When Alison Faulkner started her arts and crafts blog 13 years ago, she didn't realize it was the beginning of building a million-dollar brand. Faulkner is the creator of The Alison Show, a company that throws events and dance parties in Utah for women who want to find more passion and purpose in their lives. She also hosts the weekly podcast, Awesome With Alison with her husband Eric, where she shares advice on how to deal with career envy and negative self-talk, among other topics. Every day, thousands of women across the country flock to Faulkner's digital presence for a dose of her confidence-boosting nuggets.
"I felt called to build something, to create something. What? I didn't know. I just knew I had ideas to share and people I wanted to connect with. So I pulled a Field of Dreams and thought, 'If I build it, they will come," says Faulkner. "I shared essays and thoughts because I love to write and share. The blog morphed into a place where I talked about the events I designed because I love to throw parties."
Judging by her Instagram, you might think Faulkner's business is all just one big party. But at the heart of it, Faulkner's mission is to empower women to realize their goals and launch their own businesses. Now as a mom to three, Ginger, 9, Rad, 6, and Fiona, 4, she morphed her original brand into something much bigger that inspires other moms. "I had attracted a community of awesome humans who would share their hopes and dreams with me, buy my online courses, and fly to Utah for my dance parties from all over the country," she says.
What started as a passion project for Faulkner who was working in advertising and copywriting, has now grown to an impressive digital-based brand and social presence that touts more than 127K Instagram followers and 19.2K YouTube subscribers. How'd she do it? Pre-Instagram, Faulkner reached out to other bloggers while developing her skills and her passions like event planning, baking, sewing, and writing. When Instagram came onto the horizon, Faulkner focused on growing her online presence and, subsequently, created more products to share with her followers. This resulted in new financial opportunities like serving as the host of blogging events, and doing paid sponsorships and campaigns. Thanks to her hard work and perseverance, the mom of three has been able to help her family lead a more comfortable lifestyle.
"[From earnings from] online courses I created, we got into a new house and [helped to financially] support my husband as he began to build his dream business," Faulkner says. "I've now created millions in revenue with my events, online courses, and offerings, and I keynote speak and coach all over the country. I also consult Fortune 500 companies and have millions of downloads on my podcasts," she says.
Drawing from her own brand-building success and past work experience, Faulkner took her business a step further and launched Alison's Brand School in February 2018. At Alison's Brand School, Faulkner provides budding entrepreneurs, bloggers, and influencers with the same tools and strategies she used to grow her business.
"I didn't just want to do what I felt called to do. I wanted to empower others to do it too," says Faulkner. "Because at my core, I love to teach and share. Alison's Brand School empowers leaders to get clear about the work they're doing, gives them the tools to do what they feel called to do, and the freedom to live a fulfilled, awesome life while doing it," she says.
Inspired by Faulkner's accomplishments? Check out her tips below to create your own successful brand.
Identify Your Passion
If you're thinking about creating a business, it can be overwhelming to pinpoint where to start. Faulkner says an easy place to begin is to identify what you're most passionate about. "My advice is to get quiet, clear your proverbial table, and ask, what brings you joy? What are you curious about? What do you feel inspired to do?," says Faulkner. Take stock of these feelings to help create a roadmap for what you ultimately want to do. For example, Faulkner loved arts and crafts, so she focused her blog on sewing and baking tutorials.
Faulkner stresses the importance of connecting with your community and other entrepreneurs to help achieve your vision. As she built her digital platform, Faulkner attended blogging conferences where she met other mom bloggers. This led to lucrative writing jobs for parenting sites and event planning jobs. "I have observed from the thousands of amazing people I work with that we tend to feel alone in our problems, but when I stopped thinking that my problems and challenges were unique to me, I was able to attract more solutions," she explains. "Other than creating value, it's [creating connections] hands down the most important thing you can do. You won't grow without it," says Faulkner.
Faulkner says that creating a successful business is a lesson in practicing patience and believing that your work is important and meaningful. "When we don't see immediate results on a new platform, new product or message, it's tempting to think what we are doing isn't working, so we quit sooner than we should," Faulkner says. "I have a hard time with consistency because I get bored sticking with one project, but I've noticed that even if I change what I am doing but keep my 'why' consistent, people stick with me," she says.
Create Space for Work and Your Personal Life
Faulkner says setting physical boundaries can help you make space in your life for your family and other hobbies. To help with this, Faulkner rents office space so she doesn't work at home. "I have a very hard time shutting off and creating boundaries, so even though it was a hard expense, I realized I needed to get myself out of my house to create physical boundaries," says Faulkner. "I believe in creating dedicated space and time so you don't switch back and forth from kids to work. This will drive you nuts. I also believe in hiring child care if you can afford it," she says.
To help her cope with stress and strike more balance in her life, Faulkner meditates, exercises, and writes. "I try to pay attention to what systems put me in place to show my best across the board and then I try to stay true to those systems," she says. Faulkner starts her day with a workout before bringing her kids to school to help restore calm. "I am a lot more patient. When I am more patient at the elementary school drop-off, I am in a better place to communicate with my team and it all flows together with more ease," she says. "I try to show up as Alison no matter where I am, and I encourage my children to do the same. I think that's what a successful brand and human does."