When I decided that I was going to fully relaunch my brand, I knew it was going to be a huge project. Since I’m a website designer, I know that even just a website design is a big undertaking, let alone taking all of the content of an entire business and rebranding it with entire new colors, fonts, goals, etc.
I don’t shy away from a project, so I was ready to take it on, but I knew I would learn some big lessons along the way. And I sure did!
I know you’re a savvy business friend, so you may find yourself in the place to do the same thing someday, and i would love to tell you the four best things I did during the process.
#1 - Outsourcing rocks.
I can almost hear your confusion from afar — Maggie, aren’t you a designer? And the answer is yes — I design Squarespace websites for artists and small businesses. But for this, I really wanted an outside eye to take what I wanted and put their spin on it. I wanted someone who was seeing my business for the first time, and not coming in years along like I already was.
I spent a long time researching folks, and when I came across Laura Anne Creative, I knew she would be a great fit. Her vibe fit exactly what I wanted, and after getting in touch with her, I knew that if we were living in the same city, we would definitely be real-life friends.
She presented me with two amazing concepts — it was so hard to choose what to move forward with! But what’s really so fun is that now that I’m on the other side of the process, I can see that we basically ended up exactly in the middle of the two, which is so awesome! Having a brand designer on my team meant that she was doing some of the filtering for me. She was seeing everything that I was bringing in, finding the through-lines, and trimming away all the fat. When I tell you this was the best money I’ve spent in a long time, I mean it.
Her incredible work meant that when it came time for me to work on the site, a lot of the decisions had already been made for me. I didn’t have to be choosing fonts and colors and feel — we had already done that work. It made the process of rebuilding my site so much faster — and it still took a long time.
#2 - Lists are super valuable.
Now if you could see me in real life you would know that me keeping a list is absolutely nothing new. But this was a different kind of list. Anytime I came across anything that had my branding on it, I would write it down. But what was different was that I didn’t have to do anything about it at the moment, I just wanted to know it existed.
I’ve been in business for a while, so sometimes I completely forget about the stuff that I’ve tweaked to match my brand. LikeAcuity Scheduling— my scheduling platform of choice. I totally forgot that way back in the beginning, I had chosen fonts and colors and designed that whole system to match my previous branding. So I was going to need to redo that all with the new look, too!
A little secret here — when I went live with the new brand, not all of that was done. There are some platforms that I don’t use super often, so it wasn’t important to have those done right away. But since I have the list, when I find myself with 15 extra minutes I can go back and take care of changing a logo on something that I use every once in a while. Past Maggie really took care of me by starting that list!
#3 - Don’t give yourself a deadline from the beginning.
I thrive on deadlines, so I knew that I would need a deadline eventually, but my work for my clients is my #1 priority and I never wanted that to suffer. I knew I was going to be putting in a lot of time on this rebrand, and I wanted to make sure that I was never compromising the time I was devoting to my clients and their projects.
In the beginning, this meant that progress was pretty slow, and that’s fine. But once I was over halfway done with the website,I gave myself a deadline I knew I could meet. It gave me a little pressure to get things done, but I had also done most of the work already, so I knew that I could get there.
It also lit a little fire under me to get things done when I was getting really fatigued from redoing all of the work I had done already (…but now with better branding). Once I had a deadline, I just had to meet it. It didn’t matter that I’d rather be watching Below Deck — I needed to keep going and making progress!
If I had set a deadline from the beginning, I’m going to be fully honest and tell you that I absolutely never would have met it. So many things came up along that way that required my attention and needed to come first. And that’s totally fine! But I would’ve been so disappointed in myself for not meeting it. So setting that go-live date once I was getting close to done gave me the push I needed without setting me up for failure.
#4 - Tell everyone.
I knew that this rebrand was going to be a complete change from what people were used to seeing from me, and I wanted to make sure that I was being really transparent that it was coming. I didn’t want folks all of a sudden coming in one day and having everything be new with no warning.
Telling everyone also meant that I was being quietly held accountable — clients would ask me how it was going, people on Instagram would tell me they were looking forward to the big reveal, etc. — and that was really helpful! It made it easier to put in the hours when I knew other folks were excited about it.
I even let my Instagram followers decide what day I would fully reveal everything! Secretly, I knew I would be done by the first date I listed, but I love getting other folks involved in the action. It was fun to hear what everyone wanted!
#5 - Leave your website up as long as possible.
So often I come across a “coming soon” landing page that says “we’ll be back in fall 2020!”….and it’s already January 2021. That is so frustrating to me, and it happened constantly when I was looking for a brand designer. Probably upwards of 15 times! It was bizarre — almost like everyone decided to take their websites down at the same time. And you know what? Those people are losing potential business every single time someone comes to their site and gets a coming soon page. That’s no good!
You might know that I had a coming soon page, but I had it for four days. That’s it. I waited as long as I possibly could until I needed to have the domain connected in order to be making the things happen that I wanted to happen. And I was super transparent there, as well — I let people know the date I was putting it up and how long it would be there. I wanted to be held accountable for getting back to regular business ASAP and for folks to know that if they came back in a few days, all would be 100% back to normal. There was no way I was going to leave that up past when it said!
There will come a time in every small business owner’s life that they need to completely revamp, and I hope that using a few of these tips will set you up for success when the time comes.