Have you ever experienced a season of change, maybe a life-change, and felt the urge to make changes in your business? Or, have you experienced changes in your business and felt the urge to make changes in your life? Maybe you suddenly realize that things in your life or business are going in a different direction than you had planned and you realize you need to make some changes?
We all have seasons of change at some point in our life or business, and that’s where I’ve been at lately.
It’s not unusual for women who own their own businesses to find that their life experiences affect the way they do business. Changes in their interests over time can affect their business. For me, the life change was getting pregnant with my first child. (Oh, and it’s a girl, by the way!) And as I am journeying through this pregnancy and change in my life, I’m realizing that my business is going to shift a bit as well.
My first two businesses
But, before I get into that, I want to tell you a little about myself. My business experience started in 2015 with my very first direct sales business. I attended a Norwex party online and fell in love with their cleaning products. It has done wonders for my husband’s allergies and our health in general and I knew that I wanted to promote the product, so I joined and started working the business alongside my teaching job.
While I still love and use and occasionally promote (but not as actively) Norwex, in 2017 my business transitioned into creating websites for women in direct sales. I had created a website for myself, mostly by figuring it out on my own, and realized I really enjoyed it and it was something I could help other women like me with. I started Melissa Mackey Brand Co and used that platform to share about web design, branding, direct sales tips, etc.
Then later that year, I was introduced to Color Street. Several of my friends had signed up with this brand new dry nail polish company right when (and some even before) it launched. I was excited to try the product and loved it, but wasn’t interested in the business opportunity at the time. Last July (2017) I agreed to host a party as I loved the product, but said “no” to the opportunity. I said “no” several times after that, but finally in September, I realized that I was wearing and promoting the product and could be earning commission and free product! So, I signed up, thinking I would do this business “on the side.” Ha!
Anyone who knows me very well knows that I can’t do something like a business half way or “on the side.” If I’m in, I’m all in. So I went all in with Color Street. But because of this, I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to keep up with the web design business. While it is possible to run two businesses at once, I knew that it wasn’t for me. I needed to focus on one at a time, especially as I was still teaching full time at this point! So I once again made a transition in my business.
And now to where I’m at now. This current blog space started with content from my previous website – my direct sales web design business. Now you’re going to see a bit more variety in the content on this website.
Since I am expecting my first child, I am making yet another transition. A Colorful You will become more like a lifestyle blog. The existing content on direct sales and business topics will be joined by blog posts on topics like pregnancy, parenting, and a variety of topics on working from home (like getting started, working at home with children, staying motivated, taking care of yourself when you’re busy, and keeping all the balls in the air as a working mom, for example). I’ll have some content related to direct sales and marketing, but that will not be the entire focus of my content.
My hope is that this space will become a well-rounded, informative and entertaining blog, for moms, soon-to-be moms, and those who work from home, whether they have children or not, to learn and see that they’re not alone in the things they experience and the struggles they deal with.
Have you ever dealt with seasons of change? What kind of changes did you make in your life or business? Leave me a comment and tell me about it!
As a direct seller or network marketer, you may have heard about branding your direct sales business and how important that is. You may know that you need to brand yourself and not your company. But how do you do that exactly? Where do you start? What steps do you take to do it? Do you just need a logo? Some colors or fonts? What exactly does branding mean?
Branding is more than just visuals, although they are important. It is also your voice, your personality, your message, etc. Branding is knowing your target market and who your ideal customer is. Did you know that branding your direct sales business can help grow your business? We’ll get to that in a minute!
But before we get into the how, let’s talk about the why. Just so we’re all on the same page here, mmmk?
I also gotta make sure and mention something. You’re doing business on a Facebook business page, right? It is against Facebook’s terms of service to do business on a personal profile. We wouldn’t want you to get put in Facebook jail now, would we? Yes, that’s a real thing. There’s lots I could talk about on this subject, and there is a way to use your personal profile to your advantage, but for now, let’s just stick to doing business on a business page, ok?
