment for giving me the kick in the pants I needed to finally start making my difference in the world.

And so far, I’m loving it. Shaky, doubting every Tuesday, but loving it.

What about you? What was your ‘aha’ moment?

Dominic de Souza

Storyteller, Marketer

Born in New Zealand, raised in Australia, studied in Fiji and France, now living in the United States. After writing my first novel at 13, I spent 15 years in marketing and design. Today, I help wildly-passionate small businesses clarify their story to spellbind audiences.  Sign up for my weekly digest!

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The song that inspired my brand name ‘Dream Again’ https://dreamagainmarketing.com/the-song-that-inspired-my-brand-name-dream-again/ https://dreamagainmarketing.com/the-song-that-inspired-my-brand-name-dream-again/#respond Thu, 07 Nov 2019 12:29:00 +0000 https://dreamagainmarketing.com/?p=207400 In late 2018, I was hauling bags of groceries through the biting cold into my second-floor apartment. It was a time-between-times for me, when everything felt like it was going wrong.

And I desperate to imagine a way out of it all.

The last few months had seen me spiral into a dark hole of depression; medical bills, mounting debt, moving to a new state… It was all taking its toll. And I was growing angsty in my job – putting out fires for someone else’s company.

I wanted my own company, to flex my wings and start doing the things that I believed in. I wanted to tell stories, craft exciting brands, help small businesses rediscover their ability to imagine a better future.

I knew that if I was feeling pressured, tons of other people feel just as alone and pressured too.

So back to the groceries.

I was hauling them in, and dumped them on the counter. Potatoes and raw chicken thighs, and a ton of vegetables (paleo-ish diet over here…) I had queued up my top Spotify movie soundtracks.

As I set them down, this song came on. I’d heard it many times already. But suddenly it stood out.

These lyrics from ‘Still Dream’, Rise of the Guardians, rammed home:

Not so long ago
Your world was bright
So take a breath, and count to ten
And maybe you can dream again
Still dream
And all the wonder that you knew
Will all come flying back to you
If you remember all the hope you left behind
Open up your heart and change your mind
Oh what you’ll find, if you still dream

For weeks I’d been going in circles, looking for a name for my brand. I’d tried everything with the word ‘saga’ to ‘legend,’ and a bunch of other dramatic stuff. But I kept coming back to ‘dream’, since I loved the name ‘Dreamworks’.

And maybe you can dream again

That was perfect. I was so excited I was shaking.

I wanted to build a brand that stood for something more than just a service. I wanted a suite of services, perhaps a team… in fact, none of that mattered as much as the brand promise.

I wanted people to regain that spark of excitement and imagination again about their brand.

If they’d lost it, we’ll get it back. And if they have it, we’ll make it brighter.

How about you? What was the inspiration for your brand name? Anything funny or special inspire you?

Header artwork copyright Dreamworks

Dominic de Souza

Storyteller, Marketer

Born in New Zealand, raised in Australia, studied in Fiji and France, now living in the United States. After writing my first novel at 13, I spent 15 years in marketing and design. Today, I help wildly-passionate small businesses clarify their story to spellbind audiences.  Sign up for my weekly digest!

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Jack & the Beanstalk, David & Goliath, and Jayson Gonzalez https://dreamagainmarketing.com/jack-the-beanstalk-david-goliath-and-jayson-gonzalez/ https://dreamagainmarketing.com/jack-the-beanstalk-david-goliath-and-jayson-gonzalez/#respond Wed, 06 Nov 2019 18:57:00 +0000 https://dreamagainmarketing.com/?p=207403 If you haven’t been following the hilarious exploits of Jayson Gonzalez and the Krispy Kreme donuts fiasco, here’s a link.

My summary is this: a student in Minnesota saw an opportunity in the market, and grabbed it. Krispy Kreme at the time has no stores in Minnesota (from what I understand). So Jayson spent his weekends driving four hours down into Iowa, buying  100 boxes of fresh donuts, driving 4 hours back, and then reselling them in parking lots.

People followed his fan page for updates, and gladly paid his marked up price.

When Krispy Kreme discovered what he was doing, they sent him a cease and desist. Which he complied with. But then, the social backlash from his followers hit headquarters like a ton of bricks. People complained about all kinds of things, and Krispy Kreme – surprisingly – relented after a couple of days.

