Photo courtesy of Better Than Stock.

 

Running a side hustle is hard.

 

Launching a startup is hard.

 

Being an entrepreneur is just plain hard.

 

And I can bet that none of you are in it for the money. (If you are, I’m sorry to inform you…) Chances are, you’re probably broke, or figuring out how to make everything work perfectly on a shoestring budget.

We’ve been there before. All of our clients have been there, and so we know the dance well; the balance between creating a stunning, professional looking brand, and looking at your budget and laughing.

This doesn’t mean you have to suck it up and do everything yourself. Our best advice is to prioritize.

 

By developing your brand in the proper order, you can save yourself time and money in the long run. The right priorities will keep you from building your website twice, or spending hundreds on printing, only to throw those business cards in the recycle bin mere months from now.

 

Start here: Build your logo and brand

Your logo and brand will be plastered all over everything you do for the rest of the life of your business. There are many areas of your branding that you can create on your own, but when it comes to building a logo, we suggest working with a professional. A professional graphic designer is trained to design a logo in a way that emphasizes everything you want to convey about your business, in the simplest way possible.

We’re not going to lie, this may be one of the biggest investments you make in your business. By taking this step at the beginning of the process instead of later on, you’re saving yourself the incredible and costly hassle of going back and updating your brand on ALL of your business materials*.

* Exactly how much business material are we talking here? This much.

 

Step two: Build a website

If you’re bootstrapping it and want to put in a little sweat equity, we suggest going the Squarespace route. Now’s the time to incorporate your new logo as well as your carefully selected brand colors and fonts.

Establishing a web presence is essential in letting the world know that you exist, and so it is number two on our list. (It would be number one, but an unattractive poorly branded website isn’t helping anybody.)

 

Step three: Get Social

Not every social media outlet is going to work for your business, so choose wisely.

Now that you’ve learned where the place to be is for your niche, spread that brand around as much as you can.

Even though it seems infinitely easier to set up a social media profile than build a website, we recommend that you wait until your website is set up to create your social media accounts.

Social media accounts that aren’t attached to a permanent web presence can come across as less stable and reliable, since they can literally disappear the next day.

Canva is our favorite FREE resource to create beautiful, branded social media graphics.

 

Step four: Get inked

If you plan on doing a lot of in person networking or attending conferences, printed items such as business cards can be your best friend.

These items should not only share your name and contact information, they also direct people to your social media accounts and your website for more information. (Good thing you got those set up before you reached step four, right?)

If you’re in penny-pinching mode and want to design your business cards on your own, MOO.com is the way to go. Their quality pleases even this picky graphic designer, and their online interface is super-easy to use.

 

By following this timeline, our estimate is that you could be saving as much as $2,000. (Which is a whole lot of money when you don’t have any.) You’re also avoiding an extra 3-4 months of work (by not having to create your website and printed materials twice).

 

Are you in need of a professional graphic designer to help you build the perfect brand for your new business? Well, that just happens to be our specialty. Send us a note and we’ll talk turkey.