When you’re a startup owner, it’s super important how you spend your time and money. As an entrepreneur I understand it very well.
If I need to spend few hundreds on a course, I do my research and make sure it’s worth my hard earned money and the person who is hosting it knows their thing well. I can imagine if you need to spend few thousands on branding – it must be a lot more difficult to find a person you trust enough to give your money to.
Hope this post is going to help you decide if it’s the right time in your business, to invest in branding.
There’s a lot of investments you need to make when you’re starting a business: hosting, accounting software, courses, coaches, virtual assistants, project management tools, different subscriptions, the list goes on. Most of us can’t afford to buy them all so we need to prioritise and work out which ones are absolute necessity and which ones we can live without or get by with DIY.
Apart from money you need to spend there’s also TIME. How to fit everything you need to do for your business in 24 hours day? And you need to sleep to, it’d be nice to have lunch and see your family as well, wouldn’t it?
If you take all that under consideration and see an offer from a designer you love, that will cost you few thousands and take 5-6 weeks – how do you justify that?
You need to be ready my friend. Ready to take your business to another lever through great, intentional design.
Do you see the value of professional branding?
Since you’re here, it means you understand the value of good design and mistakes of DIY branding. And this is the first and most important thing, that’s going to tell you you’re ready. That means you see DIY branding didn’t take you as far as you’d like and you envy your fellow business owners their professional branding, because you can see how easy can they grow their business and attract perfect clients when they present themselves so professionally.
For 4+ years I’ve worked for big brands and I know how much money and effort do they put in keeping their branding consistent. They all understand that if you’re not consistent, you’re not going to build your tribe, you’re not going to persuade them you’re trustworthy and reliable. Nobody’s going to buy from you.
That sends a very powerful message to their people:
Hello there! I have just started my business, so I don’t know what I’m doing yet and I change my mind every week, but if you’re brave enough, then come in and buy my package for only $$$$$. You won’t regret it!
Are you clear on your brand goals? Do you know who’s your perfect client?
We often start our businesses out of passion and then learn as we go. That’s fine – I think it’s always good to start before you’re ready, that’s the only way you grow. But when it comes to business – at some point you just have to decide which direction you’re sailing in, so you can adjust the sails accordingly and gain some serious speed.
Asking yourself some powerful questions, like the ones below will definitely help you get clear on that:
Why did I start my business?
What do I want to be known for?
What to I want people to feel and say about my brand?
Who’s my perfect client, what’s their most burning problem and how am I planning to solve with with my offering?
After you decide who do you want to appeal to and how do you want to be perceived, you can then start working on your branding, so it communicates exactly those things through design.
Design is a very powerful weapon in business – you usually have just few seconds to grab your prospective client’s attention (either on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or your website).
People judge the quality of your work by the quality of your website and logo. If you want to charge premium prices for your coaching packages or luxury products – your brand needs to be premium and professional.
Through intentional design, you can send a message to people’s subconsciousness, that’s going to say:
Hey, I get you. I know what you’re struggling with and I can help you achieve your goals and fix your problems. I’ve been doing it some time now and I get great results. I’ve invested in myself because I treat my business and my clients seriously. I am trustworthy and reliable. You can safely spend your money with me.
Brand Clarity Workbook
So, are you ready to work with a designer?
You’re business is already up and running, but it’s time to level up. You might have started on a budget, tried some DIY branding, but now your biz is really taking off and you have a massive brand shame. You feel you don’t come across as a pro that you are, you’re branding drags you down and takes away all your motivation and inspiration. You may not know what brand you need, but you know you need someone with skills and experience to take care of this for you. You’ve got business to run!
You’re just starting out in your business, but are serious about it. You understand as with every startup, there are investments that need to be made. You’re a pro #girlboss and you’re not willing to compromise on quality to save money, because you know great design and professional branding will help you grow your business much quicker. You want to attract people who want to buy from you and are ready to invest some serious money in your business. Therefore you know, you need to invest in yourself first. You have a clear vision about your branding, but lack skills to bring it to reality. You need a designer who will understand you and your business, and has the skills to create the brand you envisioned.
You’re just starting out and are clear about your offer and perfect clients, but have no idea how to communicate it through design.
How to build a brand that’s going to fit your business profile and personality?You need someone who knows their thing to take you through the process and help you create amazing brand you deserve so you can show it off with pride and get this business up and running.
You’ve had your branding done by a designer some time ago (or made it yourself), you feel you’ve completely outgrown it and it’s suffocating you, blocking your development and simply drags you down.
You are more and more busy with your clients and need checklists, e-books, newsletters, blog images, social media templates, invoices, business cards, and so on. You could’ve DIY’ed something, but you really don’t feel like it’s going to be good enough for you. Besides, you don’t have time for it, because you’re super busy with clients excited to work with you and buy from you.
3 signs you’re NOT ready yet
You don’t see the value of investing in professional branding. You’ve been to Etsy or Creative Market and saw there’s loads of pretty pre-made logos there you could buy for a fraction of the price. You can also buy a nice WordPress theme and get your business up and running. My advice: Yes, you can do that, and maybe you should, if you’re just starting out and want to see if your business will even work out. I’m sure down the road you’ll see you need more and then you’ll be ready to invest. At the beginning though, you should probably invest your money elsewhere, like in courses that will help you grow your business.
You have some design skills and enjoy designing. You think with some help, you can figure it out yourself. In this instance, it might be great to do it yourself. Sign up for my e-mail course Discover, Define & Design – I’m sharing many tips and tricks on design, give free templates and advice through emails (just reply to my email). This will help you create your branding yourself. You’ll learn as you go and I’m sure you’ll come up with a beautiful brand that’s going to serve you for years to come.
You understand professional branding is important, but you just don’t have the budget. Yeah…costs of a startup. I know exactly what you mean. There’s many options you can try: some designers are happy to give you a discount if you’re in need, some are open for payments plan, some will be happy to work with you in exchange for your services. I’ve done all this in my business already: I’ve given discounts to people in need, am open to payment plans and I’ve had a collaboration with a coach, where we exchanged our services. I needed coaching but didn’t have the budget, she needed design. Win win. Find a designer with a portfolio you love and ask them if they’re willing to collaborate. Value can be found not only in money. Be proactive, maybe there’s something you can help them with in exchange for design services? If you’re a business coach, maybe you can email them with your ideas on how they can improve and how you could help? If you’re a VA or social media specialist, email them with a proactive plan on how you could help if they are willing to collaborate.
It’s always difficult to justify heavy costs in a startup and you do need to think hard before you decide to work with a designer.
Choose a professional too, so you really get what you want and what will serve you for years to come. Remember, there’s no returns with design, someone will spend weeks working on your logo and website. They will not get this time back and can not sell their work to somebody else – it’s unique and tailored specially for you.
Professional designer will take you through a stage of detailed questionnaires and workbooks you’d fill in, so it’s clear what you expect and need from your branding. Then you’ll have multiple occasions when you can change your mind, make revisions, give feedback.
If you choose a designer right, you’ll feel like they read your mind and they do exactly what you wanted, but didn’t even know it’s possible for you. That’s the experience I’ve had with Justyna and Irina.
Are you ready to work with a designer? What is still holding you back?
Let me know in the comments below.