How I started a new company from a small idea
Back in October and November, when I was in the planning stages of PBA, I had imagined myself typing these all-important first few lines in December, or maybe January as a kind of ‘New Year, New Start’. But somehow it’s already April and I’m just now getting started. I’ve decided to consciously replace that feeling of self-disappointment for being late to my own date with an attitude of excitement and pride; excitement for all that is to come, and pride that I took the time to build a solid foundation for this blog and my business, even if it took a little longer than I had (unrealistically) planned.
The beginning of something big!
Over the past few months, Personal Brand Architect has grown from an idea for a small side project to a full-fledged new business. It started when I began paying better attention to my clients and their needs. As a self-employed marketing consultant, I had been marketing to small and medium-sized businesses, entrepreneurs, and other consulting firms in need of marketing expertise. And things were going pretty well. Before starting my consulting business, I had spent most of my career working in male-dominated industries and felt pretty comfortable marketing my services to male-dominated businesses. To be honest, I hadn’t put much thought into it; I basically just assumed I’d market to the types of companies and industries that I had experience with.
But after about a year in business, I started noticing something interesting. Although I was used to working predominantly with men (and, if I’m being really honest, I was even kind of proud of this), I wasn’t having much success at gaining male clients. In fact, it was actually the opposite; the majority of my new clients were women. They were entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and artists. Some were trying to get a side-gig going. Others were highly experienced and successful but were experiencing a range of marketing-related problems in their businesses. And when I started analyzing the kind of work we were doing together, I realized something even more interesting: most of the issues we were dealing with could be traced back to branding issues. In many cases, I had even begun slipping more and more into ‘coach mode’ as opposed to a consultant.
Then I began speaking with friends.
And that’s when I had my AHA moment.
Not only were my clients suffering from weak brands, but a lot of my friends were having similar problems in their careers and companies as well. The more I started talking about personal branding with both my clients and friends, the more I realized how much they could all benefit from building a strong personal brand; one that works for them and makes their lives easier.
The more I thought and talked about my personal branding idea, the more interest grew around me. And the more time I spent thinking about how I could best help all the amazing women around me, the more I realized that my own goals had begun to take on a new focus:
I wanted to help ambitious women be successful, and I felt personal branding was the key to accomplishing that.
And so Personal Brand Architect was born.
Turning an Idea into a Business
It took a few months to go from idea to business plan. Since I already run a business, I had all the tools and framework necessary to run numbers and plan possible revenue, so I was able to save some time on this first step. Of course, where I really invested my time was in the branding stage! Here are a few of the points I paid extra attention to in the first few months:
Finding Clarity – what exactly do I want to achieve with this new idea? Who is my ideal clientele and how can I best help them achieve their goals?
The Name Game – obviously an important factor for so many different reasons. I gave myself lots of time to think about what the right name for my new business would be, including whether to use my own name or not. Some of the factors I considered were spelling, domains, communication, language, as well as my target audience.
The Message – What’s a brand without a tag line, right? But before the tag line comes the message. What’s the difference? Your message will likely be some description of what your goals and/or values are, but you communicate the message through a tag line (that’s ideally short, catchy, and hits the nail on the head). And while a tag line can change and be updated in time, your message will likely stay the same in the long-term.
Vocabulary – I wanted to make sure I have the right vocabulary to describe exactly what Personal Brand Architect is all about. The right vocabulary not only helps me communicate clearly and consistently but also helps you determine if Personal Brand Architect can provide you with what you’re looking for.
Colours – I’m a big believer in colour psychology. I wanted Personal Brand Architect to use colours that underlined the brand’s values and immediately elevate it above the competition. I also knew that I didn’t want to have any form of glittery, sparkly, pink, red or purple tones. I want this to be a space for women to grow, to feel inspired and empowered, where they can nurture their aspirations – and I didn’t feel like I could communicate that with the stereotypical “girly” colours.
Curious what the colours mean? Here’s a reeeeaaaaally short description:
Blue: the mind – intellect, trust, efficiency and communication
Yellow: emotion – optimism, confidence, and creativity
Turquoise: growth – balance and stability, openness, healing and peace.
It’s so important to take time with these steps (even when you’re bursting with excitement!). Building a solid foundation here will help you communicate clearly, make the right impression, and give you the confidence to make decisions that bring you closer to your goals.
Regardless of what career you choose or what background you come from, your ability to succeed really all comes down to 2 things:
A clear vision of what you really want for yourself
The right strategy to position yourself for success