Today, I’m interviewing India Jackson, founder of India Jackson Artistry, a visual marketing agency known for taking an authentic and unapologetic approach to helping clients reach their goals. I met India through my colleague Erica Courdae, whom I featured on the Work Your Inner Wisdom podcast in Episode 12. Erica said I simply had to connect with India and hear her story because she would perfect fit for my show. And Erica was 100% correct.
India’s team provides consulting strategy, photography, and training for everyone from coaches to over 50 Christian Dior retailers. She has an art and design degree and credits her unique perspective to her years of experience transitioning from model to published photographer and award-winning plant-based bodybuilder. In her past time, India loves disrupting the way people view job titles, branding, visibility, and ultimately themselves.
About India Jackson
(2:20) India’s business, India Jackson Artistry, is currently going through a rebrand, but the mission remains the same. Her team offers visual marketing services, helping a variety of businesses (personal brands real estate agents, gym owners, brick and mortars, coaches, and large corporations like Christian Dior) break down who they are and why they are, and then helping them showcase their brand through imagery. Through their services, businesses can project their message authentically and attract people who are aligned with that message.
India also talks about her backstory and what brought her into the world of visual marketing. “I actually started as a model and the other side of the camera. And I always had a love for photography, so I was learning a lot about lighting… In that process, I met so many other models. And unfortunately just the industry stereotype I was finding to be true was that these photographers were sometimes taking advantage of us and we were teenagers at the time. [The industry was] putting people in a position where when you would come and ask for a particular type of image, such as an acting headshot to get a role as a mom, they would still somehow find a way to like overly sexualize that.”
Through her work as a model, India started to see the need for a safe place where women could get the photos they wanted and needed instead of the images photographers thought they should have. She decided to pick up the camera and start shooting, and before she knew it, she had started a business.
India’s work truly advocates for people and fights back against some disturbing trends, not just in her industry, but in the world as a whole. I love how her business empowers women to stand up and claim their space and take control of their narrative.
How Visual Imagery Plays into Branding
(5:30) I asked India what coaches, entrepreneurs, and other intuitive business owners should think about when it comes to visual marketing as they develop a relationship with a photographer or brand designer.
India responded that it’s essential for entrepreneurs to get crystal clear on who you are, where you want to go, and what your audience’s perception of you. Is that perception accurate, or aligned with what you want it to be? When you know the answers to those questions, it makes it easier to find a photographer to help you display that image. We should also be able to understand what we want and how we want our image portrayed. Because if you aren’t clear on who you are and where you’re going, meaning if you don't own your brand, someone else will create a brand for you.
India’s words really resonate with me here. When I started Caravel Coaching, I wasn't clear on who I was and how I served my people. I was still in a discovery period, and was allowing myself to be informed by others and what I thought I was supposed to be. Looking back, my photos and my logo did not reflect who I am now – but maybe I needed that process.
What I'm taking away from my conversation with India is how important it is to get clear on your purpose, and then share that with your team, including your photographer. You want to share yourself in the world in a way that's consistent with you, but also in a way that's going to speak to your client.
Clarifying Your Business and Your Brand
When India works with her clients, she asks a lot of questions about their everyday business practices to help her get an idea of where the brand is headed. She’s also a believer in evolving the current brand over time instead of burning it all down and starting over. India says that process – a sudden rebranding – is jarring for your audience. It’s better to evolve slowly.
She’ll also get feedback about her own brand from clients, often on her Instagram stories. She asks clients to describe the key pillars of her business or how they would describe her brand. Getting feedback from your audience, she says, can inform the direction you need to go.
“Many times, people think of the branding as the images that we're putting out there or your logo. And it is that, but it's also more so about what other people think of you and [how] they describe you to someone else.”
I love that India talks about finding a balance between how we as the entrepreneur view ourselves and how we want to show up in the world, but also how we are being received by our clients because both are important. We can't focus on one to the exclusion of the other because we will either lose the client or lose ourselves in the process.
Dealing with Disconnect
(9:55) When there is a disconnect between what clients perceive and how we want to be perceived, how can we approach that?
India says it’s happened to her. She’s a model, but she’s also an award-winning bodybuilder. Therefore, many of her clients thought her business only served bodybuilders. Her clients’ feedback revealed that they thought her brand was fitness-related, that she offered nutrition and workout coaching (she doesn’t). By receiving that feedback and conducting research, she realized she needed to change her strategy.
Working with a Business or Social Media Coach
(11:00) India finds it helpful to have someone from the outside evaluate your strategy, looking at what others think versus what your brand really is. She also recommends working with a social media coach.
Here’s a secret about my business: I work with a coach too. I may be a business coach, but I also have my own business coach because I value having that external, objective viewpoint. It helps to have someone tell me when I'm getting a little too narrowly-focused or I'm too broad. It's just so helpful to have someone like that in your corner, especially if they're a colleague, someone who similar work as you do.
India is a big advocate of hiring someone to help with social media marketing, especially if it's not your strong suit. Even if you’re not ready to invest in a coach, having a business best friend can help, too. Maybe it’s a friend who has a background in social media because they have a business.
