Practical Tips for Working While on Vacation

Practical Tips for Working While on Vacation

When you are an online business owner, taking a break can seem completely impossible. I get it! You are everything inside your business, so taking time off literally means your business comes to a halt while you are resting - especially when you are starting out or if you don't have a team. When your business is your main or only source of income it really isn't an option to stop and sip the mojitos.

I feel like this constantly, but I also know that traveling and taking semi regular breaks is important. At the moment, I take a big (like four weeks off) trip every one and half to two years and then two or three smaller weekend away trips each year and this seems to be keeping me sane! It's important that you listen to your body and know in yourself when you need a little break. For me, taking a break is vital and actually serves to inspire new ideas and renewed energy for my business.

But, as I said, going off the grid is not really possible when you are running your own show. So how do you make working work while on vacation? 

Squarespace SEO Myths De-Mystified: How to Optimize Your Website for SEO

Squarespace SEO Myths De-Mystified: How to Optimize Your Website for SEO

I am very excited to have Britt Hyatt from Home Sweet Hyatt Studios on the blog this week talking about Squarespace SEO myths and how to optimize your website for SEO so that you are getting as much attention for your website as possible!

I will let Britt dive in, but just in case you don't know what SEO is, it stands for Search Engine Optimization and this essentially measures how easily your website or blog will be found on search engines like Google and Pinterest.

Many of you would know that I am a big fan of Squarespace, well so is Britt and she really helps us in this post to dispel the myths surrounding Squarespace when it comes to SEO. Some say that Squarespace puts you at a disadvantage with SEO but as you're about to see, that's simply not the case!

So I'll hand over to Britt and don't forget to download the freebie for this post: Squarespace SEO Keywords - it will make all the words and phrases we use make sense!

Why it PAYS to invest in training and eCourses

I know that it can feel painful to invest in training programs and ecourses, especially when you are just starting out and cash flow might be low or you might not know who to trust with your hard earned dollars and your precious time. It can be scary and sometime you really don't know what you need to learn first or what strategy will actually help you to achieve your goals. And in many cases there's a multitude of people telling you to do this or that and it's just overwhelming right?

You start to think that just grabbing free courses would be a good idea, or perhaps don't even worry about that and spend your time surfing the web in search for blogs that answer your questions and give you clues as to what to do next.

This could be costing you more than you think. 

How to Create your Ladyboss Vision Board (+ How to use it!)

How to Create your Ladyboss Vision Board (+ How to use it!)

If you haven't heard of a vision board, you are missing out on something that's not only super fun to make but also something that will help you to stay grounded and focused!

A vision board is a tool that you can use to help clarify, concentrate and maintain focus on specific life goals. A vision board is any sort of board or arrangement of images, quotes and visual ideas, that represents whatever you want to be, do or have in your life. Essentially keeping a vision board close by gives you laser focus when it comes to what you want to create in your life.

Content Repurposing: The Girl Boss’s Guide to Creating Less and Promoting More

As girlpreneurs in the digital age, we are constantly faced with the understanding that creating content and providing value is only half the journey to achieving girl boss superstardom. It’s a ton of work to create a new piece of content. There’s the research, writing, editing, optimizing, publishing, and promoting. Not to mention the moments when you really need to get a blog post out and you get haunted by the plague of the blinking cursor instead. You know exactly what I’m talking about.  Sometimes the mere thought of planning your content calendar for the month can feel like you’re David facing Goliath. We stop, look towards heaven, and hope there’s an easier, less tedious way to figure all this out! I know exactly what you mean, girlfriend. Nowadays, we have to get as many eyes on our brand as we can, and valuable content is our means of doing so.  It’s so important for people to find our beautifully written posts, value rich courses, and amazingly useful opt-ins. But it’s not a walk in the park to create all that magical content from scratch. While the thought of it seems like an impossible feat, there is an easier way to do this. No, like seriously. There is, and I’m going to tell you how. 

So what’s the big secret, Krystal? Drum roll please... The answer is content repurposing! The the hottest thing since sliced bread and honey let me tell you, it makes this whole “getting more eyes on your content” thing so much easier to do.  Creating content in multiple forms has never been as important to the content sharing culture than it is now. There are a ton of bonuses to creating your content in multiple forms. 

