It’s no secret that consistency and having a straight forward message is one of the sure fire ways to be successful in your business and to gain a following. It’s also not as easy as it sounds.
Which is why I am forever thankful for branding strategists. You know, those creative wizards who can think OUTSIDE of your over-analyzed bubble of “this is my baby and I’m scared to even think about having to put it all out there because I think it’s great but what if other people hate it and what do I say and where do I even start??” (read that last sentence in a spastic, quick-toned manner for the full effect.)
And just like that, they’ve guided you towards something even more amazing than what you had before.
When I first started my photography business back in 2010, holy hell you guys. I had NO idea what I was doing. All I knew was that I loved photography, I loved working with people, and I tried to convince myself that I liked the color purple because it seemed to be a trending color on everyone else’s website, so… (sidenote: I hate purple) I also always took a photo of my clients from the knees down — focusing on their feet. Yep. That was my signature shot. The one I wanted to be associated with my brand.
Lord help me.
But here’s the thing: at the time, I didn’t know anyone who was doing the same thing I was. I had no network (social groups didn’t really exist then like they do now), I didn’t know anyone who had experience with branding.. all I had was my dad who had built a business from the ground up a ways back, and a mom who was business savvy, too, with a keen eye for detail. So you can imagine the business side of things was squeaky clean. It was just the overall message was a hot mess.
A purple-infused, foot-focused hot mess.
Fast forward to 2014 and I started to get my bearings. I paid attention to colors that brought me joy, I would write constantly to find common trends in my thoughts and desires, I dog-eared images in catalogs on a regular basis (always Anthropologie) and eventually discovered that my taste was more on the neutral-colored side, and my ideal clients were joyful, laid back, and madly in love.
But I still had so much to learn on how to target those people.
Photography has been a long, long journey for me. I’ve grown tremendously since I first started back in 2010. I’ve discovered myself again and again through this art form, and I’m so grateful for it. I’ve come to learn that just because others in the industry are doing one thing, it doesn’t mean I need to. Quite the opposite.
Dare to be different. I think that’s how that saying goes.
So while I may not be breaking the internet, I can say with utmost certainty that I’m 100% authentic in my work and how I display it. And that’s a major milestone that I’m so proud of. Art can be toxic in the way of comparison, and I’ve let that ship sail.
The point of all of this is that when The Calm Collective idea was born, I cradled it like a newborn baby. It was (and is) so important to me that I feared even making mention of it until I knew for certain that the message was clear, the idea was thoughtful, that people could and would relate to what I was trying to evoke, and that the branding was completely genuine and authentic to me as a human being and my journey towards living a simple, calm lifestyle.
Sure, I could have sat in a coffee shop for hours on end going back and forth and driving myself crazy, trying to figure out if what I was doing was clear enough. But instead, I hired a branding strategist (aka: pretty much a life coach) to help me through one of the most exciting ventures of my career thus far, because you only get one chance to make a first impression.
That’s where Lauren of Loey’s Brand Therapy comes along.
This girl – let me tell you. She’s amazing. It helps tremendously that she has this lovely ability to relate with just about anyone, and that she listens with the most incredible concentration. I swear I remember the first time we met I thought to myself, “I hope I’m like that. I want people to leave a conversation with me feeling like the most important person in the room.”
Being a creative, I tend to have so many ideas overflowing through my brain, all wishing to be acted upon immediately. When I listed off everything to Lauren, she sat there quietly – leaned back in her chair, took a sip of her tea, and gently started making mention of suggestions for how I could make this easier on myself. IT FELT LIKE A HUG. I needed that permission to let the non-essentials go, and to focus solely on perfecting my message. After our FIRST meeting, I was feeling like I had a crystal clear idea for my new venture, and that I had the tools I needed to get started.
Since I have the Branding Best Friend Package (uh, so cute no?), I have monthly unlimited calls, meetings and emails to Lauren. She’s helped me from the smallest things to editing emails and shop inventory, narrowing down the right images for my Etsy Shop ensuring that each of them speak to the message behind The Calm Collective, and bringing my photography work and the shop together as one cohesive brand.
I’m so attached to the things I’ve created and grown to love, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Lauren’s unbiased opinions and suggestions are so helpful and necessary, and have allowed me to be at peace with each decision that I make. Now this isn’t to say that I need her to hold my hand throughout the entire process – but it’s beyond amazing to know that when I’m feeling stuck and just can’t decide, Lauren knows my brand inside out and is able to take the stress out of the decisions I’m struggling with.
“Get out of your head and in front of the people who need you.” – one of my favorite quotes of hers, because it’s so true. We all have something unique to give, so instead of feeling overwhelmed and intimated by all of your lovely ideas, let someone help guide you and get you to your ultimate goal: sharing it with the world.
So with that being said, I’m really, really excited to tell you all that Lauren is offering 20% off the Branding Best Friend Package when you sign up using this link. The offer ends Wednesday August 24th at 11:59 PM EST.
I swear to you I don’t make a dime from posting about this – I’ve just really loved my experience and have seen such an impact on my business techniques since working with Lauren. I only wish I would have met her sooner, as it would have saved me a lot of money in the long run with all of my photography re-brands ;) So if youv’e had an idea you’ve been playing around with for months now, or you’ve got a website thats up and running but it just doesn’t quite feel like you, or you’re stuck in the pinwheel of the toxic comparison game, I encourage you to try something new.
I hope it works for you as well as it’s worked for me. x0