BRAID CREATIVE & CONSULTING
branding | visioning | marketing
that blends who you are and what you do

BLOG ARCHIVE

What's Next for Braid?

20-Jul-2017

Over the past 5+ years at Braid Creative we’ve helped hundreds of creative entrepreneurs blend more of who they are into the work they want to be known for by collaboratively and methodically designing and writing their brand platforms, identities, positioning, and messaging.


Braid started as two sisters who harnessed an untraditional combination of experience: strategy methodology + creative execution. Our vision was to carve out our own work and life so we could help others do the same for themselves.


After five+ years, we’re proud to say mission accomplished. The vision we launched with has grown into something much bigger, and we’re looking forward to what’s next. (“So what’s next?!” you say. I’m glad you asked!)


We’re now working with businesses and organizations


We’re known for the space we’ve carved out helping hundreds of creative entrepreneurs with their personal brands, but what you might not know is that behind the scenes we’ve been working with people-driven businesses and purpose-driven organizations to bring more clarity and personality to their brands as well. From A Good Egg restaurant group in Oklahoma City to Brené Brown’s Daring Way and Courage Works to the University of San Francisco to a credit union in Texas. More of that, please!

...

Your Brand's First Impression is the Icing on the Cake

13-Jul-2017

One of the first cakes I can remember eating was a spongy Betty Crocker lemon cake with chocolate icing at my grandma’s house. Today my favorite kind of cake is a cuppie called the Boom Boom Pow from a local cupcake and coffee shop made with vanilla cake, chocolate icing, a dollop of caramel, and flaky sea salt sprinkled on top. For some reason I especially love how the icing doesn’t touch the edges of the paper – it means no trace of icing gets left behind and misses consumption!


I want you to think of your brand as a whole cake. The center of your cake—the sponge-y part—is the core of your brand and business vision and made up of ingredients like:



  • what you want to be known for,

  • your expertise,

  • your purpose,

  • your dream clients,

  • and what you deliver!

...

7 Ways to Brand You + What You Do

09-Jun-2017

Branding can mean a lot of different things – for us, it’s the foundation of your business. It’s how you blend who you are into the work you do and want to be known for. It’s attracting dream customers by sharing your expertise. It’s having a creative process that you and your customers can rely on. Below are seven ways you can brand you and the work you do. These are excerpts from our 50-page eBook available for free.



DOWNLOAD THE FREE EBOOK for tips, exercises, scripts, and worksheets


1. Get clear on what you want to be known for


The word “expert” might conjure up out-of-reach ideals – speaking at a TED talk, impressive certifications, credentials, and awards, never ever ever working from your kitchen table in yoga pants and surrounded by empty mugs. But over here, we believe branding yourself as an expert begins with getting clear on what you want to be known for.


If you’re only branding yourself as a service-for-hire, then you’re only sharing half the picture of the creative expert you are (or want to become).

...

My Secret to Learning New Things

31-May-2017

Learning new things is hard. I’m not sure if it’s the lack of time that comes with adulting or a classic case of “mom brain,” but my attention span for formal education isn’t what it once was. As a creative professional and entrepreneur, I’m encountering a new challenge or decision that expands my capacity for growth every single day – I feel like I’ve practically earned a degree in business by building one! But there are times when I know I need to learn new skills or concepts in order to take my work and life to the next level in a more focused and concentrated way. So today I want to tell you my techniques and secrets for learning new things as someone who is short on both time and brain space.


LEARNING WHILE WALKING


I recently invested $2,000 dollars in an online course that I wasn’t doing. Every time I sat down to my laptop to tackle my studies, I found myself instead checking email or tackling my to-do list. So I finally downloaded the audio files from the course to my phone and listened to the content while on a walk. Creative masterminds like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are known for holding meetings and brainstorming sessions while walking. Just try it for yourself! Take a walk while you’re listening to an audio book, a podcast, or even an online course. In fact, when I realized this was the easiest way to learn something new, I recorded audio files for my own branding ecourse students! Pro-tip: be sure to open a text file on your smartphone for jotting notes as you go!

...

Do You Need a Rebrand or Just a Refresh?

