If you could turn back time to when you were first started your business what advice would you give yourself? I often find myself thinking "ugh, why didn't I do this from the beginning?!" Well news flash, we can't turn back time but I thought I'd share five things "I wish I knew when building my brand". With the hopes that if you're just starting out or thinking about a re-brand you can learn from my mistakes!
1. I wish I narrowed in on my dream client
When I first started Three Feathers Design I took on any job that came my way. "Hey, can you design me a brochure?" "Sure", I would say, "I can design anything." Yes, this is true but it doesn’t mean I should market myself that way.
Tell me, which stylist would you trust when dying your hair bleach blonde? One that specializes in that exact type of color or the stylist next door that does a bit of this and a bit of that? The stylist that specializes in giving clients bleach blonde hair is the one you’d trust. She's also the one you would pay a little extra for because you value her expertise.
Since building and growing my brand I have narrowed in on my dream client (creative entrepreneurs) and I have gotten specific about what I offer them (branding and websites). By doing this I have been able to to establish myself as a creative expert rather than a “designer for hire”.
2. I wish I created an opt-in sooner
An “opt-in” is an incentive for people to join your mailing list. For retailers it might be free shipping on their first order or for online businesses, an ecourse or free guide (see mine here). Your mailing list is the most valuable asset you have. These are the people that want to hear and see more from you, this is your tribe. It wasn’t until last year that I created an opt-in and started building my list, I've had a such great response from my readers (YOU!) that I can only imagine what could have been possible if I had created an opt-in from the beginning.
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3. I wish I knew it's not a one size fits all
Test and change. If something doesn’t work then change it. Just because something works for one brand doesn’t mean it will work for yours. When I first started out I thought I needed to do the typical marketing strategies for growing my brand. Take out an ad in the local newspaper, go to networking events, hand out business cards. While those things certainly work for other brands, it didn’t for me and I ended up resenting them. I tested them out and changed my strategy. Once I understood that business is not a one size fits all I was able to test out and find marketing strategies that not only worked but I enjoyed putting my energy into.
4. I wish I knew the work is never done
Literally, the work is never done! I left my desk job to spend more time with my kids while they are little. Boy, was I in for a surprise. There is no leaving work when you work for yourself. It is constantly on your mind and you need to set major boundaries so you don’t end up working 24/7. Those boundaries are different for everyone, for me they include not working on Sundays and not eating lunch at my desk.
5. I wish I put more “me” into my brand
This one is something that has come up for me more recently. I am in the process of a brand “refresh” where I will be blending a little more “me” into Three Feathers Design. When I first started out, my brand reflected a lot of what I felt I should be doing rather than what I actually wanted to be doing. A lot of that included the way I thought clients viewed me. I will explain more later but the point is, people buy from people so put a little of your own magic touch into your business.
What about you, what do you wish you knew when building your brand? Comment below and tell me five things you would tell your past self.