Starting any type of business can be intimidating. Why, you ask? Because I can guarantee no matter what industry you're in, it's probably a little over saturated. Seriously, it seems like every single day someone starts a new blog, goes into graphic design or becomes a business coach.
The downside to this is, the creative entrepreneur industry isn't slowing down anytime soon and I can only imagine how much it is going to explode over the next few years. The bright side, there is room for all of us & growing your brand and standing out in your industry doesn't have to be as overwhelming as it may seem nor is it impossible to do.
Today I wanted to share a few tips for you to keep in mind while growing your brand and making yourself be heard in a crowded industry.
1| IT WILL NOT HAPPEN OVER NIGHT
The biggest mistake I see most business owners make is they want to start their business on a Sunday and be popular on the following Tuesday. Thats not how it works and most "over night successes" spend many years working their butts off. If your idea of "success isn't happening as quick as you would like, remain consistent until your audience has no choice but to pay attention.
If you feel like you're moving slow, stop focusing on your ultimate goal and break it down into smaller steps. For example, if your BIG goal is to make $50,000 by the end of the year, break it down and figure out how much you would have to bring in monthly and then create an action plan on what you have to do to hit that monthly amount. It's great to have an ultimate goal but focusing solely on the end result can make your journey feel daunting.
2| DOING WHAT'S POPULAR WONT GET YOU FAR
No matter what industry you're in, you will notice an influx of trends. While often times, following trends can be a great way to grow your brand, basing your entire business simply off of what's working for someone is the quickest way to fail.
My friend Jen sums this up perfectly in her post "Your Content Marketing Strategy Doesn't Have To Look Like This".
3| IF YOU WANT TO STAND OUT, TELL YOUR STORY
Think of your brand like a person. You know what makes us different and what makes us stand out from the other billions of people in the world? Our own unique personality. No matter how much someone tries to copy it, they can never be 100% YOU! The same thing goes for your business. Your experience and your own unique journey is what will help you to stand out among the others in your industry. But you can't expect for it to work unless you are willing to share what has led you to this point.
I'm often Told that people are able to relate to me because I've always been transparent about how I jumped into entrepreneurship, failed and succeeded. You are human, use that to connect with your people.
4| SPEAK IN A VOICE YOUR AUDIENCE WILL RELATE TO
Want to get the attention of a particular audience? Speak their language. Not not as in English or Spanish (unless learning a new language is actually necessary) but speak to them on a level that they can relate to. You wouldn't talk to a toddler the same way you'd talk to a 20 year old would you? Lets say for example your target audience is college students, then you may want to be up to date on their latest terminology and what they are currently interested in. If you target creatives, then using uptight, super professional "corporate style" words probably wont go over so well with them.
Over the past few years, I've honestly found that the best voice for you to use, is what comes naturally to you. Speak to your audience the same way you would speak to your friend. Make yourself personable.
5| CREATE INCREDIBLE CONTENT
If you've been around here for any amount of time then you already know my love for marketing yourself through the content that you create. For 1, it's free (although there are tons of paid content that you can create) so your audience feels no pressure to consume what you have to offer. And 2, it's an incredible way for you to show off what you know and prove your expertise to your audience.
6| FIGURE OUT YOUR AUDIENCES PROBLEMS & SOLVE IT
When I first started my business I read somewhere that "If you want to build a profitable, sustainable business, you need to figure out the problem your audience is currently faced with". I used to think it was a bunch of generic business advice but it ended up being one of the best pieces of advice I've ever been given. If you can figure out exactly what your audience needs and create actionable content and products around that need, YOU WILL BE PROFITABLE!
7| GIVE 10X MORE THAN YOU EXPECT TO RECEIVE
When you're building a brand, your number one priority should be to gain your audiences trust and show them that you actually know what you are doing. The last thing you want to do is sell, sell, sell before making that happen. Even if you've been in business a while, you never want to be known as the person who is only interested in selling. If you can consistently give something of value to your audience for free, whether that be through your blog, Periscope or some other outlet, they will have no problem investing in you when the time is right.
One thing I have learned is that two heads (or more) are better than one. Collaborating with another creative is a great way to expand your brand to a new audience, even if that person is in the same industry as you. COLLABORATION > COMPETITION
9| MAKE YOUR OWN RULES
Plain and simple, you started a business to be able to do what you love and also for the freedom that it provides. Why would you just conform to what someone else says is right or what you should be doing. You will find a lot of business advice on the web (even from me) but it's up to you to decide what fits YOUR brand and what would be best for YOUR audience,
10| CONSISTENCY WINS
It's one thing to create a great blog post or tell your story but in order for you to really build a great long lasting brand and not a "one hit wonder", you have to remain consistent. Your voice, your content, the fonts you use, the message you share all the way down to the colors on your business cards should always be consistent! Don't believe me? Think of any one of the business owners that you admire. I bet one of the reasons you like them so much is because they never disappoint. Their content is always incredible, they are always giving something of value and you can pick out there brand before even seeing their logo or name. That's what you want to aim for.
What I really want you to takeaway from this post is to be genuinely yourself. It can be so easy to mimic what someone else is doing or feel pressured to do what may not feel good to you but great brands are built from uniqueness. Even if you're not sure exactly what makes you different from the next, silence the noise and start with your WHY.
WHAT STEPS HAVE YOU TAKEN TO BRAND YOURSELF?
Ready to properly tell your story, develop your voice and brand yourself as an expert in your industry? Snag my new ready-to-watch Branding For Creatives Masterclass! You'll receive 56-minutes of action packed tips and exercises to help you establish and take your brand to the next level (plus a 17-page workbook + my new theme music that i'll be using in all of my classes). Plus you have lifetime access so you can work at it at your own pace!