Five Affordable Brand-Building Tips For Solopreneurs

Going it alone as a solopreneur doesn’t make you a ‘small fry’. Here are a few tips to help your brand punch above its weight.

05
April 2021
This is some text inside of a div block.
Read
Solopreneur

Flying solo as a single-person startup can be as daunting as it is exciting. If you’ve already put together that initial startup idea, regardless of what competitive market you’re about to enter, your brand-building has already begun. 

But with everything else that needs doing as you go it alone, how can you nourish your business, and your brand at the same time? A commonly misheld assumption amongst many freelancers and solopreneurs is that building a brand is for the big boys and girls. It takes teams of expertise you don’t have, it costs too much, and your money is better spent on other aspects of growing your business. But it’s a false economy to think that zero to minimal investment in your brand will be good enough.

And whilst there’s certainly no easy solution, there is some great advice you can follow to help your burgeoning brand stand out from the crowd - without breaking the bank. 

Here’s KHULA’s list of common solopreneurs' pain points — and how you can tackle them, whilst keeping within budget.


1. Making memorable moments for customers or clients

Alongside your product, or service, and its cost, customer experience is one of the most powerful tools for retaining and growing your client list. But how exactly do you build and retain a secure client base? 

Sometimes it’s said that the best things in life are free. No, we’re definitely not saying that you should hand out your product or services for nothing. And we’re also not saying you have to implement an elaborate or quirky marketing campaign at every step of your roadmap for growth. 

But there is one tactic at your disposal. It’s not just in big organizations where going above and beyond can make an impact. Offering a good service and a memorable customer experience can generate amazing return on investment, and can set you apart from less customer-focussed competitors.  

Exceeding client expectations is one simple and often low-cost way of building your brand, alongside other methods which can be kind on your digital wallet.

2. Showing them you’re good enough

Especially when you’re just starting out, even if you’re an expert in your field, you can feel inadequate when faced with a field of competitors.  

Received some amazing feedback from a client? Had a recommendation? Had an achievement in your field for something you’re particularly proud of? Make sure you share these testimonials with other potential clients. 

You can do this easily through your social media channels, but most potential clients are likely to visit your website first before using you. So spend some time creating a testimonial page, or use a carousel of complimentary comments to build people’s trust, and credibility in your business. 

3. Generating business online

Whether based online or offline, your website is the world’s window into your world. Whatever your business, it’s your storefront. So make sure your visitors can see through the glass, and make sure that when they’re looking, you show them what you want them to see. 

There are numerous low-budget DIY options out there for website design, but studios like KHULA exist for a reason. Creating a basic site that looks okay is one thing. Building one that truly represents your brand, gets your site ranking on search engines, and offers all the functionality that customers expect is another. 

Imagine if a team of professionals could create a fully customized site, so all you had to do was make occasional updates, and upload new content like blogs?

4. Highlighting your unique selling proposition

Whether you’re a freelancer in a crowded market, a small-business offering a niche product or service that’s potentially complex to understand, recognising, communicating, and promoting your unique selling proposition (USP) can be the key that unlocks your business from the rest of the market. 

Investing in an effective brand design that sets you apart can make all the difference. If you can’t stretch to a complete branding project, why not consider a mini-brand from KHULA? It can be a great way to help our business get up and running. Just take a look at our case study on Wheelwood Steering Wheel Trays.

5. Getting objective feedback

Working for yourself, on your own, means you lack the objective feedback that goes along with working as part of a team where others can offer feedback, and viewpoints that you may not have considered. 

KHULA Design Studio provides 360 degree solutions 100% of the way. So you can work with us to customise your branding and website so that they completely fit with your vision. And we’re not afraid to give objective feedback if something isn’t working, or if we think we’ve found a better solution. 

So there you have it. Five simple ways you can leverage what you already have, or what’s comparatively affordable, to overcome those common solopreneurial pain points: go above and beyond, celebrate success with on-site testimonials, get your website in better shape, highlight your USP through branding, and make sure you’ve got a critical friend to offer you some honest feedback. And if you can do all of that...

At KHULA Design Studio, we work with startups and established solopreneurs to help them build better businesses through brand identity, copywriting, web design, Webflow Development, and SEO fundamentals. 

Find out how our affordable services can add value to your business by getting an estimate from us today.

Read More

We get it. You’re a brand strategist, and you love diving into the details to deliver the big picture for your client. You know their mission, vision, and value proposition; you’ve got a clear picture of the competitive landscape; and you understand their audience. Not only that, but you’ve done their messaging, and maybe even the copy. Now your strategy is going to help your client (re)position themselves in the market. 