They stated that they were looking out for everyone’s best interests – his own, as well as their brand integrity. Which I can understand – he didn’t exactly have a food licence. But then, his buyers understood the conditions under which they bought all that krispy goodness.

Krispy Kreme turned around and donated 500 boxes of free donuts, with a couple of caveats for food safety. Today, Jayson is running a Gofundme for a bigger truck to haul all these donuts – because the burst of media attention and interviews blew up his page. And consumer demand.

Like I said, hilarious, and an awesome story.

There’s a reason why we love these ‘David and Goliath’ tales. And why we tell stories like ‘Jack and Beanstalk’ to kids.

It comes back to something I tell myself alot: people like us tell stories like these. And if this story strikes a chord with you, then you’re buying into an incredibly old narrative. A narrative where a crafty, bold, entrepreneurial person can have an edge over a larger, slower figure.

Goliath was famously decked out in hundreds of pounds of plate armor and the best protection shekels could buy. And yet David changed the rules of the game, and took him out with one carefully placed pebble.

Jack climbed a beanstalk and stole a golden harp and golden goose from a giant, made it back home safely, and took out the giant by severing its connection to the rest of the world.

Jayson saw an opportunity, built up a incredible batch of superfans, and seems to have turned his college life and opportunities around by making a corporation rethink their policies. (No idea where he’ll go in life, but the story so far is cool.)

People like us tell these kinds of stories.

Our culture in the west is caught between two kinds of meta stories; Jack and the Beanstalk, and Hektor and Achilles.

There’s a reason we dig Hektor from the Illiad over Achilles; Hektor was a noble man, a brave warrior, and Achilles a veritable demigod wearing divine armor. For challenging the will of a demigod, Hektor died a miserable, heroic death, and was dragged around Troy. Quite a lesson about challenging manifest destiny.

And yet we love him for that spunk. That nobility. That drive to stand up for himself.

Many of us dream about striking out on our own, making a difference with our grit and cleverness, like an Odysseus who invents a new way to solve a social problem – a Trojan horse.

We believe in this idea that a nimble, intelligent individual can make change happen. We love underdogs. We root for them.

This is a story that connects us.

Dominic de Souza

Storyteller, Marketer

Born in New Zealand, raised in Australia, studied in Fiji and France, now living in the United States. After writing my first novel at 13, I spent 15 years in marketing and design. Today, I help wildly-passionate small businesses clarify their story to spellbind audiences.  Sign up for my weekly digest!

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Why storytelling must be a part of your brand – with Claire Winter https://dreamagainmarketing.com/why-storytelling-must-be-a-part-of-your-brand-with-claire-winter/ https://dreamagainmarketing.com/why-storytelling-must-be-a-part-of-your-brand-with-claire-winter/#comments Tue, 05 Nov 2019 18:08:23 +0000 https://dreamagainmarketing.com/?p=207373 Claire Winter sold her magazine business and started working as a copywriter. She soon realized that she should be teaching business owners to write their own copy and content, which she now does from the comfort of her home office, or ‘shedquarters’ in her back garden.

A favorite topic for us both, Claire and I discuss the massive need for people to share more of their own stories, the inverse problem of oversharing, a simple test for knowing when to share or not, and a tip for finding your ‘lightbulb moment’ – often the most important story in your stack.

Episode 13 of Dreamchasers | Dreamchasers is the interview series for people who want human marketing on a zero budget. I’m your host, Dominic de Souza. Listen in for tips and insights, for 15 minutes a week. It’s the dreamers who make the future. Chase yours.

Meet Claire Winter


Summary & Notes

60% of all conversations that we have involve a story. It’s been around for millions of years. Stories engage people far better than data.

Because of Claire’s journalism background, her newsroom experience was all about finding the hook, the essence of a story.

Today, she teaches people to storytell with their content. She used to own and edit a magazine, and would help a lot of online business with their copy and content, from cupcake stories to bigger attractions.

Why storytelling must be a part of your brand - with Claire Winter

At first she was copywriting, but there’s a massive need for coaches and consultants who want to to be the voice of their business. She enables them to tell their business story, and find the right platform for themselves. Many create content for content’s sake. They forget that content should be inviting people to take a next step.

