What Your Brand Says About You with Shelley Easter–Episode 25

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We are back at it today with a new episode! Today’s guest is Shelley Easter, who runs the company Shiny Acorn, a website design and branding company here in Orlando. I had a great conversation with Shelley where we talked about all the reasons you need a website to build a business and the importance of branding within your business. We also got personal and discussed how Shelley has grown her business and why she now looks at herself as a business owner and not a freelancer (but maybe not an entrepreneur–listen for more on this interesting discussion!).

Plus, we discuss how Shelley will be presenting her wealth of knowledge at The Boss Lady Retreat, which will be held in Brevard County on August 26-27 at the Atlantic Center for the Performing Arts. The lineup for this retreat looks amazing, and it’s a great opportunity to get even more great information from Shelley along with a list of other awesome #ladybosses from all over.

1. A website is essential to anyone running a business (either online or not).

If you are an online business owner, you need a website. For offline business owners, it gives your business credibility. Most people searching for goods and services start online now. If you don’t have a web presence, you are missing out on potential customers who might do business with you.

However, it might feel easy to just set up a profile on social media like Facebook, Instagram, or even Etsy. However, on those platforms, you aren’t able to have complete control of your brand’s message. On these social media platforms, your business looks just like all the other businesses in your category. Plus, you are a slave to the algorithm and how each platform decides to change to benefit its own business at the risk of yours.

Creating your own website gives you complete creative control over the messaging, image, and how you present your brand to the public. You also own your own website, so you are able to customize it however you would like. Shelley stressed that if you have a business and you don’t have your own self-hosted website, you are losing money in your business.

2. A good website will be your hub of activity for your business.

“Your website should be the ultimate hub of your business, and it can make your business so much easier,” Shelley told me.

Within your website, you can control many different pieces of your business (especially if you use platforms like WordPress). Because it has so much more functionality than any other web platform, you can run so many aspects of your business in one easy place.

According to Shelley, there are a couple of things that are essential to a good website design.

  • Put the location of your business front and center if your business relies on the area you are in.
  • Make sure to include photos of yourself so potential customers see there is a real person behind the business.
  • Create a handcrafted tagline that speaks to the person you are trying to attract. This can also be accomplished in your brand strategy statement. “I do this for this.” It doesn’t have to be clever or hilarious.

When you create your tagline or brand statement, don’t over complicate it. “Simple is more effective,” Shelley told me. “People don’t want to think about your headline for more than one second. They want to get it and move on.”

Shelley said that you should think about your website in the context of someone who has no idea who you are and what you do. When they visit your website, they should be able to glean what your business is about within seconds. If not, they’ll move on to the next potential lead quickly.

Because your website should be the hub of activity, you can use your social media channels to drive people to your site. Create sales funnels that allow you to attract potential customers so you are able to keep track of those potential customers in meaningful ways. You do this by offering a free incentive that will attract your ideal client to join your mail list where you can keep contact with them on your terms.

Orlando Lady Boss Tip: If you don’t know what to offer as an email opt-in giveaway, think about the most asked questions you get from potential customers. Or ask your current customers what is something they would love to know about you. That can give you great information about what to use.

3. It’s important to incorporate your personality into your brand.

Branding is another large aspect of the work Shelley does. In fact, for her presentation at the Boss Lady Retreat, Shelley is going to give a lot of very practical tips for why it’s important to incorporate your own personality into your business’s brand (and how to translate that to your website).

“In order to want to buy from someone, it makes such a huge difference to actually know a little bit about that person,” Shelley told me.

Some of the ways you can incorporate your personality into your brand are by adding photos and videos that help people get to know you better on a personal level. Adding that authenticity to your brand will make you memorable, and it can give credibility to your business so a potential customer will want to buy from you, even if they have never interacted with you in person! “You naturally want to hire people you feel like you know,” Shelley said.

But you can’t do that through your whole business as an online business owner. The photos and videos allow you to give people in the online space an opportunity to feel like they know you. That way, to them, you feel like a more developed person, and not just some stranger on the internet.

How much you choose to share and what you share is different for everyone. For Shelley, she takes parts of her life to incorporate into her business. She talks about her kids but avoids taking close-ups of their faces. She discusses what it’s like to be a working mom, her love of design, her vegetarianism, and even a bit of yoga. It gives her audience something to relate to.

4. Change how you perceive your business and it will help you grow.

Shelley just launched Shiny Acorn last year after attending the Being Bossed conference. While she was there, she was inspired to look at herself as no longer a freelancer, but as a true business owner. Shelley has been designing websites for years but approached it with the mindset that she was a freelancer. When she changed her focus to think of herself as a business owner, she acted differently. Shelley told me, “there isn’t a defined difference between a freelancer and an online business owner. Mentally though, for me, there was a big difference.”

As a freelancer, Shelley didn’t really think about how to market herself to get new business. She felt like it was some big mystery where clients just came to her. While she wasn’t being passive about getting work, she just didn’t really know how to go about it.

However, after the conference, she gained the confidence to see herself differently. “People don’t describe themselves as a freelance doctor,” she told me, “there is something about being a freelancer that people think you’re less serious.”

“Labeling myself as a business owner was a complete shift internally,” Shelley said.

However, Shelley noticed an external shift too. When she started to introduce herself as a business owner, reactions from others were different. When she considered herself a freelancer, friends would think of the job as a hobby–instead of what it was–a career that provided for herself and her family. When she started calling herself a business owner, even her social circle understood that this wasn’t a hobby for her.

What is the difference between a small business owner and an entrepreneur?

Shelley describes an entrepreneur and a small business owner separately. To her, an entrepreneur is someone who takes a lot of risks professionally. Because Shelley has taken almost no risks as she has built her business, she doesn’t feel that title applies to her. However, she has a ton of respect for those who are entrepreneurs, especially someone like Lacy who is running the Boss Lady Retreat, which she is speaking at later this month.

Personally, I disagree, and we posed this question to you on the Orlando Lady Boss Facebook page. Please stop over there and weigh in with your thoughts.

5. To succeed, you just have to put yourself out there.

She had to learn the really slow, hard way that “you have to just put yourself out there,” she told me.

Even small steps in her business felt like huge moves, like making her Instagram account, and later posting a picture of herself on it. As soon as she realized that nobody was judging her like she thought, it became easier to put herself out there and take those steps.

She advises other to pull the bandage off too. Remember, you take for granted how much you know and how much value you bring to the table. People don’t know all the same things you do, and they especially don’t know how to present things in the same way you are able to present them.

Just have confidence in yourself to go after the things you want.

About Shelley Easter

Shelley Easter has been building brands and websites for almost a decade. She’s passionate about helping women-owned small businesses connect with their audience and thrive online. She loves connecting with and supporting fellow creatives through Skype chats and in-person meetups. After years of freelancing, she started her business Shiny Acorn in 2016. It was a total shift in mindset, marketing, and profit.

Links from the show

The Boss Lady Retreat
Visit Shiny Acorn’s Website
Follow Shiny Acorn on Instagram
Follow Shiny Acorn on Pinterest
“Like” Shiny Acorn on Facebook

Remember, Shelley will be at The Boss Lady Retreat August 26-27. You can still get your tickets to this amazing event.

The post What Your Brand Says About You with Shelley Easter–Episode 25 appeared first on Orlando Lady Boss.

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