Elements Of An Intentional Brand
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a lot like me. You work at home, drink a little more coffee than you should, and you are building a business that isn’t quite like anything else.
After explaining my service model to another creative entrepreneur on a makeup-less Wednesday afternoon zoom call, she asked me, “Is that what you set out to do.” I paused and answered, “I’m not sure I really set out to do anything.”
My story may also look a lot like yours. Rewind to the toilet paper shortage – tik-tok blowup days of Covid, and I was scraping by running a health coaching business and feeling burnt out and a service model that didn’t work for me. I was sick of working for other people and waiting tables on nights and weekends. I wasn’t feeling fulfilled and turned to freelancing for some extra cash. That was when I started helping entrepreneurs build their brands in the digital space.
After about a year of freelancing, I realized I had the makings for a business. But just what was that business? Who was my ideal client? How will I charge people? What are my services? Not to mention how do I structure my work week to manage serving my clients and making time for my own business (and life). These are all things I had to figure out. Although I’m all about the “everything is figure-outable attitude, figuring it all out on my own wasn’t easy. But the lessons I learned, systems I created, and dare I say, mistakes I made along the way helped me create a one-of-a-kind service model built for creatives ( by a creative).
I don’t pretend to have all the answers (in fact, I know I don’t), but I love to teach, share, connect, and help other creative business owners create one-of-a-kind brands and a business model that can be sustained.
In the process, I’ve created a unique process I call Intentional Branding. It combines the aesthetic nuances that come to mind when you think of branding (like your logos and color schemes) with strategy, planning, organization, and weaving in manifestation and self-care practices for your business.
So what exactly is an intentional brand?
From freelance to founder, I had to figure out ways to organize my business, my time, and projects and still tryyy to have some balance in my life. Does it look perfect all the time? Nope, but I’ve also been able to build a business almost entirely off of referrals, design and launch my own website and buy and renovate my first house in a year. And I couldn’t have done any of that if I wasn’t building a business rooted in intention and actively manifesting the life of my dreams.
An intentional brand is a brand and business rooted in strategy and story. It is a brand that knows more than just its fonts and color schemes, values, story, and strategy and has a plan to scale.
We’ve all seen the videos of female entrepreneurs on tik tok or Instagram, satirically joking about all the hats they have to wear and titles they take on. While I am a fan of the driest of sarcasm, at the same time, as I scrolled my feed, I couldn’t help but think, “but it doesn’t have to be so hard? Right?”. On the one hand, I thought, “I own my own business, I get to make the rules,” and then, on the other hand, I was like, “oh wait – how do I make the rules?” 55% of entrepreneurs say their biggest motivation for starting their own business was the idea of being their own boss, but being your own boss is not all rainbows and butterflies. Being a successful creative entrepreneur is more than just doing a job or providing a service; it’s confronting your own limiting beliefs and not-so-great habits and finding what works for you.
“Work smarter, not harder.”
A phrase my freshman year community college Advertising professor drilled into my head. He encouraged us to use projects from our photography or graphic design classes in his advertising class. Why create more work for yourself if you don’t have to? Nine years, a transfer to a state school, a study abroad trip, a student teaching placement, and half a master’s degree later – I still think about that freshman year lesson almost daily. I’m passionate about finding ways to systemize, automate, and manifest within my business with a common goal of doing more in less time. That mindset inspires my own work and what I teach my clients. Early on, I realized that creating a beautiful website for a client is one thing, but if they don’t know how to use it, how to market it, how to project plan, track their tasks, or maintain the systems (you get the point) then how much did I really help? Likewise, creating a beautiful brand is one thing, but building a sustainable and profitable business is the sweet spot. And at the end of the day, what creative entrepreneurs really need is both.75% of people think they are not living up to their creative potential. I believe that comes from the pressure to create and produce without a sustainable and aligned plan and system to back it up. Intentional Brands don’t set out to reinvent the wheel but instead create more from a place of alignment and inspiration by setting themselves up for success early on.
You can manifest the business of your dreams.
God, that sounded corny. But still, it’s true. When you have a creative business, it’s deeply linked to you as a person. How can you make manifesting your business goals part of your self-care and personal development practice? How about your life outside of that? I’m sure the whole point of starting your own business wasn’t to work all the time (been there, done that). That whole “balance” thing is easier said than done. Working from home can mean never having to wear makeup on a Monday, but it can also mean learning to set boundaries and unplug. The lines are thin when your office is only one room away. Like the lines between productivity and burnout, flexibility and stress, planning and avoiding.
What if, instead, you could create systems that worked for you and created time to live your life away from the computer screen? Intentional brands take time off to enjoy the life that they are providing.
Creative Businesses Need Personal Branding
Visualize your brand like a house. The business elements are like your utilities, the electricity, and plumbing running through your home. No one really sees them, but your house cant function without them. The brand is rest, the walls, colors, the scent in the air, and how you feel in the house. Step inside your home. Is it a place people want to return to? A place they enjoy being? Or do they get confused about which room they are in? Are there leaks In the ceiling? A messy closet, creaky floorboard?
We all start somewhere. Even when our business is brand spanking new and barely off the ground. There is something to work with. A combination of your past experiences, education, ideas, and dreams. But there is also some work to be done, things to keep, replace, and update. And you cant do it overnight, so where do you start? And how do you get it done and maybe have some fun along the way?
Intentional Brands have a plan for aligned action and scaling over time. We keep your house’s “good bones” and work our way through, prioritizing what needs to be done, with a long-term vision guiding the process.
Rather than launching offers, websites, and content without getting any real traction or understanding the long-term vision, intentional brands zoom in and out of the present priority and future goals.
How intentional is your brand? Do you know its values and stories? Do you have a process for working, organizing projects, and keeping track of tasks? Do you feel confident creating content or talking about your brand to a stranger? If you answered no to any of those questions, don’t worry, you are actually part of the collective experience. Remember, no one taught you how to launch a website, create a service model, or edit a reel on Instagram. More people than ever before are seeking freedom and personal fulfillment by starting their own business without knowing everything when they start.
If this blog resonated with you, if as you read through, you thought, “sounds like me,” “been there,” and “I want/need that.” I urge you to stick around as I dive into practicing what I preach and using my long-winded tendencies to my advantage by blogging weekly to share my thoughts, experiences, and lessons on intentional branding for creative entrepreneurs.
Want to dive in now? Summer Brand Mentorship Spots are open for a limited amount of time. This is a great fit for anyone starting or scaling their business that needs a sounding board, a second set of eyes and hands, and just someone who “gets it” and can help them determine what works and what doesn’t.