A lot of people are scared to put their heads up, to stand for a belief, to own their personality.

They struggle with visibility through blogging and video. A lot of the people she’s worked with used to run marketing departments, or been a part of larger corporate teams. They never had to do it for themselves.

Now suddenly they have to discover their magic, their unique selling points, and they don’t know how. They’re used to outsourcing that to others. Now they have to make it work for themselves.

On the flip side, there’s a problem with oversharing, and ‘engagement bait’. We should be sharing our scars, not the scabs. Things that are learned lessons, and done, talk about them – especially if it relates to your business. Don’t share everything you’re going through, just for the ‘vulnerability’ value. If it feels ‘icky’, don’t share it.

While there is value is sharing the human content, see if it stands up to the ‘So what’ test. Content marketing is not about us, but about our readers. If the story you’re telling isn’t being sharing in a language they use, and pain points they have, so what? It may be great for a campfire, but not for a brand blog.

Why storytelling must be a part of your brand - with Claire Winter

There’s a difference between informal, communal storytelling, and what is told at a trade show or on your blog. People should always get a clear sense of the value from a story, a clear message.

  • Is it clear what I’m offering?
  • Is it easy for people to get it?

As simple as they may be, these answers are frequently missed on average websites.

Claire’s Story

She was working with a corporate coach around whitelabelling blogs. She was offered a position as a fulltime marketing manager, and realised that everything she was doing wasn’t fullfilling.

She realised she should be training and inspiring other people. That was her moment to start helping solopreneurs and coaches and consultants to start writing their copy.

Today, she runs a business where she can coach groups through her courses, all from her Shedquarters in the back garden. Her commute is 100 meters long, and for her, it’s her ‘why’; drinking hot chocolate with her girls after school.

Selling with stories is a fun way to share what you love about the world, and what you’re good at.

Her background in journalism has enabled her to quickly identify the story and help them see the headlines. So many of us can’t see our own story, and the inherent power. Everyone has a unique skillset, and things that they like doing.

She likes to look for the ‘lightbulb moment’, when they realized a change was needed, and their lives shifted from one role to another.

Why storytelling must be a part of your brand - with Claire Winter

One Actionable Insight

Ask yourself what lights you up, and what gets you up in the morning. Talk about that.
When you have that moment, you usually don’t look back.

And don’t be afraid to share it, or yourself. Show the face behind the business. Give people a reason to pick you over someone else.

We like to work with specific kinds of people. Stories help us share who we are fastest.

Dominic de Souza

Storyteller, Marketer

Born in New Zealand, raised in Australia, studied in Fiji and France, now living in the United States. After writing my first novel at 13, I spent 15 years in marketing and design. Today, I help wildly-passionate small businesses clarify their story to spellbind audiences.  Sign up for my weekly digest!

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‘Burn out on your hobbies.’ Really? My 3 Week, INTP Burnout Challenge https://dreamagainmarketing.com/burn-out-on-your-hobbies-really-my-3-week-intp-burnout-challenge/ https://dreamagainmarketing.com/burn-out-on-your-hobbies-really-my-3-week-intp-burnout-challenge/#respond Tue, 05 Nov 2019 14:51:00 +0000 https://dreamagainmarketing.com/?p=207359 About a month back, a Facebook post swiped by and suddenly started haunting me.

Some trite photo, and a caption that said something like “If you have to burn out on anything, do it on your hobbies. At least they’re worth it.”

Burnout and I are old friends. I can pinpoint the exact moments when I realized they were happening, and I couldn’t run from them any more.

But seeing that post, I started thinking; if your hobbies are the way you recharge, the way you become most fully yourself, and get back all the energy that gets you excited about being alive, what happens if you burn out doing them?

What else is there left for you to do to heal?

You see, for me, I absolutely love creating and writing novels. But it’s been 7 years since I last actually started one. I’ll just say that work has been crazy, and I had much, much to learn about being in business.

I’m glad I didn’t take the little energy I had and burn it on trying to follow a passion project, like a novel. It would be like monetizing a hobby; when you run out of steam and happiness, you don’t have anything else in your back pocket to turn to.