18-May-2017

You might be surprised to hear that, as a branding agency, we tell a lot of creative entrepreneurs and purposeful businesses that they do not in fact need a total rebrand, but maybe just a refresh. This might be you if you see your brand as boring, dated, or even a barrier to attracting your dream customers. But oftentimes what we see is potential for a refresh without throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. We’re always going to err on the side of a refresh – incorporating what works and evolving what could be working better.


You might feel like you need a new brand if:



  1. You're embarrassed to send anyone to your website.

  2. You can't describe what you offer and why it matters in less than three sentences.

  3. You feel like most of your competition is moving on without you.


But you might be able to get by with a refresh. If you’re not a creative director or a copywriter, it might feel like you’re light years away from having a brand that articulates your true vision, but you may be closer than you think. Here are a few tactics you can try that will take you further than you think:

...

Here's Why You Can't Afford to Be Vague

21-Apr-2017

If you try to be everything to everyone you’ll end up being nothin’ to nobody.


If you’re unable to get specific and articulate who you are, what you do, who you help, and how you help them, you are leaving serious money on the table. It's the old adage that if you try to be everything to everyone you’ll end up being nothin’ to nobody. Trite, yes – but it’s true and something we’ve been seeing brands first-hand have a hard time embracing lately.


Most of us as individuals have big hearts and a big vision for our brand and our business that doesn’t exclude anybody from the discussion (or our services, product, or offering). In fact, we work with a lot of leadership development professionals, coaches, educators, and purpose-driven organizations who have all but eradicated the word “or” from their vocabularies to embrace the tone of “and.”


The word “and” opens up the dialogue to new ideas, collaboration, and expansion. The word “or” implies a choice that needs to be made. “And” is super dreamy, but when it comes to differentiating your brand, you are going to have to make some “or” choices. When you can proactively choose who you are and who you’re for, only then can you truly reach the audience your business is built to help.

...

What Is Your Client Saying About You?

28-Mar-2017

One of the best things you can do to attract more dream clients is to tap into how your existing or past clients talk to other people about you. You can learn a lot about your own brand by getting out of your own head and into the point-of-view of someone who loved working with you. How you talk about yourself will become a little more simple, less jargon-y, and more specific about what you do and how you deliver.


TRY THIS: Imagine that you’re working from a coffee shop. You have your back turned toward most of the coffee shop customers; you are laser-focused on your work until you overhear your name. You recognize the voice… it’s of one of your past clients! She’s telling a friend about what it was like to work with you. Don’t worry – it’s only good things:



  • I loved working with [your name]. I hired her to help me with _______.


  • [Your name] was amazing at ___________ and ____________.


  • You have got to hire [your name] to help you with _______________.


...

The Dream Client You've Never Had

23-Mar-2017

The number one question we get when talking about positioning and branding yourself to attract your dream client is: “But what if I don’t know who my dream client is?”


Whether you’re transitioning career paths, pivoting to try out a new offering or service, or entirely new to your creative career – you might not only be wondering “how do I get more clients?” but trying to figure out “who the heck is this client, exactly?”


So, I’m going to give you my best advice for identifying the dream client you’ve never had.


Before we dig in – I want to tell you that we’re going to be hosting a free mini-training where we’ll be deep-diving on getting more of the clients you want on Friday, March 31st. Save your spot here >>


To attract dream clients, you have to be clear about who you are and what you’re offering.

If you stumble over telling people what you do and are vague about what you deliver after they hire you, you will confuse any potential customers or worse… attract terrible fits. It’s important that you are able to articulate what you deliver and for whom – on your website, social media profiles, and in your content and conversations.

...

Packaging Your Coaching Offering

07-Mar-2017

Last week I shared a few tips and strategies for branding and selling yourself as a coach. Today what I really want to share with you is how to package your coaching engagements in a way that will help you close more deals, get more clients, and confidently take those clients through a structured process that delivers exactly what they’re looking for.


1. Identify your coaching style


Last week we talked about narrowing in on your niche as a way to get specific about what you do, but what’s the tone and style of how you work: Are you a tough-love coach? An intuitive coach? A step-by-step methodical coach?


