If you have been around Collectively Caitlin for a while, you already know that things have been a-changing!
You might be missing all the purple that used to decorate this domain. I feel ya. Purple is still my favorite color!
But let me get super real with you for a minute. I was feeling pretty "almost" in my business. Does that sound familiar at all? I felt like the success I was working so hard for - that I wanted and expected - was just barely out of reach! And let me preface this by stating that we all have very different definitions of success. That's why a key question I ask of all incoming clients is to define what success looks like for them. My own definition, for me and my business, is that I help multiple women each week while generating enough income to sustain my business, pay off student loans, and make those trips to Target with a little less guilt. 😉 My picture of success is really not anything insane. But I wasn't partnering with as many women as I wanted, and I wasn't making quite as much as I hoped to.
Eventually, I asked a wonderful friend of mine, whose business I admire, what she would change about mine. I didn't tell her that I was falling short of where I wanted to be. I wanted her truthful answer without my thoughts having an influence. (Guys: THIS is a great example of why an outside perspective on our business is important! Someone on the outside can notice things that you're too close to pick up. You need it, and I need it too!)
Anyway, I took the plunge and asked her that scary, vulnerable question. Where am I dropping the ball in my business? What should I add, or what do I need to change? And she thought it over. She looked over my site and she asked me to talk to her for a minute as if she were an incoming client. And then she told me, point blank, that my branding looked amateur and didn't represent the caliber of work that I do. BAM! There it was.
It makes me giggle, because I already knew my branding was off. But I hadn't fully realized the impact it was having on my business. This is an important note, guys. Know this: When you are solopreneur, you wear many hats when it comes to managing your business. You are head of accounting, marketing, client relations, production, research and development, you name it. The problem is, none of us are experts in ALL of these areas. And it's easy to devote less attention to the areas you aren't strong in; they just don't seem as critical. The truth is, I already had a sense that I needed a re-brand, but I didn't understand how big of a priority this needed to be for my business. I'm a productivity coach, not a marketing professional - so I'd stuck it on the back burner! I hadn't planned on re-branding until late 2017, but getting that outside perspective helped me realize that this needed to happen right away. My friend's diagnosis was spot-on.
So then I began the process of evaluating what my clients like: what attracts them? It wasn't my old, generic purple branding. My clients are drawn to nature - calming scenes in the midst of their crazy goals and chaotic businesses; imagery that inspires a sense of exploration and solo adventures. My clients crave real connections and heart-to-heart talks. This is also what speaks to MY heart. So now, I strive to create a corner of the internet that feels like a calming getaway. I want it to feel like we are all just sitting around a campfire or having conversation over a tasty meal, chatting and connecting about business together, and linking arms to overcome our struggles. You can join the Facebook community here to join in on the conversations and campfire feel!
Once I had this picture painted in my mind, I had to find a designer. Someone who got my vision, who could understand my clients' needs, and who could bring into reality the beautiful brand I had envisioned! That is where Alexandrea from Living Bite Sized came into play. I previously wasn't aware that she did web design - she was already on my team as my trusted VA, but I had not used her design skills before. I felt very safe working with her as she was already a trusted business friend, and knew my business quite well. And she is honestly very similar to my ideal client profile, which meant she had a perspective on my branding that was incredibly valuable through this process.
She's incredibly talented, professional, patient, quick, and the best assistant or designer a girl could ask for! I am so incredibly blessed by her talent. I would work with her a million times over again! I highly recommend her to anyone who needs help with pretty much anything in managing her business. Alexandrea will change your life! And if you're wondering what steps to take before hiring a Virtual Assistant, take a peek here for my guide.
Do you have a favorite designer or VA? Shout them out in the comments below!