Next comes the tricky part: handing over your brand strategy to a team of designers, developers and creatives to deliver on your promise. There are a lot of roles to fill. Besides graphic design, there’s UX/UI design, web development, and copywriting. Whether you’re a freelance brand strategist or part of a small branding team, you can only wear so many hats. 

Sooner or later, your marketing engine is going to need more creatives to keep it running — research and strategy quickly turn into project management, or referrals to other creatives. In effect, you’re giving clients half the solution, and then putting them in someone else’s hands to execute your strategy.  

If those creatives don’t deliver, it reflects badly on your strategy — even if it’s great. That’s when contracting to a design studio makes a lot of sense. Here’s why.

1. A single point of contact

If you’re part of a network of other freelancers, it might be possible to assemble a full design team to execute your brand strategy. Chances are, they’re working remotely across different timezones and platforms. They also have their own schedules and other clients to consider. 

Onboarding, unifying, and collaborating with multiple freelancers on a single timeline for project completion is no easy feat. Right now marketing and IT talent are in high demand, so if another project comes along that takes priority over yours, you stand to lose expertise, capacity, and time. Say it’s your UX/UI designer — any delay from their end impacts the rest of the website build.  

By partnering with a design studio, everything is handled for you. It’s like having your own in-house design team doing all the heavy lifting. They’re a silent partner executing your strategy. And the best part? It all happens through a single point of contact, so you’re not having to manage multiple creatives to get the job done. 

2. Totally devoted to you

As a freelance brand strategist, there’s always the option to work with one of the big design agencies. From graphic designers to SEO specialists, they’ll certainly have the in-house expertise needed to execute your strategy. The problem is that they’ll also be serving multiple other clients, and you may not get to meet your creative team in person. 

With all that time invested in getting to know your clients, it seems counterintuitive to contract-out the creative execution to people with no relationship to them or you. Partnering with a smaller design studio means you can actually deal directly with the team responsible for delivering the brand identity, website, and copy. 

Typically, a design studio will work with a single client and have another in the pipeline, so they’re totally devoted to one project at a time. Collaborating with a design studio means you get a closer connection, a more thorough understanding, and a better alignment with your client’s brand strategy. 

3. Expertise built around you

With a design studio, not only do you get a closer relationship with your creative team, you also get a ready-made pool of technical talent to support the execution of your brand strategy. This saves you time sourcing, hiring, and onboarding the right freelance talent to get the job done.  

A good design studio will put together a team to suit your client’s specific needs. That includes delivering on the technical side of the website such as website performance, SEO fundamentals, and connecting Google Marketing Platform and its sub-products such as Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. In fact, they’ll help you build and roll out the brand way beyond strategy and messaging.

4. Project management you can trust

When you bring onboard multiple freelancers to a project, it’s time-consuming and costly. With multiple moving parts, it’s easy for something to go wrong or slip through the cracks. This can end up negatively impacting the client’s experience of your services, and therefore your own brand’s reputation.

With a design studio, not only do you have a single point of contact, but any issues with contractors, like the availability of certain expertise, is out of your hands. It’s down to your design partner to take care of the day-to-day and smooth-running of the design execution. 

Put simply, all the heavy-lifting is done for you, so you can sit back and let someone else drive the project forward on your behalf.

5. More time to focus on new business

There’s no question that project managing the execution of your brand strategy takes you away from what you love. 

Putting your brand design in safe hands means you can free-up time to focus on other activities that add-value to your business, whether that’s reaching out to new clients, or starting with your next strategy project. 

Either way, hiring a design studio gives a brand strategist the perfect opportunity to offer clients a complete end-to-end service from market research right through to the launch of their new brand identity and Webflow website.

“KHULA has been the missing link I’ve needed to deliver beautiful brands and websites that fit the brand strategy and copy I develop for clients. Jamie has solid communication skills. He answers questions quickly and in detail and is a genuinely positive person. I always leave our calls 1) impressed by the work he delivers; 2) in a good mood. For businesses looking to strengthen their brand and website, look no further!" — Reagan, Brand Strategist

Be the hero to your clients

Partnering with a design studio gives brand strategists the creative and technical talent they need to deliver more for clients. Not only do they get to oversee the execution of their brand strategy, they also have the opportunity to add value by not sending clients to a third party to create their brand identity and website.

By contracting KHULA to operate in the background, brand strategists get to play a bigger part in clients’ lives and create more meaningful impact on their business. They also get to take extra credit — and earn a little extra — by delivering the final brand identity and website without building it themselves. 

When you work with a design studio which has helped hundreds of small businesses refresh their brand image, you get an identity design and website with marketing assets that are all cohesive and create a unified brand experience for your clients. 

