branding | visioning | marketing
that blends who you are and what you do
Are You Brave Enough to Attract Your True Dream Customer?

What if the image above was a bridal portrait instead of a side project? 

I recently received an email from an aspiring creative entrepreneur, a photographer to be exact, asking me how she can do what she loves and get paid for it. Her fear is that the “bread & butter” paying clients, might not “get” her offbeat aesthetic when it comes to her passion projects.  Sound familiar? Read on.

Here’s her letter to me: 

Hi Kathleen, 

I've been following your blog for a few years now, so I know you are one busy lady, but I was wondering if I could ask you a quick question that I've been struggling with lately. I've been honing my skills in photography, graphic design, and illustration over the past few years and I'm hoping to start a successful sidebusiness within the year. However, my true passion is coming up with offbeat and weird photos and illustrations... but I don't think I can make money from this. 

I struggle with presenting these strange pieces of work in my portfolio, because on the surface I know it doesn't appeal to conservative or "conventional" potential clients. For example, I don't want a picture of a guy holding sparklers in his underwear, wearing a monkey mask, scaring away a potential wedding or family portrait client. However, it seems like more people get a response out of my off-kilter work, as opposed to my standard portraits. Do you have any suggestions on how to attract the bread-and- butter clients for weddings and family portraits, while still being able to show off my "abstract" art?

I appreciate anything you can think of on this subject. 

Thank you so much!
-Brady Kennedy

Brady Kennedy Photos

Photos by Brady Kennedy

My response boiled down to two pieces of advice:

1. BE BRAVE ABOUT WHO YOU ARE (an anecdote):
When I decided to fashion my hair in dreadlocks my most "conservative" client thought it was rad - I was surprised to not be fired. I also had this irrational fear that we may never get hired again and Tara’s children would starve through the cold winter. But guess what? Braid continues to get hired by people who love us for who we are – funky locs and all. It turns out my hair has become something that sets me apart. It makes our even more seemingly conventional clients proud to say "I work with those weirdos." I just had to be brave and put it out there. It turns out I wasn't giving my clients enough credit. 

But this isn’t limited to who you are... this also applies to the work you do.

Passion and Paying Venn

Stop compartmentalizing your side projects and start getting paid for them. Start by thinking of ways you could incorporate more of what you love into what you’re already getting paid for. For example, Brady Kennedy could ask a bride to humor her by putting a disco ball on her head or she could ask to take her bridal portraits submerged in a lake. If the bride is game, which photo do you think she's going to share with her Facebook friends? Probably the fun disco ball head image or the super editorial, high-fashion lake shot. 

So this is the question to ask yourself: can you be brave enough to give your “meh” clients more credit and turn them into a dream customer? Perhaps you're putting yourself in a box more than they are. 

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to support themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.

FILED UNDER: Dream Customer Catching, Personal Branding

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 >





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.




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.

Thank you for signing up for our Braid Letters. Keep your eyes peeled on your inbox and in the meantime like us on Facebook.




Listen to the Being Boss podcast with Kathleen Shannon & Emily Thompson for candid stories, insights and tips on how to be boss in work and life.

© Braid Creative and Consulting
Website Development by Indie Shopography