How To Brand Your Mumpreneur Business

Last week I wrote about why branding is so important in business, even if you’re just running a little business from your kitchen table.

Today I’m reviewing a product that will help you to create your stand-out brand.

That product is called Build a Brand and it’s by Australian-based mumpreneur Karen Gunton.

Karen is a Canadian living in Australia and we got to know each other because her blog Build a Little Biz is just so close to what I’m doing here at Business Plus Baby. (…Except she says “awesome” and “badass”. Somehow that doesn’t sound right coming from a Brit like me and frankly I’m a bit envious!)

Anyway, I’ve loved what Karen does at over a Build a Little Biz since the day I first found her, so I’ve been eagerly anticipating her first product for mumpreneurs.

And I have to say it really is fabulous.

Build a Brand grew out of Karen’s experience of starting her own photography business:

after 2 years of struggling to stand out in the crowd of little mum-run photography businesses i realized that if I was going to be competitive and make money doing what i loved, i needed to get serious about my business and find a way to stand out and look professional.

She decided to start afresh with her brand but had to spend hours trawling the internet and the library searching for what she needed.

i applied the methods of the big corporate identities and adapted the instructions from the online marketing gurus and until i had something that would work for my little, mum-run, at-home business.

To get branding right, you need to understand what’s unique about your product/service, then get that message across in every interaction you have with the outside world – your logo, colour scheme, tagline, business card, Facebook page, the room where you meet your clients, everything.

It’s a tall order but Build a Brand takes you through all the steps beautifully, from making sure you understand what a brand is, to taking you through the creative process of finding your own brand, then deciding on your logo, business name and tagline, to putting it all together into a seamless brand. At the end of the workbook is a practical and detailed checklist of how to implement your brand on your blog, website, business cards, Facebook page, Twitter, email, newsletter and every other place it need to be.

And if you’ve already got a brand that isn’t working for you, there’s advice on whether to change it or refresh it. Plus how to create a buzz around your brand’s launch (or relaunch).

Karen wisely encourages you to get a professional designer to create your logo for you as you can usually spot a hand-made logo a mile away! But working through her steps on logo design will mean you arrive at the designers’ door with a clear idea of what you want, which saves time, hassle and of course money. There’s even a directory of designers where you can get a discount as a buyer of Build a Brand.

(One of the designers in the directory, Kim of Boutique By Design, has just designed the new logo for my Earn What You Deserve as a Mumpreneur e-course and I really recommend her – she was brilliant to work with.)

But what I like most about Build a Brand is that it takes a confusing and complex subject and tells you precisely what you need to know as a busy small business owner. Then it takes you through branding your business in easy-to-follow steps. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by branding, but Build a Brand cuts right through it all, giving you exactly what you need to know and do.

If you’re concerned about Build a Brand being from outside the UK, don’t be. The information inside would apply anywhere in the world and as we’re all heavily reliant on the internet there isn’t that much difference between living in Aberdeen or Adelaide these days. (Kim of Boutique by Design is in Canada, which was actually an advantage as she was working on my logo while I was asleep!) The workbook is an instant electronic download, so there’s no waiting for delivery.

Build a Brand is $67 Australian (about £40 or US$67 at time of writing this post) for the e-workbook, plus you can buy packages that include access to a members-only brand building forum and 1-to-1 coaching too.

That’s a fraction of what a  marketing coach or consultant would cost. And when you think of how much branding mistakes will cost you, both in lost sales and in printing/website design when you have to rebrand later on,  I’d say this is a good investment. And that’s not even counting the time and money you save by using the logo designer directory.

Click here to buy Build a Brand…

(I’ve seen just the workbook, but one look at Karen’s blog or Facebook page shows just how much she knows and is happy to share with other mums in business, so I’ve no doubt at all that her forum and coaching will be top quality).

This post contains affiliate links.

Review: The Virtual Assistant Handbook – Nadine Hill

Ever considered being a virtual assistant?

If you’re not sure what a virtual assistant (or VA) is, here’s a quick introduction. A VA works remotely on tasks like administration, bookkeeping, event organisation, telephone answering and personal assistance. Small businesses who need admin support but don’t want an employee can hire a VA by the hour. VAs usually work from their own home and many never meet their clients face-to-face. (You can read more in Business Ideas For Mums: Virtual Assistant.)

The Virtual Assistant Handbook is the only guide for UK-based VAs. I’m not just saying that as a compliment, it really is the only one! Fortunately, it’s an excellent book.

Being a VA appeals to lots of mums because many have administration experience, but self employment is far more flexible than being employed. Sounds great so far? Not surprisingly, there are a few snags along the way, but this book deals with all of them in turn.

First of all, Nadine explains that being a VA is not for you if you want to be handed work and to then quietly get on with it. A client will be looking for a self-starter, someone with their own ideas who isn’t afraid to ‘manage’ them. You will also need to get out there and look for work (not always easy if you’re used to getting things done behind-the-scenes). The VA handbook gives you plenty of useful advice on how to do this, even if you know nothing about marketing.

Nadine talks about her own experience of starting a VA business throughout and shares the challenges she encountered and the lessons she has learned. Finding clients (online, networking, PR and more), getting started, setting a price, selling extra services and future development are all covered in a clear, honest and practical way.

If you’re thinking of starting out as a virtual assistant in the UK, this is essential reading.

You can buy The Virtual Assistant Handbook from Amazon.

Photo: RLHyde

Review: Mum Ultrapreneur – Susan Odev and Mark Weeks

What’s a Mum Ultrapreneur? After reading this book, I know that she’s someone who wants an alternative to the corporate life. To embrace the strength, determination and creativity that mothers have always had and build a business with it.

The book takes an original approach by being made up of several sections that you can use in any way that works for you. The sections include interviews with mumpreneurs, an action plan to help you get your own business idea and Gemma’s story, a fictional account of a mum who starts her own business.

The acronym ‘SPARKLES’ is used to explain the qualities you need as a mumpreneur. ‘SPARKLES’ is the theme that weaves the different sections of the book together. (But I’d be giving too much away if I revealed what the letters stand for!)

The interviews with mumpreneurs are excellent. They show these Mum Ultrapreneurs are ordinary mums who went out there and just did it. That the difference between thinking about starting a business and being a successful business mum is really just about taking action.

Gemma’s story didn’t really click with me –  I’d have preferred a more straightforward, non-fiction explanation of the SPARKLES concept. Having said that, parts of her story were very similar to my own, especially having bursts of creativity when I was pregnant and totally shattered, then collapsing and achieving very little once the baby was born. If you like to learn through stories, you may really enjoy reading about Gemma.

This book is good for getting you moving and for boosting your self-belief. With many mums saying that they would start a business if only they knew how, it’s great that there’s a book out there that tackles the vital first step in the process.  However, Mum Ultrapreneur doesn’t cover the nuts and bolts of starting a business (and doesn’t claim to), so I’d suggest reading it alongside Antonia Chitty’s The Mumpreneur Guide or Anita Naik’s Kitchen Table Tycoon.

You can buy Mum Ultrapreneur from Amazon.

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