You Can Do Hard Things

I have a few sticky notes on my desktop, one saying “You can do hard things!”.

Silly? Maybe, but whatever helps you push through challenges. A little reminder like that works for me and maybe it would for you too!

Whatever you must do to tackle the uncomfortable stuff.

I don’t know about you, but there has been a lot of uncomfortable stuff in my life lately, like a lot… to the point where I’m wondering, what’s going on?

But then I’m reminded that life’s hurdles come and goes in waves. I’m not sure if that is scientifically proven or not, but if not, I’m sure it could be!

As the true optimist that I am, that can only mean one thing, that soon there will be a wave of goodness coming my way! 😉

But let’s be real, what’s hard?

We set up these imaginary boundaries in our heads, yep, they are “homemade” imaginary boundaries.

Like:

  • “I can’t jump from a high rock because I’m afraid of heights.”
  • “I can’t public speak because people might think what I say is irrelevant.”
  • “I can’t make that phone call because they might tell me no.”
  • “I can’t charge more because who am I to charge that much?”
  • “I can’t grow my business because I just don’t know how.”

Well, I’m here to tell you (and me) this a bunch of BS! You can do hard things!

You made up those boundaries, so you can also throw them out the window and make new ones.  It’s actually a simple choice. 

Instead of doubting yourself and making excuses, try this:

  • Take one more step and you will be jumping.
  • Find another audience who resonate with you.
  • Push one more button and wait until they pick up.
  • Increase your prices.
  • Reach out to somebody who has grown a business before.

One of my favorite things to watch and support is when people around me do really hard things. I know they can do it and all that is needed is a bit of encouragement and a reminder that they can do hard things. That reminder can be anything from a sticky note, mentor, friend, or family member who knows your homemade boundaries are simply that, homemade. 

On the other side of those boundaries are beautiful achievements:

A sense of accomplishment, growth, and the realization that these boundaries were all made up in your head.

Now imagine what else you can do!

So, today, I simply want to remind you (and me) that you can do hard things!

Not only can you, but you should.

Can You Build a Brand on Your Own?

Believe it or not, I often recommend building your brand and website on your own…!

You might wonder why, I of all people would suggest that… I’m about to tell you.

When you start out, you don’t need a flashy website, a visual identity that is spot on, or unique messaging designed to fit you and your audience just perfectly. It’s a “nice-to-have”, at that point.

Yes, I said you do not need all that.

In the beginning you just need to start. Which on its own is not an easy feat, but that’s it.

Start with A DIY website.

Maybe have a logo on it, then go out there and figure out what you are doing, how you do things, and for who, THEN hire somebody to help you communicate that. Not the other way around [unless you have heaps of money laying around that you just need to get rid of, because it is of course very helpful! 😉 ]

I often see people hiding behind fixing and editing a website to be just “right” before they can go out and sell their goodness… yeah you know what I’m talking about, I know you have done it too.

Smiling, it’s ok, it’s also a time to think and define what you are doing and how. Just remember to not do it for too long because clarity comes from acting…not thought.

Oh, have I done that? Yes, of course. It’s even trickery when you are a brand designer and own an agency, ha, but the same rules go for me. Being aware of the excuse, [yes, it’s an excuse] can get you to change direction quicker though.

So today, I’m hoping I’ll nudge you into action, with your maybe not so perfect set up, and let you know that you can do it on your own.

Well, you don’t have to do it fully on your own.

There are lots of great tools and support out there, which brings me to something exciting! I have been working on this idea for quite some time, understanding why we make excuses for ourselves.

Sometimes you need to let things marinate, get the right experience before you can release something you are really excited about into the world. I have finally carved out time to create a course to help folks who aren’t ready to work with a professional still get fabulous guidance and support! 

The truth is, there is just sooo much to know about setting up your business online – so much.

This course is something I wished I had way back when I got going, it’s a collection of all the goodness I have learned in the past decade or so.