Why Branding Your Direct Sales Business Is Important
It helps you stand out
When you have a clear brand for your business, it will help you stand out from all of the other consultants in your company. You will be representing yourself as your own business, not just your company. This means you will be seen as a legit business owner, not just another consultant. When you stand out from the crowd, you will get more followers and more customers. Don’t do what everyone else is doing, and don’t copy someone else! Stand out, be yourself, and be authentic! Customers will appreciate this about you and choose to buy from you.
This means that you want to make sure you are branding yourself, not your company. Create your own brand around your YOU: your personality, your voice, your target market, etc. Your company already has its own brand. They already spend money marketing their brand. You don’t want to be “just another Scentsy* rep” (*insert your company here). People will choose to do business with you because you are YOU. You don’t want them just going and looking for just any rep; you want them to specifically want to come back and do business with YOU.
When you brand your business apart from your company you become recognizable, especially if you are consistent in your branding. Why is this important? If your visual branding is on point your customers will easily recognize you when scrolling through their news feeds. This makes them more likely to stop and read what you have to say. You want them to stop on your page and get to know you so you can begin to build a relationship with them. Relationships are very important in business!
Branding your direct sales business successfully will not only cause your customers to recognize you and your brand, but it will help them to remember you as well. When they remember you they are more likely to buy from you. Repeat buyers are huge for your business, so stand out and be remembered! If you are copying what everyone else in your company is doing, you are not going to be remembered. Create your own graphics with your branding, come up with your own posts, and do things your own way!
Your brand will also follow you if you ever change directions or companies. This is why it is important to brand YOU and not your company. If you ever decide to switch you won’t have to start all over from scratch. You will already have a brand and (hopefully!) a loyal following. How do you want to be remembered? What do you want your customers to think of when they think of you? How do you make them feel? These are all good questions to ask.
It helps you grow the know, like, and trust factor
When you are recognizable, memorable, and stand out from others in your company, your customers are more likely to come back to your page and your business. They will get to know you, your personality, and your message. You will be able to build a relationship with them. When they get to know you, they will realize they like you and learn that they can trust you. This is huge for your business because customers buy from people they know, like, and trust.
In order for them to get to like you and trust you, you have to provide value. You can’t just promote your products on your page all of the time and think they will buy from you. Provide valuable content. Engage with them. Ask questions. Share other information that your target audience is interested in that doesn’t have anything to do with your product. Work on building those relationships, knowing that your branding can help with that!
So, what exactly is branding? Like I said before, branding is not just visuals, although that’s what most people think of it as. It is more than just a logo, colors, or fonts.
Your brand is how others perceive you and your business; how they feel when they come across your posts or think about your business. You can help define that through your vision, message, values, voice, personality, target audience, customer service, visuals, etc. These should be unique to you and will help you connect with your customers.
Have a clear message and vision
If you have branded your business successfully, then your business and brand should have a clear message coming across to your customers. They should know exactly what you stand for and what your business is all about. Let’s face it, for most of us our business is not just about selling a product. There is usually another driving force behind it.
Maybe you are all about helping women feel more beautiful and confident. Perhaps your goal is to help people be more organized, help people get healthier, make people’s lives easier, etc. Your brand’s vision and message should come across to your customers through your branding. You should have a specific brand voice, personality, etc, that is unique to you.
Know your target market
When you try and market your business to everyone, you end up looking “watered-down” and appealing to no one. You need to have a specific market for your business and who you are marketing to. And be specific about it! Instead of just saying your target market is “women who need better skincare products,” come up with a specific “person” who you are marketing to.
Maybe “she is a 55 year old women who can’t find a good skincare product and wants something moisturizing and good for dry, aging skin. She used tanning beds when she was younger and did not take care of her skin…” Keep it going and be specific! Not only will you attract people like your ideal client, but you will be attractive to others as well when you know exactly who you are marketing to!
If you haven’t already done so, take some time to sit down and write down your brand’s mission, vision, goals, values, and your ideal customer. These are all going to play a part in your brand message. Make sure you know your “why” and what your business stands for. What do you hope to accomplish with your business? How do you serve your customers/clients? What problems do you solve? What are you passionate about?
