As business owners, we've all faced blocks throughout our entrepreneurial journey. Some struggles might hit us harder than others, but we've all been hit by them at some point. I'm sure you know that feeling of panic, overwhelm, and "what am I doing!?" all too well.
Starting a business is rough and risky, but it's one of the most rewarding things you'll ever do. (tweet that)
You'll be happy to hear that five of your biggest business blocks can be solved by defining one main thing: your brand direction. I break down the term branding into Three Vs: your vision, voice, and visuals. Defining your brand's direction focuses a lot on the first V: vision.
If you've faced one or all of the struggles listed here, I want to hear about it in the comment section. Let's get real today people!
Here's how it's going down:
- I'm going to lay out each business block, explain how it relates back to having a solid brand direction, and provide you with actionable advice to beat that block.
- Each block will include examples or tips from brands who are overcoming these blocks.
- At the end, I'll tell you how you can dive in even deeper to define your brand's direction and overcome these pesky business blocks!
Block 1. The Comparison Game
When we're just starting out with our business, we spend a lot of time "researching." Aka, we stalk every blog, freebie opt-in, and offer from every other person in our niche until we start second guessing ourselves and asking questions like: "What am I doing!?" and "Who am I to teach this!?"
If you are 100% confident in where your brand's headed, you're going to spend heck of a lot less time comparing yourself and your business to others. You will be able to visualize the future of your brand and in turn, know what you need to focus on to get there. You will also have a clear understanding of how you're brand stands out and what makes you different from the rest of your niche. In other words you will own what my blogger bestie, Kayla Hollatz, refers to as “your edge.”
BEAT COMPARISON AT ITS OWN GAME:
There is no rule stating that you have to blog or run a business for X number of years before you can give valuable feedback. Sharing your knowledge and giving people value is what will make you feel and be seen as an expert! Let's cut the comparison crap right here, right now:
- Close that browser window full of 144 tabs of blog posts and freebies you "plan to read eventually."
- Go take a walk around the block and several deep breaths.
- Remember why you started your business in the first place.
- Unsubscribe to all of those newsletters you're getting from people within your niche. Vow to only read posts on social media that will actually help you. Take it a step further by only reading posts that you can take action on right away.
- Get to work on YOU and YOUR brand. Now that you've stopped focusing on what everyone else is doing, you can focus on all of the amazing ideas and lessons that you have to offer.
EXAMPLES OF BRANDS OWNING THEIR EDGE:
- Hey Sweet Pea - Scott and Elise truly care about people. They live by their own rules 100% of the time. If something doesn't feel right to them, they're not going to do it. Period.
- Kayla Hollatz - Kayla believes in growing community through one-on-one interaction. She even offers Hot Cocoa Dates to members of her #createlounge community every week for free.
The Blissful Mind - In a noisy online world filled with "hacks" and "shortcuts," Catherine only provides content to help you slow down and be the calmest, healthiest, most productive version of yourself.
Block 2. Lack of Confidence
If you can't answer this simple question—"What do you do?”—without every other word being "um..." and "uh..." then you might be lacking some confidence in your business.
Defining your brand's one sentence—what you do, who you help, and how you help them—will make you twice as confident when you’re sharing your business with someone new. Until you take the time to clearly understand your brand's vision, you're not going to feel 100% confident about what you have to offer.
FIND YOUR INNER BEYONCE:
Take a few minutes to fill in the blanks and create your own one sentence.
I help [who you help] to [what you do] through [how you help them].
Share your one sentence with everyone who asks and even with people who don't! When you say your one sentence out loud, you will figure out which words work best and what naturally rolls off your tongue. The more you repeat your one sentence, the more comfortable you will get with it. When you're sharing your one sentence naturally and receiving great feedback, your self doubt will be silenced.
EXAMPLES OF CONFIDENT BRANDS AND BOSS LADIES:
- The Being Boss ladies, Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shanon, just created an awesome podcast all about how to feel boss! Emily also shared six things that make her feel more confident on her blog.
- Brené Brown is my alter ego. Seriously, every time I'm not feeling very boss, I channel my inner Brené. She had the confidence to get up on that stage, "put herself in the arena" as she calls it, and create a movement by being real, raw, and vulnerable. If you're like, "Brené who?" Watch her TED Talk and prepare to be forever changed, in a good way.
Block 3. Time Management
When it comes to managing your time, you most likely struggle with (a) not knowing what to focus on first or (b) feeling like you’re being pulled in a million different directions.
As new business owners, sometimes it's hard to see the end goal and determine where we ideally want to be when we're constantly in hustle and grind mode. In order to take control of your time, you need to define your brand direction and business goals. Once you have a solid idea of where your business is headed, you’ll be able to determine which tasks to focus on and accomplish first.
Another key element to effectively managing your time and avoiding the overwhelm is nailing down your why. One of the best things you can do when you're on the verge of a business breakdown, is to remember why you started it all in the first place. Sometimes we get too caught up in the details and simply need to take a step back and think big picture. (tweet that)
WIN THE TUG OF WAR:
Write down your answers to these questions so you can refer back to them! Remember: You can always edit your answers as you and your business grows, changes, and evolves.
