When I first started my design business, I had just quit my part-time job with only an idea in my head and no clue where to even begin. I had these big dreams, and even bigger ambitions to create a business where I could wake up every morning at 10am and design until my heart was content. What I soon realized was that being a business owner was a lot harder than it looked (and a lot more work than it appeared on the outside), and sometimes that 10am goal looked more like 8am until midnight or later.
One of the things I wish I had known, was the importance of building a strong, and powerful brand right out of the gate. Branding is so incredibly important for marketing your business and getting your name out there into the world. It’s not just your logo, it’s your story. Your brand gives people a reason to trust you, it gives your business a sense of integrity, and it shows people why you are the person to book!
I experimented with a lot of things when it came to my brand. Whether it was my logo design, the fonts I used, the way I posted to social media, you name it! Everything was a constant experiment. What I quickly learned was the more I changed it, the less I attracted a strong audience & the ideal clientele. I was so scattered and all over the place, I didn’t even know what my message truly was! That was when I learned about consistency.
When you’re building a business and a brand, consistency is SO important! If you aren’t designing a brand that’s consistent, it becomes muddy and confusing to your audience. They don’t know who is speaking to them or what your message is. By being consistent, you are showing your audience what you have to say and giving them a reason to trust you to help build their dream brand. It wasn’t until I finally sat down and developed out a consistent brand that I noticed a change in my business. Once I had established a strong, clear brand, I noticed an increase in interest. People were recognizing my name, recognizing who I was at networking events, and I was booking more clients!
Another lesson I learned in my first year of business was developing my brand voice. Now that might sound a little odd, how can your brand have a voice? But the truth is if you’re not speaking to your audience or your ideal client, you’re just shouting into the void. Your brand needs to have a voice:
Developing your brand voice allows you to speak to your clients and have them not only get to know your brand but get to know you! For example, if you followed me on Instagram, you would know how passionate I am about building a brand and telling your story. You would also know that I am a converse and t-shirt kind of girl who is obsessed with coffee, I am a huge fan of Joanna Gaines, and I am obsessed with Harry Potter, Star Wars, you name it! All of these aspects make up who I am and what my brand represents. You get a clear idea of what I have to say and if you would want to work with me to develop out your brand, you also get an insight into who I am as a person as well as a designer!
The final lesson I’ll leave you with is that you should lead your brand and your business, first and foremost, with your heart. In today’s world with the hustle and bustle of getting the most likes and followers, and constantly trying to keep up with a beautiful social media feed, we often forget to put a little heart into what we do. We are so distracted by being perfect that we forget sometimes the biggest connections we make with others is done by being yourself and being a little vulnerable. It’s okay to make mistakes and be yourself. We have all been there and learned our lessons! That’s what it takes to build a brand and a business!
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The more you hustle, the more heart you put into it, and the more passionate you are about what you do, the more people are attracted to you and what you have to offer. Show them what you’ve got! And don’t be afraid to be goofy, be yourself, and be the most authentic version of yourself that you can be. Be intentional in your posts, don’t just post to keep up with the crowd. Post because you have something to say and you want your audience to hear you!
And always, put a little kindness into everything you do. Remember that small actions go a long way. Whether its a thank you card for someone referring a client to you, or even just sending your client a message to see how they are doing, putting your heart into what you do is so incredibly important. It sets you apart from the competition out there and gives people a reason to trust you to help them succeed at what they love.
Brianne Hardcastle, of Design by Brianne, is based in Houston, Texas. Brianne is happily engaged to be married next February and is a parent to four fur babies. She is passionate about design and believes in being your true authentic, original self and always being extraordinary. She is also a photographer at @bhardcastlephoto.
The lovely images in this post were shot by Elizabeth Jones Photography