I have a confession to make.
I have been in business for less than a year (seven months as of this writing), and find myself in an embarrassing position. See, I develop brands and nurture them into success for a living. So when I was looking at my poor content consistency (yeesh), my lack of interest in my brand (yikes!), and above all a feeling of overall disconnect seven months into my business (/facepalm), I knew something was seriously, seriously wrong. And then it hit me.
I’m not the person I was a year ago—thanks to a funk that ate two years of my life and finally let up the summer of 2016.
But now, I’ve got this pretty big problem of portraying myself a certain way and not feeling any connection to it. I’m not going to lie. I’ve almost called it quits. I’ve cried, screamed, and complained to the cat, the poor little guy. And after all the melodrama, I found myself asking, “Okay, so how do I fix it?” Luckily, I found the answer.
Note: I find myself in a unique position. See, I’m having a branding crisis as a brand maker. This means that I’m not paying for my turn around. I know that I’m not the norm, so this post is going to be the way to change your brand without overhauling your brand.
Evaluate The “Problem”
Like nearly everything, acknowledging that there is a viable problem is the first step. But first, ask yourself if you’re experiencing the following and most importantly, why.
“I’m not creating consistent content.”
“I’m not attracting the people that I want to work with.”
“I don’t feel a connection to my business.”
“I’m not getting hired to do what I want to be known for.”
If any of these sound familiar, ask yourself why. Why aren’t you [doing whatever it is] and is that causing [the icky feeling you’re having]? If so, you probably don’t have an overhaul worthy branding issue, which is actually great news.
Some of the biggest impacts in your brand can be made by making the smallest tweaks here and there.
So, Yeah. There’s A Problem
If you want to take a moment to cry into your pillow or drink a 1:00 pm glass of wine or, in fact, whine about it to someone, this is the time. It is a-ok to feel how you feel. So give yourself a set time (set that timer!), cope in whatever way you want, then put your boss underpants on—because we’re diving right into the work.
There are three levels at which you ought to evaluate this:
Level 1: Self-reflection.
Level 2: A person that knows and loves you. (Biz bestie, spouse, mom, etc.)
Level 3: An acquaintance. (That cool chick from the Facebook group you’re active on, that boss you went to brunch with last fall, etc.)
The Points To Pay Attention To
After you ask the same questions of everyone, (this is my favorite part) make that Venn diagram! Now, remember: there is some magic in putting pen to paper. So draw. this. out. Take over an office wall with post-its, break out that whiteboard you’ve got stashed behind your bookshelf, do what you got to.
What are you finding overlaps the most?
Are these things you don’t see as a problem?
This is the time to really reflect and see where the issues that this exercise brought to light can be shifted and if it is a change you can make yourself. If nothing else, be honest with yourself.
Tip: Having trouble taking the feelings out of it? Try this. Look at the overall situation as a scientific process rather than your brand. The beauty of science experiments is that they aren’t designed to succeed, so there is no pressure or feeling there.
Whatever You Do, Don’t Panic
Don’t even go here. Please.
“What if people don’t like me now!” Then they aren’t your people. The people that you connect with are going to stick around and the people that you don’t jive with won’t. This is a blessing, not a curse.
“I’ve spent [time] building this community!” And your community—your actual people—will still be there. No worries.
“Maybe I can just stick with it and it’ll feel right again…” Don’t do this to yourself. If it’s not working now, it won’t be working in six months when you have an even bigger problem on your hands. It’s best to address this early and start making shifts.
You got this. Don’t panic.
Perhaps The Most Important Part
If consistency is king, then communication is god.
I’m going to make a couple assumptions:
- Your community is there because they have liked what you have to say.
- You share your everything because, you know, karma.
- Your community is built on trust and respect.
If these things are true, then don’t worry about your community. Talk to them. Let them know what’s going on. They’ll be on board.
What To Do Right Now
Track: If any of this feels familiar on a regular basis (we all have “screw this” days), then maybe it’s time to start evaluating. One of the tools I have found to be super beneficial in tracking not just patterns with my business, but within my life, has been my bullet journal. Don’t want to commit to that? Just keep track for a month.
Reflect: Every day, take stock. Ask yourself how you’ve felt working on your business. How comfortable have you been with your brand? How difficult did you find the tasks (like creating content that is routine) that you do on a regular basis? Does your content sound like your brand or you? Is there a division there that wasn’t designed?
If you liked this post, be sure to check out:
- Tara Street’s blog post: The Struggle to Express Our Best Selves in Our Brand
- A Brand Positioning Check-in from Devan Danielle
- Get your own bullet journal started: Getting Started with a Bullet Journal