On the fence about hiring a professional branding expert? Check out these top five reasons clients share with me prior to getting started with a project!
When meeting with potential clients, I often hear some form of this question: “How do I know if I am ready to hire a professional or if I can just do it on my own?”
Lately, I’ve been thinking even more about my answer and decided it’s worth a dedicated blog post. I understand how scary it can be to invest money in something, especially when you believe you can do yourself.
On that point, there is NOTHING wrong with DIY’ing your brand. In fact, when you’re just getting started, I would encourage it.
Because when you’re more than likely being pulled in a million different directions, you’re motivated, cash flow isn’t consistent and you’re still trying to find your voice. Plus, there are thousands of great resources online for creating and designing an amazing brand. Hell, I wrote an entire series (Build Your Brand Foundation – check it out here!) on crafting a solid brand foundation.
In addition, going through some form of branding process on your own at least once is a great way to get to know your business – you find out what you like, what you don’t, and it’s empowering to know you created something from nothing.
But then you usually get to a point where you can take a step back, catch your breath and really evaluate what you want. Clients are coming in, which means cash flow is relatively consistent. You have started to get a better understanding of who you like working with and who you don’t. You’ve probably raised your prices at least once. You’ve found some semblance of a voice and are starting to plant that stake in the ground around what you stand for.
So, back to the question: how do you know when it’s time to invest in professional branding? I’ve rounded up five common characteristics I see among clients who wind up working with me – they all have experienced at least one of the reasons below and in some cases, they can check off several boxes.
My hope is that if you’re on the fence or wondering what your next best step is, this will help clarify whether hiring a professional is a good fit for you.
You’ve DIY’ed your brand up to this point and are ready for the next level
You’re a relatively new business owner, perhaps you’ve been working with clients for six months to one year. Up to this point, you’ve cobbled together your brand based on resources you have stumbled across online. You’re pretty damn proud of what you’ve created (as you should be!) and you have put a lot of time, energy and effort into your brand.
It still doesn’t look as polished and clean as you’re envisioning. It has served you well, but you’re getting to the point of wanting something more refined, focused and clear. Your brand isn’t quite resonating with your audience, you’re trying to get some clarity around your voice and could use a little help developing your message so it’s consistent and cohesive.
Your messaging and brand story are inconsistent, or completely nonexistent
When you started your business, creating a brand meant having a logo and color scheme. You nailed that one down right away… except something still feels ‘off’.
When someone visits your website, they have a certain experience. And then if they connect with you over on Instagram, the experience isn’t quite the same. The pictures are pretty and the visual look is there, but you often find yourself unsure of what to say and how to say it.
This often happens because you haven’t quite thought through the intangible elements that go into creating a consistent and cohesive brand – your message and brand story.
You’re not excited to share your business
As a business owner, it’s your job to show up, every day.
We can make this a lot easier on ourselves when we’re excited about our message, our look and our business.
Unfortunately, the reverse can happen if you’re not excited. Whether it’s the visuals that don’t reflect your vision or the message that isn’t quite communicating the way you’d hoped… any kind of uncertainty or lack of clarity can derail your efforts.
When you’re not excited about your business, your message or your look, you end up giving a half-assed effort – sometimes unintentionally. Why? Because excitement comes from clarity and confidence. When you’re not clear, you procrastinate. Or, you put something out there just because you feel like you have to and it winds up being a waste.
So, if you find yourself putting off every day tasks, hesitating to share your story, or not showing up consistently, ask yourself ‘why’. Why aren’t you screaming about your business from the rooftops?
You’re niching down and want a brand that aligns with the community
When you’re just starting out, you’re more likely to take on anything and everything, because #bills. If the person is breathing and willing to pay and wanting you to do something you have even a sliver of experience in, you’ll do it. And then a few months go by and you start defining your expertise, little by little. You begin to gain clarity around the types of people you like working with and the ones you don’t. You gain confidence in yourself and raise your prices. And it isn’t long before you realize that your brand isn’t aligned with who you want to attract.
You want to shift more into a personal brand and showcase yourself as the expert
You have an established business and things are going great but you’re ready to step out from behind your business’ brand and own your expertise. You have skills and knowledge that is unique to you and you want to play a larger role in your business.
A few final thoughts…
Investing in your brand is a big step and not necessarily the right fit for everyone. In addition to the obvious monetary investment, you also have to make a commitment to dig deep and get real clear on what you want.
Hopefully this list helps, but if you’re still needing some feedback, let’s hop on a call and talk about whether or not it’s a good fit!
All my best,
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