When I was creating Girlboss Designer I had just moved to Australia a few months prior and was not working a 40 hour week yet… honestly maybe even a 30 hour week yet… EEK! So needless to say I didn’t have much disposable income to put towards creating a new business. I might have been enjoying the beach a little too often back then, but give me a break, I’ve never lived this close to the ocean in my life! Once things started to go back into normal life after the big move and we were settled into our house it was time to get serious about work and what the hell I was going to do with myself. Through a lot of brainstorming and soul searching Girlboss Designer, branding for women entrepreneurs, was born.
But the IDEA was just the beginning…
There are always financial and time investments you make when you’re creating a new business.
It’s important to make sure where you’re investing that time/money is going to be worth it in the long run, especially if finances are tighter.
Looking back I really see the top things I am SO so glad I invested in because they have been worth every dollar or hour spent.
DEFINING MY NICHE MARKET & MESSAGING
I know this has been a huge factor in the pretty quick success of my business. As a designer – it would have been extremely easy for me to get a graphic design business up and running in a fraction of the time I actually spent creating it. But without getting focused in on a niche market to you know exactly who you’re talking to, you risk talking to no one. You want people to CONNECT with you – to feel like your services and/or products are exactly what they’ve been looking for. This is what happens when you niche down and focus in on a smaller group of people. I was all over the board at first – thinking I would only focus on coastal brands, or maybe I’d offer a larger variety of graphic design services. Once I really narrowed down what my favorite type of work to do was and who I enjoy working with the MOST (sorry dudes!) it was clear.
If you haven’t defined your niche market, grab my freebie workbook here to help you!
Now that I had my niche market it was time to figure out how to talk to them. Go ask any designer out there and most likely they will say they are horrible writers. Maybe it’s just how we’re wired (or how we THINK we’re wired), we focus so much on the visuals and not on what things actually say sometimes. Almost all the websites I’d had in the past were so focused on my portfolio, with a quick bio thrown in. Most designers make this mistake. I knew how important my message was to be able to further connect with people. I truly stand by the idea that visuals ATTRACT, but your story and your message is what CONVERTS. I ended up investing in a copywriting course, Copywriting for Creatives by Ashlyn Carter. Part of me has a sweet spot for her since she’s located in Atlanta where I moved from and her southern accent reminds me of home, but I loved her course and what she offers! I believe it really helped me develop my message ahead of time, work past my writing fears, and gave me permission to just write how I talk (a tip I always give my clients who struggle with writing copy for their own websites).
DUH! Websites are so important because they represent who you are to the world. Your website will establish credibility for you in your industry and shows you are a professional. It’s important it’s in-line with your branding, clearly presents what you have to offer, and asks people to take action to buy or to work with you. Your website is what can set you apart from others in your industry, and it’s where you can express your personality and what makes you unique.
Now obviously I can create my own so this was a very big TIME investment, not much of a financial one. 50% of the time went into developing the written content ahead of time, before implementing it on the page. This was a huge thing for me because it allowed me to focus on the message without getting distracted by the design yet. So many of my clients have said to me in the beginning “I LOVE your website, I felt like this is exactly what I need!”. That’s what a good website, and branding, will do for you.
While it’s important to keep moving and not fall into the perfectionist trap of endlessly tinkering with your website and never launching it, it’s also key that it’s done right so it actually is going to generate some leads for you. The worst thing you could do is spend so much time creating something that you only have to go back and redo. At some point it’s time to realize if it’s something you’re realistically able to do on your own, or if it’s time to hire a professional *wink wink*.
A PROFESSIONAL BRAND PHOTOSHOOT
A brand photoshoot is not only an incredible addition to make your website feel complete and cohesive, it gives you a database to pull from for social media and for any other marketing pieces you create. While stock photography is great to mix in here and there – nothing beats a quality brand photoshoot to showcase your unique style.
First of all let me just say – I am WAY more comfortable being behind the camera than in front of the camera. I am a behind-the-scenes girl all the way, but I also know pictures can transform a brand and give it that unique touch, so I had to do it. This and the copywriting course where the 2 things I invested the most money into. I still remember Stephen questioning my choice to invest in this photoshoot since “I wasn’t making any money from the business yet”, but sometimes you need to know when to ignore your loved ones and respectfully say “you don’t get it”.
I knew I wanted more of the lifestyle feel – not just a million boring portraits of me. Choosing the RIGHT photographer is so key here to ensure the end product is what your brand needs. I found my photographer, Get Together Photo, through Instagram and knew she was the one for me! I love her photo style and somehow convinced her to drive all the way down to our house in our tiny coastal town from the Gold Coast. I had the best experience working with her – she made me feel so comfortable even though I had no idea what I was doing – we laughed and just had fun. I can’t even describe how giddy I was swapping out the stock images on my website I was creating with the new ones from the brand photo shoot. It was like the brand fully came to life and really gives the website that personal touch… worth every penny! I have another shoot scheduled with her January 19 to give my brand a little upgrade – keeping your brand feeling fresh/new is always a good idea.