Wondering what that might look like? Take a look at this case study that showcases a cohesive brand image at every touchpoint, from the logo and the website right through to social media posts and marketing campaigns.

How it works with KHULA

At KHULA Design Studio, our brand strategist partnerships typically work like this:

Step 1

We formulate the visual side of the brand based on the strategy and research you conducted with the client. That includes mood boarding, creating a solid logo concept, and helping you develop a strong brand identity.

Step 2

We take your web copy, refining it where needed to create the UX/UI web design before building the site in a no-code, all-in-one platform, Webflow.

Step 3

We set up the technical side of the website, conduct a comprehensive go-live checklist,  including SEO fundamentals, ensuring everything’s ready to launch. 

"I worked with Jamie as a consultant to help me grow my own design and development studio. I was looking for a mentor/coach, but hadn't found anyone that I "clicked with" and that I felt could help me take my business to the next level. From the moment Jamie and I got on a call, I knew I had found the perfect match. He's energetic, insightful, and, most of all-- He just gets it. The level of strategy he brings to the table is unmatched, and I'd recommend KHULA Studio to anyone who's looking to grow their business and delight their customers." — Josh, HMPSN Studio

For freelance brand strategists, KHULA Design Studio has a proven process and framework, plus a streamlined way of working. See what we offer. 

Interested in finding out how you can partner with us? Book a complimentary call here

5 Reasons Why Brand Strategists Partner With A Design Studio

This is some text inside of a div block.
read
Solopreneur

Whether you’re a social media savvy solopreneur or bricks and mortar small business owner, you may have seen and heard a lot recently around the concept of ‘niching down’. 

Not only is there a hot debate about how to pronounce it correctly (for me, it rhymes with Quiché, for others it rhymes with rich) there’s also lots of discussion around whether it’s the right thing to do for small businesses and solopreneurs. 

The reason? Done right, knowing it's the right time to niche down can open up huge business benefits. Done wrong, it can close down potential business opportunities.

So first off, what do we mean by niching down?

What is niching down? 

A niche is a specialized segment of a market for a particular product or service. So when we talk about niching down, we’re referring to the specific market you’re in, not your product. 

A niche product caters to a high specialized, low volume, consumer demand, which often leads to premium pricing. A good example of a niche product would be vinyl records, which attract music purists who value the authentic sound quality and packaging. 

In contrast, in a niche market, your product or service provides a very specific solution to a very specific problem. For instance, if you’re a personal trainer, then your target audience might be people who want to get fit. Niching down means refining that audience further. 

So, maybe you specialize in helping women get fit. 

Or maybe, you go deeper and your core audience is actually ‘busy mums who stay healthy’. 

Or, further still, working mums looking to build in exercise around work and childcare.

And so on. 

You might be thinking that’s getting too niche, but the reason that niching down is no longer a limiting factor is that social media and the Internet now enable businesses to reach a smaller, more niche audience, on a global scale. 

Let’s start by taking a closer look at the reasons why some small businesses and solopreneurs decide to go niche.   

Why do small businesses and solopreneurs go niche? 

So niching down has got your attention: it might be something you’re thinking about doing, or possibly something you’ve already done (maybe without even knowing it). You might be wondering why so many business owners make the choice to go more niche. Here are four common reasons for niching down:

  • When you go niche, you go deep. By specializing in a more specific niche, you create an opportunity to become a thought leader and go-to expert in your field.
  • With a clearer idea of who your specific target audience is, such as working mums finding time to exercise around work and childcare, it’s much easier to create relevant content.
  • By focusing on one, or a smaller set of problems, you can focus your attention on creating a more specific solution, or a set of solutions, that really resonate with your audience. 
  • The most obvious reason to go niche is that when you narrow down to a particular target group, you automatically reduce the number of competitors. 

How can niching down benefit a small business? 

Plain and simple, businesses wouldn’t niche down if there weren’t tangible benefits to their bottom line. And as the saying goes, if you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no-one. 

With a niche, it’s much easier to reach your target group because you know them so much better. And when you produce a piece of content, you know that it’s much more likely to resonate with them and, if you’ve got it right, gain much faster traction within your community.  

By being so specialist, you immediately differentiate yourself from more broadly-focussed competitors, which means you can start to position yourself as an expert in your niche. By becoming uniquely specialized, you also make it more difficult for other competitors to copy what you do or enter the market. 

Taking that position also creates a sense of trust, and people within your community will start to view you as an authority. You’ll start to become the go-to business. With a niche, you have a much clearer understanding of how to engage with your audience.

