As an entrepreneur, establishing yourself in your industry is important and a top priority for success. By effectively branding yourself, you portray yourself as a professional which can ultimately attract clients and customers to your business. In addition, your brand identity and personal character plays a huge part of your business foundation. The way you present yourself is how people will see view business. Keep it positive and clean!
But as many entrepreneurs starting out, money is always an issue. Most of us don’t have the money to allocate to branding ourselves and our business. The small start up budget we work with has to go a long way before we start to see an income stream. The hardest part is to not to feel overwhelmed with branding your business as a new entrepreneur, or even if you are looking at a brand refresh.
So, how do you avoid spending an obscene amount of money of things that are not relevant when starting your business and what exactly do you invest your money in from the beginning?
Avoid costly mistakes by investing in these three things:
1. Business Name
It is so important that your business name is genuine and reflects what your business is all about from day ONE. Brainstorm a few different names by writing them down on paper. Write down words that describe your business and see what works the best. Try a few different variations and get advice from your family and friends. This is super important as this will be your business name for years to come. So pick a good one. The more you change your business name, the more people start to realize that you are not serious about your business and will not want to work with you. Create a name you absolutely love and make it work. Even if you don’t get any business or inquiries right away, keep pushing it. That’s how you get your name out.
Once you have selected your name, you want to make sure it is not being used by anyone else. Search for it on Google and see what search results come up. Copying someone else’s name is not good for you or for your business, so be sure to research your desired name before making it your own.
I didn’t know what I wanted my blog to be called in the beginning. I started out with a list of names and things I that reflected ME, because in the end, it’s my business and I need it to have a reflection of who I am.
2. Website & Domain
It’s so easy to sign up for a quick, easy and FREE blog or website these days. They offer you free templates and no hosting fees. You just need to sign up, select a free generic template and start adding in your own content. Biggest mistake you could make for your business is starting a free website.
My advice? Once you know what domain you would like (and it is available), purchase it right away and pay for the full year. You can get a website domain through GoDaddy for approximately $20/year. Once you have your website domain, you can start to build a website. You can use SquareSpace which costs approximately $122/year. The templates are easy to use and offer a wide variety of templates for different types of businesses.
I’ve learned the hard way that designing a website through a company or individual is a waste of money, UNLESS YOU HAVE COMPLETE TRUST IN THEM. When I first started my blog two years ago, I paid over $3,000 for a website I was not 100% in love with. I ended up paying more money over time to have the designer make changes and edits after I tried to do something myself and it backfired and ruined my template! I was so frustrated and after chatting with my fellow ladies, I was referred to SquareSpace and it was the best decision I ever made. I now have three websites with SquareSpace and over 75 domains pointed to those websites.
3. Business Logo
How easy is it to open up a blank canvas on your computer using Microsoft Word and create a quick logo for your business using Google images? Easy huh? Oh and of course it’s FREE! Another HUGE MISTAKE.
You want your logo to be professional from the beginning. The worst thing you could do for your business is create you r own logo, IF you do not have any form of designing or photoshop skills.
Don’t cut corners; hire a professional if you are serious about your business. The more times you change your logo, the harder it will be for people to remember you and the services you provide. Spend the money on a logo that is going to be long lasting in your entrepreneurship journey. You will end up paying MORE if you do it yourself or hire a cheap designer. Work with a reputable designer who has a great portfolio of clients. Your web designer should be easy to communicate with and should understand what you want. Not every designed can relate to what it is you are looking for, so be sure to work with someone who has a portfolio similar to what your business relates to. And, last but not least: Make sure that you are happy with it!! Don’t agree on something you don’t think works with you or your business.
This being said, I actually designed my own logo two years ago when I created Real Estate In Stilettos. I had NO DESIGN experience and no idea what I wanted. I just know that I loved shoes and real estate and wanted to incorporate the two into something catchy that would relate to my fellow Boss Ladies.
I asked my hubby how to use PhotoShop and he showed me a few tricks to get me started. I also looked at a few YouTube tutorials myself. I’m a quick learner and have the patience to sit, observe and retain information. After having to go through communicating my design thoughts to a web designer and not being happy with the end results, I wanted to learn to do things on my own. Not every one of us has that creative vein in our bodies, so if you are not the creative type, then definitely hire a professional. If you somewhat are, you can learn a lot through tutorials online that can save you some money. But in the end, make sure that you won’t end up spending MORE MONEY to fix a design element you are not fully satisfied with. Some things are just left better to the professionals…like selling your home ;)
I hope this was helpful to you! I love haring about new Entrepreneurs starting their businesses and about Bloggers creating a new blog. Shoot me an email and let me know how your branding is coming along!