I help close the confidence gap that women professionals, entrepreneurs, and creatives face when promoting themselves by providing a powerful Personal Brand Story Roadmap, group and individual coaching, and Erica Sparks workshops.
We are create-your-own-adventure she wolves - building businesses and lives that will provide us income, impact, and allow us to life into our fullest potential. We are independent to a fault, multi-faceted and multi-talented diamonds, and always at the back of the pack making sure everyone is okay. We do what it takes to make the pack safe, healthy, and thrive. We have an appetite for freedom of expression, time, and building wealth in order to create financial and emotional freedom for all.
We're a Pacific Northwest, women-owned company. We educate and support women to be self-reliant, confident, and builders of community through the development of their voice. Our vision is a world where every individual has economic and emotional freedom to prosper and grow.
I help women professionals, entrepreneurs, and creatives who suffer from imposter syndrome and lack the confidence to promote themselves, are overwhelmed trying to find their true north, and struggle to be noticed learn how to develop a stand out personal brand story so they can get found by their kindred community, grow their business (even if it just the business of them), and live life to the fullest.
Hi! I'm Erica
I am the only personal brand story guide who specializes in developing original personal brand stories for create-your-own-adventure women solopreneurs who prefer to be noticed in their business by authentically and courageously communicating their unique brand essence in a landscape where unoriginal and impersonal voices dominate the market.
A few things about me:
I don’t even like social media. But Personal Brand Storytelling fuels my campfire.
The only thing I love more than wide open spaces is telling stories in wide open spaces.
Personal Brand Storytelling is my courage key. (get unstuck key)
You don’t need me to tell you what trail you want to take. You already know. - But I’m here to help you get started on the trip.
Erica Sparks Guiding Values
Erica Sparks Philosophy
Less freeway and chain restaurants. More mom and pop creative shops.
I believe radical creativity is self-expression unleashed and self-expression unleashed is what makes this world interesting, connects us to that which is greater, the key to masterful innovation, allows us to tap into our highest potential, and create radical change in the world.
Learn to embrace your desire for more.
I believe that choosing to not let fear hold you back is life expands and reveals what is worth fighting for so you can stand up, stand out, and go do some seriously fun stuff all while making a difference in the world.
Love traveling the road of your unique personal landscape.
I believe that our differences inspire creation, facilitate belonging, affirm worth in every individual, make an otherwise copycat world interesting and connect us to our most kindred community.
Say yes to your own solo adventure.
I believe that your story is where your unique essence lies and it is what will inspire your community to hop on your transformation train and ride with you on every adventure.
Settling for less than you are worth is a dead end trail.
I believe that you are worth whatever you believe that you are worth and that settling for less keeps you insecure, fearful and dependent and only affirms our greatest insecurities, not our invaluable contributions.
Make courage your walking stick. (Make friends with your courage)
I believe that courage is a mindset and is facilitated by a clear understanding of one’s values, priorities, beliefs, and a mission in life and that small, individual acts of courage inspire greater acts of courage which is a requirement for expansion. You can’t win big if you don’t bet big.
It’s ok to love everything about you and your own adventure.
I believe that God gave us gifts, talents, experiences, and passions so that we could share them with and help others to create belonging and encourage others to shine bright - AND if we don’t radiate, we implode. Pick your poison.
There is no downside to taking the road of authenticity.
I believe that when you keep your promises, you create confidence in yourself and from others, build relationships, generate respect, instill greater peace within yourself, and become a leader who inspires others.
A fixed mindset is a your rattlesnake.
A fixed mindset may keep you safe on 1-90 but definitely keeps you from exploring the beautiful backroads with hidden gems just waiting to be found.
Boldly choose your passionate adventure over a tedious ride in the backseat.
I believe passion is love on fire and being on fire is hot and hot is sexy. Indifference bores me.
The Voice of a Road-Warrior
I love life - I do.
I love exploring new opportunities and possibilities and am grateful for the experiences of my past lives.
All of it, the good and the bad, have taught me the lessons I needed to learn and led me to the road I travel today.
And I love my road today.
How it started...
In my college theatre program my freshman year I received the “Miss Perfect” award. The following year, I received the “Good Girl Gone Bad” award. It’s funny and also these years were hard for me. I was passionate, smart, talented...but lacked confidence in my own value and worth. My voice was very quiet.
