Branding for Creatives: Land the Work You Want! | Haylee Jordan | Skillshare

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Branding for Creatives: Land the Work You Want!

teacher avatar Haylee Jordan, Brand Strategist + Brand Design

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (51m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. What Is Personal Branding?

    • 3. Positioning Your Creative Brand

    • 4. Identifying Your Target Audience

    • 5. Creating A Strategic Portfolio

    • 6. Meeting The Right People

    • 7. Conclusion

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About This Class

Are you a freelancer, musician, graphic designer, photographer or creative tired of barely getting by?!

You may be paying your bills with your creative work but barely getting by or you may be working at a day job with the hopes of leaving to pursue your creativity when the money catches up. Either way, you KNOW that you do not want to give up your passion and I have good news-- you don’t have to.

There is Hope!

You can get the pay you wish to have for the job you love. Branding can help position you in the creative marketplace so you are no longer a choice in a sea of other creatives but rather The Choice for your target audience. Stop waiting around hoping your career will take off and start taking actionable steps with Brand Yourself for Success: Get The Creative Work You Want!

In this class you will learn:

  • What Personal Branding is
  • How to create a Brand Matrix to help position your brand
  • How to reach your Ideal Client
  • Creating a Portfolio That Pays
  • How to start Networking with The Networking Challenge

*This video doesn’t include magic that will solve your creative problems overnight,  but Haylee gives you a to do list that will move your creative career forward. All you just need for this class is determination and passion. (Oh, and a pen for the worksheets!)

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Haylee Jordan

Brand Strategist + Brand Design


Haylee Jordan is a Brand Strategist and Designer focused on building small brands. She is also the creative director of Romeo, where she works with hospitality brands to bring their powerful story to life through identity design.  When she's not developing brands, she can be found traveling, drinking coffee, enjoying art, and learning to play the guitar.


Her favorite place so far? Barcelona. 





