That being said, there are still more than a few things we would have told ourselves back when we first launched Moodelier if we could. But isn’t that always the case? As a creative business, it goes without saying that there can (and probably should) be intense periods of growth, learning, dreaming, AND doing. When we launched Moodelier as starry-eyed individuals, we couldn’t have known the path that was set before us. And we wouldn’t have had it any other way.
We learned as we grew, figured things out as we went, streamlined, optimized, and grew some more. Looking back, it’s an honor and a privilege to see how far we’ve come. So today, we want to share the 5 things we would’ve told ourselves as a budding brand. Whether you’re in month one or 100, we have a feeling that these bits of advice can and will provide value for you, too.
Keep things simple
As a creative brand, it’s easy to get swept up in the opportunity of, well, creating. It’s important to remember that as a new brand, your business and livelihood rely solely on the decisions you make - over creating or oversaturating the market with your work before you really get a chance to know your audience (and what they want), can be detrimental to the health of your business.
When we launched Moodelier and our pieces, we released only 6 colors. Not only did this allow us to have a better eye on quality control, but it helped with production, too. We were able to stay on top of orders, ensure things we met in a timely manner, and not feel overwhelmed (keyword: not) in the infancy of our offering.
And guess what? Not only did those 6 specific colors do well on their own, but they quickly became an icon for the Moodelier brand as a whole. When people see the pastel tones, they immediately associate them with our brand.
Being an expert (and in this case, we became “experts” in the sense of offering fun, minimalistic and pastel pieces) while earning your audience’s trust is huge. Start small, keep things simple, and grow from there.
Know your audience
Often overlooked, this very well may be the most important bit of advice we share with you today!
A brand without an audience is a hobby - without someone to sell to, you’re unable to really sell. Once you know the audience you want to target, you’re able to also create services and products that are catered to their interest.
For example, we knew from the start that Moodelier’s ideal audience consisted of photographers, content creators, set designers, art directors, and really anyone who wanted to create stunning visuals both digitally and physically. Once we gained a clear picture of *that* audience, we were able to create pieces through that mindset.
We asked ourselves, “what would ____ want?” and, “if I were _____, would this specific piece and colorway excite me?”
We were able to take on the eyes of our audience, because we took the time to get to know them mentally, through countless hours of research of Instagram profiles, websites and portfolios.
So, before you even launch your product or service, take a moment and ask yourself - who am I targeting, and what would they want?
Be comfortable with learning as you go
There’s an interesting mindset in our creative community, and it cloaks itself in perfectionism. So many creative business owners become far too focused in achieving perfection before finally going after the business of their dreams.
While it’s important to put in the work before you launch (through getting the basics together, and identifying your audience), it’s also important to remember to not become frozen in fear of imperfection.
As an example, when Moodelier launched, our pieces were not made to order. This led to extra expenses for us, the business, out of pocket, and created a more chaotic ordering process. Once we identified the issue (being that we were ordering pieces ahead of time), we transitioned to a made to order, preordering model. Switching all orders to preorder allowed each and every one of our customers to choose the exact piece they want, within a previously announced preordering window, so that they’d never have to deal with the, “sorry, we’re out of stock” notification again.
Other things we learned as we went?
We learned how to take beautiful photos, and how to create incredible floral arrangements and installations to market our own pieces. We also learned how to throw an Instagrammable event (pre-COVID). These were skills that we didn’t expect to pick up, but now have in our back pockets to utilize throughout the years.
Don’t forget to be open to learning, and learn to love it, too.
Hire for your weaknesses
We entrepreneurs love to take on every task, don’t we?
We’ll launch a creative business, and then expect ourselves to suddenly become experts at marketing, accounting, writing, creating, organizing and managing. In the “normal” world, these specific tasks would all be distributed and separated for different people. For us, however, we tend to try to do it all.
While it’s noble to want to master everything, the reality is that we just don’t have the time or capacity to do so. Also, by spending time trying to master that *one* thing we struggle with, we’re taking time away from the things we thrive while doing.
And we want to thrive, right?
After launching Moodelier, it quickly became clear that we needed to identify our weaknesses, and hire for them instead. By outsourcing for those specific tasks, we were able to free up our time and creative energy, actually grow our business, easily pay back the monthly outsourcing investment, and increase our revenue.
