My Twenty Three Year Old Why // BUILD

In the last post I gave an overview on the difference between and brand and a business.  If you didn’t get to read that, go there first; then come on back here. 🙂

Have you heard people talking about “Your WHY?”  It seems to be a bit of a buzz in the female entrepreneur realm right now.  Well, it’s important…that’s why.  lol.

When I set out to start my first business at the ripe age of 23 my initial WHY was:  Because I love taking pictures and I can make money doing it.  Let me tell you, if that was the extent of my why, I would have ducked out about a year into it when I was drowning in photoshop tutorials, articles about “how to customize a blog footer”, and a rather thick stack of receipts/bills/paperwork that hadn’t been attended to yet.  For a “photography” business, I wasn’t doing as much photography as I was office and computer work! ugh.

But as I shared in my story, 2 years into marriage we were unexpectedly pregnant.  A few months after our son was born my “side gig” turned “main gig” because we faced tragic health situations on both sides of our families, effectively taking my mom and mother-in-law out of my full time job, child care rotation.   So my WHY suddenly became a lot deeper then, “I’m good at it.”

Ultimately, giving all our kids the best life we possibly can… one that’s full of adventure, deep relationships, and service to those around us, is our why, and it drives us to keep pushing no matter how in over ours heads we may feel at times.

Pursuing big scary dreams, stepping out to become an entrepreneur, and then building a sustainable business/non-profit/movement is HARD work.  A LOT of HARD work… But absolutely worth it.

But back to the WHY… and what the heck does this post have to do with your brand!?!  Well, knowing and “selling” your WHY is a huge part of building a great brand!  Your WHY isn’t only an internal thing for you that will keep you moving forward, it’s also a tool you can, and should, use to connect with your customers/clients.  People do business with people, not companies.

To read a bit more about this, and 2 other big keys to building an irresistible brand, grab the FREE Download below!

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Creating a Compelling Brand // BRAND CLARITY

 

A Business or Brand?  How do you view what you do?

When you think of the word “branding” what comes to mind?  Logo, colors, fonts, and cute little design elements?  If that is the extent of your company’s “branding” you likely…

struggle to consistently get “ideal” clients/customers– eager to spend money with you.

Aimlessly “re-brand” based on the current trends/fads/styles, and/or what others around you are doing.

Have a message out in the marketplace that isn’t clear and focused enough, maybe even confusing, and therefore probably not reaching your ideal customers.

Work way too hard for each sale, and end up under paid and under appreciated for the skills and talents you offer! 

All this is because you may have been misinformed about what “branding” really is.

Here’s the difference between a BUSINESS (with a logo, and color & font schemes) and a BRAND…

A business is an entity that makes/sells goods, and/or provides services for money, ie: engaging in commerce.

A Brand is a compilation of images, copy (words), and perceptions that distinguish your product/service from your competitors?  In other words… The promise of what will be experienced by and delivered to your customer.

See the difference?  It’s the total package!

Clarifying who you are as a BRAND, not just a business will be the engine that drives your business exactly where you want it go!

Imagine having those ready to buy, ideal customers every time… you know- the ones that are super easy and fun to work with, trust you explicitly, and are ready to pay you the $$$ that you are worth?  Yes, those customers! 

Remember this: Good branding makes the company feel understood; GREAT branding makes the customer feel understood.

Your branding is the primary way you connect with your customer, and when your ideal/target customer feels heard and understood, they are eager to buy!   Recently, I came across a video for a company that I have used for a few years now- chatbooks.  I think they nail it on the head for making their customer feel understood.   Plus it’s just hilarious, and so spot on to my life… well add in 2 more kids… but who’s counting!?!

So what makes you/your business unique?  Take a few minutes to jot down some thoughts on that; write it nice and big and post in up in your office.  These will be important things that you will want to highlight in your branding/marketing efforts.

Whether you think your brand could use a little spruce up or possibly a huge makeover, our FREE brand inventory quiz is a great place to start to see where your business is at along the path to becoming a cohesive money making brand! 

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Bust it out like a Boss Mama // PRODUCTIVITY


Do you ever find yourself staring at the clock at 4:55 and asking: “What did I
actually get done today?”, or “Geez, how did I get so little done today?”  It’s easy for feelings of frustration, defeat, and self-criticism to come rushing in when you feel like you barely made a dent in your to-do list.