For a good analogy, let’s take rocket science. If you wanted to know the answer to a technical question about rocket science, would you ask a science teacher, who has very good but general scientific knowledge, or an actual rocket scientist who specializes in that particular field? 

When your aim is too broad, it’s likely that your presence is going to be less keenly felt. In a broad network, it’s difficult to find quality leads. However,  tapping into a smaller market enables you to make much more meaningful connections with clients and customers. And the chances are that they have similar pain points and needs which your product or service can help support.

When you truly understand the needs of your target audience, you can build a stronger relationship with them, and can create much more tailored messaging. This gives you a much clearer focus for things like your brand identity and website.  

What are the pitfalls of niching down for small businesses?

As you may have already seen from social media, opinion is very much divided on niching down. For entrepreneurs and small business owners, this can create uncertainty, making them feel unsure whether the time is right to niche down or not. 

As we’ll see, there are different approaches you can take to niching down, but one of the common concerns is that niching down potentially excludes your product or service from certain clients, losing you potential business. 

Let’s take our personal trainer example again. If they help working mums find time to exercise around work and childcare, does that mean they can’t work with clients from other demographics? Not necessarily, but the way your business is set up for a particular group will not have the strongest appeal outside their niche.

The other potential pitfall is that if your brand identity and messaging doesn’t resonate strongly enough with your target audience, you may find yourself backed into a corner and unable to grow your business. In that scenario, how do you broaden your niche in order to attract different target groups?

To ensure your brand resonates strongly enough with your target audience, you need to ensure you’ve picked the right audience. How? Well, this might depend on your chosen approach to niching down.

How can small businesses approach niching down?

Every business is different, and so there’s no one right or wrong approach to niching down.  It’s up to the owner to decide on the approach that suits their business needs, and how far to take it. And that very much depends on their business model and their industry. 

There are two approaches to consider:

  • Too Niche: If you already know your market, and you’re confident about the niche that your product or service fits into, by specializing from the get-go, you’re going to create deeper connections faster with that smaller group. And when you’re well established amongst that very specific community, over time you can broaden out your offering to take in related markets. By the same token, you might also discover more opportunities vertically which strengthen your business without having to step outside your niche.
  • Looking to niche down? Here is a nice video from Pat Flynn, Author, Podcaster & Serial Entrepreneur

  • Not Too Niche: It’s okay not to know your niche from the start. So if you begin broad, it can help you to identify a niche further down the line. It may not be something you had in mind when you started out, but it’s something you discover over time. If you’re a data-driven organization, analysis might reveal that you’re connecting with a particular demographic, or group of customers, or that there’s a common trend for why customers are reaching out to you. That means you can start broad and narrow down. 

Reaching out to your niche

Whatever niche you’re in, it’s important that your brand identity, brand messaging, and website resonate strongly with your target audience.

At KHULA Design Studio, we get to know you, your business, your customers — and your niche — so we can deliver the right design solutions for your brand, whether you’re a solopreneur or a small business owner. 

See what KHULA could do for you. Take a look at our work.

To Niche Or Not To Niche? That Is The Question

This is some text inside of a div block.
read
Solopreneur

Copywriting might not come naturally for you, but hey that’s okay. After reading the article below, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a worthy wordsmith — one that can pen everything from social media captions to best-in-show blogs that lure customers in like a saucy siren. 

 

Let’s highlight some stats to start with.

- Around 7 million blog posts are published per day.

- A 2011 study by AOL/Nielsen showed that 27 million pieces of content were shared every day, and today 3.2 billion images are shared each day

- The top 3 content marketing tactics are social media content (83%), blogs (80%), and email newsletters (77%)

- Headlines with eight words had a 21% higher clickthrough rate than the average title, according to the folks at Outbrain

Yup — there’s lots of content out there already. Lots. But rather than add to the noise, the trick is to try and cut through it — to stand out among competitors and speak directly to your target customers. 

A woman is typing on a laptop | “Let us march!” Creating content that captivates & converts | Khula Design Studio

You need to grab their attention – but where do you start? 

Here are some best practice tips provided Dave Barton, founder of copywriting agency, tbc/wtf. He’s worked with some on the biggest B2B tech brands out there — such as Microsoft and Oracle — as well as some up and coming startups.

Despite what many may think, copywriting isn’t just about words. It’s about conveying intentions and emotions. At KHULA Design Studio we always say it’s about establishing a relationship with your reader — setting an authentic tone for the nature of your interactions. 

Or, in other words, it’s talking to them about something that matters to them — in a way that they’ll relate to and act upon.

