When you’re a creative entrepreneur it seems like your business is always changing, even when you’re just predictably ticking right along, project-by-project. For starters, what you do and sell just keeps getting better with practice. Naturally (or intentionally!) your following and your reputation grow. For some, the growth is slow and steady, for others, it’s a flurry, and for most of us, it’s a mix of both.
Tara here. Whether you’re a hot spark or a slow burn, a tortoise or a hare, (you guys know which one I am, slow and steady wins the race, right?) – the longer you work in the business you’ve created for yourself, the more clearly you know what you like, what you love, and what you’d rather not do any more at all.
“The longer you work in the business you’ve created for yourself, the more clearly you know what you love & what you’d rather not do any more at all.”
So I want to talk about those times when we’re not just routinely ticking along. What about those times when you are completely energized, preoccupied, even agitated, by a new idea for your business—an idea that would take your business (and your life) to a way of working that you would really love. What happens when your own inner-hare starts thump-thump-thumping and wants to take off!?Your vision for “what’s next” might be...
Do more than just one of these scenarios sound like what you want, too? Ask yourself, is your brand helping you make these transitions, or is it holding you back? It may seem a little like putting the cart before the horse, but often it’s the changes we make to our brand— our messages, how we frame up our offerings, and a shift in style and tone (like embracing more of our personal brand alongside the professional)—that helps us stay motivated through a transition, that helps us share this change with other people with more confidence, and definitely helps people know how to engage with us and our business – in this entirely new way.
“Is your brand helping you make your business vision transition – or is it holding you back?”
Even though I’m all for brands matching (heck, actually pre-paving!) where we want to go with our business vision, I’m not a fan of throwing the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to your business and expertise. For example, if you want to transition from one-on-one work to launching a one-to-many product, what are the ingredients that are making their way into this new offering, that still come from your experience and expertise?
Can you restructure your offering and reframe your brand messaging without starting over from scratch? Absolutely. I think the goal for a brand in transition is to get it reflecting a 50/50 mix of a.) how you actually work now + b.) how you want to be working going forward. Look at your website, your recent social media posts, even your last three projects. What parts can stay as a valid, legit part of your brand? Which parts can go to make room for the new vision you want to share?
How do we structure and frame up our own offerings behind the scenes at Braid? We shared our practices (and answered your questions!) about growing the business vision we had in our own heads (and hearts), not only in our early days but in our own times of transition. Learn how we get hired for our one-on-one expertise (my older sister vision!) while also reaching more people and launching new products (Kathleen’s younger sister vision!) in our Braid webinar. Catch the replay: Sign up here!
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The number one problem I’ve found with creatives who are unsatisfied, and can’t seem to find the dream they’re supposed to be living – is that they’re not getting specific enough. Their vision of a well-designed life is made up of vague words and little to no action.
Tara here. I love when Kathleen wrote that. It’s just the kind of love-it-or-hate-it statement she would make, throwing down the gauntlet to creative entrepreneurs (or aspiring-to-be’s) who aren’t really saying what they need to be saying – especially to themselves.
I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say “yep, I tend to not get as specific about my ‘wants’ as I could,” even though I help our clients get incredibly specific and clear in their own business vision and brand messaging – it’s harder to point the wand at yourself. So I feel you, if it feels scary to get specific.
Kathleen first wrote about getting specific when she started coaching creatives about their fears, dreams and vision. She shared a lot of the tools and insights she developed on her personal blog, AndKathleen.com, which has always been her “experimental ground” for sharing what’s she’s up to in her personal and professional life.
Since then, we created a whole lesson in our Braid ECourse dedicated to getting specific, have given workshops and talks around this powerful tool, and it’s still one of the attributes of Kathleen’s that I admire the most: “Oh man, that’s my sister’s super-power! Getting specific and making decisions!”
So even if you’ve read this post before, or heck, done the Braid ECourse worksheets around getting specific about your fears and dreams – we wanted to share it again – as you, and we, wrap up a year of working hard, continue to tackle what’s next, and make our (specific!) visions real.
Kathleen here. Let’s say you want to be passionate and inspired. Then get specific. Describe to me what a passionate and inspired person looks like. How do they behave? How do they move through their day from start to finish?
Or let’s say you want to write more. Awesome. Get specific. What are you writing about? Are you on a laptop or pushing pen to paper? Are you in a coffee shop or a quiet reading nook? Do you have a hot cup of tea or perhaps some whiskey on the rocks accompanying you? Are you journaling? Blogging? Or starting on the next great American novel?