Launch w/ Ease will not only teach you how to set up your brand and website, but also how to build your business with confidence so you can start making money.

The best part – I will be there alongside you during the whole process to support, because without support…ugh, it makes things everything a whole lot more difficult, that’s a fact.

So, hey! If you are interested in learning more about this lovely course of mine, please click here, or simply sign up below, and you will be the first to know when it’s available!

Be the first to Launch w/ Ease

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If you are not interested, no worries!

I still hope you take action on whatever you are working on, put it out there and share your goodness with the world!

 

A Photoshoot Brings Your Website to Life

DO YOU WANT YOUR WEBSITE TO LOOK 10X BETTER (IF NOT MORE)?

Simple trick: Have a photoshoot.

It is seriously such a big difference if:

1) You have real photos versus stock photos (although in some areas great stock photos can work like a charm!)

2) If those photos are great, you are much more ahead of the game.

I work with a lot of different photographers, and I’m always just as excited and anxious to get the photos because the quality of them will make a tremendous difference.

You can think of it like sourcing the best ingredients for cooking a meal… you know the difference on a store-bought tomato and a home grown one… yeah, it’s like that!

Today I thought I would give you some tips on how to set up a great photoshoot.

FIRST, FIND YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER.​

  • You can ask a friend for recommendations
  • Search Instagram using hashtags, and easily get a spread of delightful photos so you can see if you like their style
  • If you are on a budget, ask a photography student
  • Or simply just ask a friend who has a creative eye

Type of photos

  • Client meeting –  invite a client (or ask a friend to act like a client) and have him/her dress appropriately – colors, style etc. – then set up a meeting with them portraying exactly how it would be in real life. The point of a photoshoot is to let your potential new client get a sneak peek into your world, who you are, and how you do things, so be authentic.
  • You at work – you at the computer, in your office, at your desk, etc.
  • You working – you with a notepad, pen, on the phone, researching, etc.
  • You communicating –  you on the phone, video conference, talking to co-worker, etc.
  • Filler photos – they should not have you in them, or you in focus, but rather portray your essence. It can be a blazer on a chair, big jewelry, glasses, fun socks, nice car or watch, a glass of wine, etc.
  • Family if family is part of your life bring them either in focus or out of focus
  • Pop of brand color incorporate your brand colors in accents like an armchair, wall, plant, flowerpot, pen, bag etc.

Technicalities

  • Horizontal images: Because we are shooting for a website, horizontal images work better. I know it is tempting to do vertical photos for bio/head shots, but I would suggest shooting horizontal, so you have space next to you, and the images will fill up the computer screen. If you don’t need the entire image, you can always crop it to fit. Having space next to you gives more depth as well as a perfect opportunity to lay a call to action on top of the photo
  • Interesting angles: Shooting at slightly unexpected angles makes for a much more interesting shoot and immediately takes your site to another level
  • Lighting: Great lighting is essential. You want it for removing shadows, illuminating your face, etc. You can also use lighting in a creative way, for example if some sunlight is coming in creating a ray on your desk etc. Lighting can take your photos to whole other level.
  • Negative space: Negative space is, actually, positive 😉 What negative spaces means is that you have empty space around you/the object.  As mentioned above, it’s a great place to lay text over the photo, but it also gives the viewer breathing room and a sense of space.

What to wear

  • Wear what you would wear when meeting with a client
  • Brand colors: Dress in something that has your brand colors or complementary to your brand colors. However, you do not want to go overboard (unless that is your thing). Using subtle placement makes the photoshoot natural while reminding the user of your colors.
  • Multiple looks: If you can, shoot in a couple different outfits. Changing up your looks is as simple as swapping out your blazer, changing your blouse, or putting on a new pair of shoes! It will give you better variety for the site, give it more life, and it is fun!