Any confidence I did have was bravado. Inside, I was certain I was always less than person next to me. As a result of this overwhelming sense of imposter syndrome, I rarely took risks that I couldn’t bet would get me a win. And as a result of being too afraid to bet on me, I was often afraid to really pursue what I wanted, and instead, left it to the whims of life to dictate where I went.
The whims of my 20s were wayward and wandering: As a people pleasing perfectionist rule follower, I broke wildly out of the box one day and smashed all the toys of my upbringing (spoiler alert: my parents are fabulous and we’re cool). I wandered into a new world and a new me. I wandered far and wide from the hills of Northern California to South Korea seeing people, places, and things that a small town South Dakota girl never could have imagine existed.
But one murky morning, after 10 years of drinking too much, staying up too late, sleeping in too late, and following the path of least resistance, I had an aha moment: I didn’t want to live like this anymore. My soul was bankrupt and I was tired. I had been searching and trying to fill a void that I couldn’t name or understand and I hadn’t been able to fill it “out there.” I hadn't been able to outrun the fear of stepping into my true self and honoring pursuit of my desire.
After years of hopping on someone else’s bus, I had been seeing the sights of the world, but I had no purpose beyond myself. I was lost. I had no idea who I was, where I was, or where I was going. I had stopped connecting to what I loved and what was in my heart: God, family, theatre, writing, and communicating with others through the act of creation. And after ten years of not pursuing me, I had lost my voice.
So I came home...
...hitching a ride from Northern California to South Dakota in a big blue van with an eagle and mountains painted on the side.
And I started looking for the answers within and not out there.
Another new life is created...
And then I got to work - creating a new me and a new life. I stopped letting the whims of life move me, and instead, I focused on turning my life over to a purpose greater than me. I cleaned up the wreckage of my 20s as best I could and began pursuing my dreams and passions. I started doing theatre again. Began teaching. Took up yoga. Made new friends. Built a life. Took a lot of personal development workshops. Found a mentor and group of like-minded seekers. And one day at a time, I began to find my voice again.
The last ten years (plus many hours of hard work and generous guardian angels) have been good to me. I have a husband I love dearly, a wonderful family, an adorable house built in 1905, friends and family who can’t be beat, and I have been able to pursue my passion as a theatre performer while being able to teach what I love: storytelling, writing, theatre, and literature analysis. As Joe Walsh from the Eagles sings, “Life’s been good to me so far.”
But in 2018, something shifted...
On a warm August afternoon in 2018, drinking coffee on the porch at the Oregon coast watching whales breach, living my best life, a desire for something new and more begins to take form in the quietest space in my heart.
After ten years of building up my life, I had hit a plateau. Yes. Life was good, but I felt deep within that I was entering a new phase of life: The phase of life where one starts thinking about legacy...and retirement. I had been doing good work for the last 10 years but I knew I had hit the ceiling of growth in my careers and salary unless I decided to do something different.
I began to wonder what it might be like to work for myself. Could I be a person with my own business? For most of my life, I had been a worker bee among worker bees, executing the visions of other (mostly wonderful) bosses - on their timeline, from their perspective, with their final say, and offered a salary based on their estimation of my value.
As I considered starting my business (at this point no idea what kind of business), my pattern of fear thoughts set in, “Oh, I can’t do that. Doing things that you want to do is for other people, not you. Doing something outside of the box isn’t safe. Best to keep toeing the line.”
Then the haunting questions:
Erica, what if you die never having fully pursued what you really and actually want?
Do you want to continue to be the person who doesn't bet on yourself?
Do you want to continue to believe that there isn't a place in this big world for your unique voice?
What I realized...
As I considered these nightmare evoking questions while my legacy clock kept ticking, I realized a few things:
I had skills, talents, experiences, and ideas that weren’t being fully utilized - despite working 3 + jobs and 50-60 hours a week. And I wanted to know what it felt like to actually use them all in a way designed by me.
What I was currently being paid no longer matched the skills that I had developed and the experience that I had gained over the last 10 years. And I wanted what I earn to reflect what my skills and experience is worth.
I was passively living life rather than doing something to change the over two facts. And I wanted to be an active voice in the direction of my next 10 years.
