Episode 247: Visibility As A Queer Woman Disrupting The Business Mold with Rachel Pereyra

November 16, 2022

It isn’t easy to be what society will call “different” as a business owner, but today’s guest, Rachel Pereyra is using her platform to be a visible queer woman disrupting the business mold. Rachel hasn’t always taken this approach of being actively out and proud, but when she decided to open her business, she wanted to create a safe and inviting space for others like her. In today’s episode, she’s sharing her own experience as a queer woman and what it has done for her business.

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Rachel Pereyra founded Mastermind Business Services in 2020 to change the world through operations. She works with her clients to eliminate the hurdles of running a growing business or NGO that is focused on driving impact and sustainability. Rachel has over a decade of operations and people leadership experience spanning across several industries, this varied lived experience allows her to connect with clients where they are at and guide them to where they want to be.

She lives just outside of Austin, TX with her wife, two kids, and two cats. When she isn’t working you can find her creative writing, cooking, playing board games, or having spontaneous dance parties with her family.

Owning Who She Is

At just 15-years-old, Rachel Pereyra realized that she wasn’t straight, she just didn’t know what to call it at the time. She liked girls in a way that other girls didn’t like them, but it was only recently that she settled on the label of queer. For her, queer has historically had a negative connotation, but she wanted to take the word back and embody what it stands for.

Being Herself in Her Business

For a lot of her adulthood, Rachel hid who she was at work in her career and even when she first started her business. She felt like she couldn’t be herself out of fear of rejection. She simply wasn’t out as queer in the workplace.

When she transitioned into owning her own business, she realized that her business gave her visibility to the public, which was intimidating to her. Despite feeling more comfortable in being herself and showing who she really is to her audience, it has still been a struggle for her to overcome the negative thoughts and self-doubt.

You don’t need to be visible for your identity to be valid.

While Rachel has been intentional in building visibility in her business sharing about herself, some of it was accidental. She accidentally built her visibility by being herself in creating connections and relationships, yet was intentional in how she shared about herself and pulling back the curtain on how she identifies as queer. The online business space is very heteronormative, leaving Rachel to pave a path for herself as a queer woman. She wanted to be seen and known as the queer woman, despite people questioning it.

Despite society pushing us to abandon parts of ourselves to succeed in life, Rachel is embracing it and finding exactly who she is. Rachel prefers to label herself as queer, because it allows her to not fit within a box. She is a person in her thirties just now feeling like she has the freedom to explore what her gender identity and sexuality means to her.

Owning Your Voice

When you choose to show up and embrace who you are, you’re empowering yourself and the people around you. You have the freedom to take these courageous steps and show up as who you are. This does not mean you are or have to be the spokesperson for everyone who identifies the same way you do. Your experiences are your own and they will differ from others who have their own experiences.

You can choose to use your platform of visibility to speak to your own experiences and be a voice, if you want, for those who may have had similar experiences. Rachel finds herself being the only queer person in a lot of rooms she’s in, so when it comes up, she opens a door for conversation and humanization.

Rather than just being another statistic or conversation, Rachel’s story and experience humanizes the topic for many to begin thinking differently about it. Having visibility opens the door for more conversations and discussions and more.

Discarding the Burden of Educating

There is a slight burden that comes with being the person to educate others on your “difference” from them. It can be exhausting, so if you’re a person who is “different,” there will be an expectation to explain to the world–you don’t have to. Just because you choose to openly live or talk about how you’re “different,” that doesn’t mean you have to educate every single person who has questions if you don’t want to—it’s not your responsibility.

There are DEI experts that you can point to and refer them to for expert education. While you can share your own experiences, sometimes it’s best not to speak for everyone who identifies the way you do and that’s why Rachel prefers to share resources of people who have made this their life’s work as a DEI consultant.

Encouragement for Younger Rachel

As Rachel is learning more and more everyday in her journey, she would love to go back and tell young Rachel that things get better. It’s okay to take up space and be who you are, as it doesn’t impact anyone else in a negative way. Be who you are without studdering.

