BRAID CREATIVE & CONSULTING
is branding & business visioning
for creative entrepreneurs.
12-Aug-2015
Make Work You Love to Attract Dream Clients | Braid Creative

Make Work You Love

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!

If you’ve done exercises from our Braid Ebook for Designers or from our Braid Method Branding ECourse, you know we like to help you shape and share your words. But what about creating and showing your work?

Creative entrepreneurs can show their work in lots of way. Think about the places where you are sharing: your website, portfolio, and case studies, perhaps. Then think about your creative work out there simply speaking for itself – as your clients share with friends and peers, and people experience your work firsthand out “in the world.”

That’s a lot of eyeballs on what you’ve created. And that’s great! But if you were to go to those places and look at your own work with fresh eyeballs, would you see the kind of work you want to do more of? Or would you only see the kinds of projects you never want to do again? You might not feel this black-and-white about it. Typically there are a few projects in there you love, but chances are there might be quite a few more that feel like the “old” you – and you’re ready for some “new.”

Ever heard the expression “like attracts like?” If you want to change the kind of work you’re hired to create, then you’ve gotta start creating and showing the kind of work you want to be making! (click to tweet)

Make work that attracts clients

So let’s say you don’t want to do wedding invitations anymore, you want to do branding for other event planners and wedding professionals. That’s not a huge leap. In fact, it feels pretty logical. But it can feel like a huge hurdle if no one is hiring you for brand design – only invitations.

Or let’s say you’re a web designer. Your bread and butter has been doing small sites for small businesses, but most of them are kind of bland – usually small tech companies. These businesses aren’t inherently bland, but you’ve realized whenever you create sites for makers with a more artisanal style – a baker, a herbalist, a woodworker – that you absolutely love your designs. But how can you get more of that when 75% of the work on your site or in your portfolio is techy-looking sites?

The creative projects you show others, speak volumes about what kind of work your clients can expect from you. And if you keep sharing the stuff you think will get you hired, but doesn’t exactly float your own creative boat, you could be setting yourself up to create a boring, unfulfilling day job of your own making. Except now you have no one to blame but the boss – and that’s you. (click to tweet)

Before you get all blamey, remember – having any creative business that pays your bills is a great problem to have. It actually gives you the confidence (and cash) to keep going and keep creating. The bad part is it doesn’t give you the time – the time to work on some side projects that could start to round out your portfolio and work with the kind of projects you love.

Make work that you want to do

But that’s exactly what you need to do. You need to carve out some time (and usually that’s just some mental headspace and some self-set deadlines and goals) to either create this kind of work for free, for a friend, or for someone who’s paying if they’re exactly the kind of client you want more of.

Get more of that event planning branding on your site, get more of that handmade indie maker sites in your portfolio. Aim for a 50% mix of what has been getting you hired and what you want to start getting hired for by the end of the year. Then aim for showing 80% (if not 100%) of only work you love by the end of two years. Time flies when you’re doing work you love!

Does this post ring true to you? If you’re having trouble making that shift from the type of work you’re currently doing to that oh-so-dreamy work you want to be doing, scoot on over to our Braid Method Branding ECourse. In it, you’ll find exercises that will help you narrow your offerings and adjust your brand messaging so that you can begin to take on the dreamy work that will continue to attract more of the work you love.

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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The Fear of Backsliding in Your Business for Creative Entrepreneurs

Fear of Backsliding for Creative Entrepreneurs

Tara here. I love when a creative sees a way forward that sparks their excitement as much as it makes good solid sense for their business. For example, when they tap into a more focused specialty, a more methodical way of working, or a way of packaging their services that helps them say no to the things they don’t want to do anymore, and create a more specific and meaningful brand for themselves.

Once we see that new way – usually by experiencing glimmers of it in a dream project, with a dream client, or just with clarity around what we’re really best at – it’s hard to go back. We fear going back.

Fear can be a motivator, too. The fear of backsliding – going back to our old job, going back to our old way of doing business, or going back to a way of being that we just don’t want to be anymore – can push us to keep moving forward. And that’s a good thing. A steep and rocky slide behind us can give us enough of a jolt to:
- move forward with sharing more of our personal brand
- move forward with charging just a little more for our services
- finally launching a product that will help shift our business model,
- or just finally declare: “this is new direction is my specialty, it’s what I love and what I want to do, and that’s what I’m calling myself, and branding myself as from here on out, no looking back!”

Big steps forward fuel us. They keep us going after our goals. They keep us from having a wishy-washy brand. They help us keep our eyes on our own page, and overcome our fear of backsliding into “what used to be.”

Sometimes our fear of backsliding is really a fear of backpedalling.
Backpedalling isn’t just inertia having it’s way with you, it’s a much more reactive “let’s reverse this!” reflex. So we’re not accidentally just falling into old habits, we’re actively choosing to change our mind, to go back to the perceived safety of the same old thing, and to do a “take back” on some of the decisions we made along our own personal/professional crossroads.

We’re not fans of backpedalling here at Braid. We typically like to make a decision, stick to it, tweak it, and not look back. But! Here’s the thing: beware of getting so addicted to the big steps forward, that you forget to look back at how you got here, and what you learned along the way that can still serve you!