Writing Your Ideal Client Story (How and Why You Should)

Have you ever experienced the utterly flat feeling of sitting down to write a blog post or an email to your list and nothing comes to you? Or worse, you write the blog post or email and read back over it and you're like "whhhhhat? am I talking about?".

Yep, this used to happen to me. And confession: it still does from time to time. But I have a way to sort it all out in my head that allows me to get back to writing quicker, and in a much more efficient way!

My method is to create a story for my ideal client.

A Membership with Monthly Trainings, Wellbeing Resources + A Community of Ladybosses?

A Membership with Monthly Trainings, Wellbeing Resources + A Community of Ladybosses?

It's an exciting time here at Brand It Girl HQ. We have just launched our brand new membership site, The Brand It Boutique and it's doing so well, we have members starting to come in already! 

I created The Boutique because I know that there are three main reasons that women either don't starting their own online businesses and blogs or that they fail to growing those businesses and blogs sustainably:

  1. THEY DON'T KNOW HOW TO IT.
    They either don't have the skills or knowledge that they need to get it started or to grow and develop using specific growth strategies like email list building, funnels, social media and systems. OR they know that they need these skills but they don't have the time to trawl through the internet, trying to find the answers and the be honest, they don't have the money to take a course on every topic!
  2. THEY DON'T THINK THEY CAN DO IT.
    Another huge issue is mindset. They don't believe that they can or they don't think that they are worthy of success in this way. A big part of this is the dreaded Imposter Syndrome that traps us into believing that we don't really have the knowledge and skill that logically, we know that we do! Their mindset and physical health is often the reason women don't propel forward into their purpose!
  3. THEY DON'T HAVE THE SUPPORT NETWORK.
    And lastly, being an online business owner, solopreneur &/or blogger can be terribly lonely. We often work from home on our own and it can be isolating! Friends and family don't necessarily understand what you are trying to build and why and this can mean that women taking this path are left feeling unsupported and like they are tackling this alone!

With these three big issues in mind, The Boutique was created based on these three pillars: education, wellbeing and support.

Designing Your Workspace | An Interview: Maggie Minor

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with a beautiful soul, and wonderful artist, Maggie Minor. We had a great Skype chat all centred around the space in which so many of us spend our day and the vast and varied forms that this particular space might take. We spoke about the ways in which we can maximise the creative potential of this space and how the artwork and furniture in this space really does impact on the work you do. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did!

Start with S.M.A.R.T. Goals iN THE NEW YEAR

I love the new year! I am such a mega fan of planning out what I will do and how I will do it and I get so pumped up for what is to come! It's so strange what a new year can give you - it's like a breath of fresh air, a new start. And I mean, I know there's nothing that's really changed since last year, but there's an energy at the turn of the new year that's infectious. 

That energy psychs me up and inspires me. I feel my creativity peaking and I know it's because as the new year arrives, we as a collective society give one another permission to start again, start over, restart or simply.. start.

So don't let this pass you by! Setting goals in January might be clique, but it's also a great time to go through this process! Capitalise on the energy around you!

But word of warning, it's also a time when you can set goals that never eventuate. Fast forward to October 2017 and those goals often are not realised! And I think there's a multitude of reasons why this might happen: we run out of resources, our priorities shift, family trauma, new opportunities or we just plain-old lose steam and stop. But more often than not, goals are not ever realised because they are not S.M.A.R.T.

You might be thinking, "wait up, my goals are plenty smart!" and I am sure they are, but are they S.M.A.R.T. smart? Let me explain. 

Start the Year with a Brand Plan!

We are starting off the year with a brand plan! What am I talking about?

I am referring to the 5 Days to Plan Your Brand challenge/mini-course that I ran in November 2016! After a highly successful run, with so much brand clarity for so many people, I will be running the program again in January. We kick off on the 16th January and I would love to invite you to join us!

This is a 100% live program! Each day, for five days, you will receive an email in your inbox with the challenge and action item for the day. These challenges are designed to bring you brand clarity and move you towards a more cohesive brand identity. Then, you'll head over to the private challenge Facebook group where you will post your home work or the results of the challenge for the day and I will give you feedback, answer questions and your peers will chime in and give you their support, thoughts and encouragement too.

