Dee Does Death
comes to life with
Good Life Marketing

Brand strategy coaching for DDD funeral business

Dee Does Death

BUSINESS TYPE:
Small business – alternative funeral services

LOCATION:
Brunswick, Melbourne

WORK BY GOOD LIFE MARKETING:
Business Coaching
Marketing Consulting
Branding Advice

Radical start-up in a stiff industry

Deanne Brinsmead is an independent funeral celebrant determined to offer an alternative to done-to-death (pardon the pun) send-offs for loved ones. 

If you’ve ever had to arrange a funeral service, you’ll know how hard it is to find someone who actually gets you. 

Dee Does Death is a funeral celebrancy service with a difference. Her radical approach to death exemplifies the ‘do good work’ philosophy.

So I was thrilled to help her clarify her purpose and get her moving in the right direction. Here’s what she had to say after consulting with Good Life Marketing:

Getting clear about the future

“My biggest challenge has been taking the leap to put my first foot forward. This will be the first business of it’s kind that I know of in Australia, from the research I’ve done.”

As a creative-minded entrepreneur, Dee had grand visions for what her small business could become. But the enormity of those ideas fought each other, and Dee found herself struggling to get going.

“I thought I knew where I wanted to go, and what my business was. It was Dee Does Death, but it’s so much more potentially. Sarah talked me through what I was thinking for that ‘so much more’, and made me realise that the branding I’d gone for was inappropriate because it wasn’t going to reach everyone. Because Dee Does Death was for such a small minority of people.

She gently pulled it all apart, and put the whole thing into perspective for me.”

Go big or go home? Erm, no thanks.

Dee is a phenomenal achiever, but she couldn’t get started while her business goals were out of alignment. The Good Life Marketing approach starts with minimalism – drop away everything that doesn’t serve.

“It made me realise that to do those other bigger things with Dee Does Death, I would actually go down the path under another brand name. And this all made sense once Sarah had spoken to me about it. Which clarified my thinking and allowed me to remain focussed just on Dee Does Death, and not feel I had to have everything sorted, and wasn’t taking on too much.

So what I need to be doing is something that is completely within my capabilities. Something that isn’t going to stop me in my tracks where I end up just putting it off for months.

I am a bad procrastinator. I’m a creative person and my head is often in the clouds, thinking of the next best idea.”

Dee realised that downsizing her brand goals produced the perfect work-life balance for her.

“My time is limited. Dee Does Death is enough for me right now, after looking at how much time I actually wanted to spend on this business.”

Small business coaching for Dee Does Death
Independent funeral celebrant Dee Brinsmead, aka 'Dee Does Death'

Work less, achieve more.

Running a small business is just one slice of life’s delicious pizza. When you know exactly what you want to get out of the rest of life, then you can make business goals you can achieve. 

In Dee’s case, letting go of admirable but restrictively large goals was the key to moving forward.

“I didn’t realise what I wanted and what I could actually handle until we’d talked that through. Sarah thought about my brand and my business beyond it being a small business.

It helped me prioritise, and see what my capacity to put into the business really looked like.”

Being conservative about how much time and effort you want to put into your small business is crucial. Once you’re working with a practical timeline, the steps to success become simpler.

“She made me really understand how I could make my business work when I’m only able to put a small amount into it. And how I could adjust that going forward over the next couple of years, while maintaining a really good life as well. 

So many people are just focussing on growth and money, but that’s not what life is all about.”

A bite-sized action plan

When you feel overwhelmed in your business, it’s hard to step back far enough to see the true path. Dee needed fresh insights into the muddle of activity ahead of her.

“So what Sarah did was to put everything into perspective and prioritised everything. She cut it all back.”

Taking the fast-lane to launch meant eliminating anything that wasn’t critical and everything that wasn’t useful.

“And I went from being a rabbit in the headlights to a point where I could now move on these things, and it wasn’t so terrifying.

It’s not so overwhelming anymore when it’s broken down into manageable tasks and ideas. That was incredibly helpful.” 

Social media in a nutshell

Last time we checked, Dee was maintaining 3 Instagram business accounts, 3 Facebook business pages and 2 Pinterest accounts.

Following conventional social media marketing ‘wisdom’ of posting ad-nauseum times a day, Dee had no chance of ever getting ahead.

“Sarah explained that there are times when the information fed to you about social media is a whole lot of bullshit, and you don’t need to be a master of it. So don’t get tied down with all that crap. She understands small business, and understands that everything can seem so completely and utterly overwhelming.

People believe that social media is the be all and end all and will tell you that you’ve got to do at least a post every single day. It becomes very stressful.”

I offered a more practical and productive posting strategy to Dee and showed her how not to get bogged down with social media management.

“It made me more confident about being able to handle social media of yet another business. It helped to give me guidelines and boundaries so my whole life isn’t sucked down the drain of constant social media management.”

Strategy for website with seo services

The same theory applies to website strategies. Search engine optimisation is essential and worthwhile, but it’s very easy to get led down an endless road of micro-adjustments.

Instead, I equipped Dee with a well-researched shortlist of organic seo keywords for her website, and a strategy for how to make them work for her.

I also simplified the overall website strategy into actionable steps to get her moving, starting with the site’s purpose, structure, and content for each page.

