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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Doing the Work vs Shaping Your Personal Brand | Braid Creative

doing the work and shaping your brand

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!

There is a mindset shift that happens when you go from being solely a creative-for-hire, to being a creative who guides their own process, shares their point-of-view, and is branded (and hired as) an expert – and it has to do with how you spend your work time.

from freelance to creative expert

This shift happens when you make it a priority to spend time shaping your brand and your business, even when it feels like you only have time to do client work.

This isn’t easy when our natural tendency is the “doing.” The doing is the rewarding part, right? The reward can simply be that feeling of being in the zone and totally losing yourself in the work – especially in those times when you’re lucky enough to be doing the work you love. But even if that’s not the case, you still just love the comfortable routine of the “doing” itself, plus paying the bills even if every project can’t feed the soul.

The “doing” is necessary because it’s how you make your product or provide your service, it’s how you make money, and it’s how you make yourself into a more skilled, layered, and confident creative expert over time.

The “shaping” is a little more challenging. At first. It takes a different kind of practice. This is devoting time to work on your positioning, your personal brand, and where you want your business to go. Usually “shaping” is working on your own stuff.

Tara here, and when I was starting to shift from designer to creative director in my own career, the “shaping” would include guiding others on my team in their design projects, writing concepts that influenced the whole feel of a client’s brand, or (my favorite) shaping the direction of the agency’s brand itself – how we positioned ourselves, branded ourselves and shared what we were all about with our dream clients.

But this really hasn’t changed for me now that I work for myself and help guide Team Braid. For me the “doing” might look like writing brand platforms or business vision guides for my clients, while the “shaping” part is usually when I spend time on Braid projects, launches or just writing a blog post.

In fact, we have a day set aside just for shaping. Every Friday is Braid Day, and that’s when we work on our site, our courses, our offerings, or just have a really great conversation about what we’d like to start doing next year (and stop doing too).

The “shaping” is what will start to really define your personal and professional brand. But shaping doesn’t always have to be all about you. The coolest overlap begins to show itself in your self-work and client-work when you cultivate a blended “doing + shaping” way of working. (click to tweet)

What I mean is, once you start thinking like a “shaper” and a “doer,” you write more, you lead the concept more, you flex with collaboration, and you just speak more clearly (or at least passionately) about your ideas and your vision. And this totally influences your creative work and your working relationships with your clients.

The last thing we want is the doing to become a chore—something you have to get through to get to work on you. The doing in itself is such a reward to a creative. The shaping is the reminder to keep your eye on the bigger picture, not just for your own business, but for your clients too. It’s what creative experts do.

shape your brand and business

As you get into your work routine, ask yourself, “Am I making room to shape my own brand, my own content, my own business?” (click to tweet) And when you do go into get-it-done mode ask, “Am I going through the motions on this creative project just to get through, or am I shaping the work ?” (click to tweet) So it’s not a versus, it’s a win-win for both. Be a doer... and a shaper.

If this post was helpful, check out our Braid Method Branding ECourse. We’ve spent many a Friday Braid Day shaping our vision for this content so that we could give other creatives the tools to dig deep and shape their business vision. In it, you’ll find exercises and insights to help you shape your brand so that you can do more of the work you love with more of the clients who will love you back.

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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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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