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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Tara here. I know most of you did not dream of starting your own business, just to work with clients that don’t feel like a fit. But I don’t want you to take your clients for granted, either. I want you to love your clients.
As much as I get fired up to create products for my own business – daydreaming with Kathleen about what’s next for us – I only enjoy those planning-scheming-dreaming moments when they are layered into a healthy schedule of client work. For me, that means lots of chunks of time in my day and week devoted to visioning and writing brand platforms for our clients.
I recently wrote a post on how Winter is For Working On You. For us that mentality is part of every week – every Friday on our calendar has become a Braid day. But when Monday rolls around, or as the winter hibernation starts to wear off a little – you stick your head up like that little groundhog that sees spring really is coming this time, and think “ok, who’s going to be my next great client and what kind of client work is going to be filling my calendar?”
What has the doing of the work for our dream clients… done for me?
1. Dream clients give me a steady income. But I’d rephrase that to say, they give me a steady confidence. I could have easily titled this post “What I Can Do For Dream Clients.” But I wanted to talk to you instead about the confidence having three+ years of dream clients and counting, has done for me and my business.
Braid has never had a dip in our profits since we started, only a steady incline as we’ve built our business. Too much information? I don’t think so. We don’t take for granted that our ability to attract dream clients who pay us for our creative expertise, gives us confidence to always ask for what we’re worth, and only work with our dream clients. So even if we create a product (like our Braid ECourse), or venture into new territory (like our Being Boss podcast) – the confidence to do that, and a lot of the content that made us the creative experts we are – all started with our dream clients.
2. Dream clients keep me happy-busy. In the moment it may just feel like regular-busy, you know, deadlines and all that. But I have to admit, working purely on a client’s challenge gets me out of my own head. I find when I spend too much time focused inward, I end up scheming on overdrive with all my own business and brand ideas (even we can suffer from an abundance of ideas, so our motto when that happens is “stay on the bus,” but the motto isn’t needed as much when we’re in wildly productive working-mode).
3. Dream clients let me use (and value!) my methodical mind and creative words. In other words, they see me, and trust me – as a creative expert. Ok, so yeah, of course this isn’t just all about what my dream clients can do for me, ha! It feels great to help another creative say what they really mean, sound like an expert and look like they really want to be seen. This gives me purpose, and it gives me momentum to then turn that same vision and brand guidance on ourselves again, when we have to do some self-work on our own business, too.
It’s definitely a back and forth of building our own business, building our own confidence, and then turning around and giving others the same.
I want these three dream client statements to be true for you, too:
1. My dream clients give me a steady income!
2. My dream clients keep me happy-busy!
3. My dream clients see me as a creative expert!
Some of you may think, ugh, I just need clients, period. And yes, we get that. But then look at those statements above. If you didn’t say “dream,” in front of “client,” and worked with anyone for any project (even if they’re not a fit at all) – forget number two and number three. You could only say number one, “my clients give me a steady income!” and even then, it may not be so steady. You may find your income is based on other factors like the seasonality, word-of-mouth, or just plain luck.
P.S. What if you really are just starting out and need any client?! What if you’re transitioning from one type of client to a new kind of dream client? You guys might already know about our chalkboard method, but if you don’t, check it out here (we really dive into how it works in our current Braid ECourse). It really helped us in those first couple years of building our clients, and keeping a full and consistent roster of not only clients, but dream clients.
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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It didn’t take long after becoming a creative entrepreneur to learn that sometimes work is life and sometimes how you do life affects your bottom line. The work / life overlap is tricky, and magical, and it can impact your business in a major way – for better or worse. Working with hundreds of creatives from all over the world has only proven this to be true. After a year or so of doing branding and business visioning for other creative entrepreneurs I decided that I needed more tools for helping creatives not only design a dream brand but a dream life for themselves. So I went through almost a year of life coach training with Martha Beck. I learned some amazing, life-changing concepts that have not only shaped how I work and coach others but how I live and move through life.
Martha Beck taught me that you should coach yourself out of a job. You shouldn’t leave your clients dependent on you – instead you should teach them how to coach themselves. The struggles and roadblocks you hit along your creative journey will always be changing – so if you have some tools in your toolbox to help you overcome along the way you’re set for life.
Right now I take one or two coaching clients a quarter. They get six sessions with me and it costs $2,500. But I’ve put everything I’ve learned along the way – the tools I teach and that I actually use myself when I feel stuck, scattered, or spread thin – into a “do it yourself” DIY Coaching for Creatives email series. I created this four week program (you get four emails per week for four weeks) because this information is too good not to share, but not everyone can afford one-on-one time with me.
HERE’S HOW DIY COACHING FOR CREATIVES WORKS:
You’ll receive four emails per week for four weeks. Each day you’ll get one of the following:
1. A goal-setting worksheet to help you design the life you want – these range from looking at how you spend your time vs. what you actually value, to daydreaming up your ideal day, to actually getting stuff done step-by-step.
2. A new mantra for each week – A mantra is simply a phrase or word that you repeat over and over to yourself. Having a mantra, affirmation, or focus can accomplish LOTS of great things – the repetition of the words you want to manifest literally carves out new neural pathways and makes new connections in your brain. Those repetitive thoughts are able to come to life as new behaviors and actions – which then changes your world and worldview. It’s the power of positive thinking, y’all.
3. A meditation exercise – I think meditation has become mainstream enough that we all know how good it is for us. But even I’ll admit that sitting down and quieting your mind is easier said than done. So I’ve created and curated very specific guided meditations that are easy to commit to.
4. A weekly check-in to keep you on track – I will pop in with easy exercises to keep you on track – from creating a Pinterest board to bring your ideal day to life, to tracking your time so you can get honest about how you spend your days.
Each email isn’t specifically focused on work or life – because you can apply it to either or both. And the cool thing is you can sign up to receive these emails any time. Oh, and it’s only $40 – that’s just $2.50 per email.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT DIY COACHING FOR CREATIVES:
I’m not yet a creative entrepreneur. Can I still take DIY Coaching for Creatives?
YES! 100%. DIY Coaching for Creatives is for anyone who simply wants to design their life on their own terms and needs a few more tools and ideas for making it happen.
Should I start with DIY Coaching or the Braid ECourse? What’s the difference?
If you need a little more work / life guidance DIY Coaching is for you. The Braid ECourses give more specific advice and information on branding and business visioning. You can learn more about the Braid ECourses here and see if it’s a good fit. (Right now we run one ECourse per month – in June 2015 we’ll be consolidating them all into one downloadable ECourse for purchase anytime).
Can I sign up for DIY Coaching for Creatives anytime?
Yup! The DIY Coaching emails are always available for purchase. Once you click “buy” you will receive your first email within 24 hours. If you don’t, email Emily@braidcreative.com and she’ll get you straightened out.
If you think the DIY Coaching for Creatives email series is a good fit for you you can purchase it here. And as always, you can sign up for our free Letters for Creatives newsletter here for exclusive content straight delivered straight to your inbox.
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