BRAID CREATIVE & CONSULTING
is branding & business visioning
for creative entrepreneurs.
31-Aug-2015
Declare Your Personal Branding Style | Braid Creative & Consulting

Declare Your Style

As creatives, we are so often trained to adapt our style to the task at hand. We are taught that the approach to each project should fit the challenge, and our own hand in getting there should leave no trace of our own point-of-view. Like creative chameleons, we are there to make our product or service fit the client’s wants, needs, and desires.

But we’re going to object to this one – just a little. Now before this ruffles feathers (which it does, oh my!), let us tell you why. You’re not just a conduit with impeccable taste, an impersonator of any style who also knows their way around (pick one) a laptop, a lens, a drafting table, a chef’s table, a spreadsheet, a yoga mat. Designers are not just pixel pushers, photographers are not just camera operators, writers are not just transcriptionists, nutritionists are not just diet coaches, and life coaches are not just a shoulder to cry on.

You don’t have to be a creative chameleon, erasing all trace of your own style or point of view, to create, advise, guide, and make – for others. (click to tweet)

Own your personal branding style

Of course, we want to create (and create results) for our clients. But this should not be mistaken for operating on puppet strings. How do we balance approaching their wants and needs with respect and empathy – while still asserting our creative expertise?

Your creativity and your knowledge is how you serve. Your creativity is the gift you bring to the party. But what if you could be the kind of creative who’s known for her really great signature style or her tough-love approach or her unusually subtle yet instinctual approach? What if you could be that friend who doesn’t necessarily stick to the line-item gift registry, but always gives the most thoughtful, unexpected, memorable, and personalized presents?

Your personal branding style is a gift

That’s a gift in itself – to be able to create something that completely fits the person you’re giving it to, but still has this quality that always reminds them of you. They may not even realize it, but the “you” is woven in there, and it’s part of the reason they love it. You weren’t just invited to the party to bring a gift, you were invited for what you bring to the mix.

You weren’t just invited to the party to bring a gift. You were invited for what you bring to the mix. (click to tweet)

We’re not saying be a wildly unpredictable, loose cannon – the kind of creative that no one knows what they’re going to get – “when she’s great, she’s great, but don’t catch her on an off day!” We believe (strongly) in balancing this signature style point-of-view of yours with a very logical and reassuring creative process. Your process is what gets you the collaborative input you need from your client.

Declare your personal style

Try this: Start claiming your words. What are the words that describe your ideal project or engagement? Your approach? Your personal style? Your aesthetic? Are you all about handcrafted? Or clean lines? Are you more dark and evocative or whimsical and vintage? Are you a listener? Are you a tough-love cheerleader? Are you a storyteller? Are you an advocate? It’s hard narrowing in, and we know you aren’t just ONE style, but we bet you could sum up your approach in just a few words if you really had to. Think of it like the desert island question: “if you were stranded on a desert island and could only work in this one style or approach for the rest of your life, what would it be?”

Declaring your style is a small but mighty first step to becoming a creative who is sought out for their specialty. (click to tweet)

Your Style Declaration. Fill in the blanks to describe your work style or even your personal brand style: “My work style is ______ [ earthy ] ______ meets ____ [ empathetic ] ______.”

Then elaborate a little more:
“Where you might see this is when I use _______ [ one of your special skills here ] ______, or I share ________ [ one of your behind-the-scenes approaches here ] __________.”

Then make it a little more collaborative, how you get inspired, and then how you in turn inspire or guide your clients:
“I draw inspiration from ____[ what fuels you to do what you do]______________, and I hope I inspire my clients to ______[ what fuels your clients / their results / after working with you________.”

This isn’t you in a vacuum working solo without any input or collaboration, after all! But it is your style declaration. And it’s just the first small, but mighty, step in becoming a creative expert who is sought out for their ability to inspire, guide, make and deliver on their true specialty.

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.

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27-Jul-2015
Sharing Your Creative Brand & Business Vision | Braid Creative

how to share your business vision

Today’s post comes from our Branding for Designers email series. Almost everyone on the Braid team started out as a graphic designer so we have a special place in our hearts for you all. We know your struggles first hand and wanted to create a series just for you. Oh, and if you’d like to get a free eBook on how to brand yourself as a creative expert sign up here. Now on to the post!

Creative entrepreneurs rarely stop at the skill they began their business with. So what’s your business vision? Is it...
- to design for a certain kind of dream client? Who?
- to work within one very specialized kind of niche? What?
- to pair your skill with planning, consulting or some other kind of service? How?
- to infuse your creative work with more purpose? Why? To what end?

Not every one of these vision questions above is going to get you fired up. Some of them you may feel so-so about at best and overwhelmed about at worst. But we would bet—after all the creative entrepreneurs we’ve worked with, coached with, and talked about our fears and dreams with—at least one of these questions above, and its answer (even if it’s still fuzzy), feels like “what’s next” for you.

sharing your business vision

A fuzzy vision can make you feel shy about sharing content, shaky about your offerings, and slow to shape the brand you know you really want.

So let’s talk about that fuzzy feeling. You know you want what’s next, but you might think you need to get your vision (and your content) completely focused in and clearly shaped up before you can start sharing it with other people. But often what we share as-we-go is what shapes what we become.

Imagine your vision coming through in:
- your emails with prospective (and current) clients
- your wardrobe and personal style
- your blog posts (or mini-posts like Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest)
- your daily schedule and routines
- your “about me” page on your website
- your “about me” conversations with your friends and family

What’s it going to take for you to feel like you can start sharing your vision on your brand places: your site, your social media, and in your face-to-face conversations?

