“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.
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
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.
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!”
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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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:
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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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Kathleen and Tara here. We want to talk to the designers out there for a minute. You want to be this amazing creative designer who works for yourself… but it can come with all this fear of rejection, self-doubt, and uncertainty (like "is this even a real job?").
But you do it anyway because you love design, and you want to create a working life for yourself that you love.
One thing we’ve learned from working with, talking with and getting dreamy with other designers, is that it doesn’t matter if you work in a big city, small town, or somewhere in between – designers rarely stop at just being designers. There’s always a vision.
So what’s your vision? Is it to design for a certain kind of dream client? Who? To design within one very specialized kind of niche? What? To pair design with planning, consulting or some other kind of service? How? To infuse your design with more purpose? Why? To what end?
All the questions!! But that’s how we do. We always want to give you a framework for thinking about what’s next for you and confidence owning what you can embrace now.
We started as designers. We still are designers. We love branding designers. So we got all fired up and wrote a how-to-do-it-guide... for the designers. It’s really how we shaped our work into a method that lets us do the work like creative experts, and it’s how we share what we know in a way that brands us (and gets us hired as) creative experts.
So how do you shift from being solely a designer-for-hire, to being a creative who guides their own process, shares their point-of-view, and is branded (and hired as) an expert? 7 Ways Designers Become (& Brand Themselves As) Creative Experts is the ebook we’ve made just for designers, and you can download it for free when you sign up for our Branding for Designers emails to your inbox.
The ebook has exercises, reminders, inspiration, plus the fill-in-the-blank scripts we use when we brand designers, that help you start to shape what being a creative expert looks like (and sounds like) for you. We know if you can get that creative expert blend into what you do, then everyone else will see it too.
Here’s a quick look at the “7 ways” in a nutshell:
1. Don’t just show your work… share your vision. What do you love to design? What kind of clients do you have the most impact for? What project or idea do you have up your sleeve, that you could share? What are you thinking about doing next? Surely you have at least one platform where you could start talking about this vision a little more – even if it’s simply in your conversations. (click to tweet)
2. Share your work too, just make sure it’s the kind of work you want to attract more of. If you don’t already have current design projects that reflect the kind of future work you want to be known for – then design a passion project. And show it! (click to tweet)
3. Define your style point-of-view and declare it! Can you put your finger on the style you love? Can you verbalize the design aesthetic that you’re most drawn to? Can you look at your work and see a common thread that people can expect from you? (Hint: your clients may not be able to describe it, but they can see it… so why not put words to this look and feel… it will make you sound like a creative expert, and it will make them feel trust in your choices that no longer seem arbitrary but part of your specialty). (click to tweet)
4. Try to narrow in on your dream client! Who are they? If you don’t know, how do you know when you find them? (click to tweet)
5. Then once they’re your clients, let them in on your creative process! Don’t have a creative process? Yeah, you do. You just need to get better at outlining it (for yourself, and them) and then sticking to it! (click to tweet)
6. Don’t forget to tell them what they actually get. Being a creative expert does not mean being vague. You’re still doing stuff. Ideas and inspiration are great and all, but what are they actually paying for? Don’t forget to clearly straight-talk tell people what you’re designing, packaging up, and delivering for them – and where that delivery ends. (click to tweet)
7. Blend you into what you do. The blend is your special sauce, it’s You: The Professional plus You: The Person. So be sure your style and your voice are reflected in your brand. That means talk how you really talk, set your own rules for how you work, and get your own design style (even personal style) into your brand look and feel. (click to tweet)
Get your free ebook:
Get the “7 Ways Designers Become (& Brand Themselves As) Creative Experts” EBook by Tara & Kathleen, with scripts, exercises, reminders, and inspiration for the designer blending who you are into what you do, as you define your personal brand, build your creative expertise, and create your dream job.
If you’re interested in working with us one-on-one to develop your Brand & Business Vision learn more about how we work with designers.
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