A great way to find your true coaching style is by explaining to your best friend what you do. You want this to be someone who is familiar with your work but maybe doesn’t totally understand what you do for a living all day. Share with her a couple case studies of what you do. Better yet, grab your smart phone and hit “record” on the conversation. As you listen back on the conversation of “what you do,” you’ll start to see themes, common words, and phrases rise to the surface. And because you’re talking to your best friend, you’re not putting up any fronts or using confusing industry jargon.

...

Branding Yourself as a Coach

01-Mar-2017

It’s pretty clear that the coaching profession is booming right now. Perhaps you were at the forefront of that boom, blazing the trail before anyone even knew what that meant! Or perhaps you’re just now making your coaching dream real.


Maybe you haven’t gotten your coaching business vision completely off the ground yet – but you can’t ignore that gut feeling that coaching is the path for you.


Kathleen here, and I’m guessing that regardless of how long you’ve been working with clients (months or years), you’ve always been a leader of one kind or another—whether that’s a guiding influence on those around you, or their go-to thoughtful listener. You’re the person your friends turn to when they need a reliable sounding board.


Maybe you’ve already carved out a name for yourself as a coach or a creative entrepreneur, and now you want to transition to teaching and coaching others what you know.

...

How Do I Find Motivation?

22-Feb-2017

I recently invited a portion our Braid newsletter list to “ask me anything.” Over the next few weeks I’m going to share some of those questions and my answers. If you’re not subscribed to our list feel free to sign up here:





Question from Karen:

I know what my dream job is, but still feel like I have to have a salaried job before getting to the dream job; I'm the family's sole breadwinner. So how do I find momentum to promote my current work to get a salaried job when my enthusiasm is not super high?



I eventually want to market my watercolors of public paths (note cards and calendars with mini-path network hikes on the back) and eventually add to that teaching plein air painting along the paths. But right now I have to focus on gathering samples, creating a portfolio and website, and start marketing myself for the next salaried day job. How do I stay focused and keep the prize in sight to stay motivated?



Karen

...

What's Love Got to Do with It?

14-Feb-2017

Tara here, and I want to talk about love. Specifically the word “love,” and if it has a place in your business or your brand. We all hear and see it all the time: “Do what you love!”


Everyone says “do what you love!” But does love have a place in your business?


We say it too. It’s inspiring, and it’s a reminder to make our own rules and define our own success. But I also know a lot of us pepper the word “love” into our business all the time—especially when we’re talking to a new client or a new collaborator and we want to express how we can help them.


How often do you say the word “love” in your emails or posts to your clients, prospects, or peers?


So social media posts aside, let’s talk about when you’re having that new potential client conversation. They are usually over email, the prospect is inquiring about working together, and you’re giving them a glimpse into what you do.


So here’s how—in the course of an email—I might drop in the L word without even realizing it:

...

How to Balance Learning and Doing

08-Feb-2017

Kathleen here. Last night I was browsing the Kindle bookstore looking for a fictional book I could escape into. Before I knew it, I was browsing personal development and business books. Does this ever happen to you? I’m guessing you’re a student of life and just as invested in learning All The Things as I am.


The hard part is balancing the learning with the doing. It’s easy to begin to hoard knowledge without ever implementing it. Or becoming overwhelmed with all the things you should be doing according to the last book, course, or webinar you attended.


So today, I want to share a couple ways I’ve balanced learning and doing:


1. Take stock of what you already know


If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the things you don’t know, make a list of everything you’ve already learned. Think about education, courses, books, and conferences you’ve attended. Make a list and next to each one write down even just one thing you learned.


2. Want to go back to school?


Any time I start fantasizing about getting a masters degree in creative writing, I decide to just sit down and do some creative writing instead. Sometimes the best way to learn is by actually doing the thing. (And on that note, can I get an honorary master’s in business from somebody???)

...

Our Secret to Being Profitable (Since Day One)

31-Jan-2017

Kathleen here. I want to tell you a few secrets – Tara and I don’t come from a family of entrepreneurs. In fact, before creating Braid Creative, we had never really imagined working for ourselves. We were perfectly comfortable collecting gold stars (and a paycheck with a matching 401k) from somebody else.