Where to shoot

  • Your office – If it is on brand and looks nice
  • Office-like space – Find a space you like visually, can be a coffee shop, hotel lobby or co-working space. It’s okay that it’s not your space. What you are doing is creating the experience of working with you and if it’s not exactly where you would work that’s totally fine.
  • Home – Depending on what kind of work you do, or how you work with your client, you can just shoot in your kitchen, your patio, etc.
  • Outdoors – Shoot in a park, city scape, beach, hiking trail, biking to work etc.

I HAVE CREATED A GUIDE FOR YOUR PHOTOSHOOT, DOWNLOAD IT BELOW!

Extra goodies

It can be a little uncomfortable if you are not used to being in front of the camera, so make sure to have fun. I recommend candid lifestyle shoots; they are more genuine and comfortable. Perhaps bring a friend who can help with the shoot, provide their perspective, or just make you feel at ease.

I also recommend, checking out the location beforehand so you are comfortable know what to expect. Being comfortable in your environment will make your photoshoot run smoothly and be more fun!

Whether you have a friend or photographer shooting, optimizing your time is thoughtful.

Have fun!!

I hope this inspires you to get in front of the camera!

Procrastination is overwhelming. Here’s how I overcome it.

It's no secret, procrastination is overwhelming.

As I write this, it’s my dad’s birthday (Happy Birthday Dad!!). Because of his big day, I, of course, called him and sang. He smiled on the other side and told me while giggling that I was the first to sing for him. In all honesty, he probably meant that I was the first to sing for him that horribly… yeah, I can’t brag about my pipes really, but oh well, done is better than perfect!

Which brings me to procrastination and to do things even if it feels uncomfortable or not being ready for it. My dad has always encouraged me to take action (so it’s basically his own dang fault he got a horrible birthday song in his ear ;)!

I believe taking action is one of the biggest challenges we have as business owners. It’s so much easier to fill the day with organizing things, fiddling with designs on an IG post vs. doing the work that really matters.

Slight backstory, I’m one of those lucky lucky people who happen to have a father who is also my business (and life) mentor. He has run his own businesses, worked for huge corporations as well as small ones, has a brilliant mind and a big heart, and he has been my greatest influence on how I run and do business.

The number one thing that he would say when I call and ask if I should do this or that…is: Gor De, with his sweet slightly countryside accent.

Gor De, is Swedish for “Do it“ or “Just take action“.

It’s such an easy concept but sometimes, oh so difficult to execute.

He has always encouraged me to try and see how it goes. You can’t do more than mess up.

Procrastination only happens if you are not clear on what you should do or if it’s something that is uncomfortable to do.

So, this whole procrastination thing is really a change in mind set.

Here are some ideas to train yourself to “Gor De”, or “do it anyway”, when you feel like you would rather be in your comfy socks, wrapped up in a soft blanket in front of the bustling fire
  • Have a sticky note on your computer or your bathroom mirror with a reminder of taking action, of doing it anyway. Or a sign, like me, with my dad’s saying on my office wall.
  • Be clear on where you want to go and why. Having clarity feels so good and makes doing uncomfortable things quite a bit easier.
  • Schedule your stuff! Set aside a day, some hours to do what you need to do. Don’t just put it on your to do list, actually put it on your schedule and block out the time. More importantly, when somebody asks if you are available at that time to do something different, the answer is no. Whoa, for me that’s a tricky one. Because “it’s just my own stuff” but it is so important to take care of your own stuff.
  • I like to see change visually…might you be one of those too? For example, I have listed how many articles/videos I want to do this year. When one is done, I make a mark on my paper calendar, so I can see I’m one step closer to completion.
  • Because of my athletic background, I might be slightly competitive, so I like to turn most things into a sport or game. For example, last time it took me two hours to write x, next time, maybe I can do it in 1.75hrs instead…! Keeping track of time, amount, or anything tangible to see improvement makes doing tough things more fun!
  • Do it with a friend! Monthly Marketing day, work out, schedule social media posts. When you meet up with somebody you have one more person to keep you accountable. If you are anything like me you might enjoy team working a tad bit more!

The biggest thing is integrity, the only true cure to procrastination.

