Last month I had a bit of a fit after running out of emotional and mental buffer. I almost fired all of my clients, but fortunately did not go completely insane and destroy my business. Instead, I ended up canceling one contract and reworking another to make more sense within my life and workflow.
I then followed my rampage to the next logical step of completely rebranding my business. (Because that’s what you should do when you already feel overwhelmed.)
Let me rant about rebranding for a second.
When I first started my business about a year ago, I joined several creative business groups on Facebook. At least three times a day, I saw posts from people asking for opinions on their “rebranded” websites or Instagram feeds. Out of curiosity, I would click over and scroll, only to be totally perplexed about what it was these people actually did besides take nice pictures of coffee and notebooks.
In my not very humble opinion, changing your fonts and colors is not rebranding. Changing your flatlay setup is not rebranding. I would even argue that changing your logo is not rebranding, because your logo is not your brand.
Changing fonts, colors, logos, and other visuals is redecorating.
Redoing your business cards is redecorating.
Getting new headshots (lawd, what do creatives do besides get new headshots?!) is redecorating.
Changing your service menu, working process, or target audience…that’s rebranding.
Hear me out: there’s nothing wrong with redecorating. I help business owners redecorate all the time. If changing your colors or site design makes your website easier to use, or getting new headshots helps you feel more confident when you hand out your business card, by all means do those things.
But don’t confuse external presentation with what, or who, your brand really is.
Your brand is what you do and how you do it.
It’s the specific people you serve and the special way you treat them. It’s the expectations you set for yourself and your clients as you work together.
And I know all of you have great brands. You don’t need to redecorate every 3 months to feel legit. You already have everything you need. If you’re not sure about that, all the fancy logos and websites on earth can’t help you. (I actually temporarily turned away a friend who wanted me to redo her website. I really wanted her to find her own confidence in her brand first without the bells and whistles.)
Back to my stress-induced rebrandapalooza.
A few changes I’m making around here:
- I’m reestablishing my work time boundaries that got crawled over in the last two months when snow days and sick days pushed everything around. No work on evenings and weekends or when Fire Monkey is home and awake.
- To do this, I can no longer take ongoing retainer clients, at least not for social media and other work that needs to be visited at least once a week. I need to be able to take two days (or…weeks) off in a row and not have everything go off the rails.
- In order to make #2 feasible, I need to start securing longer-term and higher-paying projects. Therefore, I am focusing my energy on copywriting and design projects with fixed end dates, as well as comprehensive branding and marketing packages.
- For #3b to happen, I had to enlist a developer with mad WordPress skills to help me provide complete branded web building packages. Fortunately one of best business mom pals, Shelby of Corner Market Media, happens to be the perfect co-conspirator because we work together well and have similar values and ways of doing business. And she is a WordPress wizard.
- I also want to grow the coaching part of my business. I have been quietly beta-testing a coaching process for helping freelancers and creative businesses get off to a good start with reliable, efficient tools and processes. Coaching is an enjoyable throwback to my teaching days and moves at a slower pace than most of my service projects.
- After completing steps 1-6, THEN I could repackage my services, refine my processes, and redesign parts of my website.
- I also got tired of playing the SEO and traffic-driving game. All of my business comes from referrals or my own prospecting. No one’s going to surf onto my website and suddenly decide they need copywriting. So I’m going back to writing about whatever I want.
My business started out as a blog about my pregnancy. For awhile, I thought I was going to be a mommy blogger earning ad revenue and free baby clothing. Then I decided to focus on providing services to business-owning women, but it’s only now that I’m really beginning to serve that target market. Eventually I would love to focus even more on helping women of color and progressive organizations.
Businesses change over time. Sometimes it takes a lot of time, sometimes things can happen very quickly. Redecorating and rebranding are both important parts of that evolution. But the most important thing is that your business is life-giving instead of life-draining.
If you have a business idea you’d like to bring into the world, learn more about my Business Birthing Bootcamp. (It is less painful than birth AND bootcamp, I promise.) If you have a business that’s ready to evolve, check my writing and design services or my branding and marketing packages. And if you just want to redecorate, feel free to give me a buzz too. (It is possible that I will turn you away, though.)