BRAID CREATIVE & CONSULTING
is branding & business visioning
for creative entrepreneurs.

content shapes what you do

You may think you need to get all your ducks in a row—a perfect business vision, business model, business brand, personal brand… all neatly lined up and packaged up, before you start sharing content with anyone else.

So you hesitate to launch until you know every single detail is perfectly in place (and every person who sees it will love it).

You shy away from telling people what you really do in conversations until you’ve proven you’re a success at it (and that means proving it to yourself first, which can be the most difficult person to please of all).

You circle around a blog post or an email you want to send for days, until you muster the courage to put something that’s a little more personal than professional out into the world.

Or vice versa, you backpedal from writing about your business dream versus the typical weekend highlights that your friends and family have come to expect from fun-loving, weekend-loving (but surely not business-loving!) you.

just say it

You’re waiting. You’re waiting for your business, or your dream, or your brand, to match what it is you want to say now. But they’ll never catch up with your head and heart. So just say it. (Tweet this)

Whatever the content is—you’re waiting to hit send, publish, or even say it out loud—the point is, you’re waiting. You’re waiting for your business or your dream or your brand to match what it is you want to say now. And here’s the thing—they’ll never catch up. Your head and heart and all it wants to say are always going to be two steps ahead of the business or brand or dream you’ve already been able to create. So just say it.

Say it if it’s not perfect, write it if it’s not 100% fully-formed, share it if it’s still just sharing the journey along the way. Because if those first rocket-fast years of working for ourselves taught us anything, it’s that your content shapes your what you do, not the other way around.

What we share... shapes what our business has become.

If we sound passionate here, it’s because when we started Braid we were saying all the things our past experiences had taught us were true, but we were also saying a lot of the things that we wanted our business to become. We said we were “for the creatives!” when half our clients were simply small businesses and the other half were the creative entrepreneurs. Today we’re 100% creative entrepreneurs. We used personal branding as just one aspect of the kind of branding we do. But we talked about personal branding in practically every post or email we wrote. Today we consider almost every branding project we do – personal branding.

The spark for this post, for the words we’re sharing with you now is our Braid ECourse this month, Shape Up Your Content: Tame Your Ideas and Tell People How To Buy You. If there was one revelation that’s come from this ecourse, now in it’s third year, it’s come from the “Braiders” who have taken the course and haven’t been shy to share their comments. They ask us tough questions as they carve their messages, because they take this course seriously. Because they get it. What they say about their business now is really what they are saying about their future vision – and themselves. It’s where they want to go next. What they want to be doing.

So yeah, this is an ecourse about sorting your ideas and writing content that says what you want it to say about your personal brand, about your business—but it’s also about shaping what you want that business to become.

What you’re saying about your business now, is really what you’re saying about your vision. It’s where you want to go next. (tweet this)

The next time you introduce yourself, instead of diminishing what you do, say what you do plus that dash of what you are just starting to to do but still don’t have completely figured out. So if you’re a designer who is really starting to transition into brand consulting. Say “I’m a designer, but my specialty is branding.” If you’re a lifestyle coach who is really wanting to focus in on eating issues or concerns, start writing most of your posts (be it your blog or simply your Instagram) about changing our relationship with food.

business and vision

To quote the work of Florence Scovel Shinn (you know it, but it’s an oldie and a goodie), “your word is your wand.” What you say, what you write, what you choose to talk about is what you put out into the world – and lookie there, it’s what comes right back at ya.

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 (yes, that's TOMORROW)! 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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how to write a tagline for your business

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.

writing a tagline slogan for your business

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:

  1. the service or product you provide in three words or less:
  2. who or what you do it for in three words or less:

For example:
Green Goddess
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

  1. service one
  2. service two
  3. service three / but still cluing in who it’s for

For example:
Green Goddess
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:

  1. service one
  2. service two
  3. rallying cry

For example:
Julia Hernandez
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:

  1. add some “purpose” to one of your words
  2. add some “personality” to the other(s)

For example (and this is my favorite of all the “imaginary” Green Goddess combos):
Green Goddess
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.

creative business tagline slogan

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.

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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On Monday morning I had coffee with my close creative gal pal, Lindsey. Lindsey co-owns a grab-and-go food bar in OKC offering up clean eats like soup and salad, she does one-on-one nutrition and food coaching, and is always pursuing new training, certification, and degrees in her field of study. She is a dedicated student of her craft who just wants to help people feel better after they eat a meal. Lindsey loves reading The New Yorker, she regularly listens to foodie podcasts, and enjoys a good slow dinner with friends. Lindsey is also a really talented writer – the problem is she doesn’t know what to write about. She’s feeling stuck, but she’s not alone. The downside of being a creative for a living is having to create even when you’re feeling uninspired, blocked, or downright afraid. 

Together we brainstormed a few ideas of how she could structure her content and create systems for always having something to write about. We also talked about the fear of not being good enough and feeling inadequate when it comes to our own high standards. So today I thought I would share some of the ideas we came up with on our Monday morning coffee date in case you’re feeling stuck too. 

When you’re feeling stuck just mind the gap. 
First off, I know I’ve shared this Ira Glass quote before but it’s worth repeating:

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

If you’re feeling like Lindsey, and every other creative entrepreneur who is a student of life, then you will constantly feel as if you’re coming across new gaps just as you close the old ones. That’s a good thing. It means you’re growing. But like Ira Glass advises – you just have to keep writing! Here are some ideas to get you going: 

When you don’t know what to write about – write about what you’ve been talking about. 
Don’t underestimate or take for granted your gifts of knowledge. What kinds of questions or conversations have you answered lately? Write about that! For example, as of yesterday I had no idea what I was going to post this week so I started mentally combing through my conversations with friends and clients. My Monday morning coffee with Lindsey was top of mind so now I’m writing about it and hopefully sharing something valuable with you along the way. 

When you don’t know what to write about – read something. 
Nothing gets my gears turning like reading a good memoir or self-development book. If it doesn’t spark entirely new topics or ideas to write about I’ll simply share a review. Not everyone has the time to read the book for themselves so write about what you learned from it or how it inspired you. My review of Daring Greatly caught Brené Brown’s attention and from there she became a Braid Method client! (Now if only Amy Poehler would become my BFF.)  



When you don’t know what to write about – share what you’ve been working on. 
What have you been working on lately? Write about it. It doesn’t have to just be the polished finished product. You can share the behind-the-scenes of your creative process. Tell the story of what it was like to truly help your client – paint a picture of what they looked like before and after working with you. So for Lindsey it might not be just writing about the benefits of vitamin C but sharing how her client shifted and transformed when she started eating foods that nourished her body and mind. 

When you don’t know what to write about – establish creative boundaries. 
The cool part about working for yourself is it means you get to do whatever you want. But being creative can be overwhelming when the sky is the limit. So create constraints for yourself. Define the parameters for what you want to create – that might be limiting yourself to a topic, word count, or deadline. It might be working from writing prompts (Alexandra Franzen has some great ones here). And remember, once you create some rules for yourself you can always break them. 

When you don’t know what to write about – dig into the details. 
Lindsey went to a writing workshop hosted by the very talented food and memoir writer Molly Wizenberg. I asked Lindsey for one great writing tip she learned from the workshop and she said that Molly keeps a little 1” frame on her desk – it reminds her that she doesn’t have to write about All The Things. That she can take one small detail or fragment from her life and create a really deep story about what she sees through a 1” frame. What a great reminder.

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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,

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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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