ThisisCalmer.org lists the 5 stages of burnout; “As with any illness, symptoms of burnout change from person to person, however these five stages are commonly observed:

  • Honeymoon Phase. When we undertake a new task, we often start by experiencing high job satisfaction, commitment, energy, and creativity. …
  • Onset of Stress. …
  • Chronic stress. …
  • Burnout. …
  • Habitual Burnout.”

It’s a massive issue in the first world. We don’t have a culture of peaceful enjoyment. We hustle.

And there are a lot of good reasons for it all. But there’s a problem; it eats away at the underlying person. It doesn’t leave us in a good place.

For me, I was beginning to hate who I was becoming.

I was snapping at my loved ones. I was getting angry at every new email that came in – even nice ones. I didn’t want to even open my laptop.

And all the time, the great, marching pressure of bills and rents keeps pushing everything forward. So, as a freelancer, someone who’s skills depends on their wellbeing, merriness, and mental acuity, I needed to do something totally different.

The challenge is that I couldn’t stop working. And, I’m an INTP on the Myers Briggs spectrum, which means my mind never shuts off. Ever.

I decided to take a complete break. I needed to physically put my body in a state a different condition. I needed to feel like I was OK. So what I did was all the things that I would do if my business was totally OK, and if I was safe.

If I was safe, I would be watching movies, reading, writing novels, brainstorming concept art… all of the things that are fulfilling to me.

Spending intentional time with family, instead of getting stressed at making 3 home-cooked meals a day.

I did that for 3 weeks.

And the morning of the 4th week, I put my phone face down, walked back to my desk, and it felt good.

Later that day I went shopping, ‘splurged’ with the cup of coffee (trying to quit!), and read some books. I was starting to get my spark back.

I added a new product to my website. Rewrote my Linkedin profile.

And all of it was in a sense of silence.

I wasn’t answering my phone. Not checking LinkedIn twice an hour, refreshing Facebook and Instagram.

Sometimes you need to completely let go. For me, I’m like Russel Crow in “A Beautiful Mind,” where my brain does not stop. I needed to get out of my head and into somebody else’s head.

Which is why I look for long-running series with intense characterization. As an INTP, I need to stop obsessing over myself and my future and my feelings and my dreams. It’s good to take a break from it all, and dip into somebody else’s. Either with a good book or with a good TV series.

Taking that break allows me to refresh, recharge, get out of my head, and feel better. To create that new baseline of mindset and calmness.

The lesson in all this for me is that I do not need to be stressing out about my business.

As a workaholic, the worst thing that you can do is to show them that their work doesn’t matter, and then keep moving the goal posts. There are no results.

What then happens is you spend every waking hour and moment thinking, planning, strategizing, hoping, worrying. It eats you and wears you down. You get so tired.

I am very slowly learning that if I don’t put my own air mask, on I am not going to have the oxygen I need to help somebody else. How many of us accept an idea, but don’t actually integrate it? That’s why we need to physically do things that we agree with, to make an idea ‘stick.’

A great tip I learned from a oodcast interview I ran on stress, was this: When you’re stressed, breathe like you’re at peace, and your body will think that you are. It will then start providing new hormones and the materials that you need to start feeling better. Then your mind will catch up, and you’ll realize OK I’m not actually in danger right now.

So that was my challenge the last 3 weeks, after spending the last 3 months of intense strategizing. Those months came after 2 years of depression, and that after 7 years of constant worry.

My journey isn’t over, but I’m feeling a lot better, and learning to be more relaxed. Which means I can take care of people – my family, my clients – better.

How about you? How have you been dealing with burn out? Is it something you struggle with?

Dominic de Souza

Storyteller, Marketer

Born in New Zealand, raised in Australia, studied in Fiji and France, now living in the United States. After writing my first novel at 13, I spent 15 years in marketing and design. Today, I help wildly-passionate small businesses clarify their story to spellbind audiences.  Sign up for my weekly digest!

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If your brand was a movie character, who would it be? https://dreamagainmarketing.com/if-your-brand-was-a-movie-character-who-would-it-be/ https://dreamagainmarketing.com/if-your-brand-was-a-movie-character-who-would-it-be/#comments Mon, 04 Nov 2019 06:00:00 +0000 https://dreamagainmarketing.com/?p=207298 A few years back, I was on a brand call with a mobile locksmith. He was a young guy, and I was enjoying the passion he brought to his business. He would talk about how normal it was for people to get ripped off just because they were locked out of home or car.

