My Top 5 Branding Tips for Business Newbies

My Top 5 Branding Tips for Business Newbies |

These days I don’t focus on small jobs such as one-off logos, small, starter websites, etc. but every now and then I get an inquiry from a business/blog newbie who is after one of these services.

I pretty much always tell them the same thing : 

Start small, and don’t drop thousands of dollars on designers right off the bat. Set up a simple website on Squarespace or Wordpress, and then just focus on what you actually do. 

From my own experience, there’s a pretty damn good chance that a new business or blog is going to totally change direction within the first year of starting. If you have the coin for a large design project from the beginning, and you want to launch your business or blog with a bang — go for it. But if you don’t have the coin and you’d rather just bootstrap it for now, that’s okay too.

I’m all about hiring creatives to help you up your game, but in the beginning I know that it’s just not on the cards for some people. Over time you’ll define your direction and your ideal audience a little more, and it's then that I recommend reaching out to some designers and other creatives, to help you take your brand + business to the next level.

To go pro — you need to hire the pros. To go all the way — you need a team. 

But for now you need something slick, easy, and functional.

Here’s my top 5 branding tips for business newbies :

I've also created a free PDF Mini-Guide for you that includes the tips in this blog post, plus 5 extra tips for your Website. Download the Guide below!


Tip # 1 :

Re-posting shitty, low res, over-done quotes does absolutely nothing for your brand.

It’s unoriginal, and anyone can do it. It still surprises me the amount of large brands that do this, and it's even worse when they’re posted without credit to the original creator. Yeah, it's the internet, and it happens all the time, but it's no excuse. It's boring.

If you truly want to create a memorable brand, creating your own custom quotes + social media images, (with your website included on them, so people know where to find you), is one of the easiest and simplest ways to start doing this. Once you have a simple template done up, you’ll be good to go (you might find a few free templates once you get to Tip # 4!).

Of course, there's always an exception to the rule. If you find really well-designed quotes + images, and you have the original creators name, go for it. Just remember to post more of your own content, than you do others’.

Tip # 2 :

Invest in decent Stock Photos.

I hold Photography in pretty high regard. 

For me, it's always been an integral part of my design work, and I believe it has the ability to make or break a project.

For design to be truly next level, it usually involves more than just design. It involves high quality, badass photography. It involves copywriting that connects. It involves website development, or print quality that matches the level and vibe of the content itself.

Good design usually involves more than just design.

Similar to the point above, anyone can rip photos off Pinterest or the internet, but just the simple act of actually purchasing decent images will set you apart. 

Use a website such as Stocksy or Shutterstock, and go nuts.

With Shutterstock you’ll get a lot more for your money, but their library is HUGE so sometimes it can be hard to find the gems. If you’re looking for textures and generic images, Shutterstock is the place to go. If you’re after some more creative images, Stocksy is my go-to. 

*All photos in the strip above were purchased from Stocksy.

Tip # 3 :

If you have money to spend on your first website, hire a Copywriter before anyone else.  

This is especially important if you’re starting a new business (as opposed to a blog). From my experience, I think copy that connects is more important than design, in those initial stages of business. You can get away with creating a simple + sexy website on Squarespace or Wordpress, but truly connective copy isn’t something that's as easily whipped up from templates.

{Custom} copywriting that connects with your audience has fucking HUGE power.

In the last couple of years I’ve personally learnt the power of working with a copywriter, and having them craft something for me that connects with the exact kind of people I want to work with. If you get yourself a good copywriter, you might also find that their process will help you refine your brand direction, and your ideal customers/clients. 

For a list of Copywriters, check out a list on The Change-Maker’s Collective over here

Tip # 4 :

Keep it simple.

Don’t go overboard. Don’t spend hours trying to figure this shit out. Just keep it simple, get your thoughts and work out into the world, and then get back to what you actually do. The day will come in the future when you’re ready to hire a designer who will create the perfect brand for you, but until that day comes, just keep doing your thing. 

Here’s a few quick design tips : 

  • Use a maximum of TWO fonts.
  • Use a maximum of TWO colours (One bright/highlight colour, and one subtle/secondary colour).
  • Always use high quality stock photos.
  • Use simple shapes.

Here’s some examples of quick and easy design : 

See what I'm saying? Keep it as SIMPLE as possible. High quality photos. Basic fonts. Basic shapes. 

Tip # 5 : 

Fuck what everyone else is doing. 

This tip goes beyond just Branding, but it's one that I feel needs to be constantly put out there. Don’t worry about what everyone else in your field is doing. Fuck what ‘trends’ are going around. 

If you create based on what your peers are doing, or what the industry is doing, there’s a good chance you’ll be irrelevant in 5 minutes. 

Creating a next-level brand, putting authentic work out into the world all starts with you. Your values, your dreams, your vision. Without that, your business can never reach its full potential. Do your own thing. Trust your gut. Nail down your values, your mission, and why you’re doing this. Keep them front and centre. 

I've also created a free PDF Mini-Guide for you that includes the tips in this blog post, plus 5 extra tips for your Website. Download the Guide below!


So, that’s my top 5 tips for you! 

If you’re a business newbie, what other things would you like to know about when it comes to design and hiring creatives? What do you worry about?