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1. Introduction: Hey, guys. Who wants to get paid for the work they love to do? I know I do, and I'm not talking about a few dollars here and there, small projects here and there, I'm talking about the career you love, the creative field you want to work in, getting paid money to do that. I'm here to talk to you all about that today. My name is Haylee Powers. I am the owner of Bad Bitch Branding, a brand design studio that specializes in brands that give a shit. So that would be brands that are making the world a better place in some way. I also own Romeo Branding, which we'll talk about a little bit today. It's pretty new. We specialize in hospitality brands. I graduated college in 2012, and since then I've been striving to do the work I love to do. I found through looking back and on my process, I've found steps that I can give you guys that are actionable, that I truly wish I had when I was starting out trying to get the work I wanted to do for the money I wanted. So I really passing on this wisdom to you guys and I hope that helps a lot. Doing what you love and getting paid money for it is possible. It isn't easy, but it is simple. I'm going to share with you guys my personal strategy that I've aggressively worked on the last three years in order to brand myself and get paid what I want for my creative work. There is no one path to success. This is just the path I took and I made sure to keep it as straightforward as possible. I have faith that if you truly want something, you can have it. You have to want it and you have to work hard for it, and you just have to be consistent. Like I said, it's simple, just not easy. In this class, we will cover personal branding, positioning your brand, the target audience, a portfolio that pays, valuable networking, and then we'll end it with a networking challenge. Let's get started. 2. What Is Personal Branding?: All right, guys. In this lesson we're going to cover personal branding and why we need it. We're also going to look at some case studies of personal brands and people that are slaying the creative worlds. I think in general, our society, maybe your parents or your grandparents tell you that if you're going to be an artist, you're going to be starving. We've all heard the term starving artist. So Wikipedia defines a starving artist as an artist who sacrifices material well-being in order to focus on their artwork. They typically live on a minimum expenses, either for lack of business or because all of their disposable income goes towards art projects. Some starving artists desire mainstream success, but have difficulty due to high barriers to entry in fields such as visual arts, the film industry, and theater. These artists frequently take the temporary positions such as wagering or other service industry jobs while they focused their attention on breaking through in their preferred field. You guys may be starving artists or maybe you're a freelancer just not getting paid what you want to get paid. This could be all sorts of different types of jobs. Maybe you're a graphic designer and you work off templates and you're not being creative enough and maybe not living up to your potential, which I've certainly done myself, worked at jobs where I wasn't living up to my creative potential, which is a really big bummer when you go to school for design and fine art. Maybe you're a motion designer and you're just not getting the type of job you want or meeting the people you want to meet, or even an artist, a painter. There are a lot of painters that make a lot of money. Today we're gonna talk about how to get clarity and those areas. Perhaps, one of my favorite brand case studies of a personal brand is Marilyn Manson. Sasha Strauss said, "Marilyn Manson is not a good singer, he is not a good guitar player, he is not a good songwriter. He has known it from the beginning so instead of standing around and hoping people would know who he is, he decided he would create an identity for himself and he has executed it flawlessly. He created a name, a demeanor, and created this concept of the anti-Christ to superstar. The man's name is Bryan Warner. He loves his family and has been married and civil ceremonies, and he doesn't bite the heads off of chickens." I love that quote so much because it reminds us that we may not be the best guitar player, but we can take our passions and arrange them into a brand to make us profitable, to make you want to buy us, to make you famous, whatever it is you're going for. No one becomes an amazing personal brand by accident. They take actionable goals and accomplish those goals in order to be perceived in a certain way and that's what we're gonna work on today for you guys so that you can get paid what you want to get paid for the creative work that you're doing. Just as a reminder, none of this happens overnight. Of course, Marilyn Manson didn't wake up one day and become Marilyn Manson. It takes time and strategy, so that's what we're doing today. What is personal branding? I'm a brand strategists and designer. I design brands for restaurants, apparel brands, cosmetics, and more. I often get asked if I do personal branding. Personal branding is no different than branding a business or a product. You are essentially trying to, 1, sell yourself to your audience, 2, stand apart from competitors and 3, get money. Of course, that's important. These are the goals of every single brand I worked on, and if they are not the goals, we quickly re-evaluate to make them the goals. It is so important to design for a specific type of audience to be different, and of course, those things lead to getting more money for your creative work. Your personal brand is about creating a powerful gut feeling, a compelling perception, and ultimately positioning your brand as the number 1 choice. Every brand needs to position themselves in the marketplace, and this does not leave out creative professionals. You simply need branding to sell your expertise and your skills. We live in an over communicated society. There is too much noise, so we must simplify our message and create a target audience that we can specifically talk to. Psychologist Barry Schwartz wrote a book called The Paradox of Choice. He makes an observation about free choice and argues that eliminating consumer choices can greatly reduce anxiety for shoppers. While Barry is talking about products on a shelf, we are talking about personal brands, but the solution is all the same. We must simplify in order to slay, say it with me. We must simplify in order to slay. No matter if you are going for freelance on your own or an agency, you need to stand out and be different in some way. You need to be the choice for your target audience. You do not have to be a starving artist. You can make money doing what you love and may not be immediate and it will take a lot of work. There are no shortcuts, of course, to being a good creative. You have to sacrifice just like everyone else. But if I know anything, having to work hard, it's actually a blessing and not a curse. One of the most well-known creatives we are familiar with is Walt Disney. Now, I'm not the biggest Disney fan. I actually hate the older Disney movies. Don't sue me, I'm sorry. I don't judge you if you loved them, it's fine. People get emotional about Walt Disney and Disney in general. But I did go to Disneyland recently, and I saw all in a new light. Looking at Walt Disney as an entrepreneur was super interesting to me and essentially he was a creative and he got paid for the work he was doing. Maybe not at first, but he figured it out later. Walt Disney was a very interesting person. I've heard all of the crazy stuff about Walt Disney being cryogenically frozen. I've heard about the dark side of Disney and the Secrets of Walt Disney's life, which don't seem entirely backed up, to be honest. All of this is interesting, but something I had not really thought of was at Walt Disney was an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs