BRAID CREATIVE & CONSULTING
branding | visioning | marketing
that blends who you are and what you do
What's Your Core Genius as a Creative Entrepreneur? | Braid Creative

What's your core genius

I recently read this “fluffy” statistic (you know, the kind that always shows up as a cute infographic on the front page of USA Today) that said an alarming number of first-graders, when asked what they want to be when they grow up, respond with, “Famous.” Okay, but how? As an actor, the president, a professional athlete? They don’t know—they’re still only first-graders—they just want to be famous. We laugh, but as grown-ups, we’re sometimes just as vaguely hopeful.

The hopeful part is fine—it’s the vague part that gets us in trouble. Here’s what well-meaning but unspecific creatives tell us all the time:

  • “I want to inspire others to create and live an authentic life.”
  • “I want to inspire people to not give up.”
  • “I want to inspire and empower creatives to be brave.”

Those all sound nice—empowering and inspiring sounds like a dream. However, inspiring others shouldn’t be the only goal. Fame, recognition, money, and even something as noble as inspiring others shouldn’t be the things that drive you or your brand messaging. If they are, you’ll never measure up and you’ll always be chasing a moving target.

There is probably a broad label, or even job title, for what you actually do—like marketing, photography, graphic design, interior decorating, coding, writing, yoga, or cooking. That refers to your skills and talents, which are a huge part of what you do.

But can you get really specific about what makes you a great marketer, designer, photographer, writer, developer, or cook? Maybe it’s your use of color or typography, or your knack for capturing light or blending really interesting flavor combinations, or the way you hear what people are really trying to say and then capture that in words.

what are you good at

Here are some questions to get you thinking:

  • What comes easily to you that seems to impress the people around you?
  • What isn’t so easy but is something you want to be really good at?
  • What do you want to be known for?
  • What can you do that people will pay you for and that you will enjoy?
  • What have your current clients been asking for?
  • What do all of your clients have in common?
  • What could you stop doing that would make you feel like more of an expert?

your core genius list

Take a few minutes to jot down some of your answers to these questions above. This is going to help you warm up for the serious work that’s waiting for you in the worksheets coming up in this lesson.*

How do you share your gifts of knowledge?

Now that you’ve got the paper and pen handy, here’s another quick warm up. Take just another five minutes (time yourself, that’s ALL you get) to go with your gut and fill out your gift tag. We call it a gift tag because creative experts share their gifts of knowledge with other people—whether that’s for free (in blog posts, newsletters, emails) or something they are hired for (consultation, ecourses, program, products).

So if you think of your creative knowledge all wrapped up in a package, what do you write on the tag you tie on top?

creative entrepreneur gift tag

Fill out your Gift Tag:
How to _______ [advice, know-how, or inspiration you share]
From a _______ [your field of expertise] Expert!
To a _______ [your dream client or audience] Like You!

This is a great way to just jump in and really start practicing saying what you do in that creative expert voice and style. Try it a few different ways, and then experiment with what you come up with.

*This excerpt comes from the Braid Method Branding ECourse. It’s a DIY self-paced course that will help you articulate what you do, and position yourself as a creative expert with brand messaging templates and scripts. The Braid Method Branding ECourse is now open to new student. Click here to learn more and see if it’s a good fit.

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Does Narrowing in on your Niche Freak You Out? | Braid Creative

Whether you’re a creative entrepreneur, small business owner, or even a larger organization – the idea of getting daringly narrow with your brand positioning and marketing efforts can sometimes feel like boxing yourself in, painting yourself in a corner, and alienating potential customers (who can pay you) and help your business grow.

So today I want to share three simple brand exercises for narrowing in on your niche without freaking out.

Brand Exercise: Narrow in on your dream customer

It’s not uncommon for us to get pushback from our clients who are uncomfortable with narrowing in on their dream customer. They might say it’s because they don’t want to leave anyone out. But if we’re reading between the lines, we always sense an underlying fear of losing out on any customer willing to pay them. If money were no object, who would your dream customer be? What exactly would you offer them? Why do they need it – what problem are you solving for them?

If you’re having a hard time imagining who your dream customer is, think of a real person. Either a previous customer you’ve already worked with, a friend you know would benefit from your offering, or maybe even a character on a TV show you could imagine hiring you!

Brand Exercise: Experiment with getting specific in your content and promotional launches

One of the reasons narrowing in can feel so intimidating is because it means a lot of work for your entire brand. But you don’t need an entire rebrand to get daringly narrow. You can experiment with speaking to your dream customer in your content like blog posts, videos, podcasts, social media posts, and even sales campaigns targeting a specific segment of your audience.

For example, let’s say you love working with decisive women between the ages of 25-40 who are typically moms. Maybe you already have a Mother’s Day marketing initiative planned, but perhaps you want to get daringly narrow. What if you spoke directly to working moms? Or single moms? Or moms who have kids that are obsessed with fidget spinners?

These experiments will show you how getting niched with your offering and who you’re talking to (and how you’re talking to them) can increase engagement and your bottom line even to a seemingly smaller audience.

