Everyone has heard the phrase “it takes money to make money” and for new creative small businesses that can be quite the challenge having no budget. Whether you are a new photographer who needs to buy gear, a graphic designer in need of an iMac, or a baker in need of a mixer, every new business has initial expenses. I think the most important investment after your initial equipment to actually do you work is getting your branding professionally done. Branding is the face of your business. It will either attract your ideal clients or deter them.
“Your work is built into your brand and not the other way around.”
What I mean by that is that you need a platform to actually showcase your work, aka a website, and your website is a huge part of your brand. If you have beautiful work on a not-so-nice-looking website…it will deter potential clients away. Your site and therefore brand need to be on point.
You might be thinking…”Okay Katie that’s great and all, but I’m just starting out and don’t have thousands to drop on branding.” I hear you girlfriend. So…here are four branding on a budget tips for things you can do to build your brand as a new business.
- Purchase a premade brand kit : There are many graphic designers, myself included, that sell premade/semi-custom brand kits with people like you in mind! It takes time to build your portfolio, gain clients, and make money, but you need SOME kind of brand in order to do it. These kits are perfect because they are professionally designed and they are a less costly alternative to a custom brand. Visit my shop to see some: www.ribbonandinkshop.com
- Be consistent! Even if you make your logo in Microsoft Word, if you are using it consistently throughout your brand you are doing great! If you are using the same logo on Facebook, Instagram, your website, etc. then you are being consistent and building brand recognition even if it’s not a brand you plan to keep forever. I suggest creating a logo, monogram logo, and color palette (try using Adobe Color and save the palette you create). Use the same logo and color palette everywhere and you are on your way.
- Write down ideal client and niche : You need to know who you are trying to market to. Write down a detailed description of your ideal client and save it. Who is she? What kind of education does she have? How old is she? What money does she make? Where does she shop? What does she do for fun? Is she a beer or wine gal? These descriptors will create a visual person in your head you can relate to and then you can put yourself in your ideal client’s shoes and build your brand. Also write down a niche (a focused segment of your industry.). For example, if you are a wedding photographer are you trying to shoot DIY barn weddings, museum weddings, vineyard weddings? Start small and then expand.
- Plan ahead : Start your business knowing you need a professional brand. Premade kits and Word logos will only get you so far. At some point after you gain more experience you will better learn your ideal client and niche and therefore be able to market towards by spending money on a brand. You need to spend money to make money right? Everyone starts off somewhere and you will learn after experience which clients you liked and which you didn’t. This knowledge will produce a better understanding of your ideal client and you should be able to be more confident in paying for a professional brand because you now know who to market to.