need to know a lot about branding or at least hire someone who does. In fact, I don't even think you can be a successful entrepreneur without knowing a lot about branding. Steve Forbes said, branding is the single most important investment you can make in your business. From early on, Walt Disney knew this and worked very hard to create a desired perception of magic, memories, and a persona for himself. Walt Disney he knew that his personal brand and the way he was perceived by the public mattered greatly for the overall Disney brand. If you think about Walt Disney and the Disney brand, they're one in the same. Personal brands are so interesting because people are not brands. We are flawed and have too many emotions to be characterized as one thing, but we must work to create that perception and we are using ourselves as a brand. It can be very challenging. Walt Disney even said, "I am not Walt Disney. I do a lot of things Walt Disney would not do. Walt Disney does not smoke, I smoke. Walt Disney does not drink, I drink." Even Walt Disney had to work hard to create perception of how he wanted people to see him, just like you guys will be doing with your creative work as well. One thing that is very clear that Walt Disney got right as an entrepreneur is the way he and his large team evolved the brand to be for everyone in the family. This evolution keeps going on today. I'm amazed that all the adults who are Disney fanatics as well, of course, as teens and children who breathe Disney. The love for Walt Disney across all generations did not happen if by coincidence. Disney carefully crafted his cartoons, stories, and Disney parks to be for adults. I almost argue that Disney is targeted way more to adults than it is to children. Walt Disney also said, "You're dead if you aim only for kids, adults are only kids grown up, anyway." I always tell my clients to target the person with the money, the person that's paying for it. So if you're making toys for kids, you will be targeting the parents. We see this from Disney home stores in downtown does into the Pandora jewelry collection displayed across the park. We also see strong details down to the way Disney's copywriters right there. Taglines and advertisements. Taglines like, "Let the memories begin" and "The place where dreams come true." These are very aspirational for adults, especially adults with children. As we all know, Disney's unique selling proposition is magic and they deliver this every single time. This is why their brand is so huge and so loved. People are extremely loyal to Disney as a brand. From the smell of the parked, the cleanliness, down to the mysterious underground tunnels that the employees use to travel through the park. Disney reflects their unique selling proposition tirelessly. Disney also goes to great lengths to be incredibly thorough. I would guess less than five percent of people actually notice all of the details in the parks. Things like the snow falling in the holidays, the trees lighting up, synchronized with the music and the firework show, the small tiles, the Winnie pooh ride. All of these things work to create that unique selling proposition and make us feel like we're in a different world when we are at Disney. Tom Boyles, ex-senior Vice President at Disney, said that there are 11.2 billion possible combinations of how you can experience the brand. The promise can be experienced in 11.2 billion ways. Some of the ways you experienced Disney are through transportation, interactions with employees, attractions, music, dining, the smell of the park, the small boutiques, the fireworks, and like I said, my favorite, the fake snow that falls during the holidays. Disney has worked very hard to create a perception and they execute it so seamlessly that we barely know it's happening. We just are experiencing all the magic and soaking it in. Other personal brands that are extremely strong are Wes Anderson's brand. I've heard him called the Director of the millennial generation. You know when you are watching the Wes Anderson someone immediately because you see the quirky characters, the unbelievable symmetry and the visual style. Wes Anderson has a strong brand because he has differentiated and set himself apart. He has literally claimed the position of the millennial director and stays relevant. We're still talking about the Royal Tenenbaums which are shot in 2001. Other amazing personal brands you can look at are Jessica Walsh, Bad bitch extraordinary or graphic designer, Ashley Longshore. She is definitely the opposite of a starving artist doing work for huge department stores in New York and of course, being her centric self. Marilyn Manson, as we briefly touched on before, and of course, Chuck Palahniuk, Beyoncé, and Steven Spielberg. All of these artists are great examples of personal brands that are differentiating themselves for an audience. Everyone I mentioned is extremely different than say, a regular painter or a musical artists. They've all positioned themselves in the marketplace in order to get paid what they want and to be compelling. 3. Positioning Your Creative Brand: All right guys, in this lesson we're going to talk all about positioning yourself. It is going to be extremely important to narrow your focus as a creative in order to get paid for the work you want to get paid for. I'm reading the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown. This illustration in the book caught my attention and I still continue to think about how true it really is. Gregg wrote, "In both images, the same amount of effort is exerted. In the image on the left, the energy is divided into many different activities. The result is that we have the unfulfilling experience of making a millimeter of progress in a million directions. In the image on the right, the energy is given to fewer activities. The result is that by investing in fewer things, we have the satisfying experience of making significant progress in the things that matter most." I love this example because it reminds us that less is more. It's going to be extremely important for you to find a niche and to focus on that as a creative, you cannot be a generalist and get paid for the work you love. We will work on the idea of positioning in this section. Positioning is defined as the place that a brand occupies in the minds of the customers and how it is distinguished from products of the competitors. Your personal brand is all about creating a powerful gut feeling, a compelling perception, and ultimately positioning your brand as the number one choice. Why should you position your brand? You must position your brand so that you can become more than a choice in a sea of other creative. You ideally want to be the choice for your customers. You will begin to see your competitors rising to the top if they're specializing in something and if you're not specializing in anything, you're going to lower to the bottom. See, you want to be up here, not down here. When I'm looking to hire someone, I often want to know this, if they specialize in what I'm looking for and can prove it through their work. I would rather hire someone with a high price as a specialist, than a generalist with a lower price. It is so important to create this niche. It is also important to note that you can still do work outside of your niche. But I wouldn't advertise, say flyers for Jim on my personal portfolio. Remember that when customers can not see a reason to buy one product over the other, they will always settle on the least expensive option. That is definitely not our goal here today. How do we do this? It is easy to sit around and talk about positioning your brand, but it is one thing to actually do it and put the work in. To begin positioning your personal brand in this lesson, we will cover the first three most important pieces of a personal brand. This will be the brand matrix, the USP and the USP test. To position your brand, we must start with the brand matrix. The brand matrix is used to help us find gaps in the marketplace where your brand will fit in. The brand matrix helps you establish your brand's competitive advantage and it helps you position your brand. We will try to map out the consumer's perceptions of brands or products by using opposing dimensions. To keep things simple, let's say we're selling saucer. Your posing dimensions could be something like cheap, too expensive or mild to spicy. You will then use your brand matrix to see where there is a space open for you to claim in the marketplace. To start your brand matrix, get a list of your five closest competitors. Sometimes people come to me and they say, "I don't really have any competitors." 