Brand Exercise: Show what you want more of in your portfolio and testimonials

Focusing your thoughts, intentions, and actions on what you want to happen is so much in the mainstream now that we’ve all heard the phrases “put what you want out into the universe” or “like attracts like.” But this law of attraction sentiment isn’t just for those who believe in metaphysics or magic. If your testimonials, portfolio, or case studies come from projects you’re proud of and dream customers you’d like more of – then you will naturally attract people who like your style and trust you to deliver.

When was the last time you asked your dream clients for testimonials or shared recent work, results, or success stories you loved? One of the easiest ways to narrow in is by focusing in on (and sharing!) what you want more of.

Need more help to narrow in? We’re having a webinar on four different ways to narrow in on your niche while staying true to your brand and business vision on September 15th. See more about what you’ll learn and register here.

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stand out in a saturated market

I recently received an email from a follower of Braid who admitted to wanting a career path very similar to well, what we do here at Braid. And then she said this:

“I can’t do that, you [Braid] are already doing that.”

She followed up by asking for a no-nonsense response to how you make it in a saturated market where it feels like everyone is doing the thing you want to be doing.

Whether you’re a coach, photographer, painter, marketer, leadership consultant – or even a whole team of people working toward a common goal – it can be easy to question whether you’re adding to the noise or actually contributing something special with your services and talent.

The feel-good response to this self doubt would be: “Only you can combine your personal + professional experience to offer something special (like a unique snowflake!) that nobody else can”

And while there’s truth to that sentiment, I can think of far more practical and straight-forward insights that will help you cut through the noise and stand out among your competitors. And that’s what I want to share with you today.

FIRST, LET’S TALK ABOUT TALENT + EXPERTISE

If you follow Braid Creative, it’s probably because you value how branding and marketing help grow your business. And yes, they’re totally necessary! But what’s even more crucial than branding what you want to be known for is working toward becoming the best at what you offer.

Yes, we’re all unique snowflakes, but the momentum comes from rolling that snowball up that hill! Then you see what sticks, what’s working for you, and what you can really start to build.

We all want to be different and “brand” what we do best, but are the hours and attention you’re putting in focused on creating what you want to be known for?

create what you want to be known for

Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Outliers, says that it takes 10,000 hours of intentional and deliberate practice to be an expert or leader in your industry. So don’t be so concerned about what everyone else around you is doing – start putting in the time.

get focused

THERE’S ENOUGH ROOM FOR ALL OF US. BUT ALSO, NARROW IN ON YOUR NICHE

The world is a very big place and there is enough work for all of us. Even here at Braid Creative, there is no way we could meet the demands of every single person who needs branding. Branding itself can be a pretty elusive word that we’re constantly defining in order to attract the best fit for the work we do.

If you can get incredibly clear about what you do (and don’t do) and what your customers can expect along the way, then you’re going to be able to serve the people who very specifically need exactly what you offer.

Fit matters for the clients you attract. It’s not just what you deliver, it's your philosophy and how you work together. If specializing on a niche is unrealistic for what you offer – then “fit” can help you narrow in on who you work best with.

FINALLY, YOU HAVE TO ARTICULATE WHAT YOU DO & WHO IT’S FOR

This is where our expertise (that would be branding) comes into the equation. There’s a lot of pressure to be completely, wildly different from everyone else to cut through all the clutter – and that’s just not true. You don’t have to be one-of-a-kind to stand out. You just have to be able to articulate what you do and for whom.

be clear about what you do

When you clearly articulate through your messaging, design, photography, tone – both your practicality and purposefulness – you will absolutely stand out from the competition. You will attract the people you’re for and repel the ones who might be best served by someone else.

Don’t take for granted the impression a cohesive brand makes. From your website to your storefront to your social media feed – your dream customer is smarter than you think, and they’re seeking too – not just for the “stand-outs” but for the simple, clear, confident message that helps them really decide where their dollars go.

Need more ideas on how to articulate your brand to stand out?

Download this PDF: 7 Ways to Brand You and What You Do

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THE BRAID BLOG from TARA AND KATHLEEN
Braid Creative & Consulting is branding and visioning for creative entrepreneurs and purposeful businesses. The Braid Blog is where we share weekly insights and resources for getting clear about your vision and voice, sharing content that attracts your dream client, and creating the brand positioning you want to be known for.

Learn more about how to work with Braid here >

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blend who you are & what you do,

share & sell your creative expertise,

attract your dream customers,

& make your business vision real

This ecourse is for creative people like designers, photographers, stylists, lifestyle coaches, wellness professionals, yogis, foodies, writers, bloggers, and creative consultants. Whether you’re just starting out, or have lots of experience, our step-by-step guidance will help you create a brand and business vision that feels more clear, confident, and like the true you.


 


 

LETTERS for CREATIVES

Want more? Sign up for our exclusive weekly email letters from us, Kathleen and Tara, for insights and advice from our own personal and professional overlap – as sisters, business owners, content sharers, and creative entrepreneurs.

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