Our Secret to Being Profitable (Since Day One) | Braid Creative

being profitable in business

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.

make your business profitable

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.

secret to being profitable

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

  • What to do with your business vision changes
  • Pivoting positioning vs. pivoting your business model
  • Tweaking your positioning statement vs. re-doing your entire brand
  • What is positioning?
  • Cultivating confidence in your business and positioning
  • How to develop or update your brand’s positioning
  • Narrowing down to just one main offering

Listen to Being Boss Episode #109: Packaging, Positioning, and Process with Tara Street

P.S. The Braid Method Branding ECourse is where we share everything we know, plus helpful how-tos, on how to package and position yourself to attract more dream clients. It’s now open to new students. Learn more and register for this DIY complete-at-your-own-pace branding course.

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16-Mar-2016
Play Pretend to Cultivate Confidence in Your Business | Braid Creative

Play Pretend to Cultivate Confidence

Tara here. Of all the creative entrepreneurs and aspiring-to-be’s my sister and business partner, Kathleen and I have worked with, at one point or another, almost all of them have expressed that they want to cultivate an attitude of confidence and fearlessness. Kathleen’s advice to them is this: Pretend as if you are a confident and fearless badass.

Of course she would just cut to the chase (and use the word “badass”) to help them keep moving toward what they really want. But our advice to help them embrace their ability to “do this thing!” is really not that different than the lens we use to help them brand themselves. We often hear a client telling us that they know the talent, the drive, the dream, the itch to do something that’s all their own, or just something a little new and scary—it’s in there, inside them somewhere, but they don’t quite 100% believe it yet, or they don’t quite think they’ve “arrived” there yet. Pretending “as if” is a great way to articulate that scary, vague, too-big-to-describe thing they want to do—and take action.

Kathleen wrote a great post on this subject not too long ago. I want to share it below. And just take a moment to acknowledge that it wasn’t too terribly long ago, we were jumping into our own vision and adventure together. We pretended “as if.” And then we just “were.” We still have to work, but we did it.

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Kathleen here. Playing pretend might sound like “fake it ’til you make it,” but it’s more like taking on the Method approach to acting. I only know what I know about Method acting from actors like Jared Leto who talk about never breaking character (even off set) when playing Oscar-worthy roles. Actors use Method tools and techniques to create authentic thoughts and feelings true to the role they’re playing. I think we can draw from the Method acting technique to harness the feelings we want to have in our creative work and life.

How to be a confident fearless badass

I mostly play pretend when I’m scared and trying something new—big or small. One of the first times I found playing pretend to be useful was when I was the lead art director on an NBA account. I knew nothing about basketball and I was a young designer. So I pretended as if I was a senior boy (my aesthetic was quite feminine at the time) designer at Nike working on a cool sporty campaign. And it worked. But sometimes I have to play pretend for the little things too. I mean, sometimes I have to play pretend that I’m the kind of person who doesn’t get anxiety when meeting a new friend over coffee.

Today I invite you to pretend.
Pretend as if you got enough sleep.
Pretend that talking money with clients doesn’t make you break out in hives.
Pretend like you’re the most badass designer / writer / photographer out there.
Pretend as if you’re the kind of person who always makes the healthy choice.
Pretend you’re Beyonce. Or even Mister Rogers.

Pretend as if … Because then you are. (click to tweet)

 how to behave with confidence

But if playing pretend doesn’t work for you, I’ve got another “fake it ’til you make it” way of thinking about it: behave as if you’re a confident badass. So don’t worry about your attitude or mindset. You can still feel insecure, confused, or scared but still behave like someone who has their shit together. Stand up straight, initiate eye contact, have a firm handshake, and hit publish.

Behave with confidence and confidence will find you. (click to tweet)

Or let’s say you want to be a writer, but you’re not feeling inspired. Then behave as if you’re an inspired writer. Sit down and write 1,000 words. Even if they’re really awful words. Behave as if you’re a writer and the inspiration will follow.

