Inside: A brief overview of completely avoidable mistakes many solopreneurs make in their branding
Oh, the life of a solopreneur. When we first start our businesses, we jump in – full of enthusiasm, ready to follow the best advice.
Except, it usually turns out that we’re following the loudest voices – our own and other people’s, but that’s not necessarily the best advice out there.
And what started as an exciting journey to financial freedom often turns out to be a winding road through all sorts of rabbit holes, fallacies, and other distractions.
Some of them are inevitable – they’re part of learning and part of becoming successful.
Today, I want to address the avoidable ones. And the focus is on branding.
#1 Thinking brand means having a logo
If I could have a dime for each time I see this, I'd be super rich now. And I'm not even blaming new solopreneurs for thinking this because they're hearing that message from the moment they enter the online business space.
But… it's total BS. A logo represents the brand, but there's much more to a brand than its logo. In fact, the logo and other brand visuals are the last piece of the branding puzzle.
Because the role of all the logos and graphics is… guess what? To visually represent.
In other words, there has to be something there to represent or illustrate, which leads me to the next point.
#2 Starting without brand strategy
Many new solopreneurs start with a logo. The problem with that is it pretty much guarantees you’ll be redoing it, possibly over and over.
Here’s why: your logo is a visual representation of your brand strategy.
If you don’t have a strategy, you’re pulling the logo idea out of thin air. It’s how you end up with a logo that feels ‘meh’ or like it doesn’t represent you.
It’s also how you end up spending hours and days in Canva, agonizing over some unreadable script font and wondering if you need some new colors. (You might, but without the underlying strategy, there’s no way to tell.)
#3 Going with what you like
This one is totally understandable – it’s your brand, your business, so you should like what you see, right? Well, to an extent. I mean, it shouldn’t be ugly, obviously.
But what you like matters less than what looks professional *and* appeals to your dream clients. Because that’s who’s making the decision to work with you or go with someone else.
Taking into account what your dream clients are looking for and how they want to feel goes a long way toward connecting with them on an emotional level.
That’s important because emotional connections are meaningful connections that foster trust. And trust is the currency of online business.
#4 Hiding your personality
It’s so easy to hide behind your business, use your logo as your profile picture (please don’t), and pretend your personality doesn’t matter.
But it does. It matters very much.
People don't do business with logos, and these days they don't even care to do business with companies. Instead, people buy from people, specifically from people they trust.
Hiding your personality makes it look like you might be hiding other things too. Not exactly a marker of trustworthiness.
The cool thing is, letting your personality shine doesn’t just help you gain people’s trust. It also serves as a major attractor and repeller – attracting your dream clients and repelling people you don’t want to serve.
#5 Avoiding professional help
Yeah, I know. It’s expensive. You’re not ready for it. You can figure it out on your own. – Seriously, those are all excuses. (And they’re not even good ones.)
As that old saying goes, “if you think a professional is expensive, just wait until you hire an amateur.” You'll be spending time, energy, and effort on trying to fix the unfixable.
About being ready: if you’re completely new to the online business space and don’t know what you want to do, you’re right – you’ll want to wait until you have a validated offer. Meaning, at least three people have paid you money for it.
If you do have a validated offer, you’re plenty ready to have a professional help you. In fact, hiring a brand strategist like me is your Easy button because it helps you set a solid foundation for your business.
Of course, you could always try figuring it out on your own. DIY is a time-honored tradition here in these United States, after all. But be ready to spend a ton of time learning and going down various rabbit holes. And likely a lot of money, too – buying templates and courses that still won’t deliver the real solution.
#6 Overcomplicating things
All those templates out there are very difficult to resist. I should know. It’s sooo tempting to use one template for your freebie, another for your e-book, and a third for your course workbook.
Oh yeah, and you could totally have multiple brands too. More logos, more color palettes, yay!
Listen, hold your britches – and stick to one brand. One overarching brand that covers all your services and products.
Because trying to grow two or three different brands at the same time is crazy hard. And it’s a fast track to burnout.
You could say I’m biased because simplicity falls under one of my brand values, but seriously, when did a hot complicated mess make anyone’s life better?
#7 Lacking consistency across your channels
It's easy to be guilty of this one. Mainly because it's such a pain in the you-know-what to create all the graphics and copy for everywhere you show up – social media, your email list, your website…
But the reality is that inconsistency hurts you in the long run.
When people follow your breadcrumbs from a social media app to your website and sign up for your email list, they're expecting a consistent look, feel, and voice.
Consistency breeds trust. The corollary is that inconsistency breeds mistrust.
Make people wonder if they clicked on the correct link, and there goes a bit of trust. Make them wonder if you’re Jekyll and Hyde, and there goes another unsubscribe.
So, which of these mistakes have you made? None, I hope. (And if that’s the case, congratulations! You rock!) Some of them? All of them? You’re not alone.
If you’re ready to start (or re-start) your brand off on the right foot, download my free Brand Clarity Workbook below.
It has the 5 questions you need to answer before you change your brand colors (yet again) and will help you start setting a solid foundation for your brand.