Tara here. We all grew up with catchy slogans – “just do it,” “got milk?” or “a diamond is forever.” They’ve been etched in our brains because of how consistently they’ve been used – and all the ways and means these big-budget brands have impressed them upon us.
But even without big budgets, trending one-liners and themes are still impressing and influencing us and our peers in the realm of the creative entrepreneur, now more than ever – from hashtags that catch on like wildfire, to pinnable quotes that strike an irresistible chord.
A themeline may even start with you – a product you’re launching, a movement you’re championing. But those are ideas, products, events and rallying cries that come and go with the flow, they don’t describe what you do as a personal brand and a business.
Of course you should keep creating those ideas, those products, those launches and those themes in time with the seasons, in time with what’s happening in the world, and most importantly, in time with your own bursts of inspiration.
But! When it comes to that single line that describes what you do (that doesn’t change over time!) – you don’t need a catchy, clever, cute or even a razor-sharp cut-through-the-clutter slogan that’s going to make you popular, memorable or hirable. You need a tagline.
A tagline (I sometimes simply call it a descriptor line) should be a useful companion to your brand name and logo, that does a little of the explaining for you.
A few weeks ago I wrote How To Decide On Your Business Name and promised a follow-up on how to write your tagline to go with it. So before you think of it as a hashtag or a pinnable quote, as a shoe box slogan or a one-liner delivered by Morgan Freeman at the end of an emotionally stirring commercial – think of your tagline in brand places like your website masthead, a sign-off to your newsletters or posts, or in your social media profile.
Think of your tagline as the biggest clue, in the smallest amount of words, into what you do and how people can buy or hire you.
A short and sweet tagline (or descriptor line) for your business should:
a. show what your business does in an instant; and/or
b. round out what your business name alone isn’t telling people
Creating A Say-What-You Mean Descriptor Line vs. a Catchy One:
Here are a few different fill-in-the-blank formulas you might try:
1. The “I Do This for Them” Version
Your Business Name (could be your name, of course) followed by:
floral design for events
But what if she had a shop and did events? I’d do the one- two- three- punch:
2. The “Short-Short Laundry List” Version
florist | design | special events
But what if her name was her name? But she loved the idea of a “green goddess,” perhaps that’s even her logo mark design?
3. The “Make Your Name Still Sound Like a Business” Version
In this case I might suggest a short descriptor line you use with your logo sometimes, but a “rallying cry” that feels like your personal motto that you pepper in when you have the space, or the right context to do so:
floral design & events
“for the green goddess in all of us!”
4. No matter which version you use, go back and pepper in Purpose & Personality
Okay, so these are feeling pretty straightforward. And very concise. They almost feel like a “duh” moment, like “of course that’s the description for what I do.” But where’s the creativity? Well, a little goes a long way. You don’t want to turn your breadcrumb into a full-on bagel! But here are some simple ways you might infuse a little more of “you” into what you do in a line as short as your tagline:
For example (and this is my favorite of all the “imaginary” Green Goddess combos):
natural floral design for wildly gorgeous events
Note the “natural” descriptor. That’s stating some purpose. Perhaps she only uses local plants or more natural-feeling designs (no tight rose-only bouquets).
Note the “wildly gorgeous” that’s infusing some personality. Perhaps she’s a total stylista, completely influenced by fashion and design in all her floral designs.
Caution! Don’t use words you don’t really use. If our Green Goddess was a shy wallflower, vs. this loud and fabulous floral designer. Then you might tone down the flair, but keep the “natural” intent.
Having trouble writing this deceptively short and simple line? Or simply picking the one that “feels right?”
Now, I recognize that not all of you do work that’s as straightforward as floral design. Many of you do a hybrid of services, or are still in transition, trying to figure it all out and how it fits together. So, yes, even though your tagline shouldn’t change as much as your hashtags do, you should give yourself permission to evolve or update it every three to six months. We’ve updated ours (branding & business visioning for creative entrepreneurs) at least once or twice since we’ve launched. Just knowing it’s not totally set in stone can free up the writer’s block!
