So, you know your brand is ready for a change. Maybe you want to up your game. Maybe you’re sick of blending in with your competition. Maybe your current look is attracting the wrong kind of customers. Either way, you’re ready to finally take that big leap.
If you’re like a lot of clients who come my way, you’re probably super stoked but also nervous, scared, and maybe even a little jaded about it because of a bad past experience. I totally get it– rebranding is a huge commitment to make with your business baby! It’s a lot like redecorating your entire house (or in this case, your home on the internet), and while you hope/know that the final outcome will be amazing, it’s a messy process and there’s a lot of uncertainty in the meantime.
To make that process a little easier for you, here are my ABC’s to follow for when you make that decision to change things up in a big way!
This step is crucial! When I get a new branding/site client, I always do a brand audit, but it’s something you can and should do yourself before talking with a designer. This will help you figure out what you already have, what you need, and holes in things like your systems. For example: are your email headers branded? What about your PDF’s? Do you have an email signature?
When you go to rebrand, you’ll want to change all of these things to keep your brand consistent. Maybe you don’t have a header for your email, or you haven’t been doing blog graphics with the same fonts and colors. A good designer/strategist will help you figure out exactly what you need, but it’s important to know what that might entail so that you can a) be sure to ask for it and b) not be surprised when your designer suggests it!
Admittedly, this is one of my favorite things to do– it’s Pinterest time! This is another step that I do with my branding clients, but it’s also a really useful thing to do when you decide that you want to rebrand. When you first start thinking about changing up your brand, create a pinboard. This will become your digital “filing cabinet,” where you should put any and all inspiration! When I say inspiration, I mean screenshots of sites you love, fonts that strike your fancy, even photos of rooms and fashion that make you happy. As you compile more pins, you’ll (hopefully) start to see some patterns in what you like! Maybe you lean more towards boho chic, or maybe you’re inspired by a much more clean and modern look.
The best part of this step is that, as you see your style start to come to life, you’ll be able to look for designers whose style and philosophy is aligned with that. I’ll be the first person to admit that my designs aren’t shabby chic or masculine and grungy, so someone wanting that kind of look and feel would probably want to find a designer whose portfolio shows that. For someone wanting a bold, fresh, typography- and strong-color driven brand, though, they’d definitely be landing in the right place when they went to my site! Which leads me to the final pre-rebrand step…
There are a LOT of designers — and people who call themselves designers — out there, thanks to the accessibility of the internet and Photoshop. You may or may not have a referral to a specific designer, but I would always recommend looking closely at a person’s portfolio. Most designers don’t have a ton of pieces, but the good ones will have their best pieces posted in their portfolio or behance site. How does their work make you feel? Does it move and inspire you? Is it in line with the types of images you’ve been pinning or is it a total 180 from what’s been inspiring you? Does their copy make you feel comfortable and welcome? Do you feel like you want to work with this person, and does their work make you feel confident in their abilities to do your rebrand?
There’s a lot more that goes into a brand identity, but these ABC’s should help you start to prepare for a fun and exciting next stage in your business! If you’re itching to experience the magic of a rebrand yourself, drop me a line and we’ll talk about it — I’m currently booking for the end of the summer and into the fall!
3 weeks in a row for a series! This is totally a record for me, so count that as yet another reason to say FUCK YEAH, FRIDAY! Without further ado…
- Jet is being called the new combination of Amazon + Costco, and they’re offering free 3-month trials. Idk about you, but that sounds pretty rocking to me.
- These toolboxes from Oh So Beautiful Paper are all sorts of fun. Every designer needs a toolbox for their pretty pens and stuff, right? #bizexpense
- Paying taxes sucks, but this guide from the Freelancers Union might take some of the sting out of doing them quarterly!
- Crappy clients can suck the life out of you. The always-fabulous Marie Poulin talks about why getting good clients (and only good clients!) is a must do.
- No niche? Fizzle talks about why this is a good thing (and I’ve got to agree!)
- The Blogging Brew covers group pinterest boards, and how they can help you grow your biz. Love that advice!
Seen more new + noteworthy links this week? Leave em in the comments below!
Here’s a little insider (not-so) secret: Pinterest can drive a HUGE amount of traffic to your site. Like, ridiculous. If your pins get re-pinned? We’re talking some mega traction. Granted, I’m a bit of a Pinterest addict (16k pins and counting!), but I’ve found it to be super useful for inspiration, recipes, tips, you name it. This tech tutorial is a really simple one, but also incredibly an incredibly useful way of seeing who’s pinning from your site without having to dive into Google Analytics.
