When I first got started working online, my business felt like a seesaw. Constantly up and down, up and down… alternating between two positions – and frankly making me a bit sick to my stomach! 🤢
⬆️ For a bit, I’d be spending all my time hustling and marketing to attract new clients…
⬇️ Then I’d book a bunch of clients and I would be busy fulfilling – doing the work on those projects. So I would let my brand’s marketing fall by the wayside, and then my business would get slow again…
⬆️ Then I’d have to make up for the lost marketing momentum, and hustle again to get more clients…
And on and on.
Up and down. Up and down.
Now, this type of seesaw can be very unnerving. It’s stressful when you feel like it’s always feast or famine. Income is unpredictable, and you’re never really able to get your bearings and feel confident.
And, let me tell you… There’s a reason that the character in that nursery rhyme about the see-saw “only earns a penny a day!” 🤣 Because, when your marketing is inconsistent, you’re never really building momentum. Just when people are starting to get used to seeing your messages, you fall off their radar… only to have to start building the like, know, trust factors from the beginning again next time.
Not smart. And not sustainable.
So what’s the solution? How can you steady the see-saw – and ditch the 🤢?
I’m so glad you asked, because I DID in fact figure out how – eventually!
The key to replacing the ups and downs with consistent brand growth?
In this article I’m going to help you find ways to automate the hustle – so you can break the constant up and down cycle – and experience steady upward progress instead.
🎥 As per usual, if you prefer to watch and learn, the video version of this article is below. If you like to read, then continue on!
Your brand is a set of systems.
I encourage you to think of your brand as two distinct sets of systems:
1) the set of systems that helps you automate client attraction.
2) the set of systems you need to deliver what you’ve promised to clients.
There are opportunities in both areas to systemize your business and to make processes more sustainable and consistent. In the first part of this article, we’ll focus on the marketing and client attraction piece. Toward the end, I’ll touch upon the second area – fulfillment and delivery.
(📒 Note to self: Kaye, write another article aaalllll about systemizing the fulfillment of client deliverables!)
Okay, here are the 4 keys to consistent brand growth…
1. Batch your brand decisions.
Decision fatigue is real, people! And as entrepreneurs, we are often responsible for aaaaalllll the decisions, so it’s especially real for us.
Steve Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple, wore the same outfit every day, remember? He wore a black turtleneck, blue jeans, and New Balance sneakers. Every. Dang. Day!
While this choice certainly helped make his personal brand memorable, that wasn’t initially the reason he did it. He actually did it to reduce decision fatigue… he didn’t want to spend any brain power deciding what to wear. Instead, he wanted to direct that energy elsewhere.
Similarly, one of the best ways to reduce decision fatigue in your business is to batch your brand decisions in advance.
If you’re constantly making decisions on the fly about what platforms you’re going to be on… what content you’re going to post… what your brand will look and sound like on each of those platforms… it gets exhausting. But if you can make those decisions up front, you’ll reserve energy and have more stamina for the process of actually creating the content.
So, it’s crucial that you spend some time to figure out what your brand personality is – and exactly how and where you will show up. You’ll want to explore and document the answers to questions like:
- What are your key messages?
- What will your tone of voice be?
- What unique opinions and perspectives will you articulate?
- What will you include and avoid when creating and using images?
- What words and phrases will be “do’s” and “don’ts!” in your brand?
Tactically speaking, you can do things like:
- Creating templates for your visuals (social graphics, for example)
- Crafting your most important brand stories to be used over and over
- Identifying on-brand metaphors you’ll use in your content
- Intentionally choosing which platforms you’ll show up on
- Choosing brand elements like colors and fonts to use consistently
(… and more, of course!)
Making these crucial decisions – in advance – is really at the center of the work I do with clients and students.
✔️ I work 1:1 to help advanced entrepreneurs (with brand revenue over 100K) do this through my Clarity Code program.
✔️ For entrepreneurs with current revenue under 100K, my Brand New Brand program walks you through each step of my proprietary process in a self-study format.
Both programs facilitate this highly-valuable “batching” of brand decisions. By making all of these in advance, you get to move past the constant (scarcity-inducing!) “hustle-do see saw.”
