GUEST POST BY NICKE MINDER

Starting a business, and sustaining that business, is no joke.

We are living in a time where starting your own business is almost trendy. Everyone seems to be doing it. And as a result the market is oversaturated. Almost anyone can whip out their vinyl cutting machine and make a shirt or a mug. All over the internet you can see people offering their different types of services.

SO HOW DO YOU STAND OUT? HOW DO YOU BUILD A BRAND THAT SETS YOU APART FROM THE REST?

how to build a brand by being unapologetically you with Nicke Minder of @page261 as featured on the Belong Magazine blog - celebrating the art and community of blogging, social media, and entrepreneurship for women in business, creatives, and beyond

After spending much of my life, and the first few years of my business, trying to make everyone happy by doing ALL the things I’ve come to realize that this is the first way to fail in life and in business.

It’s impossible to make EVERYONE happy and it’s a surefire way to be miserable yourself.

Sitting down to reflect on what I wanted for my business was eye opening. What I realized during that sit down was that I wanted to be ME. I wanted to be sarcastic. I wanted to share my wins and fails honestly and openly. I wanted to CONNECT. I wanted it to be so much more than slapping some designs down and calling it a day. I wanted the people who showed up for me daily to know they were appreciated. And from that day forward I did just that. In life. In business. With no apologies.  And I finally saw my brand grow in all the ways had wanted from day one.

Maybe you too are starting a business and aren’t sure what the next steps are. Maybe you feel like you SHOULD be doing this or that, but it doesn’t feel quite right. At your core you know what you want to do or need to do but the social media comparison game is paralyzing you with fear. “No one will like me if I do (fill in the blank).” “This big biz is doing it this way so I should too.” “I will finally make it if I do (this thing).” I’m fairly certain we have all thought those things or something similar!

Let’s stop that nonsense right now and focus on the things we love about ourselves that will also help our business grow.

What makes you, "you"?

One of the first things I did when I decided my brand (and my life) needed a huge overhaul was to sit down and list all of things I loved (and didn’t love!) about myself. What were the things that make me click? What are the things people think of when they think of me as a person? What are my core values? My beliefs?

My list looked something like: I’m sarcastic. I’m fiercely loyal. I mess up a lot but I also admit it. I’m pretty funny. I’m probably too intense. I love the color black. I believe in kindness. I believe in honesty. I care more about the people that show up for me everyday than I do about any number count on any platform. I love connecting and empowering women, especially mothers. I love creating community. These are things I will not compromise in order to grow my business.

Once I was super clear on who I was and how I wanted that to reflect in my business it was easy to begin building a strong brand. What would your list look like? How can you get super clear on who you are so you can begin building  a brand that reflects YOU? What are you going to put out there that makes people trust you and connect to you?
 

What about you can make your brand unique? 

Once my list was made I began focusing on ways I can use ME to make my brand unique. My love of the color black, my toddler fighting me about wearing pants everyday, my sarcasm, my humor….all of those things make me ME and as a result they make my brand strong.

People connect with and recognize my brand because it’s real. It’s consistent.

They trust me to be truthful. Yes, I’m running a product business but I’m also showing them my true self in the process. I’m creating connection by living out my values and cultivating community online.

SO WHAT MAKES YOU, YOU? AND HOW CAN YOU MAKE IT WORK FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

Maybe you have a strong love for movie quotes. Use those quotes to create social media graphics that relate to your business. Maybe your love for cats runs deep. How can you use that to make connections to your buyers? When you remain true to yourself those qualities will eventually shine through in your brand and people will start to take notice!

ACCEPT WHAT YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU ARE NOT.

Once I made my list, I had to get real clear on the fact that I wasn’t going to be for everyone. Not every single person was going to appreciate my sarcasm, my honesty, and my personality that shows through my designs. Not everyone was going to flock to my Instagram and hit follow. And I had to be ok with that. And you will have to be ok with that too! (It gets easier, promise)

And while I may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I am, in fact, lots of people’s cup of tea. I show up everyday for the people that show up for me everyday. There are days where the sales are slow but in that time I’m still creating community, building trust, and cultivating relationships. And when the time comes for someone to buy a mug or a gift, chances are they will think of me, because I’ve given them the space they need to trust my brand by getting to know me.

What are you creating besides your product or service that keeps people coming back for more? How are you allowing them to know the real YOU and the WHY behind your business?

When you are true to yourself, you are happy. When you are happy, your brand will shine. It takes work. It takes consistency. It takes knowing what you are willing to compromise on and where you draw the line. But you can build a brand you are proud of, that people take notice of, and a brand they trust…

and you can do it being absolutely, unapologetically YOU.


Nicke (owner of page261) is a monochrome loving, minivan driving mama of 3, using the craziness of life to design mugs and apparel that help you make bold statements! As the founder of the No Shame In My Mom Game Movement, she has cultivated an online community for women to have a safe place to land, feel empowered & know they are understood without any judgement. Through laughter, tears, and a no BS attitude she keeps it real when life seems anything but. Both the No Shame In My Mom Game and Minivan Mafia designs have been featured on HuffPost Parents. If you want to learn more about how she forces her toddler to wear pants & empowers moms all over the world head over to Facebook and join “page261 peeps”!

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