- Go to pinterest.com/source/yoursite.com (for example, I would go to pinterest.com/source/linzlovesyou.com or pinterest.com/source/lindsaygoldner.com)
- There, you’ll see (on one page!) all of the pins that have been pinned directly from your website.
- You can click on any of the pins to see how many times that particular pin has been re-pinned. You can also look at other boards where it’s found (great for doing market research!), who’s doing the pinning, and see related posts, which can be super useful for getting ideas on related content.
- Bonus: you can also comment on your pins, either replying to pinners’ comments about your content (hopefully good comments!), thanking them for pinning, or even correcting uncorrect attribution.
Simple but easy and useful as heck. Doesn’t get much better than that!
Are you liking these tutorials and want to see more? Hit me up in the comment section and let me know what else you’d like me to cover!
I’ve been dreaming about the Pacific Northwest lately since I bought my ticket for We Make PDX Celebrates, so I decided to share the PNW-inspired lovefest with you through a rustic and woodsy moodboard!
Woo, another Fuck Yeah Friday! This week has been full of business ups and personal downs (weird first date, anyone?) but as always, there’ve been lots of interesting posts in the blogosphere!
- An oldie but a goodie from yours truly: branding advice inspired by online dating. Trust me, you’ll learn a lot!
- Great example of when design meets a real life need– texting when you miss a birth control pill!
- I pretty much want all of these art prints.
- Who says home offices have to be boring?
- Nobody likes a copycat. How to develop your own unique blogging voice from the Nectar Collective!
- By Regina is awesome. Here’s her great take on a creative action plan (aka a business plan that sucks less).
That’s all for today! What’s on your reading list for this weekend, anything juicy?
If you’ve ever worked with a web designer, you probably are familiar with them asking you for your username/password to things like your hosting account so that they can hop in and make changes as needed. But for wordpress, I usually ask my clients to create an admin account for me so that they can delete it when we’re done with the project. It sounds a little intimidating, but creating a new admin is actually super easy!
- Log into your wordpress dashboard (yoursite.com/wp-admin)
- In your sidebar menu, look for the “Users” link (hint: it has a little icon of a person next to it)
- When you hover over users, you’ll see the flyaway menu. Click “Add new”
- From there, create a username like “Lindsaythedesigner”…anything BUT admin! Seriously, just don’t use admin, it’s horrible from a security standpoint.
- Plug in the email address of your new user, and create a password.
- Check the box that says “send password” so your new user can see their new pw!
- This step is the most important! Where it says “Role”, the dropdown menu defaults to subscriber. But for someone to make changes on your site, it needs to be changed to Admin. Don’t forget that step!
- Hit add new user, and you’re all set.
See, that wasn’t so bad, was it?
Even though I’m not in an office anymore, I still love Fridays. There’s just something about that elusive “relaxing weekend” that I always get so pumped for! As a way of giving the week a big ole “fuck yeah! (we survived!)”, I’m going to start sharing posts from the vast wilderness of the internet for your weekend reading pleasure.
So without further ado, it’s…
1. This post from Venus Trapped in Mars is brilliant- a super smart (and strategic) way to use hashtags to increase your instagram engagement!
2. Definitely needed this post from Ceira Design on how to work from home but still stay sane.
3. Little Farm Media has 5 mistakes people make on social (trust me, they’re not what you’d think!)
4. Web design is definitely not dead. Sorry, bro.
5. Currently crushing on these Squarespace sites via DesignMilk! Working on my first client SS site and really enjoying it so far.
The older I get the faster time seems to go by. Does anyone else feel that way? The “holy shit, it’s next month already!” feeling every time a new month comes around? Yeah, feeling that again…but this time around I’m actually really excited for July!
Looking back on June, it was a pretty big month. The biggest/craziest part of the month was obviously my choosing to say sayonara to my job at Edelman after half a year and diving right back in to the world of freelancing again. In the blink of an eye, I went from 45+ hour, chaos- and stress-filled weeks (that I was just getting adjusted to!) back to 60+ hours but in yoga pants and messy buns. And, ya know, the whole change in salary and health insurance — ugh! — that comes along with quitting a job. The last couple weeks of June were mostly spent sleeping, cleaning and doing all the errands I had put off since I started at Edelman. Luckily, though, quitting also gave me the motivation I desperately needed to finally finish my rebrand and to do a soft launch on my design business!
