Kathleen here and lately I’ve been receiving a lot of emails from creative entrepreneurs who aren’t sure whether they need a business coach or a brand platform.
The short answer: you’re going to need both.
You can get a lot out of both a business coach and a brand platform, but the timing of where you invest your time, energy, and money for maximum impact in your business vision can be a little tricky.
So where do you begin? Do you hire a business coach? Or a branding agency?
Let’s dig in.
WHAT A BUSINESS COACH DOES
- Tools & Resources
- Sounding Board
YOU MIGHT NEED A BUSINESS COACH IF…
A business coach can help you through many stages of your business—from helping you launch a new business or project off the ground to helping you hurdle over a plateau. Here are a few reasons why you might want to hire a business coach:
- You know you want to work for yourself but have no idea what business idea to pursue
- You know exactly how you want to make money but all the details of actually starting a business are overwhelming
- You’re stuck and need someone to strategize and brainstorm with
- You’ve plateaued and need help growing (or leaping!) to that next level in your business
You’ll get the most out of working with a coach if you have awareness around what your goals are and where you’re feeling stuck. A business coach will help you clarify exactly where things aren’t working, prioritize your goals and ideas, break those goals down into actionable next steps, and hold you accountable for getting it done.
But please remember: a coach cannot do the work for you. You will want to go into a coaching engagement with a certain amount of enthusiasm and commitment to doing the work—and the more clear you can get on what you want out of working with a business coach, the more success you’ll have in not only finding the right business coach for you but working together to actually reach your goals.
WHAT IS A BRAND PLATFORM?
Brand Identity & Standards
A cohesive tone, look & feel that you can apply to:
- Your website & social
- Your pitches and presentations
- Print & advertising
Messaging & copy that explains:
- Who you are
- What you do
- And for whom
YOU MIGHT NEED A BRAND PLATFORM IF…
Branding is how you use words, story, and design (color, images, photographs, and typography) to give your business a memorable identity that is attractive and meaningful for your dream customer. A brand platform might typically include:
- a logo
- brand standards (rules or outline for colors + typography)
- business card design
- brand elements that can be used in social media
- brand positioning copy
- brand story
- conversation slides for selling what you do
All of these “ingredients” of a brand can show up in a variety of places—from your website and social media to your business cards and in-person conversations. The more consistent you are across those platforms, the more polished you will appear— giving your dream customers confidence to hire you. (Here is a free and comprehensive branding checklist.)
It’s a good time to invest in a brand platform when:
- You are becoming known for the work you do but feel like your brand doesn’t authentically reflect your talent, personality, or expertise
- You experience “website shame”—that feeling when you’re embarrassed to send people to your site because it doesn’t look or feel as polished or professional as you’d like
- You are clear about your offerings but need to attract more dream clients and close more deals
- You do lots of things and want to integrate multiple offerings under one cohesive brand
- You are ready to be more visible and position yourself as an authority in your field
A brand is not a business model, but for the creative entrepreneur, it can greatly impact your business vision and the kind of clients and projects you are known and hired for. And when you work with a branding agency like Braid Creative, you are guided through a collaborative process (we call it The Braid Method™) that will give you brand clarity, confidence, and actual tactics (the words and designs) that you can begin to implement in all the places your brand shows up.
WHO TO HIRE?
Not all business coaches or branding agencies or freelancers are the same. So you’ll want to make sure whoever you’re hiring is a good fit for you. Ask for recommendations, take a look at the work, have a :15 minute conversation where you can ask about the approach and make sure it’s a good fit before you dive into any engagement with someone you’re looking to hire.