Fellow entrepreneur, I see you putting in the hard work, the intentional hustle, and the endless amount of heart to grow your business to a sustainable six figure, and even seven figure, level! And whether you’ve been in business for years or you’re just getting started, I know you’re wanting to generate consistent income month after month. But it isn’t always as easy as just willing that into existence, is it?
What happens when you start to notice your inquiries slow down, the sales aren’t coming through as steadily as they once were, and the consistent monthly income you’re dreaming of continues to stay out of your grasp? Rather than panic eating a pint of Ben and Jerry’s (not that I speak from personal experience or anything!), this is a great opportunity to analyze what’s working and where there’s room for improvement. And while you might think that slow sales are a sales funnel issue, I’m here today to share some common branding mistakes that are actually to blame.
With almost a decade of brand design and strategy experience, let me peel back the curtain so you can not only identify three common branding mistakes that keep you from consistent income, but how to quickly and confidently kick these mis-steps to the curb for good.
The first mistake that’s keeping you from the consistent sales you’re dreaming about is your DIY brand. And, hey, there’s no shame in having a brand, or even parts of your brand, that were DIYed! We all start somewhere. And we all start at a point where we have an idea of how we can build a business. We want to get that idea out there and we want to start working with clients and making money. And so usually in order to do that, we need to have a logo, we need a website, you know some of those visual pieces that help us connect with our ideal clients online. Enter the DIY brand.
While that’s great for a beginning season of business, it won’t help you when you want to scale. And that’s because your brand tells your ideal clients or customers how they should perceive you. So if your brand isn’t positioning you like the expert you are then your ideal clients or customers are going to struggle to view you that way. Which then leads us to inconsistent sales because it’s not clear to your ideal client why they should buy from you, hire you, or work with you.
It’s important that your brand matches the level of transformation you offer to your clients through your work. And if you know that your current brand isn’t doing you any favors, then it’s time to invest in a custom brand that’s strategically designed to position you in the best way to connect with your ideal clients consistently. A brand designer who specializes in brand strategy can guide you through the rebranding process in a way that will help you create clarity around your goals, build out a brand with those goals in mind, and serve as a guide to you every step of the way.
The amount of time and energy we spend researching our competition, staying up-to-date with industry trends, and focusing on how we measure up could be a full-time job in and of itself! But what happens when we focus a little too much on what the competition is up to?
When it comes to your brand, it’s shockingly easy to hop on Instagram or scroll through your Facebook groups, and see what other people are doing. It’s so easy to see the success others are sharing on Clubhouse, or the pictures of success they’re posting on different platforms. And so when we become aware of that, when we’re exposed to those depictions of success, it becomes increasingly easy to hyperfocus on your competitors.
We often don’t even realize we’re doing this. But what happens when you get too caught up in the trap of comparison fueled by social media is that you start to hyper focus on what other people are doing, and what their brands look like, or what their positioning looks like, or what their messaging sounds like. Whether you’re really thinking about it or not, it can kind of seep into your subconscious. So when you go to create your next Instagram post, or when you go to redesign your website, or, you know, think about rebranding, it can be so easy to be influenced by what other people are doing.
We need to remember that we’re often consuming curated examples of what other people want us to see. So we don’t know the behind the scenes of your top competitor’s business. It might look really pretty and really profitable on Instagram. But we don’t actually know what’s going on behind-the-scenes.
So if you’re trying to go out there and build a brand that generates consistent income for you, you don’t want to do this by unintentionally replicating what others are doing. This is where we want to put our blinders on, dive deep into your own ideal client research, explore how you’re defining success, and then create your brand from that headspace. A strategy-packed brand will serve you so much better than a pretty brand designed on Pinterest’s trending images ever will.
The final mistake that’s keeping you from consistent income, friend, is a sneaky one! It often happens to us over time, and can creep up on us when we least expect it.
Your messaging has the potential to make or break a sale, and unclear or inconsistent messaging is one of the biggest mistakes I see as a designer and strategist! You might have a gorgeous logo, and a swoon-worthy website, but if the messaging on that site doesn’t clearly communicate who you are, what you do, and the transformation your work offers then it can all fall flat.
If you put yourself in your ideal clients shoes, it’s really important to take a look at the way that you are talking about your brand and your services. So the messaging that you’re using on Instagram, on any social platform, on a podcast, or face-to-face conversations, literally anywhere you are talking to people about your business and the work that you do, what are the messages that you’re sharing?
And what are the themes that keep popping up?
And are they clear?
Are they easy for your ideal client to understand?
Because when our messaging is clear, and succinct, and easy for people to understand, that’s when we see those really quick and confident conversions. When someone lands on your website and quickly connects with you and your messaging, they get excited about learning more about you and the work that you do. And then when they inquire or they fill out an application form, you’re generating warm, quality leads. Those are the kinds of people who are excited to hire you or buy from you.
Now, I know that messaging is something that we usually don’t think about as a part of our brand. Because we usually think about branding in terms of the visuals, right? But if we actually break down what branding is, and we look at it like it’s a pie chart, the visuals of your brand (your logo, your colors, your fonts, your website, your business cards, all of the pretty things) is only about 20% of what your brand actually is. And the other 80% of what your brand actually is, is your strategy. Your strategy consists of your messaging, your goals, your ideal client profile, and much more!
So if there’s only one thing you take away here, get really clear on who you are, what you do, and the transformation that your work provides. That transformation is going to be the value that people experience when they hire you or they work with you. And if you can add those pieces together, you’re going to be left with this incredible messaging piece that you can weave through your Instagram bio, your website, and so many different places that allow you to clearly and confidently communicate who you are, and ultimately why that matters to your ideal client.
I hope you’re feeling confident in your ability to leverage your brand to generate consistent, quality inquiries that leads to consistent income, friend! If you resonate with one, or more, of these mistakes, don’t beat yourself up. These mistakes are common for a reason! And now you’re armed with the awareness and the initial action steps to kick these mistakes to the curb for good.
If you’re looking for some support on this journey, feel free to reach out to me and I’ll be happy to help! I specialize in helping women entrepreneurs just like you create strategic, profitable brands that position them as the go-to experts their ideal clients need, and I’d love to see how I can serve you on your journey.
Written by Bonnie Bakhtiari
Bonnie is a brand strategist and designer for creative entrepreneurs, and a coach for fellow graphic, brand, and web designers. Starting in 2012, Bonnie crafts high converting brands for her design clients, and she currently teaches fellow designers her signature brand strategy approach through her 5-week program, the Brand Strategy School. She's based in beautiful Waco, Texas with her husband of almost ten years and their two rambunctious golden retrievers, Boone and Quinn.