If you say you are going to do something, do it. Whether it’s for you, a client, or somebody else, you can practice that every day. Start with the little things like making the decision to making your bed every morning, showing up on time, to only doing phone calls on Tuesday etc. and stick to those decisions!

And as my dad would say, if you mess up, just do better tomorrow.

I hope this inspires you to find some ideas to take action or just Gor De, comfortably or not.  Small steps, in the right direction, is all you need.

Don’t Forget to Change Your Oil! Website Maintenance Recommendations

Keep your site up to date.

Website maintenance recommendations are coming your way. But first, let’s remember the work it took you to get there and why you need to maintain your website in the first place.

I know, getting a website created and set up is a big deal…from figuring out your niche and your offerings, getting your message just right, doing a fancy photoshoot, establishing your new visual identity to display all over your website. It’s a lot of work, but it’s really an exciting time! And it’s even more exciting when it’s time to open the doors and let the world know you are here!

I don’t want to be a spoilsport, but I do want to keep it real. I don’t have babies, but I imagine it being sort of similar (except the website reveal is most likely a lot less painful)! You plan, prep and get set up for the special day. Baby arrives and there’s lots of joy and excitement, but then…the real work starts. It’s sort of the same with creating your business and launching your website. It’s super exciting, but then…the real work starts. (Not a good metaphor? Hit reply and let me know).

Now it’s time to “nurture” that business so that it grows and prospers.

You need to make sure the website is working for you, so that people are actually coming to your site. You do this through networking, blogging, podcasting, socialmediaing (that might not be a word, but it is now), YouTubing, speaking, advertising, stapling posters to the community board, etc. When you start growing your business you will also inevitably want to update your site as your business goes through different changes. i.e. changing your offers, adding services, adding pages and so on. All of this can be fun, if you set it up that way. What might be a little less fun is making sure your site is up to date and secure so you can keep serving folks through your site.

Think of it this way…

You get oil changes every 5,000 miles,

You clean your teeth every 6 month or so,

You visit the doctor annually to make sure you are healthy,

Your smartphone has a bunch of apps that need to be updated so they run smoothly.

 

Similarly, this maintenance is needed for your website. It needs to be up to date to run smoothly. It needs be as secure as possible. And, it needs to be backed up just in case something does happen.

If your site is on WordPress, here is a “little less fun” list I would recommend you take a look at, or have a professional take a look at for you:

  • Back up your site
  • Research Theme vs WP versions for compatibility so it’s safe to update
  • Backup WordPress, theme, custom CSS rules and other possible items
  • Update your copyright if it’s passed another year
  • Update plugins (in correct order)
  • Clean out any unused plugins
  • Check that forms and links work

 

Lastly, make sure your site handled all the updates without losing any information or displaying in a funky way.

It’s pertinent to stay on top of this, because you have put in a lot of work to get here, and I know you don’t want to have to deal with your site being down. It’s not only time consuming but could be very costly.  If you don’t stay on top of updates you are opening the doors to unwanted guests, like hackers and malware. And before you say it, I know your site doesn’t have anything valuable on it (like credit card information) and it’s just a small informational site, but the sad truth is…it doesn’t matter anymore. For some odd reason that I don’t know or understand, people like to go in and break things anyway.

To end this post on a good note, make sure to stay on top of your oil change, teeth cleaning, smartphone updates and website check-ups, and I promise you that life will run a little bit smoother (at least in those areas)!

Basic SEO Marketing to Get You Going

If you ask me, it’s very important how a website looks!

But looks aren’t everything. 

As with all design elements, it needs to have both form and function.

One aspect of the function [yes, there are multiple] of a website is Search Engine Optimization [SEO]. As the name indicates, SEO helps with visibility of websites on search engines.  If you want a more detailed explanation have a read here.

As you most likely know, well-done SEO will help you get to the top of the search engines, such as Google, for free. You might also know that you can pay for ad space and your site will be put at the top or on the right side of the page.

