Get Clear on What You Sell for Creative Entrepreneurs | Braid Creative

Get clear on what you sell

There are two big “wants” that motivate people to get their brand shaped up the way they really want it to be. You would think a strong branding desire would be to make more money, or gain more followers, or dream clients. Sure, those wants are in the mix, but the biggest pleas for branding help we hear time and time again:

1.) “I want to my brand to feel more like me! It just doesn’t look or sound like my personality or style!” and 2.) “I want my brand to be more clear! I want people to understand how to hire me, what I’m best at, and what they get from me!”

“I want a brand that feels like me.”
Stay tuned because Kathleen is going to be sharing about how to have a brand that feels more like you in the next couple of days: How to get your voice and style into your brand places, content, and conversations. This is how you attract and inspire clients, followers, even collaborators – by being yourself!

Do your clients know how to hire you?

“I want a brand that is clear.”
Tara here, and I want to share more on the getting clear part, which is really about getting clear on what you sell. Once people are attracted or inspired by you, do they understand how to hire you? Do you?

Knowing what you sell, what your clients can expect along the way, and what they get at the end takes some work to hone in on. Most of it is really just self-editing. Can you cut out the services or products that you no longer want to be doing? What if you still offered these services – but just no longer devoted the space, the bullets, and the layers of explanation they require that are cluttering up your brand?

A clearer focus on what you sell doesn’t have to mean claiming a niche. It can simply mean keeping what you’re best at and what you want to be known for front and center in your brand messages — and cutting the rest.

What do you want to be known for?

Let’s say I only had thirty minutes to spend with you as a branding client or I could only share one exercise with you as a Braid ECourse student. If my goal was to help you get clear on what you sell, it would be the exercise “If You Wrote A Book.” I’ve shared it before but it’s just so darn distilling on so many levels. Here’s how to get the most out of this exercise:

1. Get out a piece of paper, and ask yourself: “if I wrote a book, what would it be?” Instead of thinking of all the ways you’re selling yourself on your website or trying to explain your process in your “closing the deal” brand conversations, let’s say you had to write a “how-to” book that revealed the work you create for your clients one-on-one. What if they had to do it themselves? What steps would you tell them to take? What would they learn in each of the chapters?

2. Start with the “chapters.” Don’t try to name your “book” first. Outline eight chapters to start. Avoid overly-clever or conceptual chapter names. Name your chapters in a straightforward way that describes what people actually get or learn as they read them. Then see if you can narrow or combine (edit!) down to just four chapters.

3. Next, add bullets to fill in the “at-a-glance” details. These are the tools, skills, practices, or insights you use. Three bullets for each chapter is a good rule to stick to. So four chapters with three bullets each means you’ve got twelve talking points right there – that simply and clearly explain what your clients can expect when they hire you.

Your “chapters” are the ingredients you deliver every time. This is the brand language you should be using to get clear about what people get from you. This is how you sell what you do!

4. Last, try to naming your “book.” The title can be a little more expressive, but the subhead should do the explaining. What I mean is, the title can be more infused with your personality or deeper purpose. But the subhead underneath should be as close as possible to the “thing” the “package” that people are buying from you. Our title could be “Your Secret Brand Blend,” but the subhead would be “how to brand you + what you do.” Your title could very well be the name of your offering, your package, or your product. It could be the name of your whole dang business if you’ve been struggling with that one, too.

5. Bonus, if you still want to get more of “you” into your brand, then write your introduction. It’s not the whole book, it’s not a memoir, and it’s definitely not “dear diary.” But your introduction touches on your own story or reason for doing the work you do. Guess what, you just rewrote your about me page for your website, and got some of that “I want it to feel like me” blended it with the “I want to be clear” messaging you’ve been wanting for your brand.

Give this exercise a try! It may be like opening a can of worms (because now you’ll really want to write that book), but I think it will be like opening a can of clarity! Get clear on what you sell, make it feel like you, get it blended into your brand – and get it out there.

