Heather Poduska is a StarMaker who has over 25 years of professional performance experience on stage as an operatic soprano, as a national speaker and as the host of the popular podcast and television show, “Thrive.” She combines her unique performance skills with her expertise as a personal brand strategist, image consultant and business coach to teach driven entrepreneurs how to be highly compelling and profitable when they speak for their business and to get celebrity status in their industry. Read our interview with the lovely Heather below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I had been pursuing a career as a professional opera singer and was not experiencing the kind of success I had worked so hard to achieve. My breaking point came when I was sitting on the stage of the Boston Lyric Opera during a live performance with my back to the audience watching the star soprano sing over the top of my head. It was then I realized my dream was not going to come true and I didn’t want to sit in obscurity, be forever broke and in the chorus. I had to figure out what my next move was, but I had been a musician my entire life. I didn’t know what else I could do. So I went to a career counselor and found out about personal branding. It was a perfect match for me. Branding is all about helping people find their voice! Helping them connect with their audience, express themselves, dress the part, stand out in a crowded marketplace. It was exactly what I had trained to do as an opera singer. That was the start of my entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us about your business.
I am the creator of the Brand Star Academy where we groom entrepreneurial super stars. We work on 5 basic areas, Platform, Profit Strategy, Performance, Positioning and Polish. We make sure their message is clear so they can articulate their value, we look at their business model to make sure they have signature products or programs, we create a speaking platform for signature talks that sell onstage, online and in front of the camera. We make sure the brand image is on point and finally, we teach them how to strategically position themselves so the market sees them as high-value experts to attract the best clients and open the door to bigger and better opportunities in their industry.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
I have a free training that gives the exact steps to be seen and paid like a brand leader in your industry.
- I have sung onstage in front of tens of thousands of people over the course of my professional career as a classical, operatic soprano
- Certified Personal Brand Strategist
- Certified image consultant from the London Image Institute
- Author of “Hitting Your High Notes: A Daily Journal to Find Your Inner Power Voice”
- Contributing author to “Woman Innovators: Leaders, Makers and Givers”
- Host of the podcast and TV show “Thrive”
Where is your business based?
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Hired a coach! Went through the branding process to get my message and programs clear.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Speaking live is THE best way to get ideal clients directly into your funnel. Now with live-streaming and video, the door is open to more options, but still face-to-face is most effective.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Ironically, what has been most challenging for me was getting clear on my brand! Bringing together all my expertise into one tight model and message that leverages my expertise as both a performer and strategist.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Kept at it, but also following the thread of what feels good and listening to my audience. When I asked what they wanted most from me, it was always “please help me with my talk, please help me with my message, help me name my book!”
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
Go back to your passion. What lights you up? When do you feel most powerful, smart and sexy? If you operate as much as possible from that place, even the challenging times are not so bad because you are getting amazing results for your clients.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
- Over 30 years of performance experience
- Competitive story teller in high school
- The pianist of my church at the age of 11
- Studied operatic singing since the age of 17
- Studied languages in Europe
- Took 3 years of weekly Alexander lessons for posture and acting lessons for stage, film and camera
- Studied breathing with world renowned breath specialist in New York
- Did small film projects and worked with world class teachers, coaches, directors and conductors at some of the best music institutions in the country.
- I bring this experience along with my brand, image and sales expertise to help my clients show up as the best in their industry and dominate the stage
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Trust your gut.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
YOU are the boss of your business, don’t ever forget that. You get feedback, training, counseling and opinions from friends, experts and coaches, but YOU call the shots.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
Canva for photo editing. Very fun.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Hashtags #starmaker #brandstar
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“Deep Work” by Cal Newport.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
Working on mastering Instagram.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I plan to be in the studio at the end of March to record my next album.