For marketers, designers, and creative businesses, our worst work is when we tackle our own brand.
We’re too close to it to see our brands objectively, and for freelancers or solopreneurs especially, we neglect to invest as much time in ourselves as we would our clients. You also know too many “shoulds” and I’ve heard it from so many talented people when we talk about their business.
Usually, the conversation goes something like:
- Me: Duuuude, your online presence is looking so good lately!
- Friend: Agh, thanks. It’s coming along, I feel like I should still get [x…y….& z complicated funnel/design/marketing tactic] going and then I’ll feel good about it.
You could switch that convo around also because I have been on the receiving end of batting down a compliment by listing the chronically overwhelming number of things I know I should be doing for my brand but aren’t.
More times than I care to count I’ve let those “shoulds” stop me.
It’s a really shitty mindset. You start out with the best intentions for writing or producing great work regularly, but there’s too much friction. Writing the blog is doable once you get to the page… but the hour-plus of setting a Meta description and keywords, making a custom image for Pinterest, creating posts for 4 or 5 different social media sites for reach, reposting the piece to your Medium, adding it to your email distribution platform, sending a test email to proof it and scheduling it to go live at the right time is daunting… when you let all these shoulds stack up, it makes it far easier to lose important momentum as you build the habit of creating work.
If you’re like me you think ok….these are really important pieces if you want your work found, and if it’s not getting you growth, why bother? I’d like to argue that until you get step 1 down (or have an awesome assistant/intern) you should ignore (or automate) the other pieces. Otherwise, you risk these housekeeping and distribution activities putting drag on your momentum.
The friction of doing all these best-practices gets in the way of doing the most important part. In my case, that’s writing daily. Noticing what’s going on in the world and calling it out in a place others can see.
Whatever your thing is, writing, drawing, painting, noticing…if you add too many steps to doing this important stuff for yourself, your client work and other little things will always be there to edge it out of your schedule.
Instead, make your process as lean as you can. If you write, this means no fancy images with overlay text and narrow your focus for the platforms you share. If you distribute your new work via email, automate it. Make it so you only log in one place, one time, to write and publish your work to your blog–I’m currently writing directly in the editor on my WordPress website. Anything after that should be handled by digital elves you never have to see in action or think about. Anywhere with the slightest friction or effort after step 1, nuke it or automate it. After that, the hard part is just to show up and do the work.
This is important because you’re battling the resistance when you sit down to write. That tension that makes you want to do literally anything else but stare at that blank page.
If you give yourself the excuse that “oh this is at least an hour-long project and I really need to get to Mr. Jones’ copy review started” you will take that excuse and run with it.
If you know all it takes is 20 minutes to tap out a blog, pick a stock photo from the collection you bought to match your website (Moyo Studio forever), and hit publish… it is going to be much smoother to pull that off every day.
Don’t make this any harder on yourself. Pull out your metaphorical sandpaper and rub every rough spot off your systems until everything is as smooth as glass. The less friction you let your system have, the easier it will be to make the practice of producing great work for your own brand a regular occurrence. Make it your mantra, to simplify your systems so you just need to create without overthinking it.
We already know that habits make it happen, and this makes it all that much easier to build a habit. Take the time to master the hard work of filling a blank page first. Make creating part of your every day, and once you’ve mastered that… sharing your work with the world will be a breeze.