Catch the Show Notes

Get to Know Rachel (2:24)

Opening Up to Others in Business (5:53)

Accidental vs. Intentional (10:34)

Having In-depth Conversations (13:56)

Owning & Knowing Your Own Experience (18:19)

The Burden of Educating People (24:40)

CONNECT WITH RACHEL

www.mastermindbusinessservices.com

www.linkedin.com/in/rachel-pereyra

www.instagram.com/mastermindbusinessservices

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Review the Transcript:

Bonnie:
Hi friend, and welcome to the Brand Strategy Podcast, a show created to equip you with the inspiration, encouragement, and clarity you need to build the brand of your dreams. I’m your host, Bonnie bti, brand designer, strategist, and founder of thery from Sustainable Strategy to Partel Encouragement. Each episode is designed to equip you with the tools you need to chase after your dreams because you deserve a brand that empowers you to do what you love, connects with your dream clients, and offers a deep sense of fulfillment along the way. So grab a cup of coffee and join me on this journey, won’t you

Bonnie:
Friends? Welcome back to the Brand Strategy podcast, where today we have such a fantastic topic lined up. We’re chatting about visibility as a woman disrupting the business mold with the incredible Rachel Pod. I’m really excited not only to welcome Rachel to the show today, but also to have this conversation because I believe there’s something so incredibly powerful, transformative, and life giving when we see people who represent our values or who reflect our identities. And so when we choose to show up as more of who we are in the business space, that can be incredibly meaningful to others. Now let me introduce you to who Rachel is. She is the founder of Mastermind Business Services that she created in 2020 to help change the world through operations. She works with her clients to eliminate the hurdles of running a growing business or an NGO that is focused on driving impact and sustainability. With over a decade of operations and people leadership experience spanning several industries, her lived experience allows her to connect with clients where they are at and then help guide them to where they wanna be. And I’m excited to connect with her because she is a fellow Texan living just outside of Austin with her wife, two kids and two cats. So Rachel, thanks so much. It’s always great to chat with a fellow Texan. You’re like just up the road for me and I’m grateful to be able to have this conversation with you today.

Rachel:
Thank you so much, Bonnie. That was an incredible intro. I think I’m gonna have you follow me around and just read that every time I walk into a room.

Bonnie:
Oh, I gotcha. I’m there. Just let me know and I will hype you up, . Well, I would love it. I know that, you know, sharing a little bit about what you do and how you got started is something I just did. But like if we pull back the curtain a little bit more and if we learn a little bit more about who you are and this incredible business that you’ve built, I’d love to hear that from your perspective.

Rachel:
Yeah, so I realized that I was not straight, I’ll say it that way cuz I didn’t have a label for it at the time when I was 15. I distinctly remember in high school, like realizing that the way I liked girls was not the way that other girls liked girls. And I struggled with that label for a long time. Like I, I sat with bye for many, many years, um, from 15 basically until my early twenties, um, mid twenties time period. And I’ve only recently settled on the label because I feel like for me there’s a lot of, like, I, when I researched it, there’s a lot of negative connotation associated with that word historically. Like it’s been used as a slur. But for me, I wanna take that word back to mean that I don’t fit into any of the boxes that exist, whether it’s, you know, for hetero or for LGBTQ individuals. And so really embodies that for me.

Bonnie:
Mm, I love that. And honestly, I can really relate to that too. Um, I am bisexual and I prefer to identify as simply because I believe that it more fully captures who I am. And I believe that it also, what really resonates for me is exactly what you were saying, how it helps to create this space for us that signifies that maybe we don’t fit into those traditional boxes or we don’t necessarily exist within those, those spaces that a heteronormative culture has created for us and expects us to be within. So, um, I can really resonate with a lot of what you’re sharing there. And when it comes to deciding to really show up as all of who you are as all of your incredible self in your business, what has that been like for you? And, you know, thinking about how simply by existing and showing up and proudly owning who you are, that by nature starts to disrupt the business mold that we see in the online space. What has that experience been like for you?

