I know what you’re thinking… “Gemma, why would I want my brand to repel people?” Your brand should repel people because you need to repel the wrong clients and attract the right ones – and a strong brand will do just that! Surely you don’t want to attract everyone? If you start doing that, you will water down your brand values and turn into just another vanilla brand, which becomes easily forgotten about.
And as your business bestie who knows a thing or two about branding, it’s my job, to be honest, and say, wouldn’t you rather attract a smaller community of raving fans who are so aligned with your thoughts, values and personality that it makes your business so much more fun and rewarding? Hell yeah, you do!
Most new and wide-eyed, rookie business owners tend to think that everyone in the world who has any use for their products or services is their potential client. Driven by this fallacy, they try to make everyone like their brand – they try to say all the right things, without ever alienating any single person – and that’s precisely where they go wrong.
Take it from me, it’s a total waste of time and resources to nurture relationships with people who are a bad fit for your business. It might surprise you to know that, I too, fell into that same mistake early on in my business and I’m gonna share with you my story along with tips to avoid making the same mistake as I did.
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Coming Out Of The Broomstick Closet
When I left the 9-5 grind and decided to spread my wings to start my own business, I brought a lot of mindset baggage from my previous job. Because the corporate structure was so ingrained in me, I assumed that’s what I needed to emulate in my own business in order to be successful. I genuinely thought I had to appear bigger and more like an agency, rather than just being myself as a quirky and fun small business owner.
When it came to branding my business, I chose dull monochrome colours, simple fonts and a very plain vanilla logo, which looked like a carbon copy of all the other design agencies out there in the market. I soon started to attract clients, but the majority were the ‘wrong’ type of clients that weren’t a great fit. Why? Because they were all heavily demanding corporate clients, that made me slowly start to resent working for myself. I questioned at the time if the entrepreneurial life was really for me, and then suddenly it hit me like a tonne of bricks!
I remembered my ‘why’ for leaving my previous job in the first place, which was my insatiable urge to create a life of freedom and limitless opportunities – hence why I named my business Infinity Creative. I never liked working for the ‘man’ because my wages, freedom and happiness were very limited and so being a solopreneur made sense to me – plus, I come from a long line of business folk, so you could say it’s in my blood too.
I knew in that waking epiphany that if I wanted to create a dream life for myself, I needed to create my dream business based on what appealed to me and to stop comparing my branding to others. After all, isn’t that branding rule 101 – just be authentically you! And so that summer, I decided to rebrand my business and this time I was going to do it right! I spent a lot of time working on myself and my mindset to extract the true essence of me and channel that magic into my brand – I even hired a business coach to help me through this process.
Together, we soon realised I was holding a huge part of myself back – which was my magical and witchy side. Since my early childhood, I have always been interested in all things connected with magic, probably because I grew up watching TV shows and movies like Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Harry Potter, Matilda and my personal favourite, Hocus Pocus. But I also believe in magic and that pockets of magic can be found every day if we just take the time to stop and notice them. I believe this world is full of weird and wonderful things that we don’t always fully understand, but my curiosity has led me on a spiritual journey of self-discovery.
At the age of just 21 years old, I realised I embodied powerful magic of my own. One night I vividly remember falling into a deep sleep very quickly and feeling a sense of weightlessness wash over me. It was so strange because I knew my body was asleep, but I could ‘see’ everything in my bedroom as I slowly started to float upwards towards the ceiling – and to my horror, I could see my body was still laying on the bed! This was such a scary moment because I thought I was dead and somehow trapped in another realm.
Luckily, that night I somehow made it back to my body and woke up in such a state of shock, I remember confiding in my boss at the time, who was a known white witch and medium and the only person who I knew wouldn’t proclaim that I was crazy. She reassured me that I wasn’t crazy and went on to explain that I had Astral-projected, which is a rare out-of-body experience, where my soul travelled outside of my body.
Totally strange, but also very cool! This was my first proof that there is more to this world than what meets the eye and have since become obsessed with learning more and have gone down a rabbit hole of astrology, paranormal, tarot and the healing power of crystals – and much more! This is the sort of stuff that lights me up and could talk about for hours, quite simply, I find it fascinating and it has shaped who I am today.
I have gone off on a bit of a tangent but I needed to explain the context of my magical journey, and why it was super important to weave this element of me into my rebranding. Originally, I was unsure because I thought this would repel people away from working with me, but then I reframed my thoughts to, what if this attracts the right people to work with me? If you’re wondering, of course, it did! I was attracting people who were just like me, because just like a magnet, like attracts like. And now I preach this to all my clients.
