By now we all know that your “brand” is supposed to quickly communicate who you are, what you represent and why you’re different than the competition. It’s what helps potential customers connect with you on an emotional level. It’s your first and often only impression you get to make and can be the difference in whether potential clients choose to do business with you or not.
Needless to say, a strong brand is essential for all entrepreneurs.
And while storytelling and visuals are important aspects of brand-building, you’re far more likely to succeed (and actually enjoy that success) when your brand is an extension of your personalized goals and the outcomes you really want to achieve from all your entrepreneurial blood, sweat and tears.
Is Your Brand Getting You What You Really Want?
Rather than focusing on colors and fonts, entrepreneurs should approach their branding through their big-picture goals. What do you hope to accomplish with your work? What problems are you going to solve for your customers — or yourself?
Understanding the big-picture idea of what you want and want to accomplish will help you identify what sets you apart from your competition. You may think every business owner just wants more money, but you’d be wrong. The (inevitably) unique reason why you are in your specific business will help you design one of a kind versions of your service or offer benefits that no one other than you can offer — and this what gives potential clients the reason they need to choose you over a competitor.
These deeper questions also give you a sense of purpose. They inform you on where you want to go with your entrepreneurial efforts over time and this builds your brand while guiding the entire future of your business.
In a blog post, Steve Woodruff gives this example,
“I will tell you unashamedly that, in my case, I am building a lifestyle company, which is very purposefully designed around…me. I am not seeking to create a larger entity. I don’t want employees. I’m not looking to cash out down the road – I want to continue working as a consultant and advisor all my days. In other words, I am my company, and my company is me. It is a consciously chosen business model that informs all of my decisions. I have set my GPS accordingly.”
Branding Your Desired Outcomes
First impressions are big. The way we dress or speak is how we make an impression when meeting someone for the first time. As a freelancer, you might not be meeting someone in person, but you still need to make a strong impression.
But branding is more than what you look like and say to potential customers. It’s also how you operate on a day to day basis. As such, even behind the scenes changes you make will be influenced by — and (should) influence — your branding.
Because of this, the business outcomes you want to achieve — revenue growth, client satisfaction, more freedom and so on — should guide every decision you make. This is what a brand is meant ot do for us as business owners and will help you stay on track when you need to make changes to how you do business.
In a blog post for Sisense, Jack Cieslak gives this example for making better use of data: “Every company knows they need to digitally transform in order to survive and excel in the modern era. However, many organizations fail to define their goals for this process before they start, and predictably encounter obstacles or outright failures instead of paving a path for future success.”
No matter what change you want to make, you must consider how it will affect your end result. If you don’t think these things through, you could end up complicating your services and hurting your personal brand with your clients.
Success. Your Way
An outcome-oriented approach to branding will also affect how you define success for yourself individually. Defining success can mean different things to different people. Success could even mean different things to you as you go through various stages of your freelance or solopreneur journey.
For example, a freelance graphic designer’s early definition of success could be growing their list to 10 clients after two months. For someone else, success could be achieving a 100 percent customer satisfaction rating.
But there is a lot more to achieving success than earning money. Web designer Tiffany Davidson writes, “For me, success is a sense of fulfillment and stability, characterized by an ease in meeting ones materials needs, and the space to meet ones immaterial needs (such as creativity, mental clarity, relationships with others, and inspiration) […] Optimizing that most scarce resource — time — is most important for me. And this involves experiences, relationships, and creating an internal environment within myself that is a nice place to be.”
Don’t be afraid to think beyond the traditional, corporate ideas of what success means. For many solopreneurs and freelancers, a big part of success is having the flexibility to work when and where they want. Your idea of success may be having more time to spend with your family. Or maybe it’s the ability to travel the world.
Regardless of what success means for you with your business, using a combination of business- related and personal goals will help you stay on track. It can even help guide which services you choose to offer and how you present yourself to clients. When you’re happy with what you’re doing and achieving, you’re far more likely to make your customers happy, too.
Your Brand Should Be Your Best Outcome
By knowing what you want from all your business efforts and taking an outcome-oriented approach to branding, you will be better able to align your messaging and positioning with your goals and objectives as an entrepreneur.
When you know all this you are the master of you domain and all your branding efforts will flow more naturally and feel more authentic to your target audience. When branding is aligned with your desired business outcomes, your efforts will have the right impact on your growth and your efforts to please your customers.
Start my free crash course today to most effectively answer these difficult questions.
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