But here’s another secret: even with our lack of experience, we were profitable since day one. Our goal was to simply replace our day job salaries, but I was surprised when in our first year of business together, I made more than I ever had working as an art director at an advertising agency.


What’s the secret to being profitable since day one? We positioned ourselves as creative experts, created really good content, and narrowed in on our offering to attract just the right dream customers.


I recently invited Tara to chat with us on the Being Boss podcast to chat with us about:

...

Good Marketing Starts with Good Branding

24-Jan-2017

Most of us become creative entrepreneurs, small business owners, or freelancers because we want to spend our days working with our hands, curating our shop, painting canvases, designing brands, coaching dream clients… the creative side of what we do is, well… what we actually want to be doing all day. It can be frustrating when you have to wear all the other hats to run a successful business. It’s not enough that you just do “your job” because you have to do all the other jobs too: accounting, HR, account service, customer support, and marketing.


Listen. Marketing is simply reminding people to hire you. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated, but what I really want to tell you today is that good marketing begins with good branding.


So what is good branding? When you hear the word “branding,” you might think about your logo, colors, and visual identity. You’re not wrong, but branding is so much more.

Branding is how you position yourself as a reliable guide or expert in your field. It’s the words you use in your tagline, on your about me page, and in your conversations that very specifically let your dream customer know you’re for them.


Branding is clearly articulating what you want people to know, do, and feel with every blog post, Instagram photo, tweet, and webinar.

...

How to Deal with Client Rejection

17-Jan-2017

Sometimes the most heartbreaking thing about being a creative for a living is when a client has negative feedback.


It looks a little something like this: you go through a discovery process, you ask all the right questions, you and your client are jiving and on the same page, you pull inspiration and the client gives you a big thumbs up. You spend days sketching, refining, and finalizing a design that makes you proud. It just might be your best work yet.


Then, you present a design to your client. You can read their face – they aren’t loving it. Or maybe they take their time getting back to you – you take the silence as criticism and start beating yourself up over what they’re thinking. Maybe they come back with “I love it, but could we change …” followed by revisions that butcher your work into something that resembles nothing you would ever create. You find yourself feeling like a pixel-pushing order-taker rather than the gifted creative expert you are.


At worst, you’re left wondering if maybe you really do suck at your job, and at best you’re wondering how to get your clients to trust you. You become resentful and begin daydreaming about what it must be like to be an accountant for a living – work that isn’t quite so objective or personal.

...

Remind Them to Hire You

10-Jan-2017

I have an incredibly talented friend (and former Braid client) who makes a living as a professional photographer. We were recently hanging out and she was sharing her business insights and frustrations alike with me. This friend of mine is incredibly grateful for the clients she has, the reputation she’s building, and the work she is getting, but like any creative entrepreneur, there are seasons when she’s racking her brain to come up with new tactics and ideas to book her schedule solid with dream clients. Since chatting with my friend, I’ve been racking my brain thinking of ways she can get more clients too. So this post is for her (but I have a feeling it might help you too).


1. SET CONCRETE GOALS


It’s easy enough to say “I want more clients,” which was what my friend was originally expressing in her frustrations, but that’s not an easily measurable goal. So I asked my friend over the course of our conversation to get more specific and she said, “I want to book 20 weddings this year.” Okay! Now we have a number to work with. 20 weddings a year = 5 per quarter.


1B. MAKE SPACE FOR YOUR GOALS


My favorite tool for making my goals visual is The Chalkboard Method. So I would advise my friend to create her own chalkboard pronto. (Seriously, it works.)

...

New Year (Business!) Resolutions

03-Jan-2017

Kathleen here wishing you a Happy New Year! I for one love a fresh start, and there is no better time than the new year to harness that kind of “DO OVER!” energy to build the business and brand you want. So today, I wanted to share a few ideas that will help you take your brand and business to the next level in the new year.