Rachel:
Yeah, so in full candor, it has been very emotional and dramatic. Um, , I would expect nothing less from myself, but it was, it is, it was hard for a while. I kind of hit and I tried to fit into that mold. And even before starting my own business in corporate, like I come from the consumer lending sector, which is notoriously incredibly conservative. And so I never felt comfortable being way full self at work. I’m pretty fem presenting, but you know, sometimes I swing a little more androgynous. And so I never felt like I could really be that person. Um, I always had to be very fem presenting and I wasn’t like, like if people asked me about my, my personal life, I, they knew I had a wife but I didn’t like openly talk about it. I wasn’t like, I guess so to speak out, um mm-hmm.

Rachel:
in the workplace. And so transitioning into the owning my own business business, like I was openly married to a woman and different than other people, but it was a fear of really owning that. Like with visibility comes visibility and for lack of better putting in like people see you. And so that’s both good and bad and opening myself up to other people’s thoughts and opinions on my life and who I am was very intimidating and still is. Like I, um, I just started my own podcast and having the first episode really is just like my story and having that out there and being like open to people’s feedback was scary and why I put it off for so long. Cuz you know, if you’re listening and you’re like, man, like oh I wish I was like, I get in my Instagram bio. Like I’m scared to, like that’s okay. And I don’t think that you owe it to the world to do it. I think you feel like you feel called to the visibility because I could be visible as a business owner, as a woman without being visible as a woman owned business. And I think for me it’s been a very constant, constant struggle of, of feeling comfortable showing up that way and really getting out there and exposing myself to, you know, other people’s opinions really.

Bonnie:
Mm. That makes a lot of sense. And you know, like what you’re sharing, how you’re being so open and choosing to be so visible that’s, that’s vulnerable and that’s, I, you know, I think why it feels so scary is because you’re opening, opening yourself up to a lot of like positive feedback and encouragement and acceptance and just like, you know, goodness, but also you’re opening yourself up to a lot of small mindedness and hate and negativity and like that’s energy that no one wants to experience, right?

Rachel:
No, exactly. It’s there. And I have been very blessed that I have surrounded myself with people who support who I am and who like really respect and love who I am. Uh, that’s taken years and years of cultivating and you know, so when I do things like release a podcast or do an Instagram story, I rarely ever get hate openly, but I’m also gradually increasing my visibility. So like I’m very visible within my current network, but I’m not super known or visible locally cuz Texas can kind of be scary to be visible even here in Austin. And I’m not super visible like on the global stage, like I’ve hesitated to put myself out there like that because it feels scary. And so like that’s one of my personal like moves this in the rest of this year and into next year is just very like, focused on being visible in spaces that make me uncomfortable. Cuz that’s where I feel like my personal growth journey is taking me.

Bonnie:
Mm-hmm. . Wow. One thing that really just stood out to me and something that I really respect about what you were sharing is the nature with which you have focused on examining how these moves and how these decisions and these actions resonate for you personally. So what I’m hearing is these are decisions that are coming from a place of noticing that, hey, this is where I want to start to grow and this is where I want to, you know, maybe challenge myself a little bit or this is how I want to start to open up, you know, who I am and, and share that with people. And I just really respect that because visibility looks different for every person. And you know, I think that it’s important to, to remember that you don’t need to be visible in something in order for your identity to be valid.

Bonnie:
But when you, if you choose, I don’t wanna say when because some people might not ever choose to, you know, share parts of their identity with who they are as entrepreneurs and be that visible. But what is so cool about that is that your journey, you have focused on doing this in a way that feels good to you and it feels aligned for you and you’re taking it at your own pace. So with that being said, has this been kind of a process for you, you know, like starting your business in 2020, choosing to open yourself up and show up in other spaces like, you know, maybe on a more global scale or on more podcasts or in more conversations, Is this something that you see kind of naturally unfolding or has this been a very intentional kind of calculated process for you?

Rachel:
Great question. And first I wanna call back to when you talked about you don’t need to be visible for your identity to be valid. I think that’s so important and I wanna make sure that you listening know that take everything that I say about my personal experience with that as a measuring stick. That you don’t need to be visible to be valid. Like that’s just, that’s a, if you take one thing away from our conversation today, like that’s the thing I want you to take away . Um, and to answer your question, it has been intentional and also a little accidental. So I am very much like a salesperson at heart and a big part of that is relationship building. And so relationship building has been something that comes naturally to me and is what I really focused all of my energy on the first 18 months of my business.