I felt like my voice and perspective were being stifled. My voice and perspective wanted to rise up. I wanted to connect with more people through my experience, strength, and hope doing what I loved to do. I wanted to create a bigger impact. I wanted full creative freedom and autonomy.
My health was suffering because I was working long hours. My soul was suffering because I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do. My mind was suffering because it was trying to do too many disparate things for too many people. And my bank account was definitely suffering. And I wanted to create a career that enhanced my life.
I was compromising my desire to do more for a false sense of security and safety at having a job at all - even one that didn’t pay well. And I no longer wanted to compromise. I wanted to start my own business where I could lift my voice and help others lift theirs while making enough money to pay the bills, go on an adventure or two, and generate wealth for retirement.
What needed to change
So, I decided to take the plunge (with a little help from a universal push) and quit my main job to launch Erica Sparks after three years of building it up. I decided to quit living a life of compromises and and bet on myself for once.
What had I been compromising?
I compromised financial and personal fulfillment for something that was easy, good enough, and relatively secure.
I compromised my voice and integrity by saying yes to others when I wanted to say no.
I compromised my talents and their impact by doing things that were below my skill level and never reaching higher.
I compromised my body by working hard for other people, unrealistic expectations, and a constant falling down the rabbit hole of fear and longing.
I compromised my voice to keep the peace of the status quo.
I didn’t want to live any longer, and certainly not die without trying, to live my life to the fullest and honor my desire for more, listen to the quiet voice calling me to something different, and fall down the rabbit hole of my curiosity to see what might be possible.
Erica Brands Her Own Story...
As a result of every road I have travelled - Erica Sparks and Brand Your Story was born. My values, life philosophy, experiences, passions, interests, talents, skills, personality, voice, given circumstances, and beliefs have created an alchemy of a life that is unique to me. Just like you have an alchemy of a life that is unique to you.
Don't get me wrong. I did not magically wake up one day with the idea to create a communications company and a personal branding company. I didn't even know what personal branding was when I first began my solopreneur adventure. When I decided I wanted to work for myself and start my own business, I tried everything to find my path. I started at least 3 businesses that were great in theory but I never pushed forward. In hindsight, I didn't push them forward because they didn't match all of me. One matched my skills but not my heart. One matched my energy but not my experience. One matched who I used to be and not who I wanted to be.
But I kept going...that small voice inside was now a roar and I didn't feel like I could turn around and go back to a typical job.
Once again, a little lost and unsure of my voice in this new business venture, I came home to me.
I stopped getting certifications to become more "credible." I stopped trying to find the answers outside of myself. I looked within. I wrote; I sorted; I gathered data; I prayed; I talked to friends; I created a bank of accomplishment; I got real with myself about my strengths and weaknesses. Only after looking inward, did my north star appear and Erica Sparks and Brand Your Story were born.
I didn't know it then, but I do now - that I was in the initial stages of creating my personal brand.
Later, when I stumbled on the concept of personal branding, I was all in. I took classes, read books, read articles, and took more classes. My work in creating my own personal brand was what made the difference for me between clarity and confusion, ease and struggle, purpose and wandering, priorities and trying to do it all, knowing my voice and staying quiet, finding myself and being lost.
I believe that creating a personal brand is the quickest way to finding your true north.
It is because I have experienced what it feels like to have lost my voice with no clear direction forward and then gained my voice back that I am so passionate about helping others lift their voices up today.
It is because I know what it feels like to not believe in myself and now know the freedom that comes when I do believe in me that I am so passionate about helping other women create personal brands that help them believe in themselves and communicate their value to the outside world.
It is because I know how hard it is to leave the status quo of a just-good-enough-job and branch out on an uncharted adventure into the unknown that I am so passionate about helping the women who want to take a risk to join the rest of us solopreneurs out on the trail.
It is because I know what it feels like to want to see and then achieve what is possible for me that I also want to see what is possible for you.
When each of us finds our voice and purpose, we know as as she-wolves, we are going to help others else do the same. And this is how we lift up our communities.
Lift up your voice
In talking with many of my friends and clients in their 40s and beyond, I know that I am not alone in experiencing fears that we are compromising our best while settling for less, never going to reach a place of financial and emotional freedom, and be stymied from living our lives to the fullest.
We as women have compromised long enough. It is time to stop. Find ourselves. And let others find us. It is time to courageously let your curiosity guide you as you create-your-own-adventure.