99.99999 percent of the time, they're wrong. They do have competitors. They just haven't taken the time to research. If you want to get paid for the work you love and you want to rise to the top. Be the most bad-ass creative you can be. You're going to have to do a lot of research so make sure you don't skip this step. This exercise should be something that you really spent a lot of time on if you haven't done this already for your personal brand. When you get your five competitors down, start to answer some of these questions for each competitor. What are they selling? How are they different from other competitors? What makes you different from them? Now that's the hard one. How are they being perceived online through their portfolio? Do they seem refined, down to earth, organic, maybe even expensive? When you're done getting your five competitors, it is now time to plot them on the graph. Like I said, you're going to choose two opposing dimensions. For this example, I will use my branding company, Romeo. Romeo specializes in brand strategy and designed for Chef owned restaurants in Denver-Colorado. We're a small studio and have many competitors, but there is an area where we have created a strong niche. After researching our competitors and answering questions about them, I have chosen to use the two opposing dimensions of hospitality services to general services and a large studio versus a small studio. I'm only looking at competitors in my state which narrows the choices down a bit. For example, I could use the opposing dimensions of fast casual and chef owned or full-service marketing versus just branding. But I think the two I've chosen will help us get started. When I have my brand matrix, opposing dimensions and my five competitors, I will then plot them on the graph. This graph helps you see where brands clustered together in one area or whether there's a sweet spot that hasn't been filled yet. Or perhaps a spot you even want to avoid while you find your unique selling proposition. Once you see where your competitors are, you will have a better idea of how to differentiate. I won't list my actual competitor's name for their privacy. I will call them A, B, C, D and E. Romeo is a small hospitality brands studio and specifically focused on hospitality alone, which differentiates us from many other branding companies. But let's just see if we have any overlap are areas where the branding companies are clustered together. Competitor A is a smaller studio that does a great work, but they're also a general studio. They will brand almost anyone. Competitor B is a smaller studio as well, but they focus on hospitality and real estate with a few random projects thrown in. Competitor C on the other hand is a large Brand Studio with over 50 employees in the Denver area. They're also general studio focusing on many different clients. Competitor D is a very small studio that focuses on many different general projects as well. Can you guys see a theme? I'm seeing a lot of general design studios, which they should know was not good. Competitor E is a single person studio focusing on the hospitality industry alone. Like I said, you can see that a lot of these brands studios are all generalists in the brand design space. I do see one that's a little bit close to where Romeo is and that would be competitor E. Like I said earlier, Romeo specializes in branding for artistic owned restaurants in Denver-Colorado. We need to plot the brand around this area. Like I said, competitor E is a little too close. Now we need to go back and look at competitor E a bit more online and evaluate their portfolio. If you were too close to a competitor on the brand matrix, you need to go back and research them a bit more to make sure you're truly different from them. When I'm comparing competitor E to Romeo, I find that competitor E does a lot more fast casual restaurants and Romeo specializes in Chef own concepts. I also find that the competitor E's style differs greatly from Romeo style. They use a lot of typical restaurant imagery, but your knives, livestock and more. Whereas at Romeo, we tried to express our brands through concepts rather than literal representations. We are offering a bit of an artistic and conceptual service to our clients rather than just creating something that looks like a restaurant. Also surprisingly, when I dig deeper into competitor E, I see that they do have some projects that are not specifically hospitality related. There are very few, but they still have them. Now, say another competitor wants to plot themselves on this brand matrix. They will be able to plot themselves in areas where a current brand studio is not located on the brand matrix to differentiate themselves. Now take some time to plot your five competitors on your brand matrix. Make sure you look to see where competitors are clustering together and where you can differentiate in that space. Completing your brand matrix will help you see where you can differentiate and ultimately help you start creating that unique selling proposition that you guys have to do if you're trying to get paid money for being creative. I will give an overview of the USP here today but to learn more about crafting a USP, check out my class called Creating a Profitable Brand, Craft a Unique Selling Proposition that Sells. This will give you an in-depth look at crafting your USP. Very few brands are truly unique. Look around you, how many creatives are doing the same work? The answer is a lot of them, but notice none of the really great creatives are doing cookie-cutter work. All of the brands, the personal brands I talked about earlier: Chuck Palahniuk, Beyonce, Wes Anderson, none of them are like any other personal brand. This is no accident, they've carefully crafted their work to stand apart with the USP, whether that USP differentiates them through concept, style or client, they are extremely different. Being different allows your client to make an easy choice that ends up being profitable for you. Remember when a customer cannot see a reason to buy your services, they will opt for the cheapest version. So if you're a photographer that does weddings, and you look a lot like every other photographer that does weddings but your price is $2500 for two hours and the other people are maybe $1500 for two hours, if you guys look the same, you are the same and they're definitely going to go with the cheaper version. You have to be good enough, you have to be different enough to make them want to choose you for your price. Or maybe you are a photographer and your client keeps trying to bring down the price of your work. There could be two problems here. One, your client could just suck, or two, you may be considered a commodity. Like I said, you might be the same as every other photographer, but your prices are too high. If you're dealing with problem number 1, of your client sucking, just raise the prices or stand firm on your current price and they will leave you alone. If you are dealing with number 2, which is being a commodity, you must change that with a compelling, unique selling proposition and a position in the marketplace. An intentional creative brand offering something different will give the customers a meaningful reason as to why they should choose you. When you have differentiated your brand, you can then add premium prices to your product. People will pay