(No more, “Let’s just throw this together so that we can get this campaign out…” Instead, the activity you invest time and money in is intentional!)
Pin this article to reference later! 📌
Pin this article to reference later! 📌
2. Grow an audience.
Step number two for hacking the hustle and steadying the see-saw is to grow an audience of your own.
Brands only exist when they come into contact with people. The whole point of creating a resonant and compelling brand is to attract people into your orbit, right? So when it’s time to sell, you want to have a built-in audience of people who are excited about what we’re offering.
When you’re first starting in business, it’s quite productive to get into action and get visible on other people’s platforms. Posting on social media, building a reputation with people you interact with there, and investing in ways to get the algorithms on your side? All totally worthwhile – and a great place to start.
But, to really grow your brand in a sustainable way, you’ll want to build an audience on your own platforms.
In practical application, this can look like building an email list that you own. (And I highly recommend this for entrepreneurs at every level of business.)
For some brands, this can look like starting and nurturing your own Facebook group or LinkedIn community – rather than just posting in other peoples’ groups and on your page / profile. (Caveat: Technically, you don’t own your Facebook group, either… which is one reason I think building an email list is critical brand activity!)
If you continue to have to go out to other people’s platforms and reach people individually, it will be hard to stabilize things. You’ll never have the security or the peace of mind of knowing that there’s a core group of people – in a certain little corner of the interwebs 🤣 – that are just waiting for the right offer from you.
I’ve been in business now for a decade, and my email list has steadily grown to about 20,000 active subscribers. I intentionally focused on building it – almost from the start – because I wanted to have a way to reach my audience directly, in a place that was free of the noise of social media. (I’m also very intentionally active on a few social platforms, but my email list is always a priority!)
For a newer entrepreneur with a smaller email list, making an offer this way might look different. It could just be a matter of sending an email to your list saying, “Hey, I have an opening next month, who wants it?” … And five people raise their hands… 🎉 ← This is completely possible for you – if you grow your own audience.
It’s key that you have a place where you can communicate exclusively to this audience that you’re building – and that starts with a platform for gathering them.
3. Put some of your marketing on auto-pilot.
The next step in hacking the hustle and leveling out that see saw… is to figure out what visibility activities you can automate or systemize – and to do it! 🤓
I like to think about the posts on social media – and the messages you send on all platforms – as the heartbeat of your brand. Bump-bump. Bump-bump. Bump-bump. There’s a rhythm or a cadence that you don’t ever want to stop. Because that consistency is what creates trust among the people in your audience.
But… as we’ve identified, it’s not easy for an entrepreneur to show up personally every. Dang. Day, ammiright???
(In fact, I might even say it’s close to impossible – and maybe even undesirable… I mean we’re delivering client work, maintaining things in our personal lives… and hopefully enjoying time away from business too!)
So automating some of your marketing is about making the experience your audience has with you – that brand experience – standard… even when you aren’t focusing on it in the moment.
The great news is that there are soooooo many magical tools out there to help you do this. 🎩 For example, to ensure consistency and automate some aspects of my visibility, I use…
✔️ Recurpost to cycle through a big bank of 100 pre-written, high-leverage, social media posts to my Facebook page. (Other social schedulers I like include Buffer and Planoly.)
✔️ ActiveCampaign to create and build upon email “automations” – sequences of emails that are triggered when someone first joins my list, learns from me in a masterclass, downloads a resource, etc.
(I don’t have to manually keep track of who took what steps to learn and go deeper… ActiveCampaign automatically sends what we’ve pre-determined to be the next thing to learn, do, or buy! Plus, I know I’ll never neglect my email list, even when I get busy.) ←—– Ahhhhhh… Just writing that made my shoulders relax! 🧘♂️
✔️ Pre-recorded webinars, to ensure that when an entrepreneur wants to learn from me (for free!), she can do so at LITERALLY any time – on her own schedule, in her own time zone, and at her own pace. (And, I don’t need to show up personally to grant her access to the learning, either.)
(For a full list of tools I use and love – plus access to some free trials and extras for some of the tools, visit my Online Business Resource Center. *Some of these are affiliate links!)
Moving right along… The next best thing to automation? It’s systemization!
Systemizing your visibility is all about batch-creating content and working “in sprints” to get it scheduled to be distributed.
Part of having these “systems” in place means you can leverage my #1 favorite content hack, which is batching. My team and I batch all of our content… I plan and record Youtube videos in batches, and we repurpose and create social posts, articles, emails, and more – all in sprints. Then we schedule it out at a predetermined cadence.
Tools you can leverage to do this are plentiful, too… again, through the magic ✨ of the software. Plus, systemization can incorporate delegation (which is also magical, trust me!).
Here are just a few tools my team and I use and love:
✔️ Asana projects with aaaaallll the steps of each of our content creation processes. These keep track of who’s doing what, when – and eliminate the “How did we do that last time?” 🧐 time suck.
✔️ ActiveCampaign (again!) to batch create and schedule delivery of my weekly emails.
✔️ Tailwind to schedule all of my Pinterest pins for 30, 60, or even 90 days out… and then set it and forget it until my team’s next batching session.
(These are just a few… the Online Business Resource Center has the comprehensive list of tools we use!)
So, yes – these tools help you be consistent… and standardize the rhythm and frequency of your messages to your audience.
When you’re in a busy season – chock full of client work – the content you batched and scheduled will still be working hard for you. This means you’re not going “radio silent” whenever you land a big client project. Your visibility won’t suffer, and you won’t lose the momentum and trust you’re building by being consistent.
And the most beautiful part? …Automation (and systemization) take more of those daily decisions off your plate, so you can reduce context switching and focus on what’s at hand… whether it be client work, projects to grow your business or expand your audience… or just an opportunity to enjoy some free time, solo or with loved ones. (I mean, that’s why we do this entrepreneur thing, right? 😉)
So we’ve covered batching decisions, growing your own audience, and adding automation in all the places where it makes sense.
Lastly, let’s shift focus to briefly address the role of automation on the “fulfillment” side of your brand…
4. Automate some of your delivery.
Okay! Time to hack the “doing” part!
Remember that see-saw? On one side, you’re hustling to get new clients. The other side finds you delivering the work to clients… and that’s the next place to hack.
We’re working to even things out, so if we can streamline some of the heavy lifting on this side too, you’re getting closer to achieving that balance. (And to eliminating the nausea-inducing ups and downs! 🤢)
So, the goal over here is to find ways to automate… and/or to make some of the delivery process require less of your time.
(Important note: This doesn’t mean that you’re delivering less value to your clients! In fact, you’re probably going to deliver more value to your clients by being more intentional about how you leverage your time – and when you’re clear about that from the get-go!)
There’s one thing that is absolutely key to doing this…
You must (you must! you must!) build both your brand and your offer around a process or a product – instead of building it around your time.
If you want to balance that see-saw, this is important.
If you want to step OFF of it, this is non-negotiable!
Hourly team members are valuable, and there will always be a place in the business world for people who are working on an hourly basis. But if you truly want to free yourself from the see saw ups and downs, you must set up a process that doesn’t correlate your hours directly to dollars.
To get the kind of leverage you need, you can get support from other people who help you execute. As I mentioned earlier, delegating to team members is one of the most important things I do in my business!
You can also tap into automation and technology that help you deliver the value to your client digitally – so that the value that you provide is not dependent on your time. (For example, an online course or a workflow that triggers the release of pieces of the deliverables.)
Use both delegation and automation – or use either one – but know this:
The key to making this all work is to ensure that you are branding your unique process, framework, or product – instead of your time.
So, if you’ve been riding the hustle-do see-saw like I was – and things are getting wild 🤣 – I hope this article has given you some tools to start finding better balance. By…
✔️ batching your branding decisions,
✔️ growing an audience of brand fans, and
✔️ putting automation into play…
… I know you’ll be able to steady this thing and get off!
Wondering where to get started? Well right here, actually! 👇👇👇
You can create your *Crystal Clear* 1-Page Brand Plan with me – in my FREE “Define Your Brand” Masterclass. It’s the perfect way to get into action today – and lay the foundation for all four of these brand-balancing steps.
Sign up and learn – for free —-> by clicking here!