Kathleen here wishing you a Happy New Year! I for one love a fresh start, and there is no better time than the new year to harness that kind of “DO OVER!” energy to build the business and brand you want. So today, I wanted to share a few ideas that will help you take your brand and business to the next level in the new year.
If there is one thing you can control in your business, it’s how you consistently show up. Here are a few ways you can be more consistent in the new year:
It sounds counter-intuitive to make accruing rejections a goal, I know. And to be completely honest, rejection is one of my personal fears, which keeps me from putting myself out there in a bigger way. So a personal goal of mine is to embrace rejection by aiming to be told “no” at least 100 times in the new year. But, I trust that if I’m rejected 100 times I’ll get a few “yeses” that will open my business and brand up to a few unexpected opportunities. Here are a few ways you can open yourself up to rejection:
I was the kind of student that always hated group work. I thrived on creative control and liked working at my own pace. Plus, I could get stuff done better and faster if I just did it myself. While I still like having control and standards over what I’m putting out into the world, I’ve learned that ideas, projects, and relationships go so much deeper when you collaborate with other creatives. Sure, it might take longer, and there’s a risk for hiccups along the way, but the rewards can take you—personally and professionally—further than you ever imagined.
Here are a few ways you can connect and collaborate:
P.S. All of these goals are great things to track with The Chalkboard Method.
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Kathleen here. I was recently checking out my Google Analytics and it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to learn that aside from our home page, the most visited page on our website is our “about” page.
After all, your “about me” page is the first place people go to get a glimpse of who you are, what your expertise is, and if they’re in the right place to find what they’re looking for. Your about page sets the tone for what the reader can expect if they continue to read your blog, sign up for your newsletter, or even hire you.
Your “about me” page sets the tone for your entire brand.
With that in mind, open a new tab and go take a look at your “about me” page with fresh eyes. Are you saying what you mean? If you were to read it out loud does it sound like you? Are you leaving the first impression you want to make? Is it memorable?
If you think your “about me” page could use an update or refresh, we’ve got a few ideas for you. These are the things we keep in mind as we’re writing brand stories for our own clients or coaching them through the content they should include on their own “about me” page.
Our favorite trick for writing an “about me” page is to pretend as if you’re writing a letter from the editor. At the beginning of every magazine there is a letter from the editor that shares the theme of the month, why they chose that theme, and perhaps a few personal behind-the-scenes tidbits. That’s exactly what you want to do for your brand and business! So try it out! Here are a few prompts to get your started:
You might be tempted to include a typical headshot, but consider including a candid at-work or day-in-the-life-of image. Just one image can tell an entire story!
Your letter from the editor should feel personal and engage your reader on a more emotional level. But let’s say you’re a coach with lots of credentials, a speaker with an impressive roster, or a designer that wants to note client work or awards – if you want to include those things in your about me page, consider including a more “professional” bio after your letter from the editor. This can include your experience, education, credentials, proof of expertise, and notable press or features.
If you have lots of content to share, consider including your “best hits” on your about me page. This is the stuff you absolutely want someone new to your page to read first so they can get to know you even more. Include a variety of your best content with a brief description of what your reader can expect when they click through to your next level of content. Pro-tip: include your best hits in your newsletter auto-responder.
If you’re still struggling to say what you do, we have a little extra something for you – download this worksheet straight from our Braid Method Branding ECourse that will give you a formula and script to help you say what you do in a really concise way. You can then take that “positioning statement” and pad it out into a full brand story or “about me” page using the tips from this blog post.
And P.S. We’ll be live on Facebook Friday at 1PM central time to chat more about how you can update your “about me” page to better reflect your brand and business vision as a creative entrepreneur. Like us here and tune in then!
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Kathleen here. When I was in college I worked at a fabric store. It was my job to cut bolts of raw material for people who were sewing curtains, covering a couch, or creating their own wardrobe. It was creative, fun, and I learned a lot about construction, design, and I got really good at calculating fractions and decimals and eye-balling yardage. So one day this woman comes into the store and asks a couple of my co-workers and I if we would be interested in helping her redecorate her entire house. We were excited at the opportunity but there was no clear objective, boundaries, or transactional exchange. We wound up half-heartedly designing this woman's entire house for free. It's the first time I can really recall feeling taken advantage of in a really unfair way—lesson learned. Except not...
I've had to re-learn this lesson over and over again since working for myself. Earlier in my career, I've been hired to do things that have made me feel at best, in-over-my-head and at worst, completely resentful and stressed out. All because I was still too unclear of my own brand and business vision to say no or put solid boundaries in place.
BRAND CONFUSION CLUTTERS UP BUSINESS BOUNDARIES
Listen, a lot of us creative entrepreneurs who border on being Type A control freaks (I see you) are good at A LOT of things. In fact, we can do or figure out just about anything—it's what makes us confident enough to wear so many hats as solopreneurs. So it's hard to say no when you need cash and desperately want to make a living working for yourself – or when you simply want to please the client you've grown to really like – or when you want to close the deal on that rad project that is just barely out of your scope of expertise. In reality, I'm sure there are a lot of things you won't do for money (Indecent Proposal, anyone?), but if you're confused about your own brand and business vision, it's easy to accidentally fall into situations where you're doing work you don't really want to be known for.
“If you're confused about your own brand, it's easy to fall into doing work you don't want to be known for.” (Tweet this)
For years, Tara and I have been helping creatives get underneath what their brand is all about, and we learned early on that asking what they ARE NOT all about is a great way to get clear on who they are and what they want to be known for.
So ask yourself this: what will you NOT do for money? Look at your "about me" page or your "how to hire me" page on your website – is there anything about it that might confuse people into thinking you do something that you don't?
NEED MORE BRAND CLARITY?
We’ve created a free e-book: 7 Ways to Brand You & What You Do to help you get clear of your own brand and business vision. This workbook includes seven chapters + lots of brand exercises that will help you understand how to share your vision, create the work you actually want to be doing, narrow in on your dream client, and create a process that your clients respect.
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