Your brand no longer belongs to you.

That moment when your first brand ambassador starts to rep you, without you.

Earlier in the week, I had a small and quite significant moment of reflection. I won’t claim it was easy, and it’s taken a few days to fully come to grips with the implications.

A publishing client of mine, whose book we are putting out next year, had been posting quite often on her personal feeds about The Flyways and including our slogan #StoriesDriveImpact. She’s a highly enthusiastic person and was really going 100 with that whole “Impact” part.

I have to admit I was a little shaken up… My branding! My slogan! Hey!

Cut to this morning, and I finally just saw the truth sitting there. This woman, this writer, who trusts me to mid-wife her book baby into the world, wants to scream my branding to the rooftops. What in the world would I stop her for?!

You know, it comes up in the biz-lit quite a bit, that founders can go through these moments of struggle when what they created doesn’t entirely belong to them anymore. It’s akin to sending your kid off to day care or the first day of school — she’s just not your own personal person anymore. She belongs to the whole rest of the world, too, now.

This of course reminds me of the whole concept of comfort zones. I’ve clearly been nudged out of mine this week, and while I was struggling with it at first — which is completely normal! — I’m feeling pretty darn good about it now. This brand I’ve spent three years creating, nurturing, and developing is now ready to go off into the world, to places that I can’t plan for or foresee. It will wind up spray painted on the side of a bus (but I’m definitely NOT advocating such shenanigans, people) Banksey-style, or it’s going to be gold-leafed into the frontispiece of every volume we print, or it’s going to blow up on Instagram next week. I just don’t know. And I can’t control that.

Nor should I.

If I’ve done this right, and I better have, this brand now speaks for itself, and I’m just a steward on the back end. I can try to body-block the message and make intricately detailed style sheets and whatnot, which I suppose are good things to have, but I can also embrace the uncertainty that my now-shifted comfort zone has afforded me.

It’s part of what will make this idea grow beyond my own limitations and become something special to everyone who encounters it. What an honor!

So, honeychild, dear writer with the book baby in the oven, take this and run, like the wind, into the future…


Hillary Strobel is a content single mother, fierce learner and teacher, ardent lover of life, and ass-kickin’ President and CEO of a Social Enterprise, The Flyways, Inc. After a long and varied career in just about every kind of Liberal Arts field imaginable, and in every type of job position- volunteer, employee, entrepreneur, non-profit worker, and freelancer- she has decided to put her money where her mouth is and marry her two deepest passions: storytelling and social justice. The results have surpassed her wildest expectations.