Rachel:
And so that naturally led to me having a level of visibility because as I was connecting people one to one, then they would join my network and they’d be like, Oh hey, you should talk to Rachel cuz this is, you know, ABC thing. And so my network started growing and so my visibility increased the part about being visible as a person that has been more intentional about, you know, really getting, I really came from a place of getting frustrated of not feeling seen or represented in spaces I was in particularly because if you know anything about the online business world, like the digital operations space, the man BMS dos, like that kind of management space is very heteronormative. Um, and it’s, it’s, there’s just a lot of like straight white women. There’s a lot of women of color. Like, it’s just very, very like heteronormative I guess .

Rachel:
That’s the best way to stick with. And I, I really felt like I wanted to be seen and known as the one who wasn’t. So like I went by the moniker of like, you are, doo for a while and like put that in my LinkedIn bio and I actually got a couple people messaged me on LinkedIn about how brave, like people I hadn’t met or talked to how brave I was or how cur they had questions around why I felt like I should put in my LinkedIn bio. And I think that’s part of the reason why it’s hard to become visible for something that is a part of who you are. Like it’s not a skill. Being isn’t the same thing as being an Excel master. This is part of who I am. And so having people question that and like be like, Why do you think that’s valid? And it’s like, well cuz that’s part of who I am, that’s why it’s valid cuz this is my page about me. Like, you know, I I feel like that was, that was very intentional and that’s been something that has stuck with me of like, I update my LinkedIn headline to say your people leader and I get dms from people I don’t even know asking why I chose to do that. Like feels very jarring.

Bonnie:
Well yeah, I mean the nature of that, like I’m, I’m over here and I just am trying to put myself in in those people’s shoes. Like I can’t ever imagine sending someone that, I don’t know, a message like that. Basically asking for them to explain your thought process, fine actions that you take on your page, especially when it’s something that is reflective of your identity. It’s not harming anyone, it’s not hateful, it’s not anything like that. It’s literally just you expressing yourself. So I’m sorry that that’s your experience because that’s kind of bonkers. That’s that’s pretty like audacious I feel .

Rachel:
Yeah, no, I agree. Like the audacity and I will say one of them, it led to us having a conversation about, cuz she was from an older generation, it led to us having a more in depth conversation about what the word conjure up for her. Mm-hmm and her intentions were more along the lines of understanding, I guess a younger generation’s use of the word cuz it was very much more of like a slur mm-hmm. for her age demographic. And so we had a very honest, open conversation, but still like, that’s not the way I would have opened that if I were her . Like

Bonnie:
Sure.

Rachel:
And it was just, I agree like the audacity is real and it seems to be extra real on LinkedIn.

Bonnie:
Mm. Yeah. Well it’s like you think about kind of like the, the median age of the users on that, you know, in that space. Like it’s not necessarily, you’re not gonna get, like I’m not saying that like Gen Z isn’t there, but you’re not gonna have this like huge amount of people who are from a generation that understands in the context that we understand it.

Rachel:
Yes, I totally agree. It’s very, like, when I initially first started using the word, I didn’t even know the history behind it. And so when I started getting feedback it made me do more research and I guess become a better ambassador, so to speak, of understanding. And so now if people ask me why I identify as or what that means, I tell them that to me it means I identify as not within the box. You can’t call me by, I use she her pronouns, but I’m comfortable with they them. And like I’m exploring that and fits me because I’m a person in my thirties just now feeling like I have that freedom to explore my, you know, binary and sexuality and like what those things mean to me. And that’s why I chose that label.

Bonnie:
Hmm. Wow. I love that For you. I just wow, love it because it’s, it’s so affirming and it’s so like, just inspiring to see people choose to embrace all of who they are, especially when society often encourages us to abandon parts of ourselves or all of ourselves in order to fit into fleeting measures of success. Or, I mean, you know, I could, I keep, keep going, but basically what I’m trying to say is I, I find that when we see people who are choosing to show up and embrace all of who they are, it is, it feels very powerful because it is powerful. It’s, you know, choosing to take an, an action that goes against, you know, the norm. That in and of itself feels revolutionary in a sense. And um, it’s just really great to see that so many people are giving themselves the freedom and they’re choosing to take those courageous steps and really show up and be seen for who they are.