Maybe you just want to be able to pay the bills doing what you love. Get specific about your expenses and how much income you need to make. What will it cost to quit your day job? Or how much do you need to save up to take a month to work on only your own projects? Look at the numbers and do the math.
Or I bet you want to travel more. Where do you want to go? What will you pack? Look at a map and pick a destination. Then look at your calendar and block off time, even if it’s a year in advance and maybe improbable, to take the holiday of your dreams. Browse plane tickets and start researching hotels / campgrounds / hostels. Pretend like you’re about to go on this trip for real.
Dreams don’t happen. They’re made. But first you have to get specific about what that dream looks like.
Here are just a few things I do to get specific when I’m feeling unclear:
• Start a Pinterest board to start bringing texture, color, shape, and form to your vision. (You can follow me & the Braid crew on Pinterest here).
• Try our Ideal Day exercise to really think about what you want to be doing all day.
• Do just one small thing each day that feels dreamy. Be sure to take a mental note and say “I’m living the dream when I _________.”
So I want to know – what’s one specific thing that you want to start doing to make work & life a little more dreamy? Let us know on Instagram or Facebook.
Tara here. Told you it was a good one! Look for more work/life blend posts coming from Braid as we head into the New Year! If you like “Get Specific,” you may just completely fall in love with our Braid ECourse. Lesson One of the ecourse is all about getting specific so that you can clearly define your fears and dreams before you move forward with anything else. Many of our ecourse students have found huge clarity just from this lesson alone! You can sign up for the ecourse or get a free sample to download here.
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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Tara and I work with lots of creatives who want to empower, inspire, champion, and charge. We love some grand vision as much as the next guy but these kinds of lofty goals always leave us asking “Okay, that’s great – but what do you actually want to be doing all day?”
If you can’t identify what your day of empowering and inspiring actually looks like, in very specific detail, than you’re setting yourself up for failure.
A couple weeks ago we touched on this very topic in our Brand Visioning Webinar.
Empowering, inspiring, and championing are really great core values – but what’s the action? (click to tweet) And how do you actually explain how you provide that to your audience?
You have to remember that you cannot sell inspiration, you cannot sell empowerment, and you cannot sell customer service. (click to tweet) Those are things that people experience after they’ve already hired you, so you need to get specific about what you’re offering that might create those experiences as a byproduct.
One of the reasons this gets so hard for creative entrepreneurs is because often we have so many different interests, and we don’t want to “limit” ourselves to just one thing. But you have to remember: It just starts with one thing, and you can always add on those layers to weave together your various interests into a cohesive brand later on. Nothing is permanent, you can always change it if it’s not working, but you’ve got to get specific or your followers will be confused as to what it is you’re actually offering.
So try this:
Ask yourself: If you could just do one thing all day, every day, what would that be?
Then ask yourself: If you could stop doing one thing, what would that be?
Now, let’s put the big picture aside and get specific about what you want: Do you want to be making things with your hands? Are you designing or delegating? Do your meetings take place in coffee shops or do you prefer to keep your communication streamlined to email? Are you blogging, Tweeting, and / or Facebooking? Are you teaching, guiding, and coaching? What do you want to be known for? Are you selling a service or a product? What’s the deliverable? What’s your creative process? What do you not want to be doing?
If you’re frankly not sure what you want to be doing all day, you’re not alone. Try this exercise to create a specific vision of what you want your ideal day to look like:
We’ve all found ourselves at times feeling overwhelmed, scattered, and spread thin at what’s supposed to be the ever-fulfilling dream job we’ve created for ourselves. I think it’s because we don’t have a clear vision of what we want our life (or job) to actually look like. We’re overlooking the details for a lofty ideal that we can’t quite pinpoint. So sign up for our Letters for Creatives Newsletter to get our Ideal Day worksheet that will help you to really narrow in on your dream day.
Be sure to get as specific as possible about how your future self experiences the day using all five senses – what you feel, what you smell, your environment, the kinds of conversations you’re having, and the work you may or may not be doing. Be mindful about not getting too generic or broad with your vision – the dream is in the details! Start a Pinterest board to bring visuals to your dream day.
Now once you’ve day dreamed about your ideal day take just one element of that day and make it a reality. Start small and commit for 40 days – this will make it more likely that your new dreamy habit sticks! If you can incorporate this aspect of your future ideal day into your present day reality you’re one step closer to living that vision.
The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to supporting 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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