There is a whirlwind of things that you need to accomplish when you just starting your business. We struggle with systems, processes, making enough money to keep going and grow.
One big thing that I see new businesses get hung up on is their branding.
You hear from established, successful businesses that branding is SO important. They say to look at your clients, study their challenges, built your ideal client avatars.
But when you might not have even gotten your first client, or don't have an audience yet to study, it can be so hard to apply what the experts are saying to do to your specific business.
That's because start-ups need to brand by a different set of rules, and that's not something that anyone tells you.
Hiring a designer is not on the table here and you're hearing horror stories about Fiverr... YIKES!
You know that DIYing is the route you're going to go. Cost effective, can be done on your own timeline.... but there's just one problem...
You're not a designer...
Well, you're in luck - because I'm laying out the ground rules you need to know when branding yourself as a start-up in the online space!
Rule 1 - Don't start with creating your logo.
Everyone likes to jump right into the logo, but I suggest you work a few things out BEFORE jumping into the visuals.
What you should start with is getting clear on what exactly you do and who you want to be doing it for, then plastering that baby everywhere.
A great way to get this going is to create a help statement using this format...
I help "general group of people you work with" do/get "goal or result" by/with "what you do."
Include that statement anywhere you have a bio.
Rule 2 - Have a plan.
Again, not jumping into visuals yet. Hold your horses.
Make sure that you have a plan for how you're going to direct clients into your process. This is going to become your main CTA, or call to action. It tells people what the first step is in working with you. The easier you make this, the easier they come.
Think about your process with the clients you've gotten, or what you want your process to be fi you haven't gotten that first one yet. Is it booking a call with you? Chatting in DMs? Filling out a contact form?
Whatever it is, decide on it and start using it (hello Facebook page button!).
Rule 3 - Keep those visuals simple!
Yay, the "fun" part!
Everyone like to jump in here and just do the visuals, but I'm telling you - the visuals do nothing without knowing WHAT you're doing and having a client-getting plan. So don't overlook Rule 1 and 2.
The key here is to keep things simple. I now we get sidetracked with fancy logos with lots of details and graphics, but that is really not going to serve you right now.
I'm telling you right now that if your business grows and you become insanely successful, your brand visuals have a 100% chance of being different than they are now.
All businesses go through rebrands as they grow, so don't stress about things being perfect and crazy detailed. It's way more important at this point that they are clean and professional looking so you can get established.
A classy logotype (aka a logo made from words only without graphics) is for sure they way to go here. It can grow with you and doesn't pin you down to one style too early.
Also, have some simple colors in your color palette. One bright, one light, one neutral, one dark. That's all you need.
For fonts, keep is clean and simple and always use those specific fonts, don't go crazy with a new font on each social graphic please!
Creating a brand board in Canva is the easiest way to keep track of these and makes referencing super easy.
Rule 4 - Your social assets should match your brand and CTA.
Remember how we made a client-getting plan? You'll use that here.
Get your personal and business Facebook page on brand by creating covers that tell people what you do and include your CTA.
Use your brand colors and fonts, keeping things crazy consistent with the brand visuals you laid out.
Rule 5 - Really, everything should match your brand and CTA.
Don't forget about all the other places where your brand is representing you.
- Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest - Adjust bios, profiles, and graphics.
- Your website! Change over to your brand fonts, colors, and logo.
- Don't forget to place your logo in places like Dubsado, Acuity, Zoom, etc.
The whole brand process can seem really daunting. but you can have a kick-ass brand without the heavy price tag... I promise.
So give yourself so grace, remember the five rules, and keep it simple!