If you’re a service-based entrepreneur or small business owner like I am, you can probably relate to this: sometimes you don’t prioritize your own business, marketing, branding, etc. because you’re SO busy helping your clients. I often get stuck in that rut, but it’s times like this when I remember how incredibly important it is to “put on your own mask” before helping others (I know that’s an overused phrase, but it’s surprisingly useful in life and in business!).
Since launching my new website last week, I have already received several inquiries from potential new clients- proof that time spent on my business does pay off. Through this months-long process of redesigning my branding, taking new branding photos, redesigning and building my website and revamping my social media, I’ve learned several important lessons. You’d think since I’ve been doing this work for many years for other entrepreneurs, I would know this already, but it’s definitely different to turn the spotlight on yourself!
TIME – our most precious asset
I made the smart decision to hire a coach just a little over a month ago, and while she had great insight as far as my branding & offerings went, the biggest help was that she held me accountable to GET IT DONE. And more than that, just the act of hiring her for a 4 week timeline, forced me to carve out the space in my calendar to GET IT DONE. Accountability can save you tons of time AND energy- because you’re not stuck in your own head, asking yourself the same questions over and over again. A coach, or friend who is in a similar field as you, can be invaluable in situations like this. You can overthink and over-design for years (or months, like I did) but perfectionism will leave you dead in the water.
Another common thing I see happen with some of my clients is that they think they need to learn to do EVERYTHING before they can launch their business. But really, our time is the most valuable asset we have and we need to protect it. Hiring someone to do what you aren’t best at, or to keep you accountable, can save SO much time and hassle.
So along those lines, part of this rebrand also had me reconsidering my service packages and offering. As you may know, I started out doing ALL the things for ALL the people (various kinds of design projects, branding, web design, development, marketing, social media, etc.). That was exhausting. Now I am clear that my strength is working with entrepreneurs to launch or rebrand their online business. So I am only offering 3 types of packages: Branding, Web Design (new WordPress sites only) and Coaching (marketing strategy, mindset, goal-setting, etc.).
PERSONAL BRANDING + Mindset
You may have noticed that I changed my business name from “Jess Parvin Designs” to just Jess Parvin (or “Holistic Business Growth with Jess Parvin). . . So I guess I officially have a personal brand (*cringe at overused phrase*) now. This is something I’ve worked through with clients many times- whether they should use their name, or create a less-personal business entity. Personally, I dropped the “designs” in my business name because I realized that I am the brand and the brand is me. Also, now I have the freedom & flexibility to offer whatever services I want, even if they aren’t design-focused, like coaching.
The logo started out as one thing several months ago and kept evolving- each incarnation was simpler than the last. I was continually thinking about how to elevate the brand, make it feel more mature and grown-up (like me!), and realized that often it’s true that “less is more”. You’ll see examples of this concept if you look at logos & branding for high end retailers- they always have the cleanest, simplest, most minimalist branding.
It has taken me 5+ years (or really my whole life), but I finally feel personally & professionally ready to put myself front and center in my business. Honestly, I put this off for the first several years that I was self-employed because I didn’t want to be in the spotlight. I labeled myself as an “introvert”, and decided that web design was actually the perfect career for me, because I can work alone, from home, and in my pajamas. All those things are great, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t take long before I started missing people, craving connection and realized that while I may technically be an introvert (because I need solo time to recharge), I am also fascinated by (and inspired by) people and their stories.
So having great new branding photography was a really important element in this process. Once again, I worked with Bobbie Harte, who is not only the best portrait photographer in Madison, but also a dear friend and beautiful soul who made me feel very at ease during the photoshoot. Seeing the photos she took of me, I realize how valuable photography can be as a marketing tool, but also as a manifestation tool. I see my “highest self” in these photos and strive every day to embody the woman captured in that lense.
Having these great photos also allows me to focus on my personal story more (in marketing, social media, my website) and shifting my business in a way that fits me just a little better. Like I said before, I have been called to put myself “out there” more and to connect on a deeper level with clients through coaching. I also made public my prices for the first time (if you haven’t already, you can download my price sheet here), which felt kind of vulnerable and scary. Pricing can be the biggest hurdle when it comes to mindset and entrepreneurship because SO many people (especially women, unfortunately) don’t really think they’re deserving of charging higher prices. But when you are forthright about your value, the value of your servies and the value you’re bringing your clients – everyone wins. You can read more about my philosophy on pricing for services in this blog post.