Kathleen here. When I was in college I worked at a fabric store. It was my job to cut bolts of raw material for people who were sewing curtains, covering a couch, or creating their own wardrobe. It was creative, fun, and I learned a lot about construction, design, and I got really good at calculating fractions and decimals and eye-balling yardage. So one day this woman comes into the store and asks a couple of my co-workers and I if we would be interested in helping her redecorate her entire house. We were excited at the opportunity but there was no clear objective, boundaries, or transactional exchange. We wound up half-heartedly designing this woman’s entire house for free. It’s the first time I can really recall feeling taken advantage of in a really unfair way—lesson learned. Except not…
I’ve had to re-learn this lesson over and over again since working for myself. Earlier in my career, I’ve been hired to do things that have made me feel at best, in-over-my-head and at worst, completely resentful and stressed out. All because I was still too unclear of my own brand and business vision to say no or put solid boundaries in place.
BRAND CONFUSION CLUTTERS UP BUSINESS BOUNDARIES
Listen, a lot of us creative entrepreneurs who border on being Type A control freaks (I see you) are good at A LOT of things. In fact, we can do or figure out just about anything—it’s what makes us confident enough to wear so many hats as solopreneurs. So it’s hard to say no when you need cash and desperately want to make a living working for yourself – or when you simply want to please the client you’ve grown to really like – or when you want to close the deal on that rad project that is just barely out of your scope of expertise. In reality, I’m sure there are a lot of things you won’t do for money (Indecent Proposal, anyone?), but if you’re confused about your own brand and business vision, it’s easy to accidentally fall into situations where you’re doing work you don’t really want to be known for.
“If you’re confused about your own brand, it’s easy to fall into doing work you don’t want to be known for.” (Tweet this)
For years, Tara and I have been helping creatives get underneath what their brand is all about, and we learned early on that asking what they ARE NOT all about is a great way to get clear on who they are and what they want to be known for.
So ask yourself this: what will you NOT do for money? Look at your “about me” page or your “how to hire me” page on your website – is there anything about it that might confuse people into thinking you do something that you don’t?
NEED MORE BRAND CLARITY?
We’ve created a free e-book: 7 Ways to Brand You & What You Do to help you get clear of your own brand and business vision. This workbook includes seven chapters + lots of brand exercises that will help you understand how to share your vision, create the work you actually want to be doing, narrow in on your dream client, and create a process that your clients respect.
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