But if you’re still struggling, here are some tips:
Give yourself wiggle room to warm up.
A great way to warm up is to give yourself a longer word count. See if you can sum up what you do, and who you do it for (with a dash of your personality, using your own words, because you are not a robot!) in a couple short paragraphs. Then whittle down from there.
Get methodical and categorize your words.
You can also try this method: listing single words in category columns. Pick a category for each column and write it at the top of the page, for example a.) the kind of service or product I provide, b.) my specialty, flair, unique approach or signature style, c.) who I create this service or product for. Then list different words that pop up within their column. Then narrow down to your favorites in each column. Start pairing them up with each other. This could end up being a three word descriptor line, or a single statement that merges the three ideas.
Give yourself some context, and “try on” your tagline alongside your business name.
I also find it really helps to write or say your business name before you “try on” the tagline. So don’t just start listing the taglines that you’re deciding between in a row. Pair each one of them with your name first. Then read them out loud. Imagine them on your website masthead with your logo. Imagine them on your business card.
Or try starting an introduction using your favorite one. “Hi, I’m Tara and my business Braid Creative is _____ [ tagline here ] ____. What I mean by that is…” and there you go, the conversation has begun. And it just started with one line, that simply described what you do.
If you’re looking for brand guidance around sharing your content check out our Braid ECourse Shape Up Your Content: Tame Your Ideas and Tell People How to Buy You. It will be in-session from April 16-26! Learn more and sign-up here.
If you’re dealing with creative fear, need help with time management, or simply need a boost of inner-confidence when it comes to showing up and being seen you might like the DIY Coaching for Creatives email sessions. You can sign up anytime! It’s just $40 for 4 weeks of content delivered straight to your inbox – plus, it’s a great way to invest in yourself at the beginning of a new year.
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Kathleen here. I spend so much time coaching other creatives, writing blog posts, and recording podcasts that sometimes I forget to share the stuff Braid does, you know… for a living. With that, I am so excited to share some of our recent branding work with you. Tara and I like to share advice and inspiration in this blog space and in our Letters for Creatives, but every once and a while we like to share what we’ve been creating, and how we’ve helped creative entrepreneurs get to a brand that finally feels like them.
Enough talk, here’s some show, with some of these creatives, their brands, and what they have to say about the experience and the brands that finally feel – like them.
“After (too) much struggling—I help other creatives distill their ideas for a living, so I kept telling myself if I just worked harder, I could do it myself—I turned to Braid, and the instant I hired them, everything changed. I relaxed knowing I had the right team in my corner, but I also started taking myself more seriously; I had invested in my dream, and I knew I had to live up to that investment.”
- Erica Midkiff, Content Coach
“After more than ten years of building a successful coaching practice, I knew it was time to expand my reach and start teaching other coaches how to do the same. But "launch new business" remained on my to-do list for more than two years because I couldn't find the time or get the clarity I needed to turn this new idea into reality.
The project seemed too big and too nebulous. Until I met Team Braid.”
- Dallas Travers, Business Coach for Actors and Coaches
“After two meetings with Braid, they took my words and turned them into something clear and beautiful - something I am so proud and happy to share with the world. I do a lot of personal health work one-on-one with people, and getting that personal feel and interaction is something that I feel they translated beautifully onto the screen.”
- Lindsay Kluge, Herbalist
“There is something magical in the Braid approach. We are delighted, excited and pleased to have worked with such fun and creative people."
- Gerry Flake and Kathryn M. Downing, Galileo Coaching
“Going through the Braid Method gave me the vision and courage to move forward with a new and fresh creative identity. What I had thought of as "distractions," became part of the larger story of my brand, my business, my creativity – my life. Braid didn't just slap a logo on my business and call it done. They took me through a process of discovering my life's purpose and work as a modern homesteader and edgy maker. I left the experience with a clear idea what DOONYAYA was all about.”
