Intentional Personal Branding and Lifelong Learning - An Executive Interview with Career Coach Linda
Linda Evans is a strengths-based career coach and personal branding expert. In 2011, she founded her virtual career coaching business, Launched by Linda, LLC. Her full-time career has been in higher education since 2012 and she currently works in Career Services at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. Linda has a B.A. in American Studies and a minor in Ballroom Dance from Brigham Young University, and an M.A. in Psychological Counseling from Columbia University. She is also a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach and has certificates in positive psychology and public speaking.
How did you decide to start your career coaching business, Launched by Linda?
– I had just graduated from college in 2011 and knew I wanted to help college students figure out their future careers, but I wasn’t sure of how to get that kind of job (yes, the irony), so I started editing my friends and family’s resumes for free to gain experience. They were basically my guinea pigs! I kept practicing those skills for 3 years before I felt like I could start charging a fee, mostly so people would take me more seriously.
As a personal branding expert, how would you describe your personal brand in 5 words?
– Strengths-focused, efficient, passionate, curious, concise
You have degrees in American Studies and Psychological Counseling, but your work is not directly aligned to those areas. Do you still use your degrees in your work today?
– I still love those subjects and continually learn about them through books and podcasts. American Studies trained me to look at an issue from many different angles, which is very helpful in getting my clients unstuck from their frustrating situations. My Counseling program trained me to be a more empathetic, nonjudgmental listener who is always attuned to my clients’ mental health needs.
You’ve worked full-time in higher education for 8 years and you’ve had your side business Launched by Linda for 9 years. How do you balance them?
– Mostly through time boundaries. I have my full-time job from 8am-5pm and I do my side business in the evenings and weekends. They mutually inform each other and it’s fun!
Who is your ideal client?
– I really like working with clients from a variety of backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, industries, etc. Variety is the spice of life! To me, an ideal client is simply someone who is open, humble, and motivated to create positive change in their life.
What are the most common problems you address with your clients?
– I serve clients with 3 main types of career issues:
They don’t know what path to pursue.
They need help getting job offers.
They are fed up with their current career and want a change.
– The underlying theme is feeling stuck in their career somehow. I love helping them get unstuck.
What do you wish more people knew about personal branding?
–There are so many myths that keep people from designing and managing their brand! I wish more people knew that they already have a brand, so they should manage it intentionally. It’s kind of like your nails - you’ve always had them, so you should take care of them or they will get out of control or get in your way.
Where do you hope your business will be in 5 years?
– I hope to expand my clientele numbers exponentially, as well as the age range of my clients. I’d love to create an online course on personal branding that is in-depth and interactive. I want to produce highly relevant and practical content for large publications, conferences, and webinars.
How do you define and measure success?
– Purely by my personal mission statement, which I’ve had since 2010: “To inspire and empower others to discover and fulfill their potential and add greater meaning to their lives by advancing their education and careers.” If I’ve achieved at least one portion of that by the end of each day, I’m feeling great.
Do you have any theories or models you use in your work?
– Yes! I have studied Positive Psychology, CliftonStrengths, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy in depth and integrate it into my work. I also use several career development theories and models including the Diamond Career Model, Holland’s Theory, Theory of Work Adjustment, Planned Happenstance Theory, and Cognitive Information Processing. I’ve even created a couple of my own - The Launched by Linda Model and Model for Career Changing Success.
Who is your greatest role model, and why?
– Lucille Ball because she knew her worth and her passion, and she kept working hard despite many challenges until she achieved what she wanted. She never really retired because she loved what she did. I’ve tried to emulate her independence, courage, and ambition throughout my life. She became successful in New York City, where I earned my master’s degree at Columbia University. She also found joy in marriage and raising good kids.
What cause(s) are closest to your heart?
Anti-sex trafficking, especially of children. I started learning about it just a couple of months ago and have been horrified by the atrocities in the world. I support Operation Underground Railroad. I also care very much about protecting the environment and promoting liberal arts in education.
What are your favorite hobbies outside of work?
– Reading, playing piano, singing, salsa dancing, trying new restaurants, traveling, and spending lots of quality time with my husband.
How do you recharge?
– Take breaks from social media and screens, go on walks, and catch up on sleep!
What is a regret you would like to go back in time and redo?
–I wish I'd minored in music in college. I minored in ballroom dance and it was my whole life, but I wouldn't mind staying on an extra year to get some serious music education!
What goals are you currently working on?
– I'm applying to a PhD program, which will hopefully help me write a book and give me more college teaching opportunities.
If you didn't have to work for your livelihood, what would you do with your time?
– I'd be learning all the time! I'd go to culinary school and get an MFA in music. I'd take drawing lessons and clogging lessons. I'd be reading a lot more books and writing some too. I'd travel the world with my husband. I'd still keep my business, Launched by Linda, because it's so fun and it provides a vehicle for me to fulfill my personal mission.
What's the best advice you've been given?
– Most of the best advice I live by comes from my mom. One of her greatest lessons was, "Knowledge is the only thing that no one can take away from you." We're both avid lifelong learners.
What do you want your legacy to be?
– Literally what my business name says - I want every person I've interacted with to feel like I've helped launch them closer to achieving their full potential.