You can even think about your personality and how that is incorporated in your brand. Is it fun, light-hearted, humorous? Is it serious and professional? Make sure whatever it is, it is authentic! Authenticity is huge because that is how you will connect with people!
Make sure you take time to think about all of these things and write down anything that comes to mind. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You can always refine it later. You may want to start by writing down some adjectives that you want to describe your business. Just get started on it and see how far you get.
Be sure to download my Brand Workbook as you are working through it! Just enter your name and email to get access to it!
Time For Visuals
Finally, it’s time to work on your visuals! Here you are going to want to come up with three to five consistent colors and two to three fonts to use in your branding. You may want to think about other patterns and brand elements as well. Be sure you think of your target market and your brand message when you are coming up with these. For example, if you realize your brand is going to have a very professional image, you probably don’t want lots of bright, neon colors!
If you’re not sure what colors to choose you may want to google “psychology of color” and do a little research on that or check out this article to help you get started.Design Seeds is a really great website with color palettes that you can look through to help you choose colors that go well together. Creating a Pinterest board and adding pins of images that you feel reflect your brand can also be helpful. You will probably notice a common theme throughout!
If you need help choosing your fonts, I’ve found a couple of websites that might help. Here is an article that talks about font pairing that might be helpful. This is another one that is about choosing the right font for your brand. You can also google (or search on Pinterest) things like font pairings or choosing the right font for your brand.
Another thing to think about is a logo if you don’t yet have a one. You may want to find a professional (or at least someone with a good eye for design) to help you with one if you don’t have the skills to create it yourself. Investing in a logo is a great thing for your business. If you don’t have the money to invest right now, you can always find and use a nice typeface you like and just use that. Make sure to check that the license allows commercial use!
Now that you have figured out your brand visuals, you can take it a step further by creating some branded graphics! Make sure you stick to your brand visuals for every graphic you make. All of these visuals are things you are going to use on your FB business page, IG page for your business, blog post images, etc. (And yes, I said FB biz page, NOT personal profile! )
If you want to create your own and not pay to have someone else do it for you, Canva is a fantastic and easy-to-use site to create graphics! There are others, such as PicMonkey, and lots of phone apps you can use as well, but Canva is my go-to site for most all of my graphics. You can use the free version or you can upgrade to the paid version to save your brand colors and fonts (my recommendation).
If you have never used Canva or other graphics software check out this blog post by my friend Erin from Alexander Design Company. She gets a little more in depth in Canva and even links to some helpful tutorials that you can check out to learn how to use it. It is a great skill to have in your business, and the more you use it, the better you will be! Of course, you can always hire someone to create your graphics for you, but it is good to at least know how to do it.
You will want to make sure your graphics have a consistent look, style, and feel to them so that when people see them they start to immediately recognize them as yours. Keep in mind all of the things we have talked about up to now (your brand message, voice, personality, ideal customer, colors, fonts, etc.) when you are creating your graphics. Here is where you get to pull it all together!
Now that you have your brand created you will use it across all of your social media platforms. When you post photos or graphics on Instagram, Facebook, or whatever social media platforms you use, make sure they reflect your visual branding. Your content should have your target audience and ideal customer in mind, your voice and personality should shine through your posts, and your message should be the same across all platforms.
When you do all of these things you will have successfully branded your direct sales business. Now will stand out from all of the other consultants in your company.
You did it!
Congrats! You did it! I am excited to see how it turns out! Leave me a comment and tell me about your new brand! I’d love to hear and even check it out!
So, let’s talk about the visual part of branding. Here is a list of some do’s and don’ts to think about when you are creating your visual brand.
Do’s and Don’ts of Visual Branding
Do… have a cohesive color palette. You want to choose 3-5 colors that look good together and stick to those colors when creating graphics, designing your website, etc. If you don’t yet have an idea of what your brand colors will be, check out Design-Seeds. It is an awesome place to look through their color palettes that already have colors put together for you. Find something that speaks to you and your brand. You can also search psychology of color and see what different colors mean and how they are perceived. This article is a good starting place.
