You are about to launch into a bold new frontier of your professional career: you’ve decided to start your own business. (Congratulations!)
You crave the ability to make a full-time income from home like all of the success stories you’ve read on the Internet.
So, let’s get started.
There’s a problem. You have no idea where to start. The more you research, the more you realize there is an entire circular industry of businesses that exist to help build other businesses. The promises sound so enticing:
6 Figures in 6 Months!
Welfare to Living at the Waldorf!
Homeschooling Mom Makes 1 Million a Year!
Coach Makes $50k Per Student!
Beyond the sexy headlines, there are a million (rough estimate) different types of people who can help.
- Business coaches
- Virtual assistants
- SEO experts
- Social media managers
- Launch Strategists
- Marketing Experts
… Etc, etc, etc.
The sheer volume of options is overwhelming. Everyone wants your money. So where in the world do you start?
I’ll try to reduce the decision-making process by a factor of 1.
8 (Somewhat Snarky) Reasons not to Invest in a Brand Strategist
1. It costs money. You’ll be making an investment that you might not recoup in a week or perhaps even this month. You’d rather focus on tactics that promise quick results. (And make you money while you sleep!) You are only interested in one kind of help building your business: free help. You aren’t even sure if this thing is going to work, so why would you spend money on it?
2. You’ll have to get personal with a stranger. You’ll be sharing your business dreams, opinions, insecurities, and ideas. You don’t want to share your ideas with anyone, because if anyone hears it, they will steal it!
3. You’re the only person in the world who does what you do. People are actively seeking you out to empty their wallets for your “cure.” There is also no chance that a competitor could ever enter your market.
4. You sell a commodity. The only reasons people buy from you is convenience or cheap prices. Your business is similar to someone selling water outside the fairgrounds or ponchos during a rainstorm.
5. Your ideal marketing strategy is to entice people to your cheap website with ninja SEO techniques. You want them to buy once and hope never hear from them again. You don’t want to be held accountable to your products’ effectiveness or quality.
6. You’re only comfortable thinking about the people you serve strictly as “consumers” or numbers on a spreadsheet. Trying to understand their wants and needs as human beings sounds messy.
7. Business is strictly business. You believe that business should always be “professional” and sell “solutions.” Your greatest fear would be to turn anyone off from your business. It’s much safer to appeal to “everyone” because that is who needs your product/service.
8. People don’t buy your product based on emotion – only logic. You know that people are rational beings who take the time to research every product’s features, specifications, and price value thoroughly before making a decision. Whether the best product at the moment is a Samsung, Android, or Apple – people will buy the best value on the market based on concrete facts.
If you agree with the statements above, please don’t hire a brand strategist. It would be a waste of time, money, and effort.
Ok, let’s get serious here. Let’s say that you DO want your brand to have personality. You plan on investing both time and money in your future success. You know that a compelling & distinct brand will help your ideal clients choose you above all of the other options in the market.
4 Serious Reasons not to Invest in a Brand Strategist (Yet)
1. You’re not ready. If you haven’t worked with a single client yet, I’ll tell you to hold off on hiring a professional to create your brand strategy. You might very well discover that your “ideal client” is NOT ideal after working with them a few times. You will also likely tweak your business idea and services a lot in the first few months while you figure out how you work best. There are two exceptions to this suggestion. If you are spending a lot of money up front in product development, you’ll want to invest in your brand to help sell that product. Also, if you are coming from a corporate situation the closely mirrors your entrepreneurial plans and your direction isn’t likely to change, go ahead and make the investment.
2. You can’t afford to implement the plan. (Or you don’t have the time.) You have to spend money to make money, but it doesn’t make sense to invest in strategy and planning if you can’t also invest in implementation. “Putting it into action” costs can vary from free to thousands of dollars depending on your time and expertise. You’ll want to incorporate your brand into your website design, copywriting, social media design, and content creation. Take an honest assessment of your budget and DIY expertise before paying for a strategy. If you can’t do it on your own, you’ll need to hire help.
On the flip side, if you are about to invest in a designer, copywriter, or other business professional and you don’t have a strategy yet, this is an ideal time to invest. A brand strategy will make sure you get an end product that is authentic to you and that communicates your core message. I’ve worked with a lot of clients who’ve had miscommunications with designers and other pros in the past because they weren’t sure how to explain their brand clearly to them yet.
3. You have no plans to monetize your brand. If you’re blogging or building a website for fun, that’s great. It can be a rewarding hobby. Be sure to approach any investment the same way that you would buy a bike for cycling. It’s something you want for your enjoyment, but not something that will make you money in of itself. Your site needs to offer something for sale (whether that’s a product, service, or ad space) if you want to recoup your investment in your brand.
4. You’re expecting it to pay off immediately. Building a brand is a long-term investment in your business and has a cumulative effect over time. The more you live your brand and the more of your ideal clients are exposed to it, the more valuable it becomes. The effect of your brand is multiplied by the number of people it touches.
In all seriousness, I hope this (sometimes snarky) look at when NOT to hire a brand strategist helps you decide if it’s a good move for your business now.
If you have any questions about your specific business situation, I’d be happy to talk in more depth. Schedule a 15-minute Skype call with me.