Do These 3 Things Before You Start Branding Your Business

When you first get that incredible business idea you are (understandably) super eager to show it to the world. And you probably feel you’re not doing enough to get from that initial “Oh, I’m ready I want to do this!” to the launch day.

You want that beautiful logo and a website to match and you’re itching to launch your business asap. So you look for a brand designer and website designer or start learning how to do everything yourself. And as the days go by you the feeling you’re not doing enough, that you even haven’t started properly at all. But that’s not true. The start date of your business isn’t your launch date, but the day you put the first word to paper (or screen).

Think about it for a second. It usually takes a little bit of time for a seed to germinate, poke through the soil surface and grow into a brilliant green shoot. Remember: Even though your future customers don’t know anything about your business yet, it doesn’t mean you haven’t started it.

Here are three things to do before you brand your business — either before or while working with a brand designer, or before you start creating your brand elements yourself.

Do These 3 Things Before You Start Branding Your Business

Do these 3 things before you start branding your business

Focus your brand

Start very small. You’ll have all the room and time to grow that you need later on. But to start strong and with style, you need to start small. Here’s how to focus your brand:

  • Write down your story and pick several stories about yourself and your business you can tell on all your social media and blog platforms.

  • Figure out exactly who your dream customer is and how you can help her.

  • Choose your offerings based on your gifts and story and on your customers needs and desires.

2. Write down E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G

All these ideas swirling in your head are precious. Some of them of pure gold, some of them are just not that amazing, but all of them need to be recorded and thought through. Perhaps the only way to weed out the good ideas from the bad is to see them written down.

So clear your schedule for an afternoon, make yourself a cup of tea and write everything down. Don’t act on any idea right away, just do a braindump and then start evaluating them one by one. Ask these three questions:

  1. Can it help/bring joy to my customers?

  2. Is it sustainable (financially for me, environmentally for the planet, etc.)?

  3. Do I want to be known for this?

3. Make a one year plan

Running a business is a lifetime adventure. So planning is essential, even if you don’t follow that plan to the letter. Outline a one year plan for your business. On a blank sheet of paper draw three columns and four lines and name the months from the current one onward. Set your launch date for your business,  add all special days, such as Easter and Christmas, and and then set launch dates for all your products, services, content updates, etc.

And now tell me this…

What’s the one thing you’ll do today that’ll bring you one step closer to launching your business or that next amazing project you’ve been keeping in your head for so long?

Top 10 Branding Mistakes to Avoid

Top 10 Branding Mistakes to Avoid

Before you start branding or re-branding your business keep in mind that you must have at least 1k followers on Instagram first. Also, you cannot possibly do it yourself, you must hire a professional right away. Oh, and all you need are some stunning graphics looking just like the girl whose Youtube videos you binge-watched last night.

Ahhh, yes of course I’m kidding! *duh* :)

There are so many misconceptions about branding, I can write an article about the 100 branding mistakes to avoid not the 10! But just because I know you’re busy running your tiny but magical online empire and won’t have the time to read a novel on that (arguably) very interesting topic, let’s crack on the top 10 branding mistakes to avoid.

The 3 Essential Brand Elements You Need To Start Your Business Today

Imagine this: You make a cup of chamomile, sit down on your comfy sofa and open Instagram for 10 or so minutes of inspiration, socializing and girl crushing.

The women you follow are all incredible lady bosses who seem to have it all figured out and it's pretty easy to get dizzy and disheartened by their perfectly looking brands.

You start to think, "I can’t possibly compete with that!"

And you’ll be right. You can’t.

And most importantly, you absolutely should not. Because that’s not your job here. Your job is to create, serve and be a part of a loving community, not to adopt an outdated business model from a century ago.

Last week I talked about the seven steps you need to take to start your own business and today I’d like to tell you about the bare minimum you need to brand that business.

I’ll repeat this over and over again: Nothing beats working with a pro graphic designer on creating your unique brand. But if that’s not possible, the next best thing is to start small and start now.

Do the best you can right now and grow as you go.

The 3 Essential Brand Elements You Need To Start Your Business Today

The 3 essential brand elements you need to start your business today

When starting a business there's a lot to do (see How to Start Your Side Hustle Business This Weekend here), so you need to be smart and start with as little as you can get away with, or you might be in the "pre-launch" stage forever. So, what are the 3 essential brand elements you need to start your business as soon as today?

1. YOUR STORY

I can talk to you all day why you should start with your story and not with your visuals but instead I’ll just give you three things to think about:

  1. Your story is the one thing that’s truly unique about you. Your products and services most likely aren’t that different from anybody else's but the person behind them is a one of kind.