Don’t… choose too many colors or patterns. You don’t want your brand looking chaotic or unrecognizable because there are too many colors or patterns. You want it to stand out and be recognizable to your customers. 3-5 colors is sufficient, one or two main ones and the rest accent.
Do… choose your brand fonts. Next, you will want to look at different fonts and choose two or three that look good together. You don’t want them to be too similar or to busy. If you choose a script, or something bold, then choose something easy to read for your main text font. Here is a good article about how to pair fonts.
Don’t… have too many. Like I said, you will want to make sure they are visually appealing together and not too busy. You want them to be readable and recognizable, so 2-3 fonts max is perfect.
Do… create your own graphics. Don’t be just another consultant in your company if you are in direct sales. Stand out and brand yourself by creating your own graphics instead of sharing company graphics. Anyone can create them. There are websites that make it so easy, no matter how creative you are! I LOVE using Canva to create all of my graphics. I use it on my computer, because I find that easiest, but there is an app as well. Another good website is PicMonkey, and there are lots of good apps such as WordSwag, Spark Post, and Rhonna Designs.
Don’t… just use pictures you find on google. PLEEEEASE don’t do this! Don’t just hop onto google and download a picture from there! Did you know that it is illegal? It could cost you lots of money and your business! Don’t let that happen to you! Many, if not most of those pictures are copyrighted and you don’t want to get caught violating copyright laws. There are lots of good sites for stock photos that you can use for commercial use (check the license first). Pixabay, Pexels, and Unsplash, are some good ones that I use, and you can use pictures from Canva as well.
Do… be active on social media. You’re going to need a place to post those graphics you made, right? Be active on social media! Posting frequently on your Facebook business page or Instagram can be positive for your business so customers and potential customers can get to know your brand. You want your target market to get to know, like, and trust you, so using those social media outlets for this is a great idea (as is blogging! 😉 ). Just be sure you create a business page on Facebook and keep your business posts on your personal profile to an absolute minimum.
Don’t… be too salesy… While using social media for your business is a must, you don’t want to be salesy or spammy. You will want to follow the “80/20 rule” (or 90/10). For every eight or nine non-salesy/product posts, you may post one or two sales post. People do not get on Facebook to be sold to. The want to connect, build relationships, be entertained, etc.
You will also want to be sure to post different things on different platforms. This means you don’t want to push your Instagram photos to your Facebook business page automatically. If you do this, people will realize it and choose to only follow you on one platform instead of both so that they don’t see your posts twice. You may repurpose your graphics on the other platform at a later time (I suggest at least a week), just don’t post them on both at the same time!
Do… stick to your visual brand. Once you have your visual brand created, stick with it! Use your colors, fonts, images, patterns, etc in everything! If you do this week, people will start to recognize graphics as being yours, before they even see your logo or name!
Don’t… change your branding frequently. There is a time and place for rebranding, and rebranding can be done well, but you definitely don’t want to do it often! Stick with your visual brand as long as possible until it become necessary to rebrand for some reason. If you are frequently changing things up, people will not know what your brand is or recognize it when they see it.
Do… be consistent. This goes along with my last point. Be consistent. Use your visual brand everywhere and on everything. Stand out from the crowd and own your brand!
Don’t… copy someone else’s brand. Create your own brand, don’t try to copy someone else’s! You want to make it yours. Yes, you will see other’s color palettes, fonts, graphics that you admire, and there is no harm in using them as inspiration, but change it up and make it your own. Don’t copy someone else. Be authentically you and you will shine!
Do you have any other tips for visual branding? Please leave me your tips, questions, or input in the comments! I love to hear from my readers.
I’m Melissa Mackey, a leader with Color Street and a new lifestyle/mom blogger. A former special ed teacher turned work from home mama who loves coffee, wine, Mexican food, donuts, horses, and Jesus. Passionate about helping women like you feel just a bit more put together without taking much time out of your day – dry nail polish for the win! Sharing my about my pregnancy and journey to becoming a new mom while working my business. Come alongside me in my journey through womanhood and life. Even though it’s messy at times. Let’s be our beautiful selves together.