Although there is nothing wrong with being a person who loves DIY (Do It Yourself) projects, DIY branding obstacles can derail your success when building your brand. Building a brand is an emotional and personal experience. You delicately straddle the line between your shoestring budget and really making an investment in yourself.
As in any decision, your decision to DIY when it comes to building your brand is accompanied by its own obstacles. Of course, you can overcome these DIY branding obstacles as long as you are aware of them and are fully prepared to take care of them when they arise. The four largest obstacles that can potentially hold you back are:
- Lack of Creativity
- Missing Objectivity
- Lack of Design Experience
- Lack of a Plan
We will explore each one of these so that you can see the havoc they will wreak if ignored and show you how to junk punch them before any damage has been done:
1. Lack of Creativity
I hear so many solopreneurs proclaim that they are not creative. That is nonsense. Whether you believe it or not, you are creative. Perhaps you do not identify yourself as a creative; however, that is different from being creative. You create stuff daily–family meals, processes for your daily life, vacation plans, projects for the children, outfits you will wear, etc. If you want to create a brand, you will need to be able to constantly create new content, emails, social media posts, products, services, and opt-in freebies.
Creativity is fickle. It comes and goes on a whim. That is why it is important that you make certain that you have a few different service stations on standby that you can tap into when your creativity tank is low (or empty).
Ways to Become More Creative
Look at the world about you. Do you notice all the inspiration and ideas right in front of your face? In your rush from task to task, do you ever see or hear things that you make you think “oh yes”? That is invaluable inspiration that can come in handy in a pinch.
You know how you surf the internet while you are avoiding that sweat-inducing task at hand? That is inspiration.
You know that magazine you start flipping through while you are waiting in the grocery store checkout line? Inspiration.
You know the commercials you have to suffer through while you wait for the next episode of your favorite television show? Inspiration.
We all need to make service stations to house all of those inspirational pieces so that we can call upon them quickly whenever we need to. Four of the best ways to make a creative service stations are:
- Pinterest. Create a secret board or two and pin every item of inspiration that you find around the web. Pinterest is a visual paradise of endless inspiration. This includes logos, blog images, social media covers, headlines, website pages, fonts, advertising images, and patterns. Tip: Install a tool such as Jing on your computer and take screenshots of things that you cannot use the “Pin It” button for. If you are on a mobile device, take a screenshot and pin to your secret board.
- Electronic Swipe File. Create a document in Google Docs, Evernote or Dropbox (in order to access it on your phone and tablet) and paste in any ad copy, taglines, words, headlines, phrases, or ideas that excite you.
- Hardcopy Swipe File. Set aside a folder, basket, or even a shoe box in your office that you can throw printed material you love in. This could be things found in magazines, or from postcards, or collateral you come across in stores. The sky is the limit. Tip: Take pictures of signs, magazine covers or whatever it is that you love and pin that to your board if writing it out isn’t an option for some reason. Your camera phones are one of the best tools for inspiration collecting.
- Bedside Notebook. Do not underestimate the brilliance that only comes up when you are trying to dose off. I cannot count the number of times that I have come up with the best headlines and copy the world has seen while lying in bed. 😉 Unfortunately, for years those nuggets were lost by the time I woke up the next day. So trust me and keep a notebook by the bed and in your car so you never lose all the inspiration that comes when you least expect it.
2. Missing Objectivity
One of the most difficult things about DIYing is that you are usually doing it alone. Pair that with the emotional investment you have in creating your own brand and things become more complicated. It is inevitable–you are going to run into times where you lose objectivity due to how close this project is to your heart. You will become so fixated on something that you feel like you are sinking in quicksand; however, you still cannot seem to let it go. At some point you will realize that you are losing valuable time that you desperately can’t afford.
When each of these monsters of madness rear their ugly head you need a support group you can turn to. We all need an awesome posse or accountability partner that will give us the constructive feedback, support, guidance, and the loving kick in the butt we need. Alone we are solopreneurs, but together we are an unstoppable force to be reckoned with.
3. Lack of Design Experience
With the opportunity you have for creating your own signature brand identity these days comes the possibility of creating a visual mess. Look, it happens, but that does not give you license to throw in the towel or give up. If that is an option, you might as well do that right now and save yourself a lot of grey hair and sleepless nights.
Like any new skill you want to acquire, you just need to dedicate time to learning. The first area of visual content mastery to focus on is how to create awesome visuals so you can avoid creating cringe worthy visuals (those visuals that scream amateur; the ones that you can immediately label “low quality”, regardless of your design prowess).
The point is, visuals create a pause that will get someone to stop long enough to take notice and open the proverbial door to deeper exploration with you. If your visuals make her eyeballs run in the opposite direction, the only thing you can look forward to is being ditched.
Lack of a Plan
Do you ever wonder how the anyone got anywhere before smartphones and built-in navigation in cars? I will admit that I will get lost if you spin me around. Oh the stories I could tell. Truth is, I don’t make a move without signs. Whether that is on the road, at the grocery store, the airport, etc. I would be lost if the world didn’t cater to direction-challenged people like me.
Building a brand is no different. If you don’t have the blueprint and turn-by-turn directions you will become lost.
Studying my last three blog posts was your first leap in the right direction, so I’m clearly preaching to the choir here. While the posts are loaded with tons of implementable brand building training, it doesn’t come close to everything there is to know. Contact me today for some hand holding through every step of your brand building journey and avoid all DIY branding obstacles.