for what they value. For example, landscape photography might start to look like a commodity if you don't have anything different going on in the landscapes. So landscape photography is a commodity, whereas Lefawnhawk is a brand, even though she uses a lot of landscapes. Can you guys see the difference? This example translates well to anything you can think of. Coffee is a commodity, Starbucks is a brand. Cars are a commodity, Mercedes-Benz is a brand. Can you guys think of anything that you always pick the cheapest brand for? Maybe this is laundry soap, rubbing alcohol, those sorts of things, and then can you think of other products or brands that you happily pay the price, even though there are a lot higher? Say, your favorite brand of jeans or your favorite candle. When products are compelling, they become pricy and coveted. Finding a strong USP will help you become a coveted brand, not just a commodity. You will get more work and you will position yourself as the only choice, and as a result, people will pay. The USP will be your one-sentence reason as to why the customer should buy from you over competitors. This is not something you'll tell them, but rather show them through your portfolio and networking skills. Your USP is your brand's name plus your number one unique specialty. The USP is meant to be short, concise, and distinct. I know a lot of creatives have a very hard time choosing one avenue for their creative work. It is hard to make the choice because we want to do a lot of different things. You can still do these different things, but you won't want to market yourself as a generalist. So pick your one niche, that one specialty you have to offer to your clients and create that in a unique selling proposition. Some great examples of solid USPs for creatives are Wes Anderson. He is the styled, character-driven millennial director. Ashley Longshore is the bold, eccentric, and pop art painter. Walt Disney is the imaginative entrepreneur who creates magic. So your USP is your brand's name plus your number one unique specialty. This is not a tagline. Your USP is just your one-sentence differentiator. Your USP will also help guide your personal decisions inside of the brand. The USP is as much for us as it is for those looking to hire us. The USP is the North Star and the foundation. A strong USP will result in more sales, competitive strength, and more growth in your creative brand. When you determine your USP, you should always strive to create clear, concise, and consistent communication on who you are. Good brands repeat their USP through every touch point. To bring your USP to life, you want to bring it out through everything that you do. So that's your portfolio, the way you talk to people, the way you dress for client meetings, everything you do must reflect that unique selling proposition. If your unique selling proposition has to do with you being quirky or vibrant, make sure you use photos, language, and design that brings the customer back to your USP. Your customer should get the subconscious gut feeling of your USP from every touch point. So you define the brand strategy, then you display the strategy through all of your visual communication. As we move forward, keep in mind your competitors as you work to create that USP. Make sure to reference your brand matrix and the niche there's left to fill. If you're feeling stuck, remember to go back to my class called Creating a Profitable Brand, Craft a Unique Selling Proposition that Sells. This will help you out in a step-by-step manner. I talk a lot about the unique selling proposition, and it is not because it's the only thing I know, it is because it's the only thing I know that is that important to touch on every single time I talk about branding. So definitely go back and look at that video, make sure that you have that solid one-sentence differentiator. After you have your one-sentence USP, you want to make sure that your USP is strong and valuable. I also follow this in the Creating a Profitable Brand to Crafting a Unique Selling Proposition that Sells video but we'll do a quick review here. The most important question to ask yourself is, can I switch out my brand for another brand's name and pair it with the same USP and have it make sense? If so, it isn't a strong statement. Let's take Wes Anderson, for example. Wes Anderson is a stylized, character-driven, millennial director. Can we replace the name Wes Anderson with Steven Spielberg? Steven Spielberg is the stylized, character-driven, millennial director. That absolutely doesn't make sense. This means that Wes Anderson has a strong USP that cannot be claimed by others in his industry. Wes Anderson does not fit into a generic USP and neither should you. An example of a generic USP would be, Jane is the indie, romantic comedy director. Can we replace Jane with a handful of no-name directors? Yes, we absolutely can. It is too generic and Jane isn't getting anywhere with her career. I want you to ask yourself these main questions. Does your USP differentiate your brand? Try switching your name out with your competitor's name. Can they claim what you're claiming? If so, you need to go back and find what makes you valuable. Is your USP memorable? Is your brand's USP believable and credible? Can you live up to your USP and fully own it? If you're having trouble answering some of these questions, you may want to go back and reevaluate your brand matrix as you start to develop your difference. It is so important that you get this step for anything you're creating, whether a personal brand, a product, or a lifestyle brand. USP is the most important thing. 4. Identifying Your Target Audience: In this lesson, we will take your USP and start to work on the target audience. The person you are trying to sell to, or the person you would like to hire you. The target audience you determine will help you move onto the next step which is creating the work you need to create before you reach out to others to network with them. Ideally, while you are creating your USP you should be thinking about the target audience. There has to be a target audience or a group of people that want what you have to offer. I know I told how to make a niche, but you don't want to make a niche so small that no one wants it. To be honest though, it's very hard to make a niche that no one wants with the internet because we have access to so much stuff and such a huge audience. You can be like Liffon Hawk and make those very interesting landscape pieces with the graphical elements in them and have a big audience because of the internet, so that's really great. We are connected more than ever which is good for the creative industry. Everyone needs a target audience, no matter if you're a charity, a politician, an apparel brander, or even a photographer. In this lesson, we are going to determine who your target audience may be and how to research them in order to understand them a bit better. You may have an idea of who your target audience is already, but I want you guys to go ahead and look at the target audience worksheet to get a better idea and to gain some clarity. Most of us know who we're trying to reach. Maybe it's the marketing team at a company we really admire, or a certain filmmaker. But the target audience will help you research your audience on a deeper level in order to understand them better. A common misconception people have's that they should shoot for a wide audience of transmits anyone that comes their way. This is the worst strategy for a creative looking to get paid for the work they loved to do. The creatives we all love and admire, know exactly who their target audience is and they're strategically getting around that target audience and networking with them. Once you have a name for yourself, you will gain traction and referrals. But to get to where you want to be you need to be direct and educated on your target audience. Make sure you work to create a specific audience based off of your USP in order to communicate efficiently to the