Know Your Audience

It’s vital to know who you’re writing for. The more you understand about them, the easier it is to address them in the right way. That doesn’t mean you need to know the age of their cat or their inside leg measurement. It just means appreciating who you’re addressing, and what will resonate with them.

Selling toothbrushes to 45 year olds? Talk about the importance of dental hygiene. 

Selling toothbrushes to 6 year old kids? Talk about crocodiles. 

Decide The Impact You Want To Have

Copywriting is commercially-focused. It needs to influence people – whether that means asking them to ‘sign up’, ‘buy now’ or ‘give me two minutes of your time’.

It goes without saying that you want your prospect’s attention – but what are you actually trying to do? Persuade? Inspire? Activate? Explain something? 

The intention drives the impact. Writing’s a bit like acting in that respect - there’s a meaning behind every single line that we need to convey: and it’s not necessarily the same meaning as the word that’s on the page!

Appreciate The Context Of Your Interaction

Are you attracting new customers? Coaching existing ones? Driving traffic to a landing page? Online? Offline? Via a banner ad, social media message, or piece of direct mail? 

Content may be king, but context is certainly queen. Knowing where, how, and when the message will be delivered affects the copy you’re creating too. 

Know The Rules (And Then Break Them)

Depending on the context, there are ‘technical rules’ around copywriting. For example: focus on keeping a blog title under 70 characters so it doesn't get cut off in search engine results. For web development, this is important to help with SEO best practices.

But just as important, is playing with them. Sometimes this means communicating with clarity — particularly important in B2B when products and services can appear complex. 

However, other times this means speaking to your audience about something they expect in a way they don’t expect, or talking about something they don't expect in a way they expect. 

Don’t be scared to give your words some flourish: a hint of enchantment and a big dose of personality — as long as you understand what personality you’re conveying and know that it’s the kind of voice your audience will not only want to hear, but will actually listen to.

Always Address Your Audience

The one golden rule — to always remember — is to make sure you’re speaking directly to your audience. Be open, honest, and human with them. Seek to establish a kind of ‘alarming intimacy’ with them — whether you’re selling software or sandwiches. 

Talk about what matters to them — their pain points, the solutions they’re looking for. And do it in an authentic, relatable way. That’s what’ll incite them to action.

It’s both arrogant and unrealistic to assume that your product or service will appeal to everyone, everywhere. So decide who you want to target/who’s most likely to engage with your message and go from there. 

And, if you don’t get the results you want, try something else. Keep testing. Keep experimenting. Find what works for you. 

As a design studio, we are constantly testing, iterating and seeing what works and doesn’t work for our audience. Over the time, we are gradually becoming more and more aligned with what our audience wants and needs. In return, it helps improve our online presence’s performance and improves our SEO score. We just need to keep iterating, and keep marching. Being agile is the key! 

“Let us march!” Creating content that captivates & converts | You got this | | Khula Design Studio

“Good advertising is written from one person to another. When it is aimed at millions it rarely moves anyone.” – Fairfax M. Cone

----------------------

Some guidelines to abide by when writing captions:

Know your audience

Identity your brand voice

Place the most important words in the beginning 

Make it engaging.

Set the right expectations. A blog title needs to be more descriptive than the title of a magazine article. ...

Keep it short and sweet.

Include a keyword but don't go crazy.

Learn from others.

Ask Questions To Encourage Engagement.

Use Emojis To Show Your Personality.

Tag a friend or two

Include a call to action

----------------------

Here are a few Power Words for writing emotional headlines:

Free

Sale

New

Growth

Proven

Magic

Delighted

Download

Simple

Direct

Wealth 

Bottomline

Successful

Unique

Affordable

Strong

Unlimited

Discount

Valuable

Challenge

Advice

Amazing

Exciting

----------------------

Here are some blog title examples that work and can you help you get into the notion of writing:

How to _____ that drives ______

How to get rid of ______

Ultimate guide to ______

Creative way to ______

Top 10 things to ______

Supercharge your ______

What no one tells you about _____

Most effective tactics to ______

Tips for a busy ________

Insane _____ that will give you _____

Questions you should ask before _______

Smart strategies to  ______

How I made _____ in ______

Most popular ways to _____

----------------------

All in all, good writing — or at least good copywriting — shouldn’t draw too much attention to itself. It shouldn’t be ‘showy’ in a vacuous way. It has a specific job to do.

As was said in Ancient Greece – when Cicero spoke, the people said, "How well he speaks" but when Demosthenes had finished speaking, they said, "Let us march.”

Always aim to get them marching.


“Let Us March!” Creating Content That Captivates & Converts

This is some text inside of a div block.
read
Solopreneur