In fact, we came across a book that will forever change the way we view hiring and outsourcing: Rocket Fuel by Wickman & Winters. Without spoiling too many details, Rocket Fuel walks you through identifying whether you’re a visionary, or an integrator. The goal is to be able to identify your own strengths as a brand owner, while hiring someone with opposite and complementary strengths to round out your business. We strongly recommend the book, but feel free to take the quiz to identify whether you’re an integrator, or a visionary, here.
So, yes, we’re big fans of outsourcing here at the Moodelier headquarters.
We encourage you to take a moment, sit down and evaluate the things you and your team are excellent at, and areas that could use improvement or adjustment. From there, hire and never look back.
Be open to feedback
Whether you’re a product-based or service-based business, one thing is standard across all fronts: you have to be open and accepting to any and all constructive feedback.
Yes, there will be times where people will needlessly and senselessly tear you down. Those are the times where you should ignore them, and take the higher route.
But there will also be times where you’ll receive heartfelt and constructive feedback on ways to improve your work or your offer, and at first, it’ll sting a bit. Since your business is so closely aligned to you, it can be easy to feel like that feedback is a direct attack on you personally.
We want to remind you that Rome wasn’t built in a day (or three), and that everyone receives feedback from time to time. Think of it as a free way to improve your business - rather than spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a business coach, your clients and customers are willing to take the time to share feedback with you to better your brand. That’s huge, and should be taken seriously!
The best part about gracefully accepting feedback is that those clients who do have thoughts and insight to constructively share, tend to become customers for life. By being transparent, open and honest, you’re gaining their buy in and trust.
Be willing to accept feedback, make possible revisions (if and when they make sense), and keep growing.
And for a bonus tip: just remember to have fun
Seriously. Have fun.
We chose the creative lifestyle because we wanted the freedom and autonomy to have fun in our careers. While running a brand is serious and risky business, there should still be space to enjoy the fruits of your labor, and remember that you’re achieving your dreams, one day at a time.
You deserve it.
Extra bonus because we love to share resources
We’re popping into this part of your world with 3 of our absolute must-have business resources. All of which are books, and have made an incredible impact on our growing and ever-evolving brand.
Don’t worry, none of these are affiliate links. We just love these resources *that* much.
Without further ado, keep on reading for a brief synopsis of each book, below 👇
Donald Miller’s Building a StoryBrand
If you’ve ever struggled with building out a compelling marketing strategy for your brand and attracting your ideal audience, this is the book for you. Donald Miller has a gift when it comes to teaching in a way that is both interesting, and easy to understand. Building a StoryBrand is a must-read for every business, however creative, big or small.
Wickman and Winters’ Rocket Fuel
We could go on and on about this one, but we’ll keep it brief: this book single-handedly taught us about, well, us. Rocket Fuel showed us our strengths, while teaching us who to hire in order to truly and impactfully grow. After reading this, you’ll know your strengths, your weaknesses, and who to compatibly work with in order to build your brand.
Russell Brunson’s Traffic Secrets
So, you have an incredible website, and… no website traffic. Sound familiar? Fellow creative, we’ve all been there, and we’ve all learned to love the power behind a website that converts traffic to actual business opportunities. So much of the work behind an impactful website is done by utilizing the right traffic-building online strategies. If you’ve ever wondered how to boost your website clicks or increase conversion rates, you’ll want to grab this book.
Who were we kidding? We added a fourth.
Count this resource as today’s extra tip - if you haven’t heard of Thingtesting, just go ahead and thank us now.
When we discovered Thingtesting, we were in awe of the sheer amount of incredible up and coming brands included on the site. Then we had that “aha” moment we creatives all crave - we realized that Thingtesting is an amazing resource for discovering and pitching to new brands as a photographer.
Many of these brands are VC-backed (meaning they have a healthy marketing budget). Being that they’re newly up and coming, there’s a great opportunity for you, the photographer, to make connections and pitch your work.
Take a look at Thingtesting here, and enjoy those pitches!
Because pitching? It’s a Mood.
First photo: @dianewithonen
Second photo: @neekmason
Third photo: @neekmason
Fourth photo: @weekendcreative