I have two business besties that I communicate with weekly and that's exactly what we do for each other. We provide that external objective view, and it becomes a great place to have a sounding board about some of the things we're working on. They’re my friends, but they are also professionals in their field, and they're not afraid to step up and say, “I'm not following you” or “I don't think your clients are going to resonate with that.” They’ll give me the hard truth when I need it.
India says Erica Courdae is that person for her. She is wonderful, and she is someone who will be honest with you, that's for sure.
I’d like to add here that many entrepreneurs, especially in the early stages, and one-woman shops. They’re trying to do it all. However, as our businesses grow, it’s important to recognize when we need to start delegating and handing things over, giving ourselves permission to step into that CEO role. We need to work on our business so that we're not always working in it. That’s where consulting with people experts in your field is a great step to help us embrace that CEO role.
Getting Clear on Ourselves, and Letting Intuition Guide Us
(14:00) India also mentions the value in being part of a coaching group or a coaching program, too. But, she says, before asking others what they think, you need to get crystal clear on who you are and who your business is. Then, ask yourself: where do you want to go? Who do you want to attract? Who do you want to help? What impact do you want to have? If we're not clear on those things first, we will start taking on what worked for everyone else, which may not work for you.
Our intuition can help up get clear on those questions. When I ask India how intuition informs her decision, she says intuition, for her, is a physical feeling. “I don't even know how to find words for that, but it's just like this feeling in the pit of my stomach, almost like butterflies, like being in a roller coaster.”
When she feels that sensation, she recognizes it and knows it’s trying to tell her something. “The older that I've gotten, the more experience I've had, I've been able to take a step back and before actually making the decision, ask myself, okay, what does this feeling mean? Does it mean that this is the wrong choice?” Recognizing those physical symptoms as intuition allows us to pause, step back, and reevaluate. Intuition is just using our body as a channel. For others, intuition is more like a fleeting thought that almost feels like it didn't come from them.
(17:55) “I personally had a lot of resistance around the idea of journaling,” India says. “But I think once I got over the resistance, I discovered that it was incredibly helpful. So when [I get those butterflies,] I've been journaling consistently enough to have some idea on why.”
I’m so glad India brought this up. I mean, I'm a writer, I've written blog posts, I've written a book. And I also have resistance to journaling sometimes too. Once I acknowledge that initial resistance and create space for it and then do it anyway, inevitably something comes out of that journaling experience. That resistance is the last efforts of fear trying to keep me from moving forward. Resistance is just avoidance for me in many ways. If I can see it for what it is and make the decision to move forward anyway, there's, there's always benefit in the end.
As someone who isn’t a writer, India decided to get an accountability partner. If she feels those physical symptoms that she needs to check in with her intuition, the only way she can get out of journaling is to meditate. It’s either one or the other, but she needs to address what’s happening. That physical symptom and the resistance we feel is a sign that we need to dig deeper.
Make It Work Moment
(20:35) This week’s Make It Work Moment is brought you by the Clarity Summit, a five-day event happening September 30th. It’s designed especially for helpers, healers, and coaches who are ready to grow their businesses. You will learn practical business strategies and resources directly from over 18 different industry leaders, including today’s guest! I’m excited to have India be a part of this summit.
The Clarity Summit will cover the basics of creating and growing a profitable and fulfilling coaching business. On the last day of the summit, I will be hosting a very special Masterclass that takes a deep dive into an aligned approach to the art of coaching. And it’s all FREE. There is absolutely zero cost to attend the summit. So head over to the Clarity Summit website and register!
Our Make It Work Moment is the time we carve out each week to put the ideas we talked about into action. If you want even more resources to help you apply today’s topic to your business and your life, sign up for my email list (I don’t spam you, I promise!) and get the Deeper Dive email delivered to your inbox each week.
I always let my guests provide the Make It Work Moment, and India’s this week? Journaling! Yes, we know you might have some resistance to it, but it’s so important. If you hate journaling, meditate. But do one or the other. And while you’re doing those, ask yourself:
- Who am I?
- What do I like?
- What hobbies do I have?
Then move into your business:
- Who is my business?
- Who does my business want to attract?
- Who do we like working with?
- How do we serve our people?
- What impact can we make in the world if we serve our people in this way?
- Where do we want to go in the future?
As you journal or meditate on these questions, the answers will become clear. Then, you can use that clarity to look at your marketing and see if it aligns with what you and your business are all about.
This exercise is helpful not just at the start of our entrepreneurial journey, but it's something that we can do periodically just to make sure that we're really staying on track with who we are, who we're serving and how is it showing up in our business. As we evolve, our brand may evolve as well and if we are not taking the time to reflect on that, then who we are becoming is not going to be reflected in how we're sharing our message in the world.
Giving yourself the space and time to explore that is so critically important.
I loved having India on the show today. You can learn more about her here:
- India Jackson Artistry website, now called Flaunt Your Fire
- Pause on the Play podcast with Erica and India
- India’s Instagram Page
Until next time, let your inner wisdom lead the way….