I will also deliver a Facebook LIVE training centered around the topic for the day and a downloadable workbook each day. These workbooks are designed to guide you through auditing the brand you have or can be used as a roadmap to design the brand you want. The LIVE sessions delve deeper into the topic of the day and offer strategies and tactics for you to try, give you a chance to ask questions and share your own ideas. So each day, for the five days, I will be jumping on live and chatting with you to ensure you are seeing the clarity you need!

And the best part? It's absolutely free

Plan It Girl! Get Organised with the 2016/17 Life + Business Workbook

It's that crazy time of year again where we wind down the year that's been and get ready for the year to come. I always find this to be an exciting time, one filled with new possibilities and fresh perspectives. I am also a chronic planner, so once again, Brand It Girl is releasing the annual Life + Business Workbook to help you reflect on 2016 and get ready for success in 2017!

And just like last year, it's absolutely FREE! It's a reward for you because you've been such a loyal follower of the blog all year. And if you only just found me, well then, consider this a welcome gift!

3 (Not So Common) Fundamentals For Starting Your Online Business!

The allure of starting your own online business has never been stronger. You are hearing the stories of wildly successful web-based start-ups and you are constantly inspired by the scale of the transformations people are seeing in their lives in very short periods of time. It feels like everyone is having 5-figure months and everyone has a sales funnel in place and you... well, you feel like you have been left behind.

I am not going to sugar coat this for you. Here it is, straight: You can have all that too.

3 Pinterest Hacks To Try Right Now! With Zoe Linda

“I don’t GET Pinterest!”
“How do I get more repins?”
“Pinterest just doesn’t work for me!”

As a social media strategist, these are things I hear on a daily basis. Pinterest seems to simultaneously be major source of confusion AND the best place to grow your blog online. Pinterest is a goldmine of new audiences to reach and has, hands down, been the reason for my recent blog growth. If used correctly, Pinterest can be your new BFF too!

I’ve got 3 quick Pinterest hacks for you try right away but they all revolve around one fact: Pinterest is NOT a social media platform, it is a search engine.

Join the Brand It Society now!

Do you ever feel like the black sheep amongst your friends? Like they don't understand what it is you do when you talk about your online business, or how you work from home, or your life as a blogger.

I'm making it sound overdramatic, but the reality is that ladyboss entrepreneurs and bloggers can feel super lonely. We work alone, we strategies alone and work out all the nitty gritty details of our business - ALONE.

And I am honestly over it.

So I have created a FREE Facebook group to kind of pull me out of isolation and hopefully pull you out too!

Let me introduce to you Brand It Society!

So here's the aim:

  • To create a community of women who are putting their heart and soul into creating brands, business and blogs that they love.
  • To create a community of people that understand each other's struggles and support each other through the ocean of uncertainty when it comes to online business.
  • A platform to share what you are working on, what you have created and what you are super proud of!
  • A place to ask questions, get advice and run ideas by people who can actually give you the feedback you are looking for!

So what do you say? 

 

JOIN THE FREE BRAND IT SOCIETY FACEBOOK GROUP!

 

We will be doing a bunch of fun stuff in the group and each day there's a different prompt!

MATCHMAKING MONDAY
INSPIRE TUESDAYS
PROMOTE WEDNEDAYS
TOOLKIT THURSDAYS
SOCIAL SHARE FRIDAYS
WEEKEND WARRIORS

So there is always something you can get involved in OR you are welcome to post questions and thoughts at any time!
 

JOIN THE FREE BRAND IT SOCIETY FACEBOOK GROUP!

I hope to see you there!

Creative Process: 5 Principles of Logo Design

A lot of my job involves making logos for individuals and companies that reflect their personality, unique value proposition and the brand as a whole. It is important for me to understand the people behind the logo; what they do, what services and products they provide and who they are, as special, one-of-a-kind people.

Since starting out as a freelance designer, I have developed a process that helps me to get into the minds of my clients to determine what they want and need. A designers process is unique to their practice, but I have simplified my process to a point where you can emulate what I do. It's a three step process to creating a logo that looks like this:

STEP 1 | I get to know my new client by asking them to fill out a New Client Workbook. The workbook has a range of questions: some that are designed to get to know the market this brand will operate in, like "What is your target market, who would you like to be targeting that you aren't already?" and others that help me to understand what the client is looking for, like "Aesthetically what are you drawn to? What colours, patterns, shapes, typefaces?" and "List companies whose branding you both love and loath."