Or maybe you want to be happy but are finding yourself in a foul mood. Behave as if you’re happy—put on a smile and give someone a compliment. Behave as if you’re happy and happiness will find you.

Perhaps you want to be more fit but are feeling like a couch potato. Behave like an athlete. Take your vitamins, lace up your sneakers, and go outside. Behave like a healthy person and soon enough you will be healthy.

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If you like this post you might like our DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. It’s 4 emails x 4 weeks (16 emails total) for just $40. Complete with worksheets, exercises, mantras, meditations, and to-dos for time management, decision-making, and strategies for living more of what you love—in work and life. You can learn more about what you’ll get and purchase anytime here.

Or check out our Braid Method Branding Ecourse if you need to find a little confidence in defining what do you do, who you serve, and how you share it with your audience.

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to support themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.

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How to Narrow in and Claim Your Creative Focus | Braid Creative

Claim your creative focus | Braid Creative & Consulting

In our last blog post, we wrote about why and when you should be narrowing in and getting specific about what you want to be known for. Easier said than done, right? We've talked enough about narrowing in on your creative focus that we think you understand that it's an important thing to do in your business, but understand that something is important and actually doing it?—well that's where it gets a little tricky.

We shared a lot of WHY’s to narrow in and find what you want to be known for, let’s talk about some HOWs:
In our Braid Method Branding Ecourse, we talk about HOW to really narrow in and claim your creative expertise:

1. Diffusion & Confusion Culprits:

If you are good at “all the things,” and you’re having trouble deciding where to focus:
- List out all the ideas in your head that are making you feel scattered and causing diffusion of your own focus. See which ones you can put on the backburner for now.
- List out the different ways you’re describing or not clearly describing what you actually do that’s causing confusion for potential clients. See if you can get the five different bullets you’re using to describe what you do down to even two or three.

2. What Do You Want to Be Doing All Day?:

If the diffusion and confusion lists still have you feeling uncertain or overwhelmed or not willing to “let go” of some of the wider services you provide or wider pool of people you provide them for, ask yourself this “What do you want to be doing all day?” “Who do you want to be doing it for?”

What do you want to be doing all day? Who do you want to help? | Braid Creative & Consulting

3. Fill out Your Gift Tag:

This is one of the most challenging exercises we give our clients. But if you’ve done steps 1 & 2, give it a try. It’s a super-short version of some of the longer scripts we give creatives to help them better articulate their business and their brand. But that’s why it’s hard, because it is so short! We call it a gift tag because it’s the label on your package! It tells people what to expect before they open it & reminds you what it is you have to give!

Fill Out Your Gift Tag:
How to _____ [ advice, know-how, inspiration you share ]
From a _____ [ what you want to be known for! what you do + a little bit about you]
To a _______ [ dream client like you! ]
*Another similar version of this exercise that might be a little easier, is If You Wrote a How-To Book, what would the title be? The chapters? What would people “get” from your chapters? Which section of the book store would it be in? How would your personality or personal story show up among all the good tips, advice or inspiration you are sharing?

DOWNLOAD: WRITE A BOOK WORKSHEET

What would be the chapter titles in your how-to book? | Braid Creative & Consulting

4. Your Process i.e. The Steps You Always Take

Guess what? If you tried out the If You Wrote a Book exercise, you may have just framed out your creative process (the ingredients or steps you take every time when working with a client) and you didn’t even know it! Defining your Creative Process is like Owning Your Expertise 2.0. You’ve put the intention out there to narrow in, get specialized and get known for doing this very specific service. But if you can really build a framework for HOW you do it, and stick to those steps every time, it’s like every time you work with a client you are sharpening your expertise, building your confidence, giving them even more benefit of your knowledge and specialization! It’s a win-win for any creative working for themselves (and their client!) who wants to craft a business of their own making instead of feeling like a helper for hire.

If you can believe it, we get even more specific (ha! see what I did there?) about defining your creative expertise and narrowing in on your specialty in our Braid Method Branding Ecourse. So if you found this post helpful, make sure to opt in to the full ecourse!

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to support themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.

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