right person. Creating a personal brand can be a lot of work upfront, but it sets you up for effective and efficient communication with those that will want to hire you. Do you guys remember Romeo's USP? Romeo specializes and brand strategy and design for chef owned restaurants in Denver. Once you have your USP, think about who this USP applies to. In this case, my target audience is listed in the USP. Your USP may or may not have your target audience listed. If not, don't worry, just start to think about the person or professional that your brand and USP are targeted to. Romeo was designed for chef owned restaurants. We must take the time to expand on this audience. Who do I want to be calling Romeo? Chefs, of course. But what kind of chefs? When we dig in a little bit more to the chefs in Denver, we see that the established chefs owned three to five restaurants. A lot of them are looking to expand and to make more restaurants in the area. It's important to know what they're doing, where they're hanging out, who they're talking to, and what their plans are. Let's add on chefs plus three to five restaurants owned currently. What else can we add? Maybe the style of the restaurants they create? In general, these restaurants are rated on Yelp with $3 signs and involve in artistic experience. They are creative and evolve to meet the needs of their guests whether that be in a trendy lounge setting or a sit-down restaurant experience. Now we know that Romeo is going after chefs, that owned three to five restaurants, that are creating an artistic experience. This allows us to start to define the target audience on a deeper level. Pain points. Once you've a few categories that really give you clarity on your target audience, you are able to start researching their pain points and what they're looking for in a creative professional. When you know more about the person you want to hire you, you can craft your portfolio, your messaging, and everything that you put out around their pain points. A pain point is a problem real or perceived. Entrepreneurs create opportunities for themselves by creating solutions to pain points. We know that people buy based off of emotional reasons and decisions. For example, I have to do SEO but I don't want to do SEO, and the decision to hire someone to do my SEO is emotional because I cannot possibly take on the task of learning SEO for a few years and then trying to execute it. To me that puts a lot of strain on me and just gives me too much to do, I don't have enough time. I'm making an emotional decision when I hire someone to do my SEO because they are the key to me not being overwhelmed, stressed, and trying to do everything myself. As far as Romeo goes, our client's pain points are the chaos of running a restaurant, creating a profit, employing people and ensuring that they will thrive in a stressful environment, and they have little time to focus on saying relevant and standing above competition. What pain point are you solving for your customer? We're all solving problems for our customers. How many times do you get chosen to buy something that was more expensive but would in fact make your life easier? Some steps you can take to find your customers pain points are one, ask them. The most powerful tool you have when learning about your customers pain points is simply by asking them. Ask three of your clients or potential clients that you would like to work with what they're struggling with when it comes to your niche. Ask them why they started using a specific service or creative. Maybe their answer will be similar to mine. I only want to hire people who will make my life easier and not harder. The question you come up with will vary depending on the industry you're in and what your goals are. Two, give out surveys or find interviews. After you have real conversations with a few of your potential clients, try to get a survey out into the world to as many of the clients you haven't spoken to as you can. Make the survey very simple and do not include too many questions. If you include too many questions or make the survey too long, you will not get very many responses. Try not to use the yes or no questions. Give them space to really talk about what they're feeling, and allow some of their truths to come to the surface. If you cannot conduct a survey, try to look online for interviews of your target audience. If there is someone that represents your target audience like for me, a famous chef or anyone that has a big online presence, you may want to be able to find them speaking at interviews about their pain points are about the struggles of their industry. Number three, look at successful competitors and what pain points they're solving in their brands. Look at your competitors and the way they're using pain points and their marketing. Maybe they have a huge headline on their website that addresses the pain point of the target audience. The main goal of finding your customer's pain point, is to dig into their motivation for needing your service. Some of your competitors may have spent a lot of money to learn about their clients pain points. Use their knowledge and look at the way they advertise or even the way that they pair texts with images on Instagram. Use all the resources you can to learn about your target. Another great way to learn about your target audience is Facebook groups, forums, making friends in industry networking events. Google online where these people hang out and try to be around them. When your target audience opens up to you and expresses their pain point, make sure you use these exact words in your copy and website. If your clients often say they associate themselves with your brand and choose you because it makes them feel empowered, use the word empowered in your copy. If your customer says they love your style because it is avant garde, use those words. Using the words your target audiences uses will help you attract like-minded people. I want you guys to take a minute and write down your ideal target audience on the target audience worksheet. Also feel free to write down someone's name that represents your target audience. Maybe won't be able to work with them. Say it is Wes Anderson, write down his name as that dream client. Writing down your dream client will help you explore others that are doing the same thing but perhaps on a smaller level. Maybe you want to work for Patagonia one day, or perhaps you would like to sell your paintings down the street at the Art Gallery, write down every detail about your target audience, their pain points, and then find a real person that you think may fit this target audience. It is also important to make sure that you are going after those that can afford you. Maybe you want to make millions off of your paintings. The Gallery down the street may not be a good fit. Take some time to complete that target audience worksheet before you move on to the next lesson. 