- Dunja von Stoddard, maker and creative entrepreneur
“I am a writer/blogger who wanted to share what I have learned along my blogging journey, with other creative bloggers like myself. My personal website didn’t showcase what I had to offer, I felt “stuck”, and not sure how to fix it. Once I started working with Braid, I felt as ease because they “got me”!”
- Desiree Spinner, creative entrepreneur
“I was so blown away during our meetings that I was often speechless. Me – a writer – without words. I’ve referenced the business vision guide so often, it would have tattered pages if it weren’t a PDF. They captured my brand story and services in a succinct, beautifully packaged way that really resonates with my dream (!) customers. And my brand is so awesome, I nearly died when I first saw it. It’s fun, fresh, and vibrant. I’m also happy to say that it’s all WORKING – people are knocking on my coaching door. And I wouldn’t be behind it if it weren’t for Braid."
- Nicole Christie, Coaching for Solopreneurs
“Braid refined my seemingly impossible ideas and ramblings into something clear, concise, and tangible. They captured the look and feel I wanted beyond my wildest dreams. The brand platform they created is perfect for me. I am absolutely in love with my logo!”
- Crystal Vaugn, Chef and Creative Entrepreneur
We’re for creative entrepreneurs who offer a service, like nutritionists, yogis, lifestyle coaches, writers, and designers. They are ready to leap from day job to dream job, or finally launch a brand for their new business that really feels like them – so they can look and feel like a boss. If this is you and you’re ready for help contact us or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you more details on what it looks and feels like to work with us – plus the nitty gritty details of exactly what you get, what to expect along the way, and how much it costs.
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Our Braid ECourse Dream Customer Catching: Embrace Your Expertise and Attrack What You Track is now open for registration. So if you’re a writer, designer, photographer, consultant, or creative who is wanting to bring more of your personality and passion to your profession this ECourse is for you.
Or if you’re needing more work / life guidance check out the DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions – it’s just $40 and you can sign up and get this content straight to your inbox anytime!
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There’s this idea that when you work for yourself, especially as a creative entrepreneur, you are living the dream. The fantasy goes like this: you’re making things with your hands, brainstorming over coffee with creative colleagues, and doing so much yoga that you can finally get into complicated arm balances. But you know, and I know, that being your own boss isn’t so easy. Balancing work and life, paying the bills, wearing all the hats … it’s a lot of work, and it doesn’t always feel so dreamy.
Kathleen here. I write a lot about being your own boss here on the Braid blog, I give a peek behind the curtains of how we work in our exclusive Letters for Creatives, and I share snippets of my life in between it all, over on my personal blog, And Kathleen. So it’s been a long time coming, but now I’m finally launching a podcast called Being Boss. I’m teaming up with my good friend and creative confidant Emily Thompson of Indie Shopography, and every week we’ll be candidly talking to you, fellow bosses and aspiring-to-be’s, about the good and bad, the ups and downs – of being boss.
BEING THE BOSS
“Being The Boss” means being able to manage, plan, organize, invest, delegate, and make tough decisions. It’s not easy and doesn’t always come naturally to a lot of us creatives who just want to make a living doing what we love. But learning how to be the boss is how you make living the dream profitable.
“Being Boss” is an attitude. It’s confidence, being all in, stepping into uncertainty without losing your cool, and most of all being unapologetically who you are 100% of the time. “Boss” is an adjective that came on the scenes in the 1950s – it means cool or awesome. “That motorcycle jacket is boss!” But I love the Urban Dictionary definition written by Tiffany aka Ya Girl Miss Tiff: "Boss. noun - a person who is a leader, someone who runs shit in his/her hood or city. Example: If you got more than $100 G's in the bank and stackin paper every day, more than likely you are a Boss."
So yeah, we’re going to talk about stackin paper, setting goals for ourselves, and getting sh*t done – all the things that make us feel “Boss.” But there’s going to be a lot of talk about love, too, love for what we do, love for what we’ve created, and love for you guys out there trying to do the same.
Sign up at LoveBeingBoss.com or subscribe to our Being Boss newsletter below to be the first to know when our newest episode is released in early January.
BEING BOSS PODCAST
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