STEP 2 | After reviewing the workbook, I create my own Pinterest board and collect images and example of branding that help to clarify the brand direction I will be proposing to my client. From here I create a moodboard that reflect my ideas for the branding.

STEP 3 | Once I have a good idea of the brand personality and direction I will take the brand in, I create four initial logo designs to present to the client and then from here we narrow down the choices and really start to see the brand identity emerge.

So as you can see here, the cornerstone of a strong brand is a strong logo. Of course, hiring a brand designer will ensure that this cornerstone is set firmly in place, however I know we can't all afford a designer, especially when we are just starting out with our brands! 

The good news is, if you want to DIY your logo, I have the 5 principles you need to keep in mind!


1. RESEARCH, BRAINSTORM + SKETCH! 

The very first principle of logo design is to do your homework. This is why I take the time to ask my new clients a range of questions that help me to understand the product or service, the market and the person behind the brand! Taking this time to research and brainstorm is crucial! But how do you conduct this kind of research and brainstorming?

  • Consider brands that you, as an individual are drawn to - what elements appeal to you? Is it something about the colours, shapes, textures? What feelings go these brands create for you.
  • Check out your biggest competitors - the brands, businesses and blogs that your target market is drawn to. Look at their brand aesthetics and what it is about those brands that really make them stand out. Perhaps even talk to your target market and ask them what elements of their favourite brands attract their attention.
  • Browse Pinterest and find images that give you the same feeling that you hope your brand will - save them all in one place like a secret Pinterest board so you can see all the images together. Find a range of different images - photographs, illustrations, graphics, typography, quotes, textures and patterns.
  • Create a moodboard from these images that captures the feeling of your brand.

Once you have a firm grasp on your brand concept, start to design your logo. I recommend creating 4-6 initial designs and remember: keep it simple and don’t overcomplicate it! This is one point where DIYers often slip up, they will try to create something complex when really something clean, crisp and relevant will be far more sustainable in the long run. I also recommend sketching these design ideas out on paper before you turn digital.

One tip though when designing your logo - don't follow trends. While I encourage you to be relevant, I also don't want you creating something that has a shelf life - and often following trends will ensure a shelf life! Following trends also unfortunately means that you might inadvertently imitate the work of others, and we don't want that!


2. SELECTING FONTS - LESS IS MORE

When you are designing your logo, 99% of the time you will need to select fonts and this can be a stressful part of the whole process! But like I said in the last section, this can be overwhelming because people tend to overcomplicate it!

I recommend picking 1-2 fonts for your logo. Choose more fonts than this can create a really messy look if it isn't done properly - and in my opinion, that kind of complexity is better left to the professional designers. Keeping it simple and selecting only 1 (or max, 2) fonts will make it easier to be conscious of how your text will look across different communication points and at different sizes. We will talk more about sizes soon, but when I say 'communication points', I mean, how will this font work on your website, on your business cards or even on your packaging?  

Other considerations to remember when it comes to selecting your fonts is first the character of the font you are choosing. Let’s look at the character of some fonts:

 Elephant | Sacramento | Bickham Script | Libre Baskerville

Some fonts are strong and solid, giving an authoritative feeling of stability and boldness. While others give more of a feeling of fun and playfulness. Considering these font personalities and comparing them against your brand personality is a great way to ensure consistency across this element of your branding.

Remember you can always adapt a font too and changing the structure of letters can be super effective in giving your logo font character! So for example, you will notice clever little ways these brands have altered specific letters to make quirky, unique logos!


3. SPACING + COMPOSITION

When considering the image that your logo creates you will need to consider the space you are using. Or rather, the space you are not using. One of the key principles in creating a successful logo is to pay attention to the space within and around it.

So by this, I mean the area that the image, icon or text occupy as well as the space that is left blank - we call this negative space. 

Image Source

As you can see from the examples above, the space you don't use can be just as important as the space that you do use. So consider the role of negative space in your logo design.

Another situation that spacing plays a role in your design is letter-spacing. Now, I am a huge fan of letter-spacing and all good graphic software will allow you to change the space between letters in your words. Giving the letters some space can drastically change the appearance of a word. Here's an example of how letter-spacing can completely change the feeling of a word using the exact same font:


4. BE MINDFUL OF SIZING + CLARITY

Remember that your logo might be used at different size points and you want to ensure that it is still legible at these different points. So, the issue here is that sometimes when you reduce the size of a logo it becomes difficult to read and distorted. This is particularly the case when you logo has a lot of finer details. 