But did you know that there are, on average, 3.8 million searches per minute on Google!?  That’s a lot of searching going on in the world. If your business got searched, let’s say, .01% out of all those searches, I think your business would be doing pretty well! 😉

 

With that said, I thought I would give some basic guidance on how search engines rank sites.

If you have…

  • high-quality, relevant information for a specific topic that uses the most optimal, searchable keywords…
  • other websites linking to your website… [Keep in mind, it’s important who you are linked to. You will up your game if you are linked to other trusted sites that get frequent traffic vs a site that rarely gets views.]
  • a lot of people clicking on your site…
  • a fast-loading site…
  • unique content… [I know, it’s convenient to get fed content from other resources, but when it’s original, it’s much more valuable for the search engine optimization.]
  • your brand or domain name mentioned frequently in other places…
  • high social metrics… [Facebook shares, LinkedIn mentions, Tweets, etc.]

 

…then search engines will love you and it’s more likely your site will populate at the top of the list when someone does a search relevant to what you offer.

What do you optimize for?

Before you take steps to get higher rankings, you first need to figure out who you are optimizing for [your audience] and what your audience is searching for [frequent keywords used]. That takes a little “brand” soul searching, but there are plenty of tools like Google’s own keyword tool that can help you figure out what that is.

You will then look at search volume, relevance, and competition to find which keywords or phrases will be the most useful for you. 

How to optimize?

When you have your list of keywords or phrases, it’s time to optimize your site. There are a plethora of ways you can do that!  Below are some of the top ones. But keep in mind, it’s constantly changing. [They just can’t make it easy for us can they.]

  • Title of your website
  • Meta description
  • Alt tags
  • URL name
  • Target keywords on your pages: Placing them higher up on the page is better.
    For example, a keyword in a title is more useful than if it’s buried within the body of your copy. But, either way, get those keywords placed on your page!
  • Built to share: if you give your audience an easy way to share your articles, your social metrics go up.
  • Engagement: whether on your site or on social media, engaging your audience is good.
  • User Experience: such as speed; a clean, visually appealing site; and simple navigation.
  • Local SEO: within a smaller market vs a larger market, broad terms (such as shoes) can produce effective results.
  • Hyperlinked text: when you link to another location, make sure to include keywords.
  • Content creation and promotion: remember, original content is best!
  • Mobile friendliness
  • Redirects: I do not recommend moving or changing your URL, but if necessary, make sure it’s done properly. Broken links can impact you poorly.
  • Duplicating content: this is never good. It dilutes link equity between pages (yes confusing, but in general, search engines will penalize you for duplicating sections of content.
  • Submit your xml sitemap: Share your sitemap with search engines so that spiders crawl your site and pick up your information more quickly.
  • Organic SEO: these organic optimization efforts are valued higher than paid advertising.
  • SSL certificate: this used to be just for eCommerce. Not anymore. All sites need to have it and it’s valued high for Google.
  • Back links: reach out to people who might be interested in linking to your articles.
  • SEO plugins: for example, Yoast SEO is free and an excellent tool.

This is a long list and there are even more ways to optimize, but hopefully this will give you a place to start. I know we all have limited time, but if you start with chipping away on this list, I’m most certain you will start seeing your site get higher up in the ranks. 

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out, and if this seems just straight up overwhelming, we can of course help do it for you.

Building a Personal Brand

Before jumping into how to build a personal brand, let’s establish what it really is.

Your personal brand is basically you being the face of your company with your values and your ways of doing things. It’s how you show up, and how you make people feel.

I was recently watching a video, where Marie Forleo was interviewing Seth Godin, one of my favorite marketers.  Seth breaks everything down to the basics and states the facts just how they are, raw and real. There is no fluff with him. In this specific episode, they talk about the practice of doing your work and how essential consistency is. (“The Practice” is also the name of his new book. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s probably as brilliant as all of his other work.)

Doing anything regularly is a big part of building a personal brand.