DOWNLOAD: WRITE A BOOK WORKSHEET

We created a worksheet with more details on where this “book” content actually lives and shows up in your brand – both online and off.

[FREE WEBINAR]: On Friday, July 15th 2016 Kathleen and I hosted a free branding webinar where we shared more insights and answered on-topic questions attendees asked on getting clear about what you sell and how you inspire and attract paying clients to you in the first place. You can watch the replay here.

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Get Noticed, Get Hired for Creative Entrepreneurs | Braid Creative

get noticed & get hired by your dream clients

Growing followers, a likeminded group of people who relate to your message, who value what you can share with them, and who want to engage in the conversation you’re putting out there – for so many of us this is how we dream of genuinely helping others, while positioning ourselves as inspiring creatives entrepreneurs that people want to subscribe to, buy from, trust and hire.

Tara here! And this sharing of ourselves and our content is what we’ve all been taught. I’m not here to disagree, it’s what I do too (literally, I’m doing it right now writing to you, “duh” as my eight year old says about every five seconds lately). But I do want to add onto the content sharing formula – what happens after you attract people to you? How does this translate into a business, an expertise, a person people trust?

What happens after you attract people to you? After you get noticed, how do you get hired?

Yeah, we want to put our personality and our point of view out there. Do it consistently and with passion, and over time the followers, subscribers, clients – will come. But part of the allure of “being the one who attracts” is more than just building a list. I think it may be socially wired into us (it probably started right around when we were eight years old, too) and has nothing to do with getting the clicks or closing the deal, but simply feeling like a big deal.

Whether through our newsletter, blog, Instagram posts, or in the face-to-face retreats or professional mixers we attend – don’t we all want to feel like the coolest most interesting gal at the party, with everyone wanting to shimmy on over and pick our brain?

find your personal brand voice

This is getting noticed, and if we do it consistently, it’s becoming known for what it is we talk about, teach, or just make people feel good about. I know not all of us want to be that extroverted or sparkly when we’re doing it. That’s okay too. The nerdiest art director I ever had on my creative team—mad scientist hair, coke bottle glasses, goofy adorable grin, totally awkward in any social situation—uh, our clients freaking loved him. Get him started on a subject he loves and cares about (in the presentation to a boardroom I’m recalling, it was the idea of using interactive gameplay to engage your brand audience, whatever, I don’t even know what he said) and poof, people are entranced. He is being his most inspiring self in the moments when he’s sharing what he really knows, what he really cares about, in his own goofy style.

Okay, so inspiring people is great and all, but what about getting hired? Or getting people to click buy, sign up, and subscribe? Did those corporate suits sign off on what goofy guy was getting them all feeling good about? I don’t even remember! But that’s the point, because I do remember they asked for him to be their lead creative, and always wanted him in the meetings. Because even if his wild idea wasn’t their cup of tea, his passion was contagious, and his logical guiding approach—talking them through a subject they’d never even heard about—positioned himself ever-after in their minds as an eccentric but expert art director they wanted at their table.

The shift from inspiring to guiding happens in our content and in our conversations. When we get great at it, these two sides of our voice blend together like – well, like the personal brand we want to be known for and the expertise we want to get hired for.

I was recently hosting a round table with a group of creative entrepreneurs – a web designer, a brand consultant, a lawyer for creatives, and a leadership coach were some of the sparkly, inspiring, ladies at the table – but I knew they each had this expert “guide” within them, too.

Here’s a down and dirty exercise I shared with them to help frame up how we get noticed and how we get hired:

HOW I INSPIRE OTHERS (i.e. get noticed):
Complete these sentences. Clients (or followers, or even new acquaintances) are first attracted to, or inspired by, my personality + professional style, which is an Inspiring Mix of:
a. ________, b.________, c.________!

The personal motto that motivates and inspires me, and that I love sharing with others is:
_______________________________!

HOW I GUIDE OTHERS (i.e. get hired):
Complete these sentences. Once my clients get to know me, or work with me, they trust my expertise which is a Guiding Mix of: a. ________, b.________, c.________.

