7 Ways to Brand You + What You Do for Creative Business Owners

how to brand yourself

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

7 ways to establish your personal brand

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.

how ot brand yourself

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).

2. Create the work you actually want to be doing

If you could only sell one thing, what would it be? If you could stop selling one thing, what would you stop? You may offer lots of ways to hire or buy you. However, if you keep selling the stuff that you think will get you hired, but doesn’t exactly float your own creative boat, you could be setting yourself up to create a boring, unfulfilling day job of your own making—except now you have no one to blame but the boss.

3. Narrow in on your dream client

Imagine your dream client. They may be someone you’ve worked with in the past - or just the type you’d like to work with in the future. How real can you make them? The more specific you can get, the more you can narrow in on your tribe, and the more “psychic” you’ll feel when working with their needs and wants.

What job does your dream client work?
What are some of their personality traits and quirks?
What are they stressed out about? What worries them or keeps them stuck?
What are they proud of?
Who do they trust?
What do they value?
How does your work help them? What problem do you solve for them?

4. Define your style and point-of-view

Your process is what’s going to reassure your client they’ll get great work and a great experience. Your process is what gets you the collaborative input you need from your client. Of course, your work is created for them. But as you start sharing more of the work you really love, you’ll attract attention for your aesthetic or approach. Why not own that style of yours and become known for it?

You don’t have to be a creative chameleon, erasing all trace of your own style or point of view, to create, advise, guide, and make – for others.

5. Let your clients in on your process

There comes a point in a ‘hire me’ conversation where you shift from the sparkly and inspiring creative that attracted your dream clients in the first place to the expert who simply explains what you do. How do you ‘close the deal’ and set the stage for working together, without feeling awkward or sounding salesy? YOU SHARE YOUR STEPS.

When you stick to your process, you stay in the driver’s seat – with the flexibility to collaborate and create together with your client along the way.

6. Don’t forget to tell them what they actually get

So, obviously, we love process. We love getting hired for a complete “package,” not just a la carte design pieces. We love helping other designers go from order takers to experts who guide the client engagement. And we love helping coaches and consultants better express the journey they are going to take their clients on, so they trust them from the get-go. But just because you have a process doesn’t mean you aren’t giving your clients concrete deliverables. They get real “stuff.” Don’t forget to tell them what they get.

Don’t undersell what you bring to the table as a smart, strategic, authenticity-seeking creative. But beware of overcomplicating or over-proving your expertise, your specialty, or your steps – with too much talk and not enough show.

7. Blend you into what you do

A personal brand is your outer layer. So yeah, it’s your work style, but it's also your personal style – and even more than that, it’s your voice. It gives clients (and readers) a promise of the layers underneath. Your personal brand is one of the best ways to build your business as a creative expert who shares what they know with others, so they want to learn more – and hire you!

Express your personality in business

Expressing your personality + your deeper purpose will give you the freedom to grow into what’s next for you.




Want to learn more? In our free eBook we tell you how to take these 7 ways of branding yourself as a creative expert in conversations and on your website.

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

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My Secret to Learning New Things as a Business Owner | Braid Creative

continued learning for business owners

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.

techniques for learning new things

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!

IMPLEMENT AS YOU GO

My next biggest trick to learning as I go, is to actually implement what I’m learning as I go. For example, I recently wanted to know more about Facebook ads. I read through the thorough coursework (by Claire Pelletreau for anyone who’s wanting to learn more!), but hit a standstill when the content became technical. I realized that I would learn better by implementing a campaign in real time as I worked through the course. Another example is when I took an in-depth course in copywriting. Instead of just reading through the concepts, I practiced what I was learning by actually writing a newsletter and sales page as I went.

ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT YOU’RE LEARNING EVERYDAY

Maybe you’re reading articles like this as you’re tackling your inbox. Maybe you’re listening to podcasts or watching informational YouTube videos in between meetings. Or maybe you’ve got a business book on your nightstand table. You don’t necessarily need to go back to school to get a masters degree to learn new things (more power to you if you have it in you to do that!). You’re probably learning more than you’re giving yourself credit for. So my final technique for learning new things is simply to acknowledge what I’m learning everyday by sharing new ideas with my business partners or creative peers or even just writing down “three things I’ve learned this week” in my trusty notebook. Pro-tip: creating content and teaching others what you’re learning can be a great way to solidify new concepts and skills.

Learn through teaching for creative entrepreneurs

DOWNLOAD: 7 WAYS TO BRAND YOU & WHAT YOU DO

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Finding motivation in your business

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




Hi Karen,

Thanks for sharing all of this. In reading your email, it sounds like you know what you need to do. But I have three insights that might help you find the motivation you’re looking for.

tips for finding motivation

TAKE THE SMALLEST NEXT STEP
When I’m not feeling motivated to write or design, my solution to this is always to "just open the file." Or it might be "just lace up your shoes" when I don't feel like exercising.

In other words, just do the first and smallest next step. That's all you need to do. In fact, the prize doesn’t even need to necessarily be in sight to be working for it. It might be well around the bend, but you can still take the next steps to get where you want to go. Don't worry about thinking about the big picture in your day-to-day – that's enough to paralyze anybody from doing anything at all.

The next smallest step for you, Karen, might be deciding which pieces to put in your portfolio. And for today, that’s all you need to do. Tomorrow you can apply for the jobs. The day after that you can start the framework for your website. Task it out and check off the to-do list. You don’t need inspired-action to take small steps.

CREATE THE FEELING NOW
Anytime I am feeling impatient for my next big dream, I try to create the feeling of achieving the goal now.

creating the feelig of success

For example, my big, scary, and improbable goal right now is to have my own bestselling book published and on the shelves in airports. Even typing that out now gets my inner critic going off on a tangent with things so harsh I won’t even share them here. But instead of giving in before I even get started, I give myself a minute to think about what I’ll feel like when I have my bestselling book in the airport: I’ll feel confident, knowledgeable, and legit. That feeling will make my conversations more generous, my time more valuable, and my posture a little taller. So why not have generous conversations, strong boundaries, and good posture now? When I feel the feelings of success before I ever achieve it, it makes me move through the world with confidence. That confidence then cultivates the motivation and behaviors that deliver the success I’m wanting with that much more ease and speed.

So for you Karen, imagine how you will feel when you’re supporting yourself with your watercolors and workshops. How will you move through the world once you’ve achieved this goal? How could you begin behaving as if success is already yours?

The answers to these questions might circle you back to taking the next smallest step to making the dream job a reality now. Maybe you find yourself having conversations with potential collaborators who will help you host a teaching workshop on the weekend. Perhaps you carve out just 30 minutes a day to begin painting now.

KEEP THE PRIZE IN SIGHT (LITERALLY)
My final recommendation to your question of “how to keep the prize in sight” is to literally create space for the vision. Mood boarding by cutting out inspiring images from magazines and tacking them to a corkboard in your home is an old school way of doing this. Your brain will acknowledge these goals on a daily basis and work toward them for you, even when you’re not feeling motivated or inspired to do the work yourself. And if you haven’t done The Chalkboard Method yet, this might be a great way to create space for your goals as well.

Moodboard for motivation

Finally, I want you to trust that you’re doing everything you can, in the right time, to make your creative career a dream come true.

Keep going,
Kathleen

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