- Determine your why. What is your purpose? What are your 5-6 core values? What is it about your business that makes you want to jump out of bed each morning? Why do you do what you do?
- Determine your end goal. What does your ideal day or week look like? What would you do if you could not fail? Where do you see your business in one year? Two years? Are you still offering what you offer now? Are you still working with the same people you're working with now?
- Write everything down. The next time you're being pulled in a million directions and can't decide what to focus on first, create a huge list of everything you could do.
- Compare. Read through that massive list you just created and cross off every item that does not align with your end goal or your purpose.
- Prioritize. Number each item left on your list starting with your highest priority. Your higher priority items are the ones that help you get to your end goal faster.
TIPS ON TIME MANAGEMENT AND GETTING LASER FOCUSED:
- How to Choose a Direction When You Have a Million Ideas by xo Sarah
- Get Your Freelance Life Together: An Exercise For Scattered Creatives by Jenny Purr
- Start With Why by Simon Sinek
Block 4. Consistency
The struggle is real, whether it’s consistency in your message, your design, or in simply showing up everyday. Knowing and owning your brand's Three Vs (vision, voice, visuals) will help you be consistent in all that you do for your business.
Vision - You need to have your one sentence down. Again, that one sentence includes what you do, who you help, and how you help them. For bonus points, you can include your why too. Knowing your vision, helps you determine your voice and your visuals. Understanding your why, your values, and your purpose will get you pumped to simply show up everyday!
Voice - You need to know who your person (aka your ideal client) is. You need to know specifics about your person. You should be able to tell me what she does in her free time and where she hangs out on the weekend. Sounds a little stalkerish, hey? It's not, unless you actually follow her around. Don't do that. Comprende? Once you narrow in on your person, you will be able to write every blog post, newsletter, and tweet as if you’re talking specifically to that one person.
Visuals - If you do not have your logo, typefaces, color scheme, and overall design aesthetic planned out, every time you need to create something visual you're spending unnecessary time and energy starting from scratch. You need to have your visuals planned and preferably documented in a style sheet. That way you don't even have to think about design—You’ll know exactly what colors, typefaces, and photos to use every single time.
FIND CONSISTENCY WITHIN YOUR THREE V'S:
To read more about the importance of consistency within your business and brand, read Why you need more than a logo. You need a brand. and fill out your very own Branding Scorecard. To get this free, editable download (and access to my entire resource library) sign up for my weekly newsletter: Letters On Branding.
TIPS ON GETTING CONSISTENT:
- A Simple, Stress-Free Social Media Strategy to Consistently Grow Your Brand by Devan Danielle
- Why You Need to Brand Your Blog Post Images by Chloe Social
- How to Create a Consistent Brand Experience by Spruce Road
Block 5. Hearing Crickets
Hearing crickets on a blog post, in a live webinar, or after a big launch is probably one of the worst feelings in the world as a business owner. There is one way to ensure you never ever ever hear crickets ever again: Find your people.
If you have a community full of amazingly supportive people who engage with your brand and believe in what you're doing, you will have people to fill the seats and make some noise for you. The catch: You need to make sure you're providing your people with insane amounts of value every single time you interact with them. You need to know what their struggles are and what they need help with so you can provide them with that value.
Finding your people does NOT happen over night. Finding your people happens one person at a time. You need to take time to invest in your people, support their dreams, build that trust, and learn more about their story and struggles. Then—and only then—will you start growing a crew of engaged, supportive, and loyal people who will show up to nearly every event you host or read every post you publish.
FIND YOUR PEOPLE:
- Determine who your ideal person is. Use this exercise to get you started: Say you write this killer blog post. Who has to share that blog post for you to feel successful?
- Dive in deeper. What does your person do? Where does she hang out? What are her favorite blogs? What does she do in her free time? What social media platforms does she hang out on?
- Actually go out and find your person. Once you determine who your person is, find them by reaching out in Facebook groups or directly to them on twitter.
- Talk to your person. Offer your newly found, actual person some free valuable content in exchange for a meeting to pick their brain. For example, I offer free Brand Clarity Calls to my people. I give them actionable advice on their biggest brand struggle, and in return, I get to learn more about my people.
- Help your people. Once you build that trust and learn more about your people's struggles, you can come up with ways to help them specifically through your blog posts, newsletters, periscopes, webinars, products, or services. The platform should be secondary to the valuable, useful content you have to offer them.
Bonus Tip: Do not be afraid to narrow in. Narrowing in on a specific person or niche does not eliminate every other client from finding you. It simply helps you create more focused content and services. For example, if your person is a photographer, you will most likely still have writers, designers, style bloggers, and other creative entreprenuers who find you.
"When your target is everyone, we target no one." - Sarah Camille Anarna
TIPS TO AVOID HEARING CRICKETS:
- Earning an Audience: How to be Irresistible + Grow Your Brand Online by Olyvia
- How to get clients from Facebook groups by Nesha Designs
- The Importance Of Investing In Your Audience by Social Studio Shop