Learning from Past Experiences for Creative Entrepreneurs

“Two steps forward. One step back...” can be a good thing.
Just as much as I love seeing creative entrepreneurs find that forward-focus, I also love when they can get far enough along in their vision, get some real work under their belt in this new way of doing things, and then stop proving it so hard.

When we are confident in our forward-vision, we can let ourselves bring some of the layers of our past work and past experiences back into our new business, our new brand, and our new adventure.

Get more specific about what you do! But consider your specialty has layers:
This is the interior designer who wants to embrace minimalism, and have that be the focus of her brand and her specialty. But she’s finding a more balanced work-style when she lets the layers of her client’s aesthetics and her more traditional design background into her approach. A kinder, gentler, less spartan approach to minimalism is becoming that truer creative expert “blend” for her.

Circle back to old ideas that didn’t work the first time if opportunity knocks:
These are the creative collaborators who tried launching a workshop for creative entrepreneurs just starting out – and no-one signed up (well, one person signed up) so they had to call it off. But circle around a few years later and they try a podcast instead. A little experiment with a new platform. It becomes so popular they invited followers to a master class in New Orleans for a creative entrepreneur get-together, and get four times the attendees they expected – in the first day of sign up.

Don’t be afraid to look how far you’ve come:

This is you. Have courage in your bold decisions! But don’t be afraid to look back now and again. You won’t turn to stone. If you can calm the fear of backsliding, but stay strong against the instinct to backpedal – you can look back. Because that journey is what got you here, and how you learned everything along the way!

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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Branding for Creative Entrepreneurs | Braid Creative & Consulting

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

Kathleen here. My purpose as a creative entrepreneur is to live what I love, say what I mean, and be who I am 100% in both work and life. When I asked my older sister Tara (and Braid business partner) what her purpose was when we first started this path together, she said "you know, I just want to feel like a creative expert and get paid well doing it.” Our combined passion, purpose, and honestly pragmatic desires manifested as The Braid Method.

Sticking with the method (and the roadmap it has created for us) has kept us focused, kept us turning our ideas into action, and kept us attracting dream clients to our brand as creative experts who blend who we are into what we do.

We couldn’t have done the kind of work we’ve done over the past four years, for all the creatives we’ve helped – without The Braid Method. It has been, and continues to be, how we do branding and business visioning for each and every one of our one-on-one clients.

So… we’ve decided to take our tried and true process and put it into one self-guided ECourse + Workbook just for you.

This ecourse didn’t happen overnight – we’ve spent many years writing, developing, designing, and refining this content. What we’ve created is a 300+ page book with 7 lesson modules, a workbook with over 20 branding exercises and scripts, quarterly masterclasses, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can cultivate your creative pack with us and other ecourse students. Here’s a snapshot of what we’re covering:

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

GET SPECIFIC ABOUT YOUR DREAMS (AND EVEN YOUR FEARS)
In Lesson 1 we teach you how to get specific about your fears and your dreams so you can make decisions faster and be confident you’re on the right path.

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

LEVERAGE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
You already have a personal brand – you’ve been cultivating it for years. But in Lesson 2 we’re going to teach you how to blend who you are with what you do, break the old rules and make your own, and embrace your personal style to attract dream customers (and repel the not-so-dreamy ones.)

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

EMBRACE YOUR CREATIVE EXPERTISE
A lot of the creatives we work with shy away from calling themselves an expert, but branding yourself as a creative badass is the best way to make a living doing what you’re best at. So in Lesson 3 (one of the meatiest lessons in this ecourse) we’re going to help you identify your core genius and unique point-of-view. We’re going to teach you how to narrow in on your ideas so you feel focused and your client feels confident in hiring you. And finally, we’re going to teach you how to leverage your process to close more deals, get enthusiastic approval on your work, and get paid doing what you love.

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

ATTRACT YOUR DREAM CUSTOMER
Lesson 4 is all about getting specific about your dream customer, when to say yes or no to the wrong fit (because we know how hard it can be to turn down a potential paycheck), and how to price your products or services so you can not only put food on the table but actually be compensated well for the amount of energy you put into your work.

SAY WHAT YOU MEAN - YOUR BRAND MESSAGING
Lesson 5 is where we begin to take all the stuff you’re uncovering and learning about your brand and business vision and start crafting some messaging so you can say what you mean on your website, your social media, and in “real life” conversations. In this lesson we give you scripts and worksheets so you can write your positioning statement, your brand story, and your “how to hire me” language.

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

GET IT OUT THERE - TELL PEOPLE HOW TO HIRE YOU
I see too many talented creatives not telling their customers how to hire them. They’re afraid of seeming too self-promotional or even greedy. Or on the flip side I see creatives blasting their product all over the place without bringing any value to the conversation. So in Lesson 6 we’re going to teach you how to share your gifts of knowledge for free so that you attract dream customers to you, gain their trust, and have them clicking “buy” on your services or products.

KEEP THE DREAM JOB DREAMY
Our last lesson is where we give you a peek behind the curtains and share with you exactly how we run our wildly successful business. We share everything – from how we got comfortable talking about money to our content-sharing and social media plan.

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

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You can learn more about the Braid Method Branding ECourse for Creative Entrepreneurs here. See if it’s a fit for you (you can even check out a free trial!) – we hope to see you in our Facebook group and masterclasses soon.

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

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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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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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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