Often, I’ll replay the day in my head- seeing all the spots where it seemed as though nothing ran smoothly- where I kept getting off track on random to-do’s, putting out “email fires”, answering texts on my phone, scrolling Instagram (after I was supposed to just post and close it out), and so on…

Don’t beat yourself up too bad…. With chronic health issues, 5 kids with needs :), a steady stream of  “ideation ADD,” brain dumping, and…well…a phone… I’ve been there too…often.

After I had our 3rd child a few years ago, I began to realize how limited my “best” work hours really were, and I had to find any and every way to maximize those hours!  And so my mission begun to get more focused, more organized, and more productive with the time I did have to devote to our business.

Years ago, I saw a great illustration of how to view the things in your life, so that you can stay focused on the most important things…  Imagine you have a large glass ball jar, a smaller cup of sand, and about 5-7 rocks…now… make it all fit inside the jar.   Spoiler Alert:  The right way to do it is to start with the rocks first, then pour the sand in AFTER… it will fill in all around the edges, and both the rocks and sand will fit in nicely.   But, if you start with the sand, you will waste time trying to cram the rocks in and down into the sand, and you will NEVER be able to fit it all inside the jar.

That is our life my friends!   The “rocks” are the truly important priorities in our lives… our health, our husbands, our kids, our faith/religous practices, our family/friends, and our work.   The “sand” is everything else!

Productivity is so much more than just implementing tips and tricks.  It’s a total mindset.  It takes planning ahead of time, it takes determination to be laser focused, and it takes the self-discipline to say “no, wait” to the sand and “yes” to the rocks

Here are a few of the productivity “best practices” that we’ve implemented into our business and our life:


Gain Perspective

Most of us have one long never ending “to-do” list, and when it’s time to “work” we tend to go the path of least resistance- things that are easier, quicker to finish, less mental energy to do- rather then the more time consuming (and often, more important) tasks and projects.  Try to choose only 2-3 important, needle-moving tasks per day, and schedule those in your calendar before the week starts.

Then get up early (BIG tip here), and do 1 of them first thing when you get up.  I can’t tell you how much better my day goes when I get up early, do my morning routine, and accomplish an important business task…all before my kiddos are up! 

So, how do you decide what the important “rocks” are?  These are the projects/tasks that directly effect the forward movement of your business… things that will make you money!  Addressing emails, commenting on Instagram posts, and running random errands are NOT rocks… those are the sand that should be fit around your Top 3 for the day.

“If you have 5 minutes to chop down a tree, spend the first 3 sharpening the axe.”

Additionally…If you go about your week in execution mode, rather then constant planning mode your brain will have more energy for the focused, creative work you have to do.

So set aside a few hours at the end of your week to plan for the next one.  Then, each night take a few minutes and prep for as many things as you can, so that the next day runs as smoothly as possible… pick out clothes, make lunches, get the coffee ready to brew, make sure your desk is cleared off and your top 3 priorities are in front of you.  (List them on a sticky note and stick it on the side of your computer, as your constant reminder all day.)

Outsource

If you are at a place in your business where the majority of your time is taken up with busy work/tasks- things that need to happen to keep your business running, but that are not utilizing your strengths (or things that you just hate doing)- it’s time to start outsourcing! 

You are your business’ biggest asset. 

If 80% of your time is sucked up by busy work, instead of important business building activities, your business won’t grow the way it could- and could even fail completely because of it.  Or, you could end up being a complete zombie from having worked all hours of the night just to keep the biz afloat- making you not the best mom, wife, and friend that you can be. 

So, take a quick inventory at what you are spending your time on, and find some tasks that you can get off your plate… like asap!  And then, intentionally fill that time with business building efforts: creating a new product/service, promoting your business in y our community, or creating a valuable piece of content that your target market will love!

We’ve put together a FREE download where you can read more about some of our favorite productivity habits. 

-Finding Your Rhythm

-Productivity’s Slow Death

-Time Blocking

-The Email black hole

-Be anti-social

Grab that HERE and go bust your week out like a Boss!

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Cheering you on,

Sarah