Online Business

How To Find Your Brand Messaging

I wish I could tell you exactly what your brand messaging should be, but no one can just hand it to you – ready to slap onto your website.

It is unique to you.  It is defined by your skills, experiences, passions, and goals.

But, I followed a proven process that is repeatable, and you can too.

A common mistake

My brand messaging, aka my take on how online business can help you achieve freedom, is simply my professional story.  

But, it didn’t just flow out of me.  

For my first iteration, I worked for 3 months, logging about 25 hr/week, to create a website and brand that just wasn’t me.  I created a lead magnet that I thought would really help people.  I wrote an email nurture sequence that I thought was compelling.  I researched, paid for, and implemented the tech behind the scenes to put it all together.  

Fortunately, I was convinced to scrap the whole thing and start over.  

My First Mistake

I actually owe it all to someone else.  

To say I was conflicted about hiring my business coach, would be a huge understatement.  It was a stressful decision.  It was a lot of money!  But, that’s a story for another day.

During my first meeting with my coach, I shared my powerpoint presentation with her showing what I wanted my business to be all about (yes, I create slides for everything 😉 ).  She took one look at my almost completed website and promptly poo-pooed all over it.  

She was right.  It wasn’t me.  At all.  

In fact, I copied the overall layout, photography style and design elements from her website.  

She was a well established business strategist with a very formal and professional style.  I was brand new to the industry.  She was well established.  We had totally different ideal clients.  We were in totally different positions.

Why did I think this was a good idea?  

The answer is that I wanted to be successful just like her.  

And, partly because I believed I was hampered by web design skills.  I thought that my best approach was to find someone I was interested in and make myself look like them.

It turns out that she was the business coach I was looking for.  However, she’s not the business my target client is looking for.

A Process Is Born

My business coach shared a framework with me that changed my trajectory.  It’s designed to put you in the shoes of your target client.  

I amended it to include the best parts of a Customer Persona exercise, an Empathy Map, and the Customer Journey.  

In short, there are three parts of the customer journey: the Awareness, Evaluation and Decision phase.  For each phase, ask yourself what your target client Says, Thinks, Does, and Feels.

This exercise is what led me to realize that there are three, parallel paths that my target clients can take as they journey from Awareness through the Decision phase.  The exercise shed light on the fact that these 3 paths were each parallel and unique but all ended with the same decision of hiring me.  

I personally tried all 3 of the paths

The exercise had me put down thoughts in a seemingly random order.  But, when I shuffled the thoughts around, I immediately recognized the three paths that materialized.  

They were a direct reflection of the path that I took from corporate burnout to lifestyle business mentor.

It’s funny how it took a great business coach and a well thought out process to tell me what I already knew.  

Something had to change

As background, I was a manufacturing engineer for a global consumer products company for 10 years.  I knew early on that it wasn’t a great fit, but I thought staying at the job was the best move financially for me and eventually my family as well.  

At about year 8 or 9 I started to get serious about figuring out what my other options are.  

I had my eyes on a grand prize: I wanted to find work that I found rewarding and be able to do it anywhere I wanted.  I knew that I also needed some schedule flexibility in order to best take care of my young family and travel as much as we could.

The first path: find a remote job

My wife is a software developer who works 100% remote.  She has maintained this status for over a decade with two different companies.  

Her flexibility has saved our sanity time and again.  

That’s what I wanted.  

My first attempt at creating a new lifestyle for myself and my family was to find a remote job.

I spent 3 months scouring Flexjobs and Glassdoor while sending out resumes and cover letters.  I found that it takes a lot of time!  And, time is difficult to come by as a full-time employee and parent of young children.  

Eventually, my desire for remote work wasn’t strong enough to keep me motivated.  I eventually moved on to the next path.

The second path: become a consultant or freelancer

In parallel to searching for remote work, I considered becoming an engineering consultant.  

The issue in the work environment I was in was that all the consultants that I worked with were full time employees of an engineering firm.  In other words, consultants just didn’t exist where I worked.  

I would have to start building relationships from scratch.  

To make matters worse, if I were to figure out how to get started as a consultant in the engineering industry, it still wouldn’t offer the location and schedule flexibility I was after.

In the end, I just didn’t have enough motivation to make it happen.  

The third path: start a lifestyle business

There were multiple indications that starting a business was the right path for me.  I had a few attempts at starting businesses.  I knew that I had the technical skills to Google anything that got in my way.  I have always had an extreme interest in starting and building businesses.  

Why did it take me so long to realize that a lifestyle business was the right path for me?

It’s a long, complicated answer.  

I actually wrote out all the reasons.  I have it posted as a free download on my website.

The primary reason is that I didn’t think I had a good enough idea.  The second reason is that I thought I didn’t have enough money.  I talk a lot more about those in the free download on my website.  

Now, looking back, it looks foolish that I waited so long to get started.  

How you can create your brand message

The short answer of how I created my brand message is that I followed a proven process to highlight parts of my own journey.  

Your brand and its message are a reflection of you.  No one can just tell you what it should look like.

But, there are proven processes to help you find yours.

If you are still here and want to know more about the best exercises to craft your brand message, ask for it over on Instagram – that’s where I spend most of my social media time.  I don’t actually have it in a ready-to-share document, but if I get a number of people asking for it, I’ll write it up.

If you want to know more about the common reasons that people put off starting their dream business, read this: