If you’ve ever been picked last for a team, you know how mortifying that feeling can be. As someone who has always identified as an artist—never an athlete—I was regularly among the last to be picked. But that was in grade 3 or 4.
If you’re in year 3 or 4 of your business and are still showing up with a DIY brand, you may find yourself being picked last too. Not because you’re not qualified—ironically, that has nothing to do with it.
The simple truth is, when your ideal client is comparing your Canva-made brand to another business’s thoughtful and impressive brand experience, the latter feels like the safer investment every time. Here are four ways your DIY brand is stalling your business growth and how to course correct.
1. YOUR DIY BRAND UNDERMINES YOUR CREDIBILITY
First impressions are everything, so you really want to stick the landing. Unfortunately, a DIY brand does one of two things:
It leads your audience to presume you’re just starting out so you’re probably inexperienced; or
If they know you’ve been in business for a few years, it suggests that you don’t take your business all that seriously or you lack confidence.
Both of these scenarios discredit your worth. There is something to be said for a business in year 3 or 4 or 5 who’s showing up as a smaller more generic version of who they really are.
And it’s not to say that the business isn’t extremely qualified, but they are leaving money on the table. There is so much opportunity that exists on the other side of developing a custom brand and rest assured, the return on investment does not disappoint.
2. A DIY BRAND KEEPS YOUR PRICES LOW
Speaking of leaving money on the table, a DIY brand caps your perceived value and what people are willing to pay. In fact, it runs deeper than that. I’ve spoken to many business owners who are showing up with a brand identity they are less than proud of and it makes them feel like they should discount their services. Or worse yet, their potential clients ask them outright for a discount.
Now imagine having a professionally designed brand experience that’s been developed with a bit of strategy and has thoughtful design choices that serve a purpose, tell a story, and are iconic to your brand, and your brand only.
That’s how you increase your prices.
3. YOUR INCONSISTENT BRAND EXPERIENCE CREATES DOUBT IN THEIR MINDS
When you design your own brand just so your new business has a visual identity, there’s nothing connecting you to that visual aesthetic. It’s inevitable that you become bored of the brand you created in Canva and keep swapping out fonts and colours to “enhance” your brand identity.
To a potential client, this inconsistency leaves room for doubt. It comes across as careless and if you don’t think people pick up on that you’re wrong. Consumers today are smart—they're surrounded by brands all day long. Your next client is looking for evidence that suggests you’re a worthwhile investment. And when they are deciding between you and another business, those small details can make or break your credibility.
The strength of your brand identity goes a long way to attract dream clients that are happy to spend top dollar to invest in you over the competition.
4. HOW TO STOP RELYING ON REFERRALS TO LAND NEW CLIENTS
You and I already know you’re the bee’s knees. And hopefully you have past clients who are referring your expertise to their friends. But let’s just hope their referral doesn’t come with a caveat: They’re the best in the biz, don’t let their brand fool you, they’re better than they come across. 😬
Referrals are one thing, but a truly custom brand experience makes it easier to attract, connect, and book new clients more organically.
Past clients of mine have told me that their own students and clients have gone out of their way to say it was their brand that lured them in and made them feel confident about investing. Or that it was the professional quality of their offer packaging that completely floored their leads and turned them into clients.
No personal advocacy needed. Just a brand that communicates your true value. Just by being.
WHEN TO RETIRE THE DIY BRAND
Look, I’m all for a DIY brand when you’re first launching your business. I even have an entire brand identity masterclass on how to build a brand identity from scratch. But that DIY brand you made in Canva was only ever meant to be a short-term solution.
You reach a certain stage in business—when you know without a shadow of a doubt that you’re in it for the long haul. This warrants investing in your business to give it that head-turning brand. A brand that says we’re the real deal and you’ll walk away with more than you ever thought possible.
So when should you retire the DIY brand?
if you’re in year 3+ of your business
if you’re perpetually editing your brand identity because you just don’t love it
when you see all of your peers investing in drool-worthy branding
It’s time to retire the DIY brand and step into that next chapter of pride and profitability. Let me support you as you navigate this important rebrand. Join me for a free Brand Realignment Call and learn how a professional brand identity will make you the obvious first pick among your clients every time.
Jenny Henderson Studio develops memorable brand experiences and strategic brand foundations to improve recognition and revenue for service-based small businesses.