BE CONSISTENT


If there is one thing you can control in your business, it’s how you consistently show up. Here are a few ways you can be more consistent in the new year:



  • Update your profile picture / avatar across all social media platforms to something more current

  • Make sure your visual identity (logo, colors, typography) is consistent across your website, social media, images, collaterals, content upgrades, signage, etc.

  • Create content on your blog, social media, and / or podcast with consistent frequency (pssst… an editorial calendar will help!)


GET REJECTED


It sounds counter-intuitive to make accruing rejections a goal, I know. And to be completely honest, rejection is one of my personal fears, which keeps me from putting myself out there in a bigger way.

...

The Chalkboard Method

12-Dec-2016

When we first launched Braid Creative, we spent a few months developing our brand, solidifying our positioning, and designing our website. We launched with a big hurrah and a bottle of bubbly. And then… crickets.


We needed clients, stat.

At the time, we were working with our executive coach, Jay Pryor, who held us accountable for doing things to help move our baby business forward. He helped us navigate feelings of uncertainty, but he also helped us get clear and practical when it came to growing our business. When we shared with him how freaked out we were that we didn’t have any clients he said this:


In order to get clients you have to make space for them.


Our coach put us “on the hook” for developing a system to visually track our clients. Jay promised that the universe abhors a vacuum and that we simply needed to make space—literally and metaphysically—for clients.


I had an entire wall in my home office painted with chalkboard paint at the time – and as daunting as it was to “make space” for clients I didn’t have yet, I drew 12 lines that I hoped would fill sooner than later. I remember sitting back down at my computer, which faced my chalkboard wall, a little freaked out about the constant, oversized reminder that we had NO work. But through a combination of a lot of hustle while launching our business and a little bit of magic (#hustlewoo), all 12 slots were filled by the end of the week.

...

How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Your Content

07-Dec-2016

Creating content is one of the best ways to position yourself as an expert, attract dream customers, and really become known for what you do best. But if you’re not doing it consistently or cohesively you could confuse your reader and potential customers. And if you’re not leveraging that content to its full extent, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table.


It might surprise you to hear that if you have a content problem you have a branding problem—because your brand is the impression you leave and what makes you memorable, and your content is one of the best ways to define who you are and what you want to be known and hired for. In this article, I’m going to share a step-by-step on how to create an editorial calendar that supports your branding goals.


STEP 1. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE KNOWN FOR?


The most important thing you need to understand before you begin creating content is what you want to be known for. If you want to be known for your artistic hand-lettering, your content should support that expertise. If you want to be known for your methodical and strategic thinking, you should be sharing it in your content.


Try this: pretend as if you’re writing a book.

This is the exercise we use with our one-on-one clients and in our Braid Method Branding ECourse to help our students define what they really want to be known for.

...

THE BRAID BLOG from TARA AND KATHLEEN
Braid Creative & Consulting is branding and visioning for creative entrepreneurs and purposeful businesses. The Braid Blog is where we share weekly insights and resources for getting clear about your vision and voice, sharing content that attracts your dream client, and creating the brand positioning you want to be known for.

Learn more about how to work with Braid here >

RECENT POSTS
CATEGORIES

VIEW ALL BLOG ARCHIVES >

 


 

blend who you are & what you do,

share & sell your creative expertise,

attract your dream customers,

& make your business vision real

This ecourse is for creative people like designers, photographers, stylists, lifestyle coaches, wellness professionals, yogis, foodies, writers, bloggers, and creative consultants. Whether you’re just starting out, or have lots of experience, our step-by-step guidance will help you create a brand and business vision that feels more clear, confident, and like the true you.


 


 

LETTERS for CREATIVES

Want more? Sign up for our exclusive weekly email letters from us, Kathleen and Tara, for insights and advice from our own personal and professional overlap – as sisters, business owners, content sharers, and creative entrepreneurs.

Thank you for signing up for our Braid Letters. Keep your eyes peeled on your inbox and in the meantime like us on Facebook.

 


 

BEING BOSS PODCAST

Listen to the Being Boss podcast with Kathleen Shannon & Emily Thompson for candid stories, insights and tips on how to be boss in work and life.

© Braid Creative and Consulting
Website Development by Indie Shopography