We've all been there; you get a business enquiry but before you begin celebrating you realise that the job/ prospective client isn't really aligning with you and your business. Some may advise that this is totally ok and that you should broaden your scope of clientele, but I'm here to say the complete opposite! Sure, I've taken on clients in a capacity that has both challenged and pushed me out of my comfort zone, but they all aligned with my beliefs, values and most importantly for me, my aesthetics. To put it simply, your vibe attracts your tribe - I hope that saying isn't trademarked somewhere? In which case...whoops! What you put out there in terms of branding and message is what you will attract in a client.
I have been stringent for day dot about what message I put out there. This can be hard, especially in the beginning when you would like to promote everything that you do to lead to more exposure and ultimately more business. But if the message you're promoting is mixed with no real intention behind it, you will find that you either a) don't receive much interest, or b) the interest is there but from areas you may not see yourself going in or wanting to involve yourself in.
After working with over 100 small businesses over the years I have heard and seen it all. So here is a little breakdown, use it as an intuitive guide for the future, and hopefully you will find your brand message strengthen and as a result you begin attracting the clients you want and deserve!
Do you post 5+ times a day, quotes, images, other peoples work which isn't made transparent to your audience, mixed with the odd content that is actually your own work? Or do you barely post at all and just hope that your audience happens to be engaging that one time you randomly interact with them? You hiding behind the screen, I'm talking to you. This isn't something to be embarrassed of, and you are not alone! This is probably the biggest factor in blurring your message and confusing both your clients and potential business prospects.
Ask yourself, who are you? What are you trying to say? Who are you trying to reach? Is what you are saying really connecting with them? Is what you are saying even connecting with you or are you just speaking for the sake of possibly being heard? Take a step back, and strip it back. Less is more.
If you take anything away from this article, take this away - you don't need to engage with your audience multiple times a day, or even every day. Focus on 4-5 days of quality content, with a clear message. Think about who you are targeting and ensure that your post addresses them personally. You won't see instant results, but stick to the formula (and I mean actually stick to it!) and you will see your hard work come to fruition.
With many businesses struggling to make ends meet, it is easy to fall into the trap of doing whatever it takes to get the client or keep the client. This is great to a certain extent. If you find yourself constantly in situations where you don't feel comfortable or that you are being taken advantage of, stop and reassess. What are your boundaries? Never be ashamed to say No (I, too, am still leaning to master this). As the old proverb says, "Give people an inch and they will take a mile" and this 100% true in business. Know your limits, and do not be afraid to voice them when they have been reached. People will respect you and your business more for it.
Sales? What sales? Have your sales been decreasing, are the enquiries few and far between? Then it may be time for a re-brand. You may be thinking, hello I just told you times are tough and you want me to invest in branding?! Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying (you can stop looking at me with those eyes now, thanks). Sometimes we outgrow our branding, sometimes it's simply becomes dated and no longer reflects what our business is and who we are wanting to attract. A re-brand can help re-set the direction and kickstart the business, which will hopefully lead to that S word, Sales!
You've just launched, congrats! But now what? You're not attracting the wrong clients, you're attracting zero clients (yikes!) We've all been there. Hang tight, crack open a bottle of wine because the nights are going to be long and tough. Revert back to point one and focus on your message, be active online, attend events/ workshops, meet people - I still cringe at this point because I am a true introvert but if even I can manage to paint on a smile and jump WAY out of my comfort zone and mingle with strangers...sober...(believe it!) then you absolutely can to. And you know what, you may surprise yourself at both who you meet and the lasting relationships you may build with them. Business does not have to be lonely. We're all in it together (*insert warm and fuzzies).
Ok, there is no point five. Five Signs sounded better than four so that's what I went with. But I'll use this space to just drill in the importance of a clear message. I may have rambled for almost 1000 words, but that's it. Have a clear and strong message! And don't just do it once and then forget about it; revisit time and time again. Make sure that what you're putting out there is still an accurate representation of who you are. Make sure that everything (website, socials, marketing, etc) are all portraying the same message, and then just go with the flow, or hustle, whatever your work ethic may be, make sure you do what's right and true for you.