The best piece of professional advice I practice myself and share with others is:
_______________________________!

Now think about your Inspiring Mix showing up in places like your website headlines, brand messages, blog post introductions, and titles. Think about your Guiding Mix showing up in your sales pages, your newsletters, and your selling conversations with new clients. But really, it’s all about practicing the mix of inspiring and guiding. That’s when we get to create a business for ourselves that is a blend of who we are, and what we do.


If you want more how-to’s and insights into getting noticed and getting hired, be sure you're signed up for our weekly Letters for Creatives, and if you're ready to work with us one-on-one to develop your brand and really get you noticed, check out our work and give us a shout!

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05-Jan-2016
Reflect & Resolve | New Year's Resolutions for Creative Entrepreneurs

2016 New Years Resolutions

New Year's is probably one of my favorite times of the year – because there is nothing I love more than new beginnings. There is so much promise and potential with each passing year. But with that comes a smidge of fear and potential for (bum-bum-bum) FAILURE. If you hate New Year’s resolutions it might be because it’s too mainstream and trite to set impossible goals on January 1. I’m with you and would agree except that I’ll take any occasion to get my dreamy goal-setting on. Or you may dread New Years because every year you make a new resolution and lose momentum after a few weeks – only to make you feel guilty and worse than if you had just kept coasting along as-is.

So today I’d like to invite you to try a new approach to setting your New Year’s resolutions. I want you to grab two sheets of paper. On one, draw a line down the middle – on the left side write down “2015 / Reflect”. On the right side write down “2016 / Dream”.

STEP 1: Reflect.
Get really honest here. Take the time to be real with yourself about regrets or where you could’ve improved. But on the flip-side this is no place to be humble. You can brag on yourself about all the things you did right and use this space to give yourself a big pat on the back.
• What went right in 2015?
• What would you do differently?
• What was the biggest lesson you learned?
• What did you create?
• If you could sum up 2015 in just a few words what would they be? And why?

STEP 2: Dream.
Get dreamy here. This is going to look suspiciously like traditional New Year's resolution goal setting here. But you’re not married to anything you write down. In fact, spoiler alert: you’re going to destroy this piece of paper after you’re done using it to brainstorm.
• What goals would you like to accomplish in 2016?
• What’s the biggest risk you could take?
• If you could travel to one place where would you go?
• What does your ideal day look like?

STEP 3: Burn.
Take your 2015 / 2016 Reflect & Dream sheet of paper and cut it in half. Burn the 2015 reflection. You got it down on paper – you honored your past and got dreamy about the future. But guess what? You don’t live in the past anymore. Now take your 2016 dreams and set fire to those too. I know it sounds a bit woo, but I believe some magic happens when you quite literally put fire to your dreams.

Creating New Years Goals and resolutions

STEP 4: Feel.
Now bust out your second sheet of paper and label it “FEEL”.
• Start a brain dump, mind-map, or organized list of things you would like to feel in 2016. Write down as much or as little as you’d like. If you’re like me you’ll start listing things you want to do – that’s okay. Just ask yourself “How do I imagine it will make me feel when I meditate / exercise / write…?” – those feelings words are what you’re going for.
• Once you’ve had a good brainstorm circle, highlight, or somehow narrow in on three to five words that really resonate with how you’d like to feel.
• If you need more help determining your core desired feelings, or simply want to dig deeper and more thoroughly into this, I highly recommend Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map. She’s revolutionized the way I look at goal setting and for that I am forever grateful.

Ta-da! These “feeling” words aren’t your resolutions but rather your intentions for the new year. These feelings will dictate every decision you make moving forward. It’s not about setting goals but letting the way you want to feel drive the actions you take.

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P.S. If you like this post you might like my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. It’s 4 emails x 4 weeks (16 emails total) for just $40. Complete with worksheets, exercises, mantras, meditations, and to-dos for time management, decision-making, and strategies for living more of what you love – in work and life. You can learn more about what you’ll get and purchase anytime here.

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