Next they talked about authenticity, which most likely is something that pops in your mind when you think about a personal brand…which make sense, but Mr. Godin puts a different perspective on this idea. He says that the only time you are authentic is when you are a toddler, because you don’t have any executive functions, but beyond that you are busy calculating what you would do as a civilized productive contributor to society.

Within this idea are the golden nuggets of what you should deliver to your audience.

an authentic experience that they can consume. Hallelujah.

So, although authenticity might come to mind when talking about personal brand, it’s really a calculated experience on how you want to show up. It’s about learning along the way how you want to be and how you don’t want to be. When you do that enough times, without being influenced by or desiring to impress, but instead doing what you believe is true, that’s when you are establishing your personal brand.

How do you make it happen? Well, that is simple, but not that easy.

You do uncomfortable things, until you do them well. Then you rinse and repeat.

You do things and then take a step back to evaluate if that is how you would do it again.

It’s about looking inwards and then really listening to your truth. It’s a constant growth process, but as time goes by you start gaining clarity on what feels right and how you’d like to show up.

Then, you incorporate those values and ways into your business and “all of a sudden” you have built a personal brand. The neat thing that comes with all that work is that you are building a business that also stands out, because you are doing it your way.

I hope this gives you more clarity on what a personal brand is and how to create one.

How to Get More Done

I might be a bit of a nerd when it comes to getting stuff done.

But I just really like checking things off and moving on to the next thing! [Except for the things I love to procrastinate, of course.]

Any other to-do list addicts out there?!

Getting stuff done is not only about prioritizing, it’s also about optimizing the best time to do different things, because not everyone wants to get up and workout at 5am, for example.

I hear a lot of people say things like “you should get up in the morning and do your stuff”, which is great for people like me whose work is most effective in the morning, but there are just as many night owls out there who get their stuff done in the middle of the night. Crazies 😉

We all have 24hrs in a day… Do you prioritize, optimize, and get stuff done in that time?

Below are some of the things I do to get more done. Check them out, and if you have some tricks up your sleeve that I didn’t mention, let me know! I’m always up for optimizing. 😀

01. time blocking

This is probably one of my favorite things, because after 3pm, I just don’t function well enough to do creative work. So that is what gets done for me first thing in the day when my brain is firing on full blast.

02. Notifications

This is probably the biggest life saver… turn off ALL of your notifications when you are trying to get stuff done.  If you have a team, and don’t feel like you want to hold them up, it might be hard not to be available, but if you have timed blocked and they know about it, then things can be planned around it. Also, put your phone on airplane mode. I never have my email push notifications on. I only get them when I choose to go look at them, and then I turn on do not disturb on my computer too.

03. Schedule time off

Not only do you need to schedule time to get work done, you have to schedule time off as well. If you happen to be like me and really like your work, it could be hard to turn it off sometimes, so make sure to schedule your workouts, time for family/friends, and hobbies in order to rejuvenate.

04. delegate

Do you have somebody who helps you? If not, stop what you are doing and get somebody to help you, even if it’s just for a few hours a week. It can be with whatever it is that you are not the best at. It can be anything from accounting, client relations, marketing, cleaning, or even cooking!

05. templates

Having templates for things you do often is a time and life saver. For example, I have templates for my client work, emails I send, and even for articles like the one you’re reading right now. I love templates because they save me and my team time, which in turn saves money, and that’s what I call a win-win!

06. Multitask

No, I’m not saying to work on multiple work projects at once, but you can however, schedule calls when you are commuting (which happened more often pre-covid for most of us), listen to books/podcasts while working out, or even invite a friend to an activity to be able to catch up while doing something fun at the same time.

07. plan out your travel around town

Just me? I like to plan out my stops, so they go in a nice loop and not back and forth all over town. Lots of time is saved that way. 

I hope these suggestions inspire you to get more done! Oh, and don’t forget to let me know if you have any other ideas on how to optimize your day.

How to Write Your Service Page

A website is sort of like a goldmine for the right person.

Well, at least it should be!

