Get Creative: How to Brand Yourself from the Inside Out
I was asked to speak at an event next spring being hosted by one of my coaching clients. She suggested the topic of “branding from the inside out.” Hmmm, I thought, what does that look like and feel like? Where did she pull that topic from especially as it related to the work we are doing on her business? As I sat at my computer early this morning, third cup of coffee in hand, brainstorming ideas and doing some research, I had a huge aha about my own business and the work I do with people. It was one of those “wake up and smell the coffee” moments, full of equal parts glee and “oh crap, am I starting over again?”
I have been doing a great deal of revising, starting and stopping, tweaking and practicing in my business this year. It’s hard. For 11 years I ran a publishing company – I knew exactly who I was, what I was selling and how I could serve people. I sold that business in December 2012 and have been building my coaching practice and settling myself and my family into our new home/life in Santa Barbara, CA. I have been rebuilding everything: friends, support, community, colleagues… at 48 I can tell you that starting over takes courage and creativity.
What I know for sure is: I am a published author, award-winning entrepreneur, certified coach and creative, fun-loving woman with a Ph.D. in poetry who has been happily married for 17 years and is more proud of my kids than anything else in my life.
BUT – I am also that gypsy, adventurer, artist, spiritual guru, teacher, poetry-loving, inspired, entrepreneur who wants to serve, values freedom and creativity, loves business strategy and marketing. How do I translate that into a coherent brand that articulates who I am and what problems I solve for people? WHOA!
Another thing I know for certain is that I need outside help when it comes to building my business. I am great at helping others but there is nothing as valuable as an objective perspective to help us get clarity on who we are or what’s next. I am always working with at least one coach and find this to be my most worthwhile business investment every year.
Client Feedback is your best branding tool!
But sometimes it’s my clients who spark amazing insights that help me refine who I am and how I work with people. I excel at helping others get clear about their big WHY, helping them create a vision and a strategy to make their dreams a reality. I suddenly realized that I needed to participate in my own process, use my own assessments and add some fun creative elements to get clear about who I am and what I want my brand to feel like!
So I spent my Saturday in my craft room creating a vision board that captures what I want my brand to feel like. I had so much fun!
Using a Vision Board to Brand Yourself from the Inside Out
First, I took my own core values assessment to really focus in on the values that are at the center of the business I am building. These are different than my personal values, although there are definitely some cross-overs! When was the last time you looked at your core values or thought about if the business you are building is a true reflection of who you are? If you are interested in a free core values assessment, download one here.
Then, I asked myself a few class branding questions like what’s my big WHY, what’s my vision and mission, who do I want to serve… I created a mind map, one of my favorite business development tools.
I put that aside and grabbed a large sheet of watercolor paper and started painting. I wanted to capture the “feeling” of my brand as I perceive it – colors, emotions, feelings, ideas… what drives me and why? That’s the painting at the top of the post.
Here’s the final product. I love how it looks and feels and what it communicates about me and to me. This is not for public consumption, this is a guidepost, a reminder to stay true to what I value.
So what’s next? Back to revising my ideal client profile based on this newest vision of who I want to be when I grow up! I am clear about the problems I solve and the results my clients experience and I am having so much fun helping them create success!
Are you ready to breakthrough to your perfect brand?
Are you struggling to create a vibrant vision for you business and to create a viable plan of action that leads to freedom, flexibility and financial independence -without sacrificing time with your family or your relationships? Schedule a 30-minute breakthrough session with me now and let’s talk. My big WHY is helping women entrepreneurs build businesses that express ALL of who they are! See that big “Freedom” in the center of my board – I believe deeply that we all deserve the freedom to live our lives and build our businesses on our terms.