5. Creating A Strategic Portfolio: In this lesson, we'll learn all about the branded portfolio, which is a hell of a lot different than a regular portfolio where you upload any and everything you've ever worked on. If you're putting a lot of different stuff on your portfolio, it's fine if it's for a strategic reason, but in general, you shouldn't be doing it. Say maybe you want to be a jack of all trades at a startup who needs a motion designer, a graphic designer, and a copywriter, you may add a lot of stuff onto your portfolio. But for most of us, were going for one niche, one audience, and one style. Remember all of the work we've done on the USP and the target audience, here is where we learn to translate the USP and the audience into a portfolio so that you can get paid for the work you want. Everything good starts with a strategy. Once again, remember Romeo's USP? I bet you could say it if I asked you what it was by now. Romeo specializes in brand strategy and design for chef owned restaurants located in Denver, Colorado. The point of working so hard on the USP is so that we have a clear direction for our portfolio. Based on this USP, what kinds of design do you expect to see on the Romeo website? Let's take a look. There aren't any typical fast casual graphics of burgers, knifes to illustrations of tomatoes and onions, that may turn my chef target audience away. In general, these images work well for places like Burger King, Smashburger, Tokyo Joe's, but that is not the audience I am after, so I will not reflect those things in my portfolio. I know from research, the target audience I am going after is much more refined and focused on the overall experience of dining. The color palette is simple and subdued, I only use white, black, and gold for Romeo. The client I'm going for often uses subdued colors in their restaurants. This takes some research to learn about the client and their current restaurants. You will start to pick up on patterns when you do more research. A client may make snap judgments based off of the color alone and they will begin to associate your brand with certain characteristics depending on the colors you've chosen. It is so interesting in the restaurant industry, color can be used to differentiate, create a desired mood, or even increase appetite. We know from research that red and yellow are often used for fast food restaurants because they are said to increase appetite while also gaining guests attention quickly through the bright urging colors. Formal restaurants on the other hand, use common colors, encouraging the guests to stay longer. Though formal restaurant may benefit from keeping guests longer when they are ordering expensive cocktails, coffee, and deserts over a longer period of time, of course resulting in more sales. My target audience understands this and so I need to understand this as well and display that knowledge through my portfolio. Professionalism is so important as well for your portfolio. You must create a gut feeling in your client that assures them that you are indeed a professional and can get the job done. If I had a website that was disorganized and cluttered or if the website wasn't user-friendly, it is likely that my target audience would doubt my ability to deliver a professional product. It can be rough when you're starting out without any money to create a website or a portfolio. If you have some money, I recommend hiring someone to do your website. If you do not have any money to invest in your portfolio, I recommend using a Squarespace website. Your portfolio is everything as a creative, so it is worth the investment. While you are thinking about the functionality of your website, it's also important to think about the content and the work that you will feature on the site. If you are a brand designer like me, you need to have high-quality renders and photographs. We make emotional decisions and if your target audience feels that you may not be able to deliver an outstanding service, you won't be getting paid for the work you want to do. With this brand Miiko, I hired a professional 3D designer to create my brand in a space in order to elevate the concept and bring in another artistic element. How is this different than me just throwing up JPEGs of the design? It is very different. My audience can see how my work exists in a 3D space and it adds another level. It also creates a feeling that a JPEG couldn't create on its own. Quality is so important for everything that you do. If you're a painter, maybe you want to display your paintings in a beautiful house for your Instagram photos. If you write songs, maybe you want to hire someone to get professional head shots you've done for that single that you're putting out. As far as the portfolio pieces go, less is more. I want you to go through all of your work and take out anything and everything that does not support your USP or your target audience. You can still use these pieces when they're requested, but do not use them on your portfolio. If a client comes to me and wants to see work I've done for cosmetic companies, I can show them those portfolio pieces individually, but featuring them on a restaurant branding site would be bad. We want to put our best foot forward while communicating with our target audience. If the USP is not supported, delete the work off of the portfolio. I know what you guys may be thinking right now. You may be thinking, I don't have enough work to support this new unique selling proposition, I don't have clients coming to me for this work yet. The best, greatest news ever is that you don't need the clients to make that work. Start making that work now and pretend that you have them. Finding inspiration is a big deal for any creative. Inspiration helps you understand how to start designing the work you love instead of admiring from a far. While you are making the work you want to feature on your portfolio, I want you to research your favorite creative in the industry. This will likely not to be a competitor of yours, this person or brand will be someone you look up to and aspire to be like. For example, one of my favorite brand studios is Futura in Mexico City. I look at the work all of the time to get inspiration. They create brands that are polished and high-end, while also remaining friendly and fun. So I want you guys to take some time and look at creatives that you really aspire to be like. Study their work, see what you love about it, see their style, look at their process and learn from them. For example, a lot of branding companies I love use clean design with a lot of white space and colors that are a little bit less traditional. Take some time to study work and post pieces to your Pinterest or just collect them in a file on your computer. While you're designing, painting or even filming, you can ask yourself if you're living up to the standards of the creative you admire. Like I said before, you don't have to have the client in order to create the work you want to get hired for. On my website, I have a brand called Miiko that I mentioned earlier, this is not a real brand, but rather a brand I wished existed. I didn't get discouraged by the fact that I didn't have ramen restaurants knocking down my door, I just design something I wish I'd gotten hired to do. This works great because a ramen restaurant may contact me and I'll be able to show them what I can do and how I can solve creative problems. If I had not created the spec work, I would not have it on my portfolio and my potential ramen client may go with someone else because they just can't picture how I would work with the ramen restaurant visually. I decided to do the work for them and to show them what I can do. Showing the client is always better than telling them. In fact, you are losing if you were just telling your target what you can do, than actually delivering the proof. Make some work, make the work you want to get hired for and you will get hired for it. In general, the most important thing to remember is to reflect your USP and your target audience in your portfolio, be creative and remember less is more, if it doesn't fit that USP, take it down. 6. Meeting The Right People: All right guys, so in this last section we're going to talk about networking, valuable networking before you guys network, I want to make sure you have your portfolio fully finished and ready to go out and talk to people. You don't want to approach someone without your portfolio being done or branded. Finishing your portfolio will take different times for different people, for some it may take a week or two for others it may take a few months it will be different for each person. Remember your ideal dream target audience I had you write down, well, you may not connect with your dream client, but there are many people just like them all over the city. It is likely that your dream client has a team in place already, not to say it is impossible to work with them, but we can get a more efficient and effective strategy in place while you are growing and who knows, maybe we'll be working with them one day. There are a few steps I want you to take