rebrand

I Changed Everything In My Business + Here's What I've Learned

We’re rapidly approaching the 3-month mark of when I re-launched everything and changed my life and business big time. I don’t do income reports, mostly out of the complete lack of wanting to figure all that out and then convert it to percentages or whatever because I wouldn’t really share real numbers anyway, and so on… but I will say this, the last 3 months have been without a doubt the best of my business. Financially. Emotionally. Mentally. Everything-ly. It’s just seemed to ‘click’ in this magical way and I wanted to share some “aha!” moments that I’ve experienced with you.


IF YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT, TALK ABOUT IT

First things first: there aren’t any rules to this running your own business thing. There aren’t. Don’t let anyone tell you that you HAVE TO DO XYZ to make it or be successful. Don’t let anyone tell you have to talk or communicate or exist in some sort of perfect way to be ‘an expert’ and ‘gain authority.’

Do you know what an expert can do? Talk about things he or she is not an expert at and feel no worries or doubts about things they are good at. I’m serious! Ask someone you know who is really good at something – ask your plumber or your doctor if they are an expert at tax law, or baking apple pies, or knowing how to pull the next piece out of Jenga without toppling it over… chances are they will openly and willingly admit that they are, in fact, no expert at that.

So feel free, my friend, to admit that you might really suck at social media strategy (hey-ooo! Haven’t posted on Instagram in like 3-weeks OOPS), or can’t code a lick to save your life, or whatever. That doesn’t take away from what you do know and what you are good at. And even more, if you want to talk about something that you aren’t ‘an expert’ about – you’re also allowed to do that. People learn from other people’s experiences, too. So talk about whatever the hell it is you want to talk about, I give you permission. Stop being scared of not having enough clients or not having made 6-figures yet or whatever it is that is holding you back.

"There's no absolute path to success, so don't let anyone tell you that you HAVE to do something." [tweet that!]


IF YOU WANT TO SAY NO THANKS, SAY NO THANKS

Here’s a huge lesson I’ve taken in over the past few months. We are so, so, so totally allowed to say “no thank you” to things. We are our own bosses! If you don’t agree with a client or want to work with them, politely say so. If you don’t want to accept the guest blog post submission, or be featured on someone’s Instagram, or whatever it is that you feel you ‘have to do’…  just politely decline.

I wrote a whole post about sticking up for yourself (and setting boundaries) that circulates around this topic and it got some great responses, which I was flattered by. Kaitlyn in 2016 said yes to 100% of the opportunities, clients, and chances she was given. I figured out that webinars weren’t really my thing after like my 2nd webinar, but I kept doing them because people kept asking and I felt bad saying no. I’m not saying webinars are bad, but I am not great at them and kept knowingly wasting my time and energy and stressing myself out for no reason.

2017 Kaitlyn on the other hand? She says ‘thanks, but no’ a lot. In business and in life! And you know what? It feels GOOD to understand my goals, my needs, and myself well enough to know when something is not a good fit or going to benefit my audience or for me.


IF YOU WANT TO MAKE SOMETHING WORK, YOU HAVE TO ACTUALLY WORK

I should probably make a really big blog post all about this point. I spent 2016 with a lot emotions, but one key part was this “why not me?” mentality. Why wasn’t my blog posts going viral? Why wasn’t I get featured on The Huffington Post? And so on. Turns out I wasn’t actually working that hard… so… maybe that’s ‘why not’.

So here’s the “AHA!” moment. Things like passive income and funnels and all of that sound so glamorous and amazing – but these things require you to actually DO work at some point. You can’t just post like 4 blog posts and expect the money to start rolling in and you to be spending your days on yacht making beaucoup bucks. I mean, Pinterest might tell you otherwise, but I think a lot of those people might be glamorizing their truths.

If you really want this business thing to work then you have to work. Period. It’s a job. It’s a business. Stop working from your bed (guilty), stop wearing the same pajamas as work clothes and then again as pajamas for a week straight (guilty), stop taking breaks to watch The Good Wife on Hulu (guilty), and stop blaming everyone else and/or the world for your career not taking off rapidly (guilty). Instead – DO THE WORK. My productivity skyrocketing seems awfully coincidental to my business success rising and the only real conclusion I can draw is that actually working brings in results.

"If you really want this business thing to work then you have to work." [tweet that!]


SUCCESS BREEDS MORE SUCCESS

On that note – embrace the good moments because that breeds more success. For me, when a client is really happy and satisfied and telling me that they are – I relish in that and it makes me want to work harder for them (which means they are more likely to refer me, and grow my business). Acknowledge your successes – get excited.

I’ve been working through a Manifesting course and I’ve taken the time to review my finances nearly every day since and also to track my income and you know what? My income has increased. Now I know there are many factors to that, but I do think there is something to be said about seeing my money, knowing what’s going on with it, and hearing the nice little ‘cha-ching’ noise the app makes whenever I input a new amount. It feels good to feel good, and I really like to embrace that feeling so that I work harder to have more of it.