“The other thing she mentioned that I found incredibly helpful for this new website is that I would need a photoshoot.

She basically put a checklist together and gave me a timeframe to get it all done in. It’s not so overwhelming anymore when it’s broken down into manageable tasks and ideas.” 

Killer branding advice

Good branding advice is hard to come by. Self-proclaimed experts abound and they’re eager to leap for the jugular of your brand identity. Especially your brand name, logo design and web design.

“You get so muddled up and so mixed by all this shit you hear from people who sometimes aren’t really sure what the truth is in the market. They’re just making it up, or scared for you. They’re trying to help, but they haven’t checked the facts.”

Dee Does Death is a game changer in the death industry. Straying from the pack is exactly what’s needed. But naysayers had been sticking their noses in.

“They say, oh no you can’t do that! Oh no your branding can’t look like a horror script title.” 

And unfortunately, the unsolicited advice kept her playing small. Despite a killer response from her true audience, Dee was straying off her right path in response to overwhelming opinions from non-experts. 

“I was always questioning myself over my choice. Is Dee Does Death too much? Is it too confronting? It was great when she made me realise that the name is doing all the things I want it to do. Sarah encouraged me to stick to my guns. It’s who I am.”

In fact, if anything, Dee Does Death can be bolder still. Good Life Marketing is on call to help Dee get her branding perfectly right as she moves into the final launch stage of her startup.

“Bloody, why not? My business is gonna be a bit more in your face.”

Business Coaching for small business in funeral industry
The Dee Does Death brand will be known for death-positive funeral inspiration

No woman is an island

It’s hard to know where to turn to for good advice and support. 

“When you’re in a small business there’s no one to talk things through. You’re just you, thinking in your head. But you have to verbalise things and speak them aloud.”

Business coaching is an excellent way for small businesses to get out of the mud. It allows incredible women like Dee to reconnect to their own brilliant ideas, and find the quickest, easiest path to success.

“When you have someone who’s really good at listening and asking insightful questions, you’re able to think beyond your own way of thinking.

I love the way Sarah’s not afraid to challenge me and ask “Why would you do that, when you could be doing this? And what are your thoughts that are leading you there?”

She just throws questions up that are gonna challenge everything you thought you wanted. Sometimes you feel you have to be a master at everything when you’re trying to run a small business (or two) and be a parent, etc. etc.

The great thing about working with Sarah is she understands small business. Cos you can’t afford to employ a team of other people to do the things you’re not good at.” 

The shadow of small business

Make no mistake, even the smallest of business ventures unearths terrifying demons. Left unchecked, self-doubt paves a pathway to overwhelm, procrastination and the saddest kind of small business failure – quietly receding into the shadows.

Talking through these feelings can unearth strength, resilience, and positive vulnerability. This is where our meaning lives. This can be the ‘why’ that helps us find the ‘how’.

“I fear that this industry has been the same for such a long long time. I have fears, like who am I? What do I know, that I’m going to change the whole thing, you know? But I’ve done the right thing and done all the research. I’ve gone deep and I have all the knowledge.

It’s very overwhelming and there’s a lot of self doubt. I’m just fearful in some ways. But after talking with Sarah, all of a sudden I have this great fire in my belly and I know I’m doing the right thing. And now I can see where I’m going and how I’ll be helping families greatly.” 

Secret women's business

“I love that Sarah doesn’t pretend to be smarter than you. She doesn’t make you feel as though ‘how come you haven’t thought of this, it’s so simple’. She just brings out things that you already know that you’ve made far more complicated than they need to be and maybe don’t have the confidence to say/think. 

She’s good at bringing that out and making you feel so much better about being simple, I don’t mean mentally. There’s no pomp and “oh I’m such a bloody professional, you have to listen to me”. She doesn’t need to be like that, because she works through the answer with you. 

So you almost feel like it was you that gave that answer, but she quietly helps you find it. It’s like she knows the answer, but she’s gonna help you work through it so that you understand how to find those answers yourself in the future.

She helps you learn the answer along the way. I love that.

Small business support

Support is essential. Especially in small business. Rather than feeling you have to do it all on your own, you can get experts on board to fuel your growth. It helps to have someone to strategise with.

Being solo in the business you have no-one to answer to but yourself, it feels like you’ve got another team member. It’s really lovely. 

You feel like she’s always there by your side. Which is such a lovely thing to have.

Sarah just has a natural ability. Her line of thinking – it’s not just business strategy, it’s also simple and logical and practical. Which is far more helpful. Particularly for small business.” 

“You can pay all these people, all these amounts of money and they give you advice and then they just clean their hands. But Sarah really cares and wants you to be your best, and she wants you to take that advice and action it. She takes your hand and walks you through it.”

Deanne Brinsmead, Founder of Dee Does Death

“Working with Sarah feels like you’re not just another number or a cash cow.

It’s like she has a personal vested interest in you and your business succeeding. She really worries about your life balance.

She has done amazing things for me!”

Dee Does Death is well on track to giving the Australian funeral industry a much-needed kick up the butt. 

I look forward to sharing in Dee’s journey and helping her small business grow to the perfect size.

Brand strategist Sarah from Good Life Marketing

HI, I'm SARAH

I’m here to help you work smarter, not harder. I teach passionate business owners how to charge premium prices, attract the best customers, save time and make money with ease.