  2. “People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. ..." (Simon Sinek). Your story is the best way to broadcast your 'why' to the world.
  3. We are overloaded with graphics, videos and visual content every day. But what we remember at the end of that day are the people and their stories. It's in your DNA — we evolved telling each other stories around the fire and that's still the easiest way for two souls to meet.

2. LOGO

Your logo can be as simple as your name written in a beautiful font (there are thousands of those on Creative Market) or it can be as complex as digitizing a drawing and turning it into a logo.

I’ve created the Branding Kits if you don't want to start from scratch. Each has 21 brand designs to choose from and you can add brand elements to your logo as your business grows.

Additionally you could choose a 5-6 colors and create a color palette for your website. Use Pinterest for inspiration, ColorZilla to pick your colors and Adobe Color to create a palette.

Related article: How to Choose Your Color Palette - Part 2: Pick Your Colors

3. PHOTOS

Unless you are Seth Godin — a master wordsmith who relies on the immense power of his words — you’ll need images to show off your products and your charming personality.

My absolutely favorite place for images is Unsplash.com. All images there are free and you can easily find photos to suit your industry and your brand style. Premium images and bundles are also great and you can find plenty of those on Creative Market.

To shoot your own photos you might need a little bit of help. If you need more than just Youtube tutorials, Miss Chaitra from Creative Convex has more for you there: iPhone-o-graphy (no affiliate links or anything, I just love her work).

What’s next?

With just these elements you should be able to build a website. Pick a platform (I’m using Squarespace, so it might be a little bit different for Wordpress) and add your brand elements to it:

  1. upload your logo
  2. set up your colors
  3. add your photos
  4. use your story to write the content for your home page

And that's it!

Are you afraid of starting small (and a little bit scruffy)?

Do you think that you need everything to be stunning for you to get started? Are you're suffering from the CPD (Comparing and Perfection Disorder) epidemic that's plaguing our hyper connected world? What is the one step you'll take today to heal and grow?


How to Use Pinterest to Find Your Brand Style + Free Workbook

How to Use Pinterest to Find Your Brand Style + Free Workbook

Creating a Pinterest board and pinning 100+ images that catch your eye and take your fancy seems pretty straightforward, right? But how do you create a truly coherent board where every single image is in tune with the next and together they all look and feel exactly as you wish your brand to look and feel?

Every branding project starts with a vision board or inspiration board of some sorts. Now, I'm a crafty pixie and I think a physical inspiration board is the best, but I also recognize the fact that this might not be very practical, especially if your branding your business for the very first time.

So, is there a way to sift through the world wide web quickly and efficiently and create an inspiration board that makes you excited about your new brand?

As a matter of fact, there is!

Why Your Small Business Needs a Brand Style Guide and How to Create One Right Now (+ Free Template)

Why Your Small Business Needs a Brand Style Guide and How to Create One Right Now (+ Free Template)

I can very well imagine what the beginning of your business journey feels and looks like: wild ideas flying around, gazillion things to be done, a to do list with the length of the Amazon river, and the suffocating feeling of having no time to do it all! Oh, I’ve been there and I know how terrifying this time can be. But also know how empowering and exhilarating it is when you reach your first blissful Aha!-moment of clarity.

How to Rethink Your Brand and Breathe New Life Into Your Business + Free Workbook

How to Rethink Your Brand and Breathe New Life Into Your Business + Free Workbook

Last year I launched a free summer branding course and a very special bunch of girl bosses got to go through seven steps (or spells, as I call them) and transform their brands. And now, I’m releasing the (upgraded) contents of that course, so you can do the same.

But first, let me ask you this: When was the last time you took an hour or so to analyze what’s working and what isn't in your business and made an informed intuitive decision about the direction you should take? Yep, it's important and we rarely do it. We are all running like crazy “to make it” without realizing that stopping and looking around is part of the running process. 

How to Create One Brand When You Have Many Passions

How to Create One Brand When You Have Many Passions

You are a creative pixie, there’s no doubt about it. You have an extremely curious mind and a heart that has room for a thousand blue wales and more. So when I say you are most likely interested in 371 things at this very moment and you’d love to explore at least half of them, I’m being conservative in my estimate.

Let’s say you’ve decided to focus your business on being a copywriter full time. You got your one-woman-shop opened and off the ground, got your first clients, and all seemed right with the world for a time. And then an ache appeared, right next to your heart. It felt as if you’ve pulled a muscle and it made you restless. You started having the nagging feeling of something being incomplete — you were practically just like that puzzle of a beautiful German castle with a piece missing right in the middle of it, by one of the towers.

What you’re experiencing is what I call the “I want to do it all right now” syndrome. Every multipassionate gal on the planet who aspired to run her own business gets it at some point. And that’s OK.