Earlier this year, when I was just starting to "put myself out there" as an online business owner + really trying to network with others like me, I met Kaitlyn. We were both at similar stages in our businesses + we quickly hit it off.
You might even remember a guest post she wrote, The First Three Steps to Branding, (hint) It's Not Your Visuals -- which for this blog, which is centered around visual content, seems a little wild, right?!
But there is a method to Kaitlyn's "madness", and as a professional designer who works with other creatives, she has seen a lot of business owners start to build their brands by focusing in all the wrong places.
As part of my community series, where I feature other creative business babes who are making things happen in their online businesses, I sat down to chat with Kaitlyn a little more about her background + her process. Read on to find out more about this Brand Vixen...
Who are you + what the heck do you do:
I’m Kaitlyn from TheCrownFox! I wear a few hats, but to sum it up: I create visual branding + strategy for motivated business owners who strive for a cohesive presence online and to get their business set up for success.
How did you get started with The Crown Fox + what made you want to work with other creative business owners?
I have a background in a design and working with small business owners. When I relocated last year I started at a job that basically felt really unfulfilling and started to blog as an outlet about design and branding, which eventually grew into offering services. I like working with creative business owners because they realize the value in what I do and it’s so interesting and fun to learn about their businesses and creative pursuits.
Why is creating a brand for your business so important?
Oh man. There’s so many reasons to focus on branding in your business. First, going through a branding process helps you to define your reasons for starting a business, helps you to narrow down your target audience or client, and helps you to understand how you are actually going to help them. Secondly, good branding speaks volumes in helping to establish expertise and gain trust of your audience - which for online business owners is essential because how else are you going to get someone to actually buy from you?
What do you think are some of the rookie mistakes that a lot of business owners make when it comes to branding their businesses?
The biggest mistake is thinking it’s all about the logo. This is the most common thing I see in Facebook groups or even inquiries in my inbox. A logo is something worth investing in, I agree, but it’s not the end all / be all and it’s definitely not the same thing as branding. A logo serves a lot of purposes and shouldn’t be churned out in 12 hours for $50 as tempting as that might seem.
Did you do your own branding for your business? If so, is it easier or harder to work for yourself in that capacity?
I did! I know it is a struggle for a lot of designers to design for themselves, but I actually love(d) working on it. I knew my target client really well because I had spent two years working for someone that it was based on, so I found it fun to mesh my style with what would appeal to ‘her’.
What’s your process when working with a client to establish their brand online?
My signature service is called Set Up For Success and it’s an 8-week process that involves developing the visual identity (logo, color palette, typography, social media branding, and print collateral), a website on Squarespace, and 3 strategy sessions. When I developed this service it came from a need that I was experiencing with other clients to focus part of our time together talking about how to actually take the end products (the visuals and the website) and use it to grow your business. I added the strategy sessions because I knew it was something that clients would benefit from and even if they didn’t realize it at first, definitely needed.
What do you think about pre-made website templates + logos?
I’m actually in the process of launching TheShop which will be templated designs. If you would’ve asked me a year ago I would’ve thought “no way!” but the more involved I get with my audience, the more I understand their needs. I still think 1:1 branding is the best thing for your business, but I also would never want someone to use financial restraints as an excuse to not follow their dreams or passions, so I thought TheShop would be a great solution for those starting out or with a limited budget. I also offer stand alone strategy sessions for those that aren’t going the fully 1:1 route but still want some guidance.
What has been the biggest lesson or takeaway so far since starting your own business?
Oh my gosh, there’s been so many. I think I can say at this point the biggest lesson and learning curve for me is to focus on making sure I approach everyday and everything in my business as a business owner first. What I mean by that is sometimes I get hyper focused on blogging or building relationships or on things that are good and important, but aren’t “bottom-line” focused. It’s really hard being a business owner, especially coming from a strictly creative background with not a ton of business acumen. I’ve been working harder at making sure I am focusing on that aspect, setting financial goals and plans, focusing on growth, etc-- so that I can keep TheCrownFox growing and successful and not stuck in one place.
What’s next for The Crown Fox + where can we learn more?!
I am ending 2016 with A LOT. I’m still working 1:1 with clients and loving that, but I am also launching a few things. I just re-vamped #1WkBrand to better fit my audience’s needs and this month I am launching TheShop and a Squarespace course, (to go along with some of the template designs).
Next month I’m putting out a brief course helping people get set up on ConvertKit, (a request I get a lot from clients). And I’m ending the year doing some research and pre-launch promotion for a new course coming out early 2017! Isn’t it crazy to think we are almost there?!
My most popular free course is #1WkBrand which I recently “re-launched” to be better than ever.
There you have it... Thanks so much to Kaitlyn for taking the time to chat! It's so exciting + motivating to see peers doing big things with their businesses!!