Now I bet you’re imagining all the rewriting, redesigning, or even just rethinking you’d have to do to start infusing that vision in those “brand” places. “But I don’t have time for shaping up those sharing places!” “My site needs too much work before I start sharing there!” “I still want to redesign x and y before I start doing z!.” “How can I tell people the kind of work I want to be hired for if I haven’t done it yet?!” You do it a little at a time. You try it on. You practice. You change a little copy here today, and a whole lotta copy over there in a month.

sharing your business vision

So which of your “sharing places” do you need to update to feel like you could really start shaping your “what’s next” vision by writing and talking about it now? List out the places first: website (get specific by page), blog, social media platforms, email, typical new business conversations, typical casual conversations. Then mark which you could start slightly altering today...Within 30 days...Within 3 months. It’s not an all-or-nothing challenge. Start peppering your vision in now – with a goal for a longer term shift for the “what’s next.”

Next up we’ll be talking about doing vs. shaping your brand because there’s a huge difference between doing the work and doing the work while you shape it toward your bigger future goals.

If you find this series of blog posts helpful, then you should definitely check out our Braid Method Branding ECourse. We’ve taken everything we’ve learned from our creative expertise and spent years curating this content and getting it just right, so you can walk away with some amazing insights into who you are and what you want from your business. We’ve also included a whole workbook of some super-clarifying exercises, to help you lay out your vision into bite sized chunks – so you feel less overwhelmed, and more confident sharing your creative vision.

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.

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How to tell people what you do as a creative

“I used to think branding was just about logos, fonts, and colors. But I realized that my trouble articulating what I do is really a branding problem.” – Kat, Illustrator and a Braid Method Branding ECourse Student

One of the hardest things to do as a creative entrepreneur is being able to tell people what you do. Kathleen here. Just yesterday morning I was in a boxing class (yup, I finally watched Mad Max: Fury Road and was inspired to be a post-apocalyptic badass – boxing class seemed like a good place to start) and the coach asked me what I do for a living. And even as someone who tells creatives how to tell other people what they do for a living, I had that moment where I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to tell this guy, who boxes for a living, what it is I do. I boiled it down to “graphic design” and that was an appropriate answer given the context of his expertise (boxing) and my experience leading up to becoming a branding guide and creative coach (who started as a graphic designer over a decade ago).

But it’s not just in out-of-context situations (like boxing class … or Thanksgiving dinner with relatives who don’t understand your creative career) that creative entrepreneurs have a hard time explaining what they do. Creatives often find themselves stammering in front of potential dream clients and while networking with their peers. And like Kat, an illustrator taking our branding ecourse, said, the inability to articulate what you do isn’t a confidence problem – it’s a branding problem.

The inability to articulate what you do isn't a confidence problem - it's a branding problem. (click to tweet)

You might be having a hard time telling people what you do for a living if:
• you are using vague words and trendy industry jargon to describe what you do
• your expertise can’t be summed up in one small title or job description
• you feel more like a Jack (or Jane) of all trades and master of none

messaging for creatives is a branding problem

In our ecourse we created a whole scripted lesson module for this very reason. It’s called “Get Blended: Shape Your Branded Messages,” and in it we share formulas for talking and writing about your business, while still sounding like you. You want to be clear enough to explain what you do to almost anyone in just a few sentences, legit enough in your next layer of content (usually on your site or in your conversations) to get hired, and you want to feel authentic and true to the dreamy-but-difficult path you’re carving out for yourself.

You want to be clear enough to explain what you do to almost anyone in just a few sentences. (click to tweet)

creative clarity when explaining what you do

One of the first scripts we share is your positioning statement.
• Your positioning statement is just a few sentences that say what you do, and for who.
• You need it to help you sound self-employed, not unemployed, when you explain what you’re about in a short amount of time.
• It can go in places like your website home page, perhaps under your photo in a sidebar, and in your social media profiles.

We share scripts for service-based creatives (like photographers, designers, and stylists), content-based creatives (like coaches, consultants, writers, and bloggers), and product-based creatives (like jewelers, makers, and artists) in our Braid Method Branding ECourse for Creative Entrepreneurs. But! I want to share just a down-and-dirty fill-in-the-blanks script that you can give you less anxiety and more confidence so you can start practicing on your own boxing instructor (or maybe just in your next coffee meeting) today!

Try filling out these blanks:

I’m ___[your name]___, and I’m a ____ [simplest form of your title]____.

I love ____ [creating, designing, guiding]____ clients who want ____ [your specialty]____.

And they love how I ____ [your approach]_____ when we work together!

But at the end of the day, what they really get is ____ [ your deeper deliverable for them]___.

Because I’m more than just __[your simple title]__, I’m a ___[your creative expertise]___.

I can’t wait to try what’s next for me, which is launching a ___[your next big endeavor]___.

It’s hard work, but totally worth it, because as I create for others, I’ll also be creating __[your dream]___ for myself along the way.

Okay, I went a little future-dreaming there, but I can’t help it! That’s what we love to do at Braid, not just blend the person with the profession, but blend the “now” with the “what could be!”

Because once you start articulating what you really do, and really want, it really does start to happen. (click to tweet)

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.

Our branding ecourse will be $179 through the end of June 2015. In July it will go up to $229.

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Braid Creative & Consulting is branding and business visioning for creative entrepreneurs. The Braid Blog is where we share weekly insights and resources for creatives.

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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.


 


 

 


 

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