As we wrapped up, I was curious to ask him one of my favorite, fun questions.

“If your brand was a movie character, who would it be?”

Why is that a valuable question?

Because every character has a different attitude and way of talking. John Wayne, John Wick, and Jon Snow are all going to talk about locksmithing differently.

And as a marketer, I wanted to help him stand out as much as possible. One of the ways you do that is by identifying your brand voice.

This means literally how your brand sounds. What kinds of words does it use? What words will it never use?

So the locksmith responded: “Oh sure, I’d be Joe Dirt.”

I’d never heard of the movie. So I nodded, made a note, and then went and pulled up the trailers after the call.

It was hilarious.

I’d have never thought of giving this brand that kind of voice. But as I watched Joe Dirt’s drawl and shenanigans, it matched up with the loose, edgy, friendly attitude of the client.

And when I started building his website, I tweaked the copy to try and sound like Joe Dirt had dictated it.

Ain’t no other locksmith got as much heart on their About page, guaranteed.

Answering this question isn’t just fluff. It’s actually extremely valuable.

The next time you hire someone to write your website, or a blog, or social post, ask them to do it in your brand character’s voice.

This is something I actually do myself when I’m writing stories. I grew up reading and re-reading Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. Now, whenever I write something futuristic or set in modern day, my mind immediately cues my inner Crichton, and tries to match his speedy, intense, perfectly poised style.

For Dream Again, and mostly me in general, my brand character would be Daniel Jackson, from the Stargate series.

If your brand was a movie character, who would it be?

Copyright MGM Studios

He’s irredeemably passionate, a complete dork about details and stories, slow to judge and wide open to listening. And he’ll have these lapses into silence while his brain goes into high gear. In three works;

  • Discoverer
  • Friendly
  • Helpful
  • Always free with information.

So what about you?

Drop a comment about your brand character. Ever thought about it? What are the top 3 traits about that character that should impact how you sound?

Dominic de Souza

Storyteller, Marketer

Born in New Zealand, raised in Australia, studied in Fiji and France, now living in the United States. After writing my first novel at 13, I spent 15 years in marketing and design. Today, I help wildly-passionate small businesses clarify their story to spellbind audiences.  Sign up for my weekly digest!

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Your marketer should be able to answer this basic question https://dreamagainmarketing.com/your-marketer-should-be-able-to-answer-this-basic-question/ https://dreamagainmarketing.com/your-marketer-should-be-able-to-answer-this-basic-question/#respond Sun, 03 Nov 2019 11:14:51 +0000 https://dreamagainmarketing.com/?p=207292 Recently, I was chatting with two different copywriters on the same day.

They had just written up the content for some new websites they were working on. After skimming it, I had one question for them:

“What makes these brands unique?”


They both left me scratching my head. Neither of them knew.

I couldn’t understand it. They’d just spent hours reviewing templates and writing paragraphs, and writing and writing.

How could they not know?

This confirmed for me something I absolutely believe: if you’re a small business, and you’re hiring anyone in marketing – a designer, a copywriter, an SEO specialist, a web designer, anything – they should be able to tell you what makes you unique.

How are you going to improve revenue and inspire people if you’re not a clear and obvious choice?

Today, with a billion brands popping up and bursting and rebranding, all the hard work in crafting a lasting brand is in this area. What makes you unique?

  • If you hire a copywriter, they should be able to come back to you and say: “You’re now able to stand out from your competition because of these top 3 reasons. Or this key differentiator.”
  • If you hire a designer, they should be able to demonstrate: this is how you look visually different from your competition. The difference should be enough to see you clearly in a lineup.
  • If you hire a marketer, they must be able to tell you what it is about you that inspires people to buy from you.

At at any point they can’t, then you’ve hired the wrong person.

They are most likely taking your money to push you through a process.

They aren’t seriously partnering with you to make you more memorable, and more unique.

That’s what you’re paying them for, right? You can’t afford any less.