Rachel:
I agree. I think the more people show up from historically underrepresented communities, the more the mainstream will realize that we’re not the exception. Like we’re not weirdos in basements. Like it’s very much we’re we’re, that’s not who we are. Right. Like we’re, we’re more the majority than they think.

Bonnie:
Right. Right. Exactly. And it’s not like all of a sudden, um, there’s this influx of like, you know, kids and trans kids and you know, like, uh, gender nonconforming kids. It’s, it’s literally just like these kids are coming up and they’re seeing that it’s safe for them. Well, relatively safer, historically safer for them to exist. And it’s life changing because when we are showing up as adults as who we are, we’re showing people who maybe are peers, maybe they’re in a younger generation, maybe they’re even in an older generation, but we’re showing them that, hey, if you, there’s some part of you that isn’t necessarily normal by society standards, it’s okay. Like we love that. We see that, we celebrate that and you deserve to celebrate and see those parts of you too, if that makes sense.

Rachel:
Yeah, no, I totally agree with you. I think showing up and I had, so I had a business coach that I worked with for a year and she’s also LGBTQ and um, and she challenged me. She’s like, I feel like you’re called to show up and be visible. And I feel like I don’t let, I don’t like that responsibility of taking on the mantle of being like a mouthpiece for other LGBTQ and people. Like I can speak to my experience and how I feel and that’s where I feel comfortable and that journey of being visible as my whole self, like that’s what it’s taught me. Like my journey is my journey. And while there may be other people who feel similarly to me, I don’t want to be their spokesperson cuz I feel like that turns around and continues to almost suppress them, so to speak. Like it’s just then it’s still my voice representing this community instead of are diverse community representing themselves.

Bonnie:
Right, right. Well I can completely understand that being put in a position where you are like the, the spokesperson for this huge diverse dynamic like incredible group of people. Like that’s, that’s scary because there’s so much that we might not know because it does not fit into our lived experience. Or maybe it’s, when I look at myself, I’m constantly growing, I’m constantly learning. There is so much about the world that I don’t know and I might not ever get to know in this lifetime, but, so I’m not gonna show up somewhere and presume to know enough to speak for anyone other than myself. So I completely hear where you’re coming from and I think that that’s a really healthy approach to have because your experience, you are an expert in and you get to show up and share from that space. And if people relate to parts of it or they resonate with, you know, little snippets or even all of it, that is beautiful because your experience has enabled others to feel seen and to feel validated.

Rachel:
Yes. No, I, and it took me a little while, um, to overcome that hesitancy because I did not want to become like the voice of like, I feel like I am my own voice and I want to use my platform to continually elevate other people’s voices who may not have a chance to be heard in rooms I’m in. Um, so I, so I, I almost, I jokingly refer to it as like myself as like the gateway drug to like talking about this. Cause I’m in a lot of spaces where I’m the only person in the room. And so when it, you know, when it comes up, when I could talk about it, when I’m talking about myself, like I’m almost like their entryway into what, you know, it’s not like all of us think there’s nothing wrong with walking around in a rainbow speedo and jumping off of pride floats and you know, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Rachel:
We have identity expression, but that’s also not representative of our entire community. I’m just like them. I’m a mother, I’m a wife, I run a business. Like we do similar things. It’s, I think it humanizes it for people who are not used to seeing it. And I feel like that’s where I feel the responsibility in being visible is making that human connection for people so they don’t just see me as a statistic or a political issue. Then now they can be like, Oh, okay, when I hear about, you know, gay rights in the news, like I know Rachel Rachel’s, like so they’re talking about Rachel and then like that’s their entrance to thinking differently.

