Setting up in business is one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do. You get to be your own boss, do work you love and you get to name and brand your company. Exciting times 🤩.

In many cases this will be your first experience of creating a brand and setting up a website. There are so many things to think about: 

  • What name works for you? Your own name? Something playful? Serious? 
  • What would you like your brand colours to be? Pastels? Brights? Monochrome? 
  • What type of website would you like? A funky one-pager, a multi-page, corporate style? sleek and stylish? 
  • Who’s going to write the copy and what will it say? 

It’s a lot, especially when you’re new at this. You have no idea what it’s going to take in terms of time/money and energy. 

When setting up a new venture there are often 2 patterns of thought:

  1. I’m setting up this venture because I desperately need to make money and therefore have none to invest in it.
  2. I’m setting up this new venture and I want to test the water before I properly invest. 

These are both really unhelpful thoughts. You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘people buy from people’ as in people like the personal touch. This is true but even more true is that people buy from your brand. 

Think of it this way…

You are human and if you put your front-facing, realistic self out there, this includes not just the super polished version of you who’s doing Facebook and Instagram Lives, it also means that frazzled, had a heck of a day, watching Netflix in your sweats you.

Your brand is the super-polished version of you who shows up on your behalf, even when you’re frazzled, watching Netflix and guzzling wine. It’s sleek, professional and consistent. Thanks to a stunning website and strong Social Media presence, your amazing brand means you can be making sales and generating leads for your business whilst you’re switched off and watching Netflix.

Sound good? Want to know how to make this a reality? 

As a website designer who has built close to 50 websites for small businesses please excuse me for shouting this as loud as I possibly can…. 

📢 Do not create your branding yourself 📢

With so many free tools on the internet or rock-bottom price sites (including rock bottom skills) like Fiverr, it can be really tempting to have a go at creating something yourself. There are a lot of reasons why the best thing you can do for your business is invest in your branding professionally. Here are the main ones: 

The technical details

The most common file format for images on the internet is the good old jpeg. It’s a relatively small file format, uploads well and you can adapt it to a certain extent. Whilst this is a great file format and you’ll want to use it a lot on your website, it’s not the best for logos and favicons. For these you’re going to want a png or svg file. Both of these file formats have transparent backgrounds which means you can have them ‘float’ at the top of the menu bar, or anywhere on a page and they’re a higher-res file than jpegs so they’ll always look great. However, larger files take up more space on your server which can mean a slow loading website, which no-one wants. 

A branding specialist will be able to create your logo and branding elements in all different file formats for your website and Social Media presence to make sure your brand is cohesive and compliant. 

You have someone with an amazing skillset in your corner 

Ever heard the saying it takes a village to raise a child? I like to think of it as it takes a village to launch a business. 

You see, working for yourself can be a lonely old process and you have to take on all the roles. Since setting up my business as a website designer, I’m not only that I’m also: 

  The administrator 

 The marketing team 

  The finance team

  The HR person 

  The coffee maker

  The receptionist

Whilst I have the skills to fulfil these roles, with my coffee machine picking up a lot of slack, they all take me away from my actual job. If I had to then add Graphic designer/Branding specialist’ to the mix we would have a serious problem: 

  1. I can’t draw for toffee 
  2. It’s yet another thing taking me away from building websites. 
  3. My branding is representative of my best, shiniest self and if I attempted to take this on, my brand and I would be completely frazzled. 
Branding Brainstorm
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Level up your online presence with branding brainstorm

Branding Brainstorm is an online session with Amy and Holly to:

Get a clear view of your brand

Receive bitesize implementable steps to improve your brand

Gain confidence in your brand

Learn more about Branding Brainstorm 

As you evolve, so will your branding

The first few years in business will be a huge learning curve for you. What you start out offering may well change and not be what you’re offering a couple of years down the line. Not only is it trial and error but you actually need to be in business to see if ideas/formulas work. Your customers and the market will dictate what services you evolve and which ones you drop. 

As this happens it’s natural that your branding will develop and often you’ll move on with elements and colours to fit in better with how your company has evolved. 

A branding designer will help you with this. They’ll listen to your ideas, your business story and can often find a way to evolve your brand so it feels like a natural progression from your existing one, rather than a jarring jump from one to another. 

For example, here’s how Amy and I evolved my brand for This Demanding Life, from a one-man-band website designer to setting up the Website Coaching Academy then evolving all the elements into one, strong brand. 

Logo Portfolio

It’s your branding designer’s job to be on-hand

If you’re anything like me your ‘system’ will be a series of folders with other folders in it and finding anything is a nightmare. 

Your branding designer will have a copy of all your files they’ve created so if you’re really stuck, you can ask them to send them across. 

It also means if you want to commission a particular image for your website or Social Media or a branded work-book, they’ll have those elements to be able to create this for you, whilst you get on with the project you need the image/workbook for. It’s win-win. 

Branding Brainstorm
Book Now

Level up your online presence with branding brainstorm

Branding Brainstorm is an online session with Amy and Holly to:

Get a clear view of your brand

Receive bitesize implementable steps to improve your brand

Gain confidence in your brand

Learn more about Branding Brainstorm 

The psychology of how people spend money

Recently I was chatting with Emma from Rebels and Rockstars and we were talking about how people spend money online and the need for everything to look sleek and professional. To quote her exactly she said ‘If your website looks homemade I’m not buying from it.’ I couldn’t agree more (and not just because I design sleek websites!) Because here’s the thing…. looking professional builds your customers’ confidence and their trust that you’re going to deliver a good service/product. 

Think of it this way…

There are 2 options for websites offering the same product/service at the same price. 

Option 1 – the website is stunningly designed, there’s a good balance of images to information. You can see the brand has been really well thought out and the website links to things like refund policies and privacy policies all work. 

Option 2 – the website is clearly homemade, the branding is a bit wishy-washy and poorly executed, at a guess the website owner has gone with colours/a font they like and has either had a go in Canva or asked someone from Fiverr to create a logo for them. There’s vital information missing like privacy policies, cookie notices and the image and text placement on the website is a bit haphazard. 

Which one will you or your customers buy from? Which one will you perceive to offer the better service? Or will have the policies in place to help you if something goes wrong? 

Your competition are doing it

A bit of healthy competition is good and there is room in the market for everyone. If you’re good at what you do, you deserve for the world to know about it in a way they can engage with it. Whilst I’m often heard saying ‘comparison is the thief of joy’, in this case you do want to make sure how you’re presenting yourself online is at least as good as, if not, better than your competition. And if your competition are doing well, I can guarantee it won’t be with a homemade brand. 

Branding Brainstorm
Book Now

Level up your online presence with branding brainstorm

Branding Brainstorm is an online session with Amy and Holly to:

Get a clear view of your brand

Receive bitesize implementable steps to improve your brand

Gain confidence in your brand

Learn more about Branding Brainstorm 

It all begins and ends with your brand

A bit of healthy competition is good and there is room in the market for everyone. If you’re good at what you do, you deserve for the world to know about it in a way they can engage with it. Whilst I’m often heard saying ‘comparison is the thief of joy’, in this case you do want to make sure how you’re presenting yourself online is at least as good as, if not, better than your competition. And if your competition are doing well, I can guarantee it won’t be with a homemade brand.

About The Author

Holly Christie is the founder of This Demanding Life, where she creates custom built websites for small and growing businesses who want to be found online. You can find Holly at: thisdemandinglife.com. For practical tips and support with your website you can join her Facebook group: The Website Coaching Academy.