For 2 years, I worked with a small team that branded and build websites for home services in rural Virginia. It became my personal challenge with every client to understand what it was that made them special.

  • For some, it was by going hard after  certain niche, or supporting a specific kind of situation.
  • For others, it was digging into their backstory and values to demonstrate how it inspires their service experience.
  • And for the rest, it was simply a matter of being clearer and more accessible than others.

Usually, my goal was to try and hit all three.

And usually, the client had never needed to think about it. Back when they’d started up, they competed with perhaps two other brands.

Today, franchises and startups are bubbling up everywhere, crowding out advertisement and begging for headspace.

To build a rock-solid brand, one that stands the test of time, sticks in the right people’s minds, and inspires them to come back, you can’t settle for blah.

You can’t settle for just more.

You can’t settle for just a shade better.

You have to go for as much gold as you can. Raise the bar. Even better: redefine it.

That’s what I love to do; through your values and your brand, show people that any other brand after  you is a step down.

So for now, take a step back from trying to get on the first page of Google.

Get your team and your clients on the same page, and turn a new leaf.

So go ask whoever you’re hiring. Can they tell you exactly how they’re helping you stand out? Is it working?

Dominic de Souza

Storyteller, Marketer

Born in New Zealand, raised in Australia, studied in Fiji and France, now living in the United States. After writing my first novel at 13, I spent 15 years in marketing and design. Today, I help wildly-passionate small businesses clarify their story to spellbind audiences.  Sign up for my weekly digest!

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The day I started a magazine, and created a tribe https://dreamagainmarketing.com/the-day-i-started-a-magazine-and-created-a-tribe/ https://dreamagainmarketing.com/the-day-i-started-a-magazine-and-created-a-tribe/#respond Sat, 02 Nov 2019 11:06:26 +0000 https://dreamagainmarketing.com/?p=207254 Leading a tribe is like showing people where to go, and then getting out of the way.

It’s not an ego trip. It’s a we-go together trip.

A few years back, I was hugely excited to be given carte-blanche to start up a tribe. I was working with a private, distance school at the time, and they were looking to re-invigorate a simple, 4-page bulletin that used to be mailed out to high schoolers.

I started reeling off all the ideas I thought could be fun and valuable for the community of high schoolers, siphoning off content from staff and the parent’s magazine, and setting up quarterly, creative writing contests.

Designing and pulling together that first issue was a ton of fun for me. It came to a 30-page, full color magazine loaded with student profiles, articles from students and staff on how to get through high school, and full page ‘ads’ for new products and projects.

The school had never had anything like it before, and it was an instant hit.

Part of my pitch was to also create a website, as an online version of all that content. I wanted students to be able to leave comments and chat with each other.

Without realizing it, I was following Seth Godin’s methodology from ‘Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us:’

A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.

That online blog reached only a tiny portion of the high school community. But what happened over the next year was amazing.

The students loved it. They visited almost daily, hoping for new content. They left comments and chatted with each other. And when it came time for graduation, scores of the students who had never before met in person, now met like old friends.

I loved it. I loved the chance to create the contests, and give feedback on the stories. I loved ‘meeting’ the students through the profiles they submitted. And I loved that together, we were all creating something we all enjoyed.

I’d given them an outlet. We all shared the same energy, but they couldn’t do anything about it. I could, so I did, and then got out of their way.

From a marketing standpoint, those issues became one of our most interesting promotionals. The latest quarter would go out to all new families, as a way to demonstrate the critical thinking and creativity of the later grades.

From what I learned, it brought a new level of confidence to high school, purely because we were able to show that they enjoyed it.

When I had to move on from that job later, I didn’t realize till later how working on that project deeply inspired me. That experience showed me that it doesn’t take much to give a tribe wings. It just takes some effort, and a bunch of heart.

How about you? Any stories or experiences from building up a tribe? What’s holding you back from starting something that could bring people together?

Header image Copyright Bayley Bulletin | Seton Home Study School

Dominic de Souza

Storyteller, Marketer

Born in New Zealand, raised in Australia, studied in Fiji and France, now living in the United States. After writing my first novel at 13, I spent 15 years in marketing and design. Today, I help wildly-passionate small businesses clarify their story to spellbind audiences.  Sign up for my weekly digest!

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