Bonnie:
Yeah, well absolutely. And you know, I think that there’s something, this kind of reminds me of what you were saying earlier about some of those messages that you would get from folks on LinkedIn who were asking you questions about that kind of, you know, like that tagline that you had in your bio. A lot of those conversations turned into discussions where the, the original messenger learned something and uh, you know, maybe more of a common ground was able to be created. And so, you know, with that kind of, uh, experience in mind when we get to actually talk with people, even if we don’t agree on things, because I, you know, there are a lot of things that people might not agree on, you know, values, politics, identity, uh, you know, gosh, like what your favorite food group is like I don’t, you know, there’s so many things where we are different as humans and it’s okay that we don’t all have the same values or we don’t all have the same, um, level of experience or knowledge, but I think there’s something really different and something really freeing that happens when we choose to engage with people who we might not see eye to eye on, or we might not understand everything about, um, their stance on an issue or their identity, but we approach them with respect and we approach them with curiosity and we take it upon ourselves to learn more about their lived experience.

Bonnie:
Because I think when we can focus on our shared humanity that helps us feel like it’s not like this person is is scary or intimidating or you know, I just don’t get it. Instead it becomes a matter of like, oh wow, this is an opportunity for me to learn more about this person and this, this is an opportunity for me to, um, maybe have my beliefs challenged a little bit or maybe for me to be stretched a little bit and in a good way. Because when we show up and focus on on those commonalities, we find that we’re much similar and we’re much more alike and we have much more in common than we might think if we get distracted by, you know, labels or anything like that. Does that make sense?

Rachel:
Yeah, no, I agree. And I say, and also, you know, I’ve worked with some d i strategists and consultants who are doing some amazing like anti-racism work and work around equality and inclusion and there is a common theme of when you choose to incorporate a part of your identity that is seen as quote unquote different, um, there’s that almost burden of educating people. And you hear about that a lot after 2020 and all the events happening here in the states around George Floyd and Black Lives Matter movement of a lot of, you know, activists getting tired of having to have those conversations. And it can be exhausting. And so when you’re like, if you’re listening to this as someone with a quote unquote different, I have to say cuz I’m doing the air quotes, I know you can’t see them a different identity. You know, there will be that level of expectation from other people for you to explain why you have, you know, why you are the way you are.

Rachel:
And you don’t have to, you don’t owe it to the world. You’re not doing a disservice to your community if you don’t explain it. You don’t need to explain who you are to everyone who asks. I will say that for me, that that was an intentional decision too of, of being like, if I’m gonna get these questions, if I’m gonna put myself in these rooms, um, then for me, I want to be that, that bridge, that gateway. But that doesn’t mean that if you choose not to be, that your visibility is any less important. Cuz just being able to look around and see people who look like you, who have the same values as you, who have the same, you know, sexuality or binary as you like, all of those things, um, are representative and good for the communities that you’re a part of as well, without having to carry that mantle of explaining why you getting to be who you are is valid.

Bonnie:
Mm. Yeah. Wow. That’s like, that’s like this really powerful boundary that you set where you were like, this is how I wanna show up in these spaces. This is what I’m willing to participate in or how I want to be positioned, but I’m not here to be Google. I’m not here to justify my existence or validate my identity to you. And that Wow, like the emotional labor that you then don’t have to experience is game changing .

Rachel:
Exactly. And I think, no, I think I know that from supporting people in the DEI space who are experts in, in an operational capacity really helped me learn more about that work. And I do not presume to be a DEI strategist, consultant or working in that space, but when I show up in spaces that are homogenous and I do not fit in, I do feel that almost like a pressure. And so I wanted to acknowledge that for anyone listening who’s, you know, going through the same thing or who’s considering being more visible, like as a whole person, that there will be that pressure and you don’t have to bend to it. You can, you can certainly educate and you know, if you have that emotional energy for it, but you don’t have to.

Bonnie:
That’s a really, really great reminder and I very much appreciate you making that distinction because you’re right. I think that when we choose to invite people to see us as all of who we are or maybe just more of who we are, there can be this expectation where then we need to explain why we’re sharing this or we need to explain these different parts of ourselves. And you don’t really have to, you can just show up and say, this is who I am and that’s a whole sentence, . And if you have questions or if you wanna learn more about my identity, these are educators who have made it their life’s work to speak to these. And you can hire them, you can buy their books, you can subscribe to their courses or you can Google. And I think that that for me personally has been very freeing because it has meant that I can share more specifics and I can share more of my story with the people close to me, the people who I know I am safe with. Um, but I don’t owe anything to the rando who messages me on Instagram asking questions that are none of their business really .