To combat this issue, make a list of all the places you might use your logo. Here are a few ideas:

  • ONLINE | Social media, email signature, website header, landing pages, registration pages, webinars, avatar images, profile images, newsletter header, image watermark.
  • PRINT | Business cards, letterhead, packaging, tags, signage, clothing/uniform, welcome packs, labels, books, notepads and stationary.

Once you know the range of places you might use your logo, determine the size of these places and test your logos at the different size points to ensure it will work properly.


5. CREATE LOGOS THAT ARE ADAPTABLE
(ALTERNATIVE LOGO VARIATIONS)

One thing that I love to do with my logo designs, is create logos that allow for variations. This means creating a brand identity that is adaptable and versatile, with logo variations that can be used in different places.

Knowing where you might use these variations is the key to creating them successfully, so before you start your logo design, brainstorming all the places you might use a logo and if there are any specific requirements, is a great idea (see the list of possible places you might use your logo above). For example, determine if you need a logo variation that is square for use as your social media profile images, or if you need a logo to be white in order to overlay over images as a watermark. Knowing how you will use variations upfront is key in creating meaningful alternative logos and having this in mind when you start your logo design process will ensure you are creating a cohesive and consistent brand.

Here's an example of the Brand It Girl logo and variations. As you can see, they all work together as a cohesive brand logo team, but the different variations give me options to use at different communication points.


DOWNLOAD THE LOGO DESIGN CHEATSHEET!

Let's take the guess work out of designing logos with this cheatsheet - re-capping on the 5 principles of logo design + questions that will get you clear on exactly what you need when designing your next logo!

Don't forget to leave a comment (with your link so I can visit you back!) and let me know what you find most challenging about designing logos! Or if you don't design then, tell me what you do and don't like about your current logo!

Adding Google Analytics to Squarespace

As you might know, I switched from Wordpress to Squarespace a while ago now and the move has made me really passionate about sharing how simple, yet dynamic Squarespace is! Quite some time ago, I shared a guide to adding Google Analytics to Wordpress and so today, I will be walking you through the same thing on Squarespace.


STEP 1: FIND YOUR TRACKING CODE

In Google Analytics, you will find a unique tracking code which is essentially the key to successfully tracking your metrics. So before you even open Squarespace, you will want to navigate over to Google Analytics and find this snippet of code. Signing up for this is free, and once you are signed up and inside the dashboard, find the Admin tab at the top. You will see Tracking Info in the middle column and once you click on that, a further menu will open where you will find Tracking Code. Click on this.

Once you have opened this page, you will see your unique tracking code that will start with UA and is followed by a series of numbers. You can see an example of this page below, but I have blacked out my tracking code, so it should give you a quick visual reference where to find your own code:

Now that you have that tracking code - I recommend copying it to your clipboard (Command + C on your keyboard) so that you can easily paste it in when you need to.


STEP TO: ADD GOOGLE ANALYTICS TO SQUARESPACE

So you have your tracking code copies. It's time to log into your Squarespace site. Once your are in the backend of your site, you will want to click the Settings tab on the left hand side dashboard and then scroll down around half way down the menu. You will see there an Advanced tab. Click on this and select External Services.

See where it says Google Analytics Account Number? Well that is where you paste in that tracking code. Since you copied it with your keyboard, you will just need to paste (Command + V) the code into the field and it's all done!


Note that it will take a day or two before your Google Analytics populate, so don't be alarmed if it flat lines - especially if you are transferring your website from a different platform over to Squarespace! Furthermore, remember that Squarespace does offer it's own metrics and sometimes they can be different to the metrics Google Analytics give you. This is because Google Analytics and Squarespace measure things a little differently to one another and this will impact on your numbers.

But that's all! You've successfully installed Google Analytics on your Squarespace site! 

Is there something you would like to learn when it come to Squarespace? Pop in a comment below and I will schedule a blog post! So tell me, what do you want to learn next? (And don't forget to leave your URL so I can visit you too!)