It should help your audience learn about you, your team, your work, how you do your work, your exceptional knowledge, how you eliminate their sleepless nights and possibly how much that would cost [we will get to this one later], perhaps where you stand on your values and beliefs, etc.

 

To make it all digestible, your content should be organized into clear and obvious sections on your site, so that your potential client can easily find what they are looking for. Kind of like, why kitchen utensils are almost always found in a top drawer in the kitchen.

 

Today I will be talking about the lovely service page, because honestly it’s the one page where we often spend most of our time when building sites – not because it’s necessarily the most important page, but because a lot of content needs to go into this section without it feeling cluttered and overwhelming.

Here are five things your service page should include:

01. First

It should be clear in the menu bar where your potential client can find what you offer. Service(s) is an excellent, straightforward name. I don’t recommend getting clever in this area unless the word choice is very clear. If you confuse, you lose.

02. Second

Second, at the top of the Service page, I typically start with a strong statement of how you can help your potential client and then follow that with a call to action (CTA). CTA suggestions include signup for a seminar or workshop; schedule a call; fill out a form; take a quiz; etc. Whichever CTA you use all depends on how accessible your company wants to be or how you want to sell your services.

03. Third

Third, explain what your offerings include, all of it, in a clear and succinct manner. This one is not easy, I know, but you want to let the potential client know how you can help, what they can expect from you, what you expect from them, how long it will take and possibly how much it will cost. The more direct you are on this, the more clarity you’ll give the potential client and at the same time build authority and trust. Win-Win.

04. Fourth

Fourth, having previous clients back you up on the great work you do with videos or written testimonials is glorious. Keep in mind, some industries have to follow compliance rules so testimonials may not be allowed.

05. Fifth

Fifth, pricing is an interesting topic. Should you have it on there or not? I would say, it depends!

  • If you offer a specific set of services that don’t vary, put your price on there. It will eliminate questions, filter out potential clients, who really are not potential clients, as well as further indicate what your brand experience or value should be.
  • If your offerings vary based on what the client needs, do not include pricing on your site, but instead talk to them first.
  • If you have time to talk to a potential client, don’t put pricing on your site. A conversation gives you the opportunity to build rapport and a connection. Even if they are not a great fit now, they certainly could be in the future.

Now, head over to your service page and make sure you have all of these pieces in place.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out – I’m happy to help.

Or if you are ready to drive your business to the next level, fill out the form HERE and let’s connect!

How to Pick a Designer to Work With

I talk to a lot of different types of business owners who are looking to take their business to the “next level.”

But, what does “next level” really mean? It’s subjective and the solutions are different from one client to the next.

 

So, with respect to brand design and development, where and what should you spend your money on? And, how do you find out who the best person or company is to help you get there?

 

I get these questions all the time and the options are seriously endless. Although my company is not the right decision for everyone (far from it), I have developed a sense for what people need, and at what time they need it.

 

Take for instance a recent discussion I had with a prospective client. This individual was ready to build out a brand spanking new business and jump into the excitement of entrepreneurship! However, the individual had little experience in the exact field of business.  This individual had an idea of who to serve yet was not sure about the specific offering. Yes, a lot of uncertainty!

 

Oh, but this is where the excitement begins — bringing clarity and focus to key business decisions which will guide brand design and development!

 

That said, I also understand what an investment this undertaking can be for a prospective client, so when I hear uncertainty (especially a lot of it), I always let them know all of their options.  

 

You see, this specific person had spoken to several marketers and all had been eager to jump into a branding project without suggesting options.

 

For example, there is nothing wrong with launching your business on your own, then circling back when you have spent some time “in your business” and gained new insights (e.g., a bit of experience to gain some initial clarity of your offering or audience).

 

The important point to make here is all about truly understanding the client’s circumstance and meeting them where they are. In this instance, I suggested they take some time out in the market to gain some real in-the-field experience first. Due to timing, resources or circumstances, employing my company may not be in their best interest now. And that’s ok. Sure, I might lose a client in that moment, but I believe a win-win situation is where we all win in the long run.