Rachel:
Exactly. And for me, that’s part of my core value of making sure I’m using my platform to elevate voices who might not have been in the rooms that I’m in. And so when people ask questions or something like, I don’t feel like I am educated enough to speak for all of the LGBTQ community, like that’s not, that’s not a responsibility I wanna take on at this current stage. And so I’m happy to point them to advocates and DEI experts who this is their life’s work and who their work should be the one being deferred to here. Like that’s, I can tell you my lived experience, I can tell you my opinions, but I, I really prefer to elevate the voices of people who this is their life’s work.

Bonnie:
Mm. I really respect that. And I think that, um, that’s something that I hope more people become comfortable doing as a practice because it means that those who are seeking more information, those who are seeking answers, will then be pointed to people who have chosen to become experts in those topics and who in a lot of cases are, are making a living off of that work. And so they deserve our attention, they deserve our money, they deserve our time. And I love that that’s something that you, you focus on sharing as well because it helps to point people to the resources they need that serve them in that season.

Rachel:
Thank you. Yeah, no, I, I think that’s one of the disservices that can often be done to people of color or LGBTQ people of people who don’t fit in those categories speaking on their lived experiences. And I would gladly defer to someone who is more qualified than I.

Bonnie:
I agree. Well, hearing a little bit more about how you have focused on essentially creating these boundaries of what you will and will not accept from people what you will and will not discuss with people hearing about how you, you very intentionally have chosen which spaces you feel comfortable showing up in. And that’s something that’s still evolving for you. If you could go back in time, like if you could time travel here and show up for the younger version of yourself who maybe has not started the business or maybe who, um, isn’t quite even at that place yet of recent adulthood, what would you like to share with that version of you to kind of take into consideration as you chose to become more visible?

Rachel:
Yeah, I would go back and tell little Rachel that it, I mean, I think I hear this a lot from other LGBTQ people, but, um, it gets better. Like, you’re not weird or defective. Something nothing’s wrong with you and it is okay to take up space and it’s not flaunting it or, you know, being dramatic in all of the labels that have been applied to me over my life. It’s, it, it’s just, this is who I am and it’s perfectly okay to say who you are without stuttering.

Bonnie:
Ooh, wow. That’s like a whole, that’s

Bonnie:
That’s a whole word right there. Um, wow. Yeah, let’s take a minute and let that sink in because you, in choosing to be visible in your business as a woman, when the online business space is not very, you have chosen to show up as all of who you are because that’s who you are. And I know that for a lot of folks, they don’t get it and they don’t understand why we choose to incorporate, you know, that aspect of our identity into our brands and our businesses. But, and I can only speak for myself, but you know, I, I chose to do that because it’s, it’s all of who I am and I don’t want to feel limited by only, you know, this brand persona that’s only like a, a fraction of who I actually am. Like, I don’t wanna feel limited or hedged into this identity that isn’t all of me.

Bonnie:
And I don’t know if you can relate to that at all. But, um, I think that what is very inspiring to me about your journey and your decision to proudly share all of who you are as an as, not, not as an aspect of your business, but in, in companionship with this brand that you’ve built, is that it creates this opportunity for other people to see what it’s like to own all of who you are. Maybe you know, it, it looks different, but it creates the, that standard and that space to show like, hey, it’s okay to, to show up in this way and it’s okay to be visible and to be proud and to, you know, show up in that way. So thanks for doing that.

Rachel:
Thank you. That means a lot. I really appreciate that.

Bonnie:
Absolutely. I really mean it. Well, honestly, this conversation has been very affirming, very encouraging, very inspiring to me. And I’m hopeful that those who are tuning in today are walking away with really powerful reminders or maybe even ideas that they’re being introduced to for the first time about identity and visibility and what that could look like in their businesses. But before we wrap it up, I wanted to ask, is there a final piece of advice or encouragement that you would wanna share for those who are tuning in today that could serve as a reminder when they start to think about taking that action, being brave, being a little vulnerable or maybe a lot vulnerable and showing up as all of who they are within their businesses?