5 Branding Myths + The Quick Fixes To Get Back on Track!

Ok, so you have fallen into the branding myth trap. Don’t stress! I have some quick and simple brand fixes for businesses, brands and bloggers that need some serious myth busting tactics to get their brands back on track! But what if you don’t even realise you have fallen prey to these common brand misconceptions? It’s ok, don’t beat yourself up - let’s go through them and get those branding mistakes sorted right now!

Also, I know you might prefer to listen to this blog post rather than read it! So I’ve got the audio version for you right here:


MYTH 1: “I have branding: here’s my logo!”

If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say that they are starting a business, so they’ll need some branding, followed swiftly with “how much would it cost to have a logo made” - I tell you, I’d be one rich lady! You see, this is one of the most common branding misconceptions out there, people genuinely believe branding is simply a logo. And they are equally genuinely surprised when they find out that it is so much more. Let me explain:

Your logo is a hugely important part of developing your brand but it is just the tip of a much bigger iceberg. To create a successful brand, you need to consider the four foundational pillars:

Each of these elements that make up your brand require equal attention. So, as you can see, your logo is only one piece to the branding puzzle. If you are focusing on just creating a logo, you are missing the bigger picture, and you are likely not building a strong brand!

THE FIX: To avoid falling into the trap of believing that your branding is just a logo, think about a brand you like and connect with. Think about all the elements that make up that brand: it might be the logo, sure, but what about their brand colours, fonts and elements? Their packaging, their store layout, their website, their photography, their social media graphics and what they post there, their e-news communications, their swing tags, their shopping bags, their flyers, their brochures? And you might not realise, is it’s also how they talk to you, what they offer you that is unique, how they make you feel, the language they use and the community they build. All of this comes into a winning brand identity. So the myth buster here is to really think about that brand and consider everything about it that goes above and beyond simply their logo.


MYTH 2: “I’m just a small business, so I don’t really need branding.”

Piffle! Of course you need branding, why would you NOT need branding? It doesn’t matter if you are a solopreneur or a lone blogger - branding is for businesses of all sizes. Every business and blogger should be well branded, and likewise every individual too. So even if you ARE your business, you need branding. And I’ll tell you why:

Your brand is always communicating with your clients, customers and readers and it’s important to identify what your brand is saying. If you fall into the trap of thinking that branding is not for you because you are a small business or a solopreneur, you could be giving your clients mixed signals and confusing them. This can be deadly for a small business as confused brands lose customers.

Stop playing small! You might just be a small business or blogger but you have big ambition! Get into a BIG brand mindset.

THE FIX: The fix for this one is really all about mindset. Stop playing small! You might just be a small business or blogger but you have big ambition! Get into a BIG brand mindset. How do you do this?

  1. Understand that your brand is worth it. Regardless of the size of your business - you are doing this for a reason! Think about all that time and energy you put into your business - don’t you think it deserves every chance of success? I do. And truly believing this means you will see instantly that branding is vital for you and your business!

  2. Get really clear with your brand mission. What are you and your brand setting out to achieve and who are you both here to serve? Knowing exactly what you are doing and who you are serving will help you to stay focused and create an authentic brand!


MYTH 3: “I can change it later, so this will do for now!”

Not only is this a huge myth, it’s also a massive mistake. There are two key reasons that this is a bad idea. Firstly, if you are leaving your branding uncompleted or not in its ideal form, you are giving your customers the wrong message. You are essentially telling them that you don’t care about your brand enough to put the effort in that it deserves. And you might not realise, but this is translating to your customers and readers in a negative way. They start to think “if she doesn’t care about her own business and brand, then she sure as hell won’t care about me either”. Essentially what you are doing here, is making it extremely difficult to trust you!

The second reason is that businesses that often change their branding confuse people. They become used to seeing one image, one theme, one brand and when it drastically changes (and in the case of some indecisive brands, changes often) it is like brand whip-lash for your community. They feel like they don’t know you and stop noticing your communications and before you know it, you are starting over in more ways than just your brand - you will need to rebuild your community too! Don’t get me wrong, rebrands and brand updates are important (not sure what the difference is? Read about it here.) but remember that these take a huge amount of time and energy. Rebrands and brand updates are not really what I am talking about - I am concerned by the brands that settle for a brand identity that is less than perfect purely because they believe they can work on it later. It doesn’t work like that in such a busy marketplace, you have to be on your game from the start!

