Real Talk About Branding, Authenticity, and Unsolicited Advice

written by Bari Tessler May 2, 2022
Real Talk About Branding, Authenticity, and Unsolicited Advice

Dear Money Adventurer,

You are the author of your own story.

You get to chart your own path.

You get to define what feels meaningful, valuable, and authentic to you.

You get to decide how you want to show up in the world.

What feels right, true, and good for you may not feel aligned for someone else, and that’s totally okay because they get to write their own narrative for themselves.

And that is beautiful, powerful, priceless.

So, please, please let us honor our differences and celebrate each other’s stories without trying to edit or “fix” them. 

The other day I got a message from a woman (who I don’t know) writing into my website and telling me she was a photographer and that she hopes I don’t receive her note in the wrong way… but she thinks I shouldn’t use iPhone photos on my emails because they don’t say “MONEY” like a professional photo.

She said she liked the professional photo at the bottom of my email but didn’t think it was a good idea to use a non-professional at the top because it does the opposite of what I am trying to convey.

There is so much wrong with this unsolicited advice.

In my emails and social media, I have always shared iPhone photos, along with selfies, alongside professional photos.

This is what feels authentic to me and “on brand” for me.

Sometimes I share a photo from a photoshoot and sometimes I share a selfie with a messy bun and no makeup.

She is also assuming that I’m trying to convey “Money” in my messaging and that is not accurate.

I want to convey authenticity, compassion, and hope.

I want to convey deep financial therapy work.

I want to convey that I am here to create a safe space for you to do your own personal money work – and that I know this terrain like the back of my hand.

Everyone gets to choose their own path here and there is certainly no one way in marketing, visibility, or photography.

The email this woman was referring to was for my new Art of Money Mentorship Program.

It felt more important to me to share a current photo, so I had my husband take a few photos while we were on vacation and I love them. He also took some of my original photos 21 years ago when I started my business and needed a photo for a flyer! It’s a longstanding tradition for us now, one that I love.

The funny thing is, I had a professional photo shoot scheduled to take some new photos and I’m excited to have new pictures to add to the mix. Still, I will continue to weave together the selfies, iPhone shots, and professional images to tell my story in a way that feels good, right, and authentic for me.

So my message here is don’t be an ass and assume you know what’s right for someone else or think there is one right way to show up, to do our work in the world, to live this incredible, challenging, beautiful life.

Hey, and just stop with the unsolicited advice, ok?!

Oh – and that email? The one with the iPhone photo, announcing my new mentorship program? Over 300 people have already joined the waitlist, which is incredible and so exciting to me.

So Be You.

Use whatever photos and images make you feel good and authentic. 

Choose to show up and tell your story on your own terms. 

Give yourself permission to be your whole, complex, multifaceted, exquisitely unique human self, messy bun, no make-up, and all.

Your right people will see you, connect with you, and celebrate your sharing. 

That is beautiful, powerful, and priceless, too.

P.S. I’m over the moon excited to announce my new Art of Money Mentorship program is opening its doors on May 15th! The Art of Money Mentorship Program is designed for therapists, coaches, and financial professionals. Join the waitlist here.

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