SELF-CARE AND BOUNDARIES ARE ESSENTIAL

Your self-care routine might be different than mine, but mine involves taking time for yoga and working out, cooking (aka watching my partner cook) good dinners, and not working on weekends (unless I really feel like it/want to). Implementing more time and energy towards making these things a habit has led to me feeling excited and rejuvenated and well-rounded. Mondays are seriously my most productive day and I can almost guarantee it comes from the break I give myself during the weekend.

I know a lot of us get caught up in thinking we have to do it all, then we get overwhelmed and run away and hide, and then we get mad that the world isn’t working out in our favor. Well, I feel you on all those thoughts – but here’s a big “AHA!” – do what you like to do and are good at, don’t overcommit or make yourself insane, and give yourself a break. You don’t have to make 6 figures in one launch two weeks after you start your business. I promise you, it’ll be okay. That’s actually probably the biggest “AHA!” of them all – it’ll be okay.



I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!


How Does Branding Add Value To Your Business?

Branding your online business is incredibly valuable. The investment is worth the overall positive effects and growth potential good branding can bring you. Whether you are just starting out or going through a rebrand, I strongly urge you to take a moment and reflect on what branding is and what it can do for your business. I don’t mean just choosing a color palette (and I certainly don’t mean just choosing your favorite colors), but the whole process of branding. From foundation, to strategy, to design, and so on, every piece of the puzzle fits together to form your business.


FOUNDATION

I talk about this a lot, but a HUGE benefit of proper branding is the foundation it will force you to create for your business. Good branding cannot exist if you haven’t taken time to analyze your target audience, develop a brand vision, and so on. Those formative steps are a part of any true branding experience.

Consider it a “Discovery Phase”. Designers need it to move forward and create effective visuals, but you, the business owner, benefit from it too. There are questions that come up during this time that you might be included to “figure out later” (spoiler alert: there is never a “later” in online business), but I promise you, taking the time now will help your business.

Without establishing a foundation for your branding (and business) you are going to fall into the trap of trying to “do all the things!” or feel so overwhelmed and unsure what to do that you might throw in the towel.

Creating a foundation for your business will set up the path towards success. [Tweet That!]

If you want an in-depth look at what it means to build a proper branding foundation (and business foundation) I recommend getting Branding 101: Building Your Base. This eBook contains worksheets and guides to help you answer the essential questions to create a foundation for your business that is strong, stable, and easy to grow on.


AWARENESS

Everything we are doing out in the online world should be driving traffic back to our website (or potentially your store if you are brick and mortar). We want to constantly be building awareness of our business, so we can reach potential customers or clients. The point is: you can’t have a business without customers and you can’t get customers if they don’t know you exist!

Online, you will never have a customer stumble by your business and stop in “to check it out” so you have to bring them to you. Awareness is two-fold in the sense that I am not just talking about your social media graphics, but also your messaging and your brand vision. Both of these go hand in hand (and fall under the umbrella of branding).

Part of a great branding strategy includes how you will gain awareness (social media? Opt-ins? Guest blogging?) and should be figured out early on in your business. You can have the greatest idea, but if no one knows about it then you can’t grow a business.


COHESIVENESS

Here is where your visuals come into play – being cohesive across all platforms and areas where your business might be found is essential. Branding creates that. A cohesive presence for your business builds trust, recognition, and shows that you are a professional.

The goal of cohesive branding is that when someone sees you on Instagram they recognize your graphics or messaging because it’s the same visual presence on Pinterest, or Twitter, or your newsletter, or your blog, etc. You use the same colors, talk about related content (i.e. you won’t find a blog post about what I ate last weekend because that has nothing to do with my brand vision), and just generally are promoting the same ideals across the board.

Creating a system for your branding so that you can quickly and efficiently put out visuals that represent your business (and look recognizably the same). Use templates so that each and every time you are being consistent. Outside of the technicalities of creating a cohesive presence, you also want to make sure that you’ve established a clear brand vision, to that any content you post (even if it’s a motivational quote) serves the overall goal of your business. 


SUPPORT

Support, or engagement, is a benefit of good branding. Once you create this cohesive presence and people begin to gain awareness about your business, you’ll start to generate a following of people who trust and support your business.

I don’t just mean financially support, though that’s necessary. I also mean support with sharing your content, introducing you to their audience, validating your ideas, and eventually potentially buying your service or product.

If you have a haphazard feeling, messaging that flies all over the place, and a general feeling of unprofessional vibes you will find that support can be hard to gain. I can attest my quick growth to the fact that I had a strong message, talk A LOT about branding, and a look that said, “I know what I am talking about, I am a professional” that was unified across all social media outlets.


PERSONALITY

Professional doesn’t have to mean stuffy – and thankfully, branding also gives room to include and showcase your personality. Your personality is important in your business, especially if you are strictly online. People want to buy from people – not big, huge corporations with no names. The connection you create with people, by using your personality, will often times be the deal closer (there are a lot of designers out there, a majority of my clients end up working with me because we connect on a personal level). 

Good branding does that. It balances both the professional and the personal, appeals to your target client, and helps you to scale your business. When I work with clients, part of the foundational or discovery phase includes talking about why you stand out, or what makes you different from your competitors. Part of that will come down to your personality traits (as well as how you package your services and position yourself). You want to highlight facets of your personality that will stand out to your target client and make them excited to work with you.



I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!