I believe with my heart and soul that our business and personal side should be seen as a whole and not hidden or divided to please people. We need to stop playing small or hiding parts of us when in actual fact, being authentic and true to ourselves, is the key ingredient to bringing great success and growth to our business. I get it though, we’re human and we care too much about what people think of us, but if you want to grow your business, you need to let go of that sh*t, because at the end of the day, it’s just an opinion.
Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe
Just like I was saying earlier, I learnt from my own branding journey that the moment I aligned my branding to my personality, it turned my business into a honing beacon for people who were just like me. It created raving fans who were telling me things like… “I landed on your magical website and just knew I had to work with you” and “I love your branding so much – it’s so you!”. This is why your vibe attracts your tribe!
Think of your vibe as your brand; the unique personality and identity that you put out into the world that reflects your business’s core. Now think of your tribe as your customers; the people who champion your business and want/need your product or service. If your vibe (brand) is off, it’s at best going to attract the wrong type of customer, and at worst going to attract no one at all. After all, you wouldn’t want to hang around with someone who you didn’t gel with in real life, so equally why would you want to engage with a business that you don’t relate to?
So my advice is don’t feel afraid to shine a light on what makes you different or stand out because ultimately that is what makes your business memorable and likeable to the right people.
Having Critics Is A Sign Of A Strong Brand
It will probably humour you to know that not everyone has understood my brand and I have received my fair share of opinionated comments – and that’s ok! In fact, it assures me that my brand is working. I remember once I uploaded a profile photo to my Facebook Page of me wearing a witches hat and holding my black cat, Salem – very ‘Sabrina The Teenage Witch’ vibes I thought proudly! But unfortunately, someone in my business circle suggested that I should remove it immediately, as it could be sending out the wrong message and repel people.
For a split second, I did have a waver of self-doubt and was going to comply, but quickly reminded myself why I chose to upload it – quite simply, it felt right and it reflected my fun and quirky personality. Is it gonna be everyone’s cup of witchy tea? No, but that just means it’s weeding out the wrong people. If someone has a problem with the way I choose to show up in my business, then they’re probably not the right client for me anyway.
The fact that my brand is like marmite, you either love it or you hate it, means it’s doing its job and I can safely say my brand will never be vanilla. My brand is like strawberry ice cream with unicorn sprinkles on top – but not everyone likes strawberry ice cream with sprinkles, but the ones who do, will turn into my biggest supporters and one day become dream clients of mine.
You Just Can’t Please Everyone
I’ve come to realise that I am NEVER gonna please everyone all of the time, it’s literally impossible and nor would I want to! There was a brief moment when I launched my business back in the day. I’m talking long before I left the 9-5. I was so excited to be putting my ideas and my brand out there in the world that I wanted everyone, and I mean EVERYONE to see what I was doing. But that just doesn’t work like that.
Being a solopreneur, and my own boss allows me to run my business in my own unique way, which means I have the freedom and luxury to brand my business based on what makes me, well, me! Even if that means showing up online wearing a witches hat and waving my magic wand on zoom. I’ve come to accept that my business is never going to appeal to everyone and my brand personality is a reflection of me, and if someone has a problem with it, then we’re probably not going to get on in person as well as in business.
You do you, Boo
At the end of the day, life is far too short to care too much about what other people think – the same mantra should apply to our business! Just the other day I saw on Instagram there was a business coach showing up for her community in a giraffe onsie, and I thought… “Wow, that’s different but good on her she looks like she’d be fun to work with”.
I urge you to look at the last three people you bought from, and ask yourself what was it about them that made you feel comfortable enough to buy from? Was it their amazing product or service? Was it their cool branding? Was it their ethical brand values? I would bet the biggest contributor would have been that you just connected with them on a personal level and could relate to them in some way. So I encourage you to show up online in a way that feels wholesome and aligned to you and forget and throw out the business rule book of what you “think” you should be doing.
Your Brand Should Repel People
So just to recap, your brand NEEDS to repel the wrong clients and attract the right ones. When you spend time on getting your branding, ideal client, niche and core values right, it then makes your marketing and selling so much easier because you will have a clearer idea of who you’re trying to attract.
As your Brand Alchemist and business bestie, I encourage you to experiment, let your hair down and bring more fun to your work. Be more you in your business, and copy other “experts” less. You can’t make everyone like you and you shouldn’t want to. The pressure of being liked and respected by every single person in the world is making you do boring and unremarkable branding and marketing decisions – please stop!
Focus on the audience that really matters, and ignore the rest. Stand out and own your quirks. Your brand answers your client’s question: “Is this business right for me?” Make sure the answer to that question comes out loud and clear.
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