When is the best time to start your business? Many would advise that starting a business is most ideal if you start working on it while being an employee. As soon as you build it up, you already have enough clients, then switch gradually and become a full-time entrepreneur. I also share this view, but circumstances and life itself does not always allow this to be the case.
I remember when working hard on letting go of all my fears of insecurity step by step, and after quitting my job, I had no idea what I was going to do. But after a couple of relaxed days by the sea, I steered all my thoughts toward building my future: the picture began to be more precise. How did I reach this? My best method is to focus on that one thing I wanted to achieve with all my senses.
I realized that profound preparation, strategy creation, and brainstorming were essential. Still, I also knew the feeling that with focused attention, a lot of ideas would pop in, I would hear some good tips, a useful article would come up, someone would say a precious thought, sentence. And this is how it exactly happened.
I will now share the methods and steps of self-branding with you through three topics:
• Self-knowledge and self-evaluation
• Self-education, improvement
• Presentation of ourselves
SELF-KNOWLEDGE AND SELF-EVALUATION: a process that never ends and is constantly changing. However, it is also fascinating, so it would be a shame to miss it out on our lives.
What will help you to find out what kind of entrepreneur you are?
Preparation and Strategy Creation: The first and most crucial step is to thoroughly prepare yourself and plan once you have figured out your business idea and services. I find this is one of the most interesting and exciting parts.
In preparation, I always start with gathering information: I look at domestic and international companies with a similar profile, I read several interesting articles, watch videos, and I ask my friends and acquaintances about the given topic.
At the very beginning, before starting my business, I put together a questionnaire about myself. I was curious about how my friends, acquaintances see me, what they consider to be my strengths and weaknesses, something unique about me, and so on. I sent it to about 20 people, including a close friend, a good acquaintance, a former co-worker, and a boss as well. It’s important to interview people with different connections because everyone has different memories, experiences about you, and connections to you. At first, I thought: only a few will send it back to me. Then it felt so good when I got back the completed questionnaires almost without exception, from which I could already form my starting point: I was the first to get a picture of what the outside world sees of me. After that, all I had to do was put it this way: what do I want the outside world to know about me, my services? And planning and strategy creation gave the first impulsion to this.
Creating a strategy is always a fascinating and creative task. The most important question is Who? What problem? and how? offers a solution for your business, problem.
It is good to create a SWOT analysis as a first step, followed by the these points:
- Business (communication) assessment and analysis: goals and mission, plans, strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats, a summary of pros and cons;
- Collecting of professional information: gathering domestic and international market trends + examining competitors;
- Presentation and analyzation of target groups;
- Creating communication messages and call words;
- List of visual branding elements and marketing tools;
- Collecting advertising possibilities;
- Planning a business community presence;
- Creating a business schedule;
- Communication budget planning.
All of this will trigger constant brainstorming, and ideas will really start to rain down.
Creating and Developing Visual Branding: Designing and creating a professional image is the cornerstone of how your business appears to the outside world, for your clients. Therefore, it is recommended to be carefully thought out and developed. It is essential to traverse the identical elements throughout the visual branding elements, which can be an accentuated logo, photo, or color from which the outside world will always be able to identify your business immediately.
In the beginning, these visual branding elements helped me the most:
- Business card: many people say using a printed business card is too old-school, but I do not share this opinion. It’s still good to have it because not all of our clients will be familiar with the online world. Besides, this is also an excellent tool to make sure we pass on our contact information to those interested, in a person. The email signature is also linked here: always have your business name and all your contact information clearly visible.
- Website: Before I got into creating my business, my most important mission was to create my own website. I got one of my biggest clients thanks to the existence of my website, and of course, I am very thankful to my dear acquaintances who, wherever possible, linked and shared the link of my website.
- Facebook page/Instagram account/LinkedIn page: now an almost unavoidable factor, but only useful if we keep it in good shape, a.k.a we make sure you post regularly. This is perhaps one of the biggest challenges: to find a balance of your work and, at the same time to not forget about presenting yourself, sharing your achievements with the outside world.
What’s important is that today everything is changing so fast that it doesn’t hurt to update your visual branding a little bit every one-two years, tailoring your image to new trends.
Authenticity and uniqueness: these are the two factors that guarantee long-term success and recognition. I will never forget when I attended an Agile Leadership Training, where I heard one of the most useful advices: our business will be successful if we shape it into our own style. Besides this, that implementation is more important than the idea. Many people get stuck at coming up with some extraordinary idea. Many can have a great idea, but without successful implementation, the ideas aren’t worth so much.
You will be authentic if you keep in mind the promises, the given word (which has almost disappeared from the public consciousness these days), and the observance of deadlines that secure the high standard of work.
Self-evaluation: the kind of dissatisfaction that takes us forward and makes us improve even more, is a handy skill. But we must also not forget that to know our own value, where to position ourselves.
The world of business is often ruthless, so it’s important to also deal with it: what quality and how much your work worth is. If you underestimate yourself and your work, it never ends well. Almost without exception, it depends a lot on who is in what negotiating position when closing a deal. Try to focus on the winning position and a good ending. It’s not about how bad it can be, it’s about how good it is. 50% of the chance already given.
This also helped me a lot in the beginning: I told everyone what my business was all about. Spreading the word, oral tradition is still one of the most effective marketing tools.
I also knew I would need other professionals to deliver my job: graphic designers, photographers, videographers, or website developers. So, I spent a lot of time building a team around me with whom I can work well and effectively on a regular basis.
SELF-EDUCATION, PROFESSIONAL IMPROVEMENT: the other never-ending factor. From books, articles, podcasts to movies, series to courses, there is a range of possibilities. What worked for me: reading biographies, branding of Masterclass, or watching lots of movies and my favorite series. I recommend also following GaryVee, Tony Robbins, Goalcoast as well.
Also, from time to time, services, portfolio expansion matters a lot. This is how I learned e.g., to create WordPress sites, for which I found useful videos on Youtube and did a lot of practice.
COMMUNICATION AND PRESENTATION OF YOURSELF: this is the point where I often get stuck, because I usually put the requests of my clients in front of me, instead of consciously devoting time and energy to presenting my results and sharing my professional experience. You must dedicate the time and energy to this because this ensures growing your business and recognition.
If you have any further questions or would like to share your own business stories with me, write to hello @ zaszlosagnes. com email address.