 

Having this recent experience in mind, I wanted to offer some considerations to help guide you.

BUT FIRST, WHERE ARE YOU?

A. You are curious about starting a new business venture, but not really sure about a lot of things regarding it? Your budget is small but you’re eager to dive in.

B. You have a startup business idea and you have a pretty good idea of your vision, who to serve and what to offer? When you take the leap, you are ready to do it up right. Watch out world, here I come!

C. You have you been running your business for a while, yet you still feel a bit uncomfortable about bigger expenses, so you take it a bit more slowly and chip away at your growth.

D. You have been in business for a while and have outgrown your setup. Perhaps your audience or direction has changed or become much clearer and it’s time to do something about it.

THIS IS WHAT I WOULD SUGGEST:

IF YOU ARE TYPE A

There are so many great online tools or classes that can help you set up a business, logo and website.  For example, you can get a logo at a fairly low cost from places like Fiver or 99Design.  This could be a great place to start, and honestly might be the perfect option for you at this time.  

Budget: > $1,500

IF YOU ARE TYPE B

You are ready to have it done for you and because you are a startup it could be helpful to have somebody give you extra guidance as there are typically a lot of unknowns, even those things you don’t know to ask about just yet.  With that in mind, it’s important you get the right guidance and understand what their capabilities are. Look for a company that puts emphasis on creating clarity and focus prior to executing design.

Budget: $5,000-$10,000

IF YOU ARE TYPE C

It’s okay to build your business slowly, as long as you are still taking action and making moves. In this situation I would consider getting a consultant to give you guidance on what you are building/creating.  Perhaps you might consider working with a freelancer or small design company that offers al a carte services. Or, you might benefit from a Brand Review that provides insight on a specific area of your business, such as messaging, design, SEO, content marketing, etc.

Budget: > $3,000

IF YOU ARE TYPE D

It is time to make sure you find an agency or designer that jives with you. Their design style and values should match yours. They have experience working with businesses in the same field as yours, or who share a similar avatar. They use design for problem solving. They can bounce around ideas with you and challenge your thoughts with their expertise.

It’s a critical time and even if the budget is there, it’s essential that it’s being utilized properly, as there are a plethora of ways you can spend your money, including strategy, design, development, SEO, lead generation, marketing, social media, PR, etc. It’s important you have somebody on your side who has your best interests in mind and who really can guide you on a lot of decisions.

Budget: > $15,000

 

BUT WHERE YOU ARE AND WHAT BUDGET YOU HAVE IS NOT EVERYTHING.

THE RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR DESIGNER/AGENCY IS ESSENTIAL TOO.

here are some things to consider:

  1. How do you like to work? Is it important to collaborate and work closely with your designer or would you prefer handing the reigns over completely, so you can focus on what you do best?

 

  1. What is the size of your project? Is your project large with many requirements and complexities and you’d prefer a bigger team to tackle all components or is it a smaller, more straight-forward project requiring less resources?

 

  1. What values are important to you? Are there certain viewpoints or sensitivities around topics or causes that you’d like your design agency to support and/or have experience with? Perhaps you’d like an agency that gives back to their community, has experience with a variety of cultures, is LGTBQ friendly, etc?

 

  1. Are they forthcoming with information? Do they take the time to understand your unique situation or needs? Are your questions being thoroughly answered? Do they ask smart questions to gain greater insight? Is it clear how they think, how the project would be executed and what’s included in your project? Just because they can create a logo or build a website does not mean they are able to assist you at the level you need.  Make sure to get on a discovery call to find that out before you dive in.

 

  1. Would they be fun to work with? You will most likely spend quite a bit of time with your designer or agency, so make sure it’s a pleasant ride!

 

 

I hope this information helps you. Or forward it to somebody who could benefit from this kind of guidance right now. That would be lovely!

 

If you have any questions, I’m happy to help!