when beginning to network with the right people. One, figure out who your target audience needs to know before they need your service, meet them. The most valuable advice I can come up with for networking is to meet the people your target audience needs to know before they need your services. For example, when I'm working with chefs, they need to know people that are contractors that can build up their restaurants. They need to know restaurant consultants, they need to know architects. All of these people will know my client before the need branding for the restaurant, so I network with them. Your target audience will likely have a different list of professionals they need. Take some time to brainstorm to professionalize your client needs before they even think of hiring you. By doing this, you are able to be referred for the next step. Same make a strong connection with a business coach and her client that needs branding before they revamped the restaurant, she will be able to refer me. I also want to let you guys know that almost no one will get back to you. Don't worry, this is 100 percent normal, even still today for me, people do not get back to me it's just how it goes. You don't need everyone to get back to you. You just think a few people to get back to you. Two, begin to understand the resources your target audience uses and get in front of them. Does your target audience listen to a specific podcasts or read a specific blog? Learning more about your target audience will allow you to understand what they are interested in and where the hangout. Once you know what they read and listen to you, you can work on getting in front of them. For example, if I know my ideal client listens to a specific podcasts, I make contact the podcasts and see if they would like me to come on and share my expertise or if I see an opportunity to write an article for a well-loved website, and we'll jump on the opportunity while getting very valuable information. Your information and contribution should always be the absolute best you can offer. Make sure you get someone to edit your work and as always, make sure you are fully researched with everything you put out. Instagram is big resource as well for creatives and I know many creatives that get most of their work through Instagram. I also did a whole video on branding your Instagram on Skillshare called Branding Your Instagram. Make valuable and mutually beneficial relationships. The days of going to network events and throwing your business card around without making real connections with other human beings around you are over. No one wants to network with someone that's just handing them a business card and then walking away. The most important things that you connect with other professionals as a human first and then as a business owner. People recommend people they like, even if the person they like has a little less experienced than someone else, your personality does matter. Make sure all of your connections you are making are mutually beneficial. If someone sends clients to you, be sure that you work to send clients to them as well, this is what keeps your professional network thriving. Finding your network. Use all of the resources you can define your network, I think LinkedIn is a really great source for this and while you can't email people through LinkedIn, you can also find them through their professional websites as well after you spot them on LinkedIn. If you have the best product or service or even talent in the world, but no one knows about you, doesn't really matter. I notice aspect can be annoying for a lot of creatives. We want our work to speak for itself and we want our clients to flock to us effortlessly. The truth is, this can happen, but it's going to take time. For now if you do not have clients flocking to you, and I know you don't because you're watching this video, you need to network. I also want to mention that you don't want to go to any and every networking event, this will waste a lot of your time if you're not strategic with who you want to talk to and what people you want to be around. If you attend any and every networking event, it is likely that you will not meet anyone that can truly help you. There's always an exception to this, but if we focus on a specific professional, you will get farther in less time. Your time is precious, so don't waste it. The unexpected, while email is a great way to contact people, your target audience may have a 100 emails coming in every day from people just like you. There are other ways to catch your target audiences eye. Brainstorm ways that you can be unexpected when reaching out, examples of being unexpected in reaching out would be sending a pop-up portfolio book to the marketing director, coding a fun game to send to potential clients, hosting events, sending a portfolio attached to a pizza, to your favorite agency. Get creative you are in a creative field and it is important to do something that speaks to fellow creatives. The idea is to make an impact in a strong first impression that your audience will remember. To end our time together, I want you guys to look at the networking challenge worksheet. You're going to contact five professionals for five days straight and if they agreed to meet up with you, I want you guys to talk about how you can help each other out. You can do this for longer than five days. I recommend doing it until you have the work that you need, but keep contacting people and like I said, almost no one will get back to you, don't be discouraged, just know that that's normal. I realized network conversation can be easier for some than others, especially if you're talking to someone that's maybe 25 years older than you, so I've given you guys some guidelines to get the conversation going. When you email professionals, don't praise them too much. It is okay to say that you love their work, but you do not need to necessarily fan out, this can separate you in the professional you are reaching out to. You also want to show busy professionals where you can do to help them out. They are interested in themselves and making their lives easier. It's always wise to have an idea for them, to help them solve a problem. Have something to share with your potential client when you get the meeting, your email might say something like, "Hello Haylee, I'm a brand designer as well and I thought I should reach out. I recently saw your work from Buffalo theory. I loved the way you brought the feminine touches out into the tap room. I also loved your custom beer tasting booklet, and I think I have a profitable idea as to how the buffalo theory could sell these booklets outside of Denver. Would you like to grab a quick coffee this week?" So these emails do not have to be long and there shouldn't be a whole list of everything you've accomplished, it should just be a quick meeting to see if they are interested. When you meet them in person, ask questions like, how did you get to where you are today? What process do you follow for your work? A very valuable question is, who is your ideal client? You can let them know that you would like to send people there way, make friends with your network, but be professional and goal oriented. If you guys have any more questions about networking, please reach out to me, but remember to make friends with people first because that is the most valuable piece of networking. 7. Conclusion: Thank you guys so much for hanging out with me today. I hope you learned about how you can be creative, do what you love and get paid the money you want to get paid. As always, if you have any questions about anything, e-mail me at Haylee, H-A- Y- L- E- E Also you guys can start posting your portfolio in this class so I can see it, and I will definitely give you feedback. I promise I'm committed to your growth as a creative, so I'll always be honest and try to help you as much as I can. Don't forget to follow me so that and you can keep track of all the next videos I'll be doing, and we'll stay in touch. Thanks, guys.