Rachel:
Yeah, no, so when you’re showing up as yourself, there are no mistakes. You’re just being yourself. So while something, you know, maybe not everything lands, maybe not every joke gets a laugh. Maybe you get questions about why you’ve chosen to be visible as a person or, you know, anything in between. Just know that you being yourself is not a mistake and you can’t go wrong with that. So just show up as much of yourself as you’re comfortable with revealing.

Bonnie:
Mm-hmm. , I love that advice and that’s a powerful reminder. You know, with anything that you do, with anything that you share, being online business owners, there is by nature this visibility component to it. And choosing what you share as part of your positioning, as part of your brand identity, as part of your messaging even can really should come down to what you’re comfortable sharing. So I I really respect that reminder to not rush it, not, you know, make a decision that doesn’t feel like the timing is quite right, but to remember that there is value and validity even in the in between, even if you have not quite chosen to be visible as more of who you are in your business. Because like you said earlier, there’s having, having the thought and having the knowledge that your identity is still valid and is still real and is still whole , even if other people aren’t privy to that side of you yet or maybe ever. It’s, that’s really one to, to stick with us, I think.

Rachel:
Yes. No, I, well said.

Bonnie:
Well, I know that folks who are tuning in today are going to want to learn more about you, follow along, cheer you on in your journey, and maybe even learn more about working with you. So where can people find you online?

Rachel:
Yeah, I’m on all the social platforms except Twitter at Mastermind Business Services or at Rachel Beda, p e r e y R a.

Bonnie:
Amazing. And friends who are tuning in, as always, we’re gonna have all of Rachel’s links, any resources mentioned, a recap of our talking points and a full transcript of today’s episode over@brandstrategypodcast.com. So if you just click over there and then you navigate over to your latest episode link, you’re gonna find all of that goodness waiting for you so you can go connect with her and learn from her. And hopefully if something resonated with you from today’s conversation, um, and there’s an encouragement or thank you that you wanna share to Rachel. I, I, you know, Rachel, I don’t wanna speak for you, but would you feel comfortable with, uh, messaging you in connecting with you in that way?

Rachel:
Yes, please. I, my business and life are built on relationships, so please reach out.

Bonnie:
Mm. Awesome. Well, Rachel, thank you so much for your vulnerability for choosing to be visible in this space with me on the podcast, and I appreciate just your openness and your honesty. Um, this has been a very life giving conversation for me personally, and I’m very grateful to be able to share this with my audience on the Brand strategy podcast. So thank you for your experience and your story today.

Rachel:
Thank you for creating a safe space to share it.

Bonnie:
Mm, thank you. That means a lot friends who’ve been tuning in today, thank you for tuning in. Thank you for being a part of this community. Um, as always, this podcast would not exist if it were not for you. So I hope that today’s conversation was encouraging, it introduced you to maybe a new concept, a new thought, maybe a new way that you wanna show up in your business or maybe you wanna start thinking about showing up in your business. Um, if anything, I hope that it just shows you that nothing bad happens when you choose to show up as all of who you are, because all of who you are is powerful and is beautiful and is so incredibly valid and val valuable essentially. So thank you for tuning in and as always, I’m cheering y’all on from Wago.

Bonnie:
Thank you so much for joining me today. Friends, before you go, I would be so grateful to receive your feedback on the brand strategy podcast. If you enjoyed this episode or the podcast in general has helped you grow your brand, I’d really appreciate it if you left us a review in iTunes. Your positive reviews enable the brand strategy podcast to continue to grow and reach like-minded creatives just like you. Thank you for all your support and encouragement as together we pursue building brands with purpose and intention. Until next time, I’m cheering you on from Waco.

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My name is Bonnie – I’m a brand designer, strategist, and writer which all adds up to one eclectic conglomeration of qualities that enables me to serve you well! Past clients have dubbed me "the Joanna Gaines of brand design," and I've had more than a few call me a dream maker, a game changer, and a design wizard (my Harry Potter-loving heart didn't hate that one, let me tell you!). At the end of the day, I'm a big-hearted creative who will get teary-eyed as you share the heart behind your business; who will lose sleep over the perfect font pairings and color selections to bring your brand to life visually; and who will work tirelessly to empower, encourage, and equip you to share your work with the world intentionally. 

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