Hit the Books webinar recap: how to build your brand

Hit the Books with Dan Milnor is a monthly webinar about all things book-making and self-publishing. This month, we’ll discuss building your brand and explore some of the ways you can make money from your creative passions with Creative Market’s Laura Busche. If you missed our latest live webinar, don’t worry! We’ve got the entire thing recorded below.

How to build your brand with Creative Market

In this webinar, we will cover:

  • How to start building your brand as a creative entrepreneur
  • Developing a logo and brand image that differentiates your business
  • The various products you can buy, design, and sell through Creative Market
  • Finding your audience and working with a budget

Top 10 questions from our audience

1. Do you have any words of advice for transitioning your passion from hobby to trade?

Yes, and this is a very important point: Something changes when your hobby transitions from something you do for fun to something you do for revenue. Now, some people enjoy the transition, while others find it a challenging environment. Be prepared to share control with your clients. You will learn things like how to compromise without giving up your ideals or talents. Negotiating, licensing, marketing, and billing all become central to something that you originally just did for fun. My advice is to move slowly and never lose track of the fact that the most important thing is making the best work humanly possible.

2. How do you get people to respect your work (and value it) when we live in such an instant world?

This is a great question with a simple answer: make great work. It seems easy, but it’s not. Unique work, which is another way of saying “work with value,” isn’t easy to create. We can fool ourselves by talking about advances in technology or our ability to market via the Internet and social media; however, unique work is what lasts over time and lays the foundation for a multi-decade career. When someone has the ability to make work that nobody else can make, this is what provides value to clients and anyone who exists in your circle.

3. If you had to describe one thing at the center of brand and where I should start in regard to turning my creativity into a profit, what would it be?

Tell your story. Discover what makes you different and uniquely you. Take your time and figure that out.

4. Now that we all have a direct connection to our audience, what are some ways we can take advantage of this reality?

Talk to them! Blogging, as well as email newsletters, are wonderful ways to connect. You can think about asking your audience to participate. Let them join in on the discussion about creative decisions you want to make. For example, let’s say you want to make and sell a t-shirt but aren’t sure which design to deploy. Why not ask? Sample your most loyal, and perhaps offer a discount to those who help out.

5. If you were a designer and a photographer, would you separate your brands?

If I were only a photographer and did two different genres of work, I would consider different brands. With design and photography, I would say “no.” Tell your entire story and be truthful about the diversity of your skills and interests. People are engaging with you as a human as well as with what you are selling.

6. How do I get professional results without spending too much money or resources?

Start small, start focused. Take your time and study your audience. It’s important to learn who they are and what they want. Then you can focus on your branding and market on a segment of that audience.

7. What is the best way for a photographer to kick-start their business?

This is an answer you might not want to hear. Photography isn’t something you can turn on overnight. You have to do photography long enough to be able to determine what you do well. Sure, you could go to Instagram and see what’s hot at the moment. If you copy that style, you might have a good year or two, but your career will be difficult to sustain. The people who are really changing the world with photography are the ones who are marching to their own drum—not those conforming to a trend or fad. Build a site and an audience. Take the jobs that highlight what you can do and say “no, thank you” to the rest. Keeping a part-time job is better than working full-time and doing shoots you don’t want to do.

8. How important is social media for branding and making an income?

It can vary from important to critical depending on your story, your audience, and your goals. I think social media plays a role for almost everyone, but how you use these platforms takes effort and strategy. You don’t want to overshare or spend your entire life looking at a screen.

9. Do you have any suggestions for getting started?

For assets, you can use things like photography stock agencies where you’ll find images to license, or you could search something like Creative Market. We also have another blog post with our favorite free (or nearly free) resources for designers.

10. If you had to use one word to describe branding, strategy, sales, and marketing, what would it be?

Authentic. Keep it real. People can smell phony or a sales pitch from a mile away, so don’t do it—let authenticity be your virtue.


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