THE FIX: Don’t leave it a second longer. Yes, the truth is, you can change it later - but this won’t be without consequence! So whatever point you're at with your branding, ask yourself some solid brand clarity questions (I even have a free mini course walking you through this whole process!). Be honest with yourself about if you are leaving elements of your branding until this illusive ‘later’, or if you are in fact happy with your branding as it is right now.


MYTH 4: “I can’t afford a designer. Branding is just too expensive!”

Now this myth, I can understand. When you are just starting out with your brand and throughout those first few years, money can be in short supply. And if you are a blogger, well, the possibility of generating income might take some time! So paying a brand designer to create your brand identity and all the bits and pieces that go into it can be costly and often not an option.

Your brain starts to go into over-drive: you have the logo, of course, the colours, the fonts, the photography, business cards, packaging, website, storefront, signage, social media, graphics and that’s just the branding. You also have to worry about all the other costs associated with starting your brand. But here’s the thing. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to create a brand you connect with and that communicates effectively with your target market.

THE FIX: A popular solution to the issue of not being able to hire a designer is absolutely to DIY your brand! And this isn’t as scary as it might sound. You don’t need fancy software, Canva is a fantastic tool for creating graphics, including logos and Squarespace makes it super simple to create an effective and stunning website without needing all that technical coding skill that scares so many new business and bloggers away from creating their website!

Related: Getting Started with Squarespace

The main things to remember when creating your brand identity DIY is:

  • Keep it super simple. No matter what your skill level, keeping your branding simple is by far a better decision! So many DIYers get caught up in creating a complicated brand identity and it just confuses people, looks messy or fails to stay sustainable over time! Keeping it simple will create a clean, fuss-free brand identity that will adapt and grow with your brand over time.
  • You are not locked in. While I am telling you not to change your brand too often, I do want to emphasis that when you create a simple brand, it does have the potential to evolve over time and this means you are not locked in. Sure, the overall brand identity might remain the same, but as you and your brand grow and trends shift, a simple brand identity can be updated easily without losing face with your community.
  • Be specific and consistent. I recommend selecting 4-5 colours and 2-3 fonts for your brand identity. Be very specific with what you are choosing, type them up and print them out. Using these colours and fonts only when creating graphics for your brand will ensure you stay consistent and here’s the secret to branding: consistency. Consistency is the difference between a good brand and a great brand that they won’t forget!
Consistency is the difference between a good brand and a great brand that they won’t forget!

MYTH 5: “I let my work do the selling for me, if it’s good, they’ll buy. So branding doesn’t matter.”

I can imagine you put your whole heart into your work. It’s your pride and joy, after all, your offering to the world and it makes you genuinely happy. Let me paint the picture for you: You had that crazy, burning idea - a way to create a better life for yourself, for your family. Freedom, flexibility. Something different. You have a skill, a product, something you can sell and something you can say that will impact others. So you take the plunge, you work evenings and weekends on this idea. You are exhausted after a long week but you know if you can just get this business and blog up and running, everything will change. You won’t be exhausted anymore.

You quickly realise that you need to invest more than just your time. You are happy to do this, remember, this business and blog is a game changer for you. You produce your product, you list your services and you spend hours slaving over your blog posts to make sure that it’s the exact info your people need. You have invested so much money and time and more than anything, you have invested a piece of yourself.

Here’s the thing, without a brand identity that connects with your people, the product, service or blog you put your heart into, it will not sell. And here’s why: Branding connects your brand with your ideal customers and readers. It establishes relationships and builds trust. Without it, your brand is essentially a stranger to the people you so desperately want to serve!

THE FIX: Like Myth 2, this fix is all about mindset. Realising that for all the effort you put into creating your product, services or blog content; equal effort should be invested into your branding. Why? Because you have already invested so much time, money and soul into what you are selling, so your brand really deserves a little attention too!

Think about brands and bloggers you really love. What is it about them that you connect with? And more importantly, would you feel so connected with them if they didn’t have the branding that they do?

My guess is that their branding plays a huge role in how you feel about them and there is one very good reason for this: good branding makes us feel more like ourselves, more authentic and more powerful than you would without it. Essentially, when we look at a brand, we are measure the degree to which we feel it reflects our ideal self. The YOU that you want to be. If a brand can’t establish that connection with their customers, then it’s likely they won’t even get to the point of browsing your products and services, and reading your blog.


