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3 signs it’s time to invest in professional branding

July 13, 2021

In my last post, I shared that I’ve *finally* invested in hiring a professional branding designer for my own business. I’ve been working with Jeanne from Spark and Bloom since early June and we’re rapidly approaching the finish line.

Today I’m taking you through my thought process of knowing it was time to hire another professional designer.  In the end, there were four reasons that pushed me to invest in branding now.

01. Not attracting my ideal audience

When I started my freelance journey I was taking on any project and through many wonderful referrals I ended up with a wide array of clients. This is a great problem to have, and I soon started taking note of the types of projects and clients that made my heart and soul sing. 

In the beginning, I slapped together a wordmark logo and website without any kind of strategy. I was afraid of niching down and honestly, I didn’t know how to go about it. It took a lot of trial and error through working with different kinds of business owners, non-profits, and types of projects to start to understand which direction I wanted to take my business. 

I’ve found clarity in the types of projects and clients that I want to work with in the future. I have limited time and energy and I’ve realized that in order not to burn out, I need to feel a true connection with any project and client. 

02. I was trying to be like everyone else in my industry 

In my heart, I knew I wanted to focus my efforts on sustainable & ethical design but felt discouraged every time I talked to more established designers. 

I was told that sustainability or green design wasn’t really a niche and I should consider changing course. It was frustrating to hear that sustainability was not valued in the realm of design and that I should really be focusing on how I could earn six figures. Cue eye roll. 

In the fall of 2020, I connected with a community of designers who are also passionate about sustainability and ethical design and this has inspired and motivated me to dream bigger. There is clearly a need for designers who are experts in sustainability while we are in the midst of a climate crisis! This community has helped me narrow in on who and how I serve clients.

03. My DIY method was lacking perspective

After learning more about brand strategy I tried no fewer than three times to put myself through my own branding process. I would get inspired, make a fun moodboard, and make it maybe 50% of the way through the process before a more pressing project would pop up. Needless to say, I never gave my own branding the time or attention it deserved. 

Even after spending a lot of time sorting out my own brand strategy, I struggled with aligning my designs to that strategy. My biased opinion on the color palette, fonts, and style got in the way of connecting with my ideal audience. I spent years trying to craft a monogram that I embraced my brand, but it never came to fruition and in the end, held me back. 

Why now?

I first started seriously considering investing in hiring another designer in early 2020, right before the pandemic hit. In fact, right before the first wave of lock-downs were given here in Seattle, I had been in communication with a branding photographer. I had a few irons in the fire, as they say, and they quickly became backburner projects once we all realized how different life would look after March 2020. 

Now that we’re slowly coming out of pandemic lockdowns and there is light at the end of the tunnel it feels right to pursue growth in my business. I’ve been leaning into my intuition more and honestly it feels so good. 

This summer was the perfect time to work with a branding designer so that I have everything ready to roll out this fall. My daughter will be starting preschool and it will be the first time in her three years that we’ll have outside childcare. I’ll have more time to dedicate to client work and putting in the energy into my business that I’ve wanted to for years! 

In hindsight, I’m glad I did not hire a brand designer when I first started my business. I have so much more clarity about who I want to serve, how I want to serve them, and how I want to position my own business in the design world. 

In my next post, I’ll dive into how I chose a designer to work with and tips for anyone who is looking to invest in professional branding for their own business.