Looking forward to the rest of July (I know, this post is a little late), I’ve got some pretty rad goals/plans/ambitions too:
1. Get the site (really) done!
Because I embraced the “done is better than perfect” mindset when trying to get my site designed, coded, and out the door, there are definitely few things I want to tweak. I’ve taken the better part of a week away from it entirely, just letting it simmer away in the back of my brain for a while so I can go back to it with fresh eyes and some constructive feedback from other entrepreneurs.
2. Finish the inaugural Icon5 project.
I’m super excited about this one! I’ve been brainstorming this project forever and finally started it this month in collaboration with my super rad chef friend, Brigitte at White Apron. We’re going to be collaborating on a really fun project involving summer recipes, design, and some awesome printed goodies! Here’s a sneak peek from the other night:
3. Get analog.
I’ve always been a huge reader, but over the last couple of years, I’ve mostly been reading on my iphone. (Que horror!) Lately, I’ve really enjoyed playing around with hand-lettering, so another goal for July is to analog things every day, beyond writing a to-do list. Hand-lettering, sketching thumbnails, learning how to draw draw are all on my list for this month.
4. Blog 2x a week
This is gonna be the big challenge this month. It’s definitely been hard to get back to blogging after such a long hiatus, and this time around I’m really trying to focus on the business and design aspects of things. My goal for this month is to start consistently blogging twice a week, complete with graphics. (Yes! Posts should always include graphics! Look for a post on that soon.) Hold me to it, will you?
I have other small goals but those are the biggies, and I’m going for the “accountability via public announcement” goal-making this time around! So now that I’ve put it all out there, what about you?
What are you aiming for this month?
ps, I love this quote a whole lot (even though I take TR with a grain of salt!)
It’s been 4 years since I first started down the crazy path of full-time freelancing, and boy oh boy have I learned a TON, both about myself and about design! Some of the most important lessons I’ve learned, though, have come along in the past year as I’ve been working to rebrand and redesign my own website. Re-branding a business is never a one-and-done quick fix, but doing your own branding/design is basically comparable to working with your biggest nightmare client– except you’re stuck with yourself 24/7. It’s so easy to jump into a redesign, switch your site to maintenance mode, and then freeze…because all of a sudden Comparisonitis rears its ugly head, you start seeing brands that you’re in love with (but OMG how will your design ever be that great?!), and the wonderful monsters named Procrastination and Perfectionism start creeping in right away.
Well, shit. How do you ever get anything done? The biggest lesson I’ve learned through this year-long redesign is so simple and yet so so so important to remember:
Done is better than perfect.
Seriously. I soft-launched last week with copy that wasn’t perfect, graphics that I wanted to play around with more, and definitely not all of the bells and whistles that I had hoped for. But you know what? I finally have a website. It’s shiny, it’s new, it screams me, and most importantly… it does its job of putting my brand out there and creating a sexy branded home for me on the interwebs to show off my work.
As a designer, I know that I will probably never be 100% happy with my own brand and that I’ll always be seeing new and exciting things I want to incorporate into my design. After this relaunch, I’ve learned that that’s okay– you can work changes in gradually (into blog posts, marketing graphics, emails, even your site graphics!) without jumping straight into the deep end and scrapping everything when you get that itch to change.
Now, for the million dollar question: if you were to change one thing with your brand right now, what would you change?
Email me if you want help getting that change going!
One of my all-time favorite things is list making. I make lots of lists for things. Granted, I might not ever look at them again, but I make lists for pretty much everything. Since that’s the case, it’s super important for me to have a solid way of list-making for my business! In comes Trello.
Here are some highlights:
-unlimited project “boards”
-unlimited “cards” and “checklists” per boards, which are vertically organized– super visual! AND you can move them around!
-integrates card deadlines seamlessly with Sunrise
-free version is amazing
-you can link or upload images and files
-categories cards with colors/tags
-assign card “tasks” to users
-lifehacker says you can organize your life in Trello!
There are only a couple of downsides that I’ve come across, too! (In full disclosure)
-no calendar view of all of your deadlines in Trello without Trello Gold (premium)
-great way of looking at higher level views, less good for day to day tasks (I usually make additional daily to-do lists by hand and then check things off in trello at the end of the day)
All in all, Trello is a just really solid — and free — way of plotting out all those things for allll those projects you’ve got going. For a visual and also perpetually over-thinking person like me, Trello provides the perfect solution to seeing an overview of all the moving parts, like digital stickie notes!