If you felt that tingle of familiarity while you were reading these top 5 branding myths, then I encourage you to take action! I don’t want anything at all to hold you and your brand back! So I have created the Branding Mythbuster Workbook just for you. It is full of questions, checklists and cheat sheets to get you and your brand on the right track!

HOW TO: Create a FAQ Accordion in Squarespace

Does your contact page have a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs)? If not, it should. FAQ lists should be a staple on every contact page and it can save you a heap of time.

FAQs are questions that your customers and blog readers often ask you. They might ask you on blog posts, via emails or on social media. Their questions could be on a range of topics from product and service specific questions to questions about how to collaborate with you. To anticipate their needs, you can create a list of the questions that they have either asked or you think that they might ask and answer them for your customers and readers so that they don't have to ask you individually.

FAQS WILL SAVE YOU TIME

Having a FAQ list will save you all that time that it would have taken to type up individual responses for customers and reader that ask them. Having them in one central place means you wont get those questions via email as often and when you do, you can quickly respond by copy and pasting your pre-written answer along with a link to your complete FAQ list.

FAQS BUILD CONFIDENCE

Outlining your answers to potential questions will build confidence for your customers and audience. There are a few reasons for this: firstly, taking the time to outline your answers to FAQs show your customers that you value their piece of mind; FAQs also establish a standard response, so their are no surprises for your potential customers and readers; and lastly, FAQs put their minds at ease, by answering questions your audience might not even know they have yet, you are making them feel confident that you are across all the things that could be a concern to them!

FAQS SUPPORT BRAND CONSISTENCY

Another great advantage of having a FAQ list, is that it actually supports brand consistency. By taking the time to answer these questions in a thoughtful and complete way, you are creating consistent standards for your business and blog. You are essentially saying the same thing, responding in the same way and giving people the same answers to their questions and it makes your brand consistently clear and stable.


Adding a FAQ list to your Squarespace page is easy and there are a variety of ways to do it, but one of my favourite ways is to create an accordion FAQ list. That looks like this:

Q1. THIS IS YOUR FIRST QUESTION.

Place your answer to the question here.

Q2. THIS IS YOUR SECOND QUESTION.

Place your answer to the question here.

Q3. THIS IS YOUR THIRD QUESTION.

Place your answer to the question here.

To add your own accordion FAQ list to your Squarespace site, follow the instructions below.


STEP 1: THE CODE

Put this code in a markdown block on your Squarespace site. So, this should be the page on which you would like to display your FAQ list. You can change the question and answer text accordingly and add as many questions as you like by simply including two hashtags before the question.

## Q1. THIS IS YOUR FIRST QUESTION.

Place your answer to the question here. 

## Q2. THIS IS YOUR SECOND QUESTION.

Place your answer to the question here. 

## Q3. THIS IS YOUR THIRD QUESTION.

Place your answer to the question here. 

STEP 2: JAVASCRIPT

Copy and paste the following code into the header code injection area of your page and click save. If your page is within an index, paste the code into the header code injection area of the Index, not the page.

<script type="text/javascript" src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1/jquery.min.js"></script>
<script>
$(document).ready(function(){
$('.markdown-block .sqs-block-content h2').addClass('ui-closed').css('cursor','pointer');
$(".markdown-block .sqs-block-content h2").nextUntil("h2").slideToggle();
$(".markdown-block .sqs-block-content h2").click(function() {

$(this).nextUntil("h2").slideToggle();
$(this).toggleClass('ui-closed ui-open');
});
});
</script>

STEP 3: ADD THE CSS

Once your code is installed in a markdown block on the specific page you want to show your FAQ accordion and you have included the Javascript to make it function, you will need to style it. To make it look like the example you will need the following CSS code and insert it into your Custom CSS field. You will find this in Design > Custom CSS If you have experience with CSS you can edit this code to change the way your list looks!

.markdown-block p {
margin-left:1.5em;
}
.markdown-block .ui-closed:before {
font-family:monospace;
content:"+ ";
}

.markdown-block .ui-open:before {
font-family:monospace;
content:"- ";
}

An extended version of this tutorial plus more amazing Squarespace tips and tricks can be found over here. I recommend you go and visit Colin!