When folks sign up for my branding newsletter, the first thing I ask is “what are you struggling with in your brand?” When I first created my newsletter, I expected the answers to be all over the place and while there's been a decent variety, over time I've noticed a trend.
Consistency is tough for all of us
It seems like so many of you struggle with being consistent in your brands. I totally get it. Consistency is a complex, relentless beast.
You've got all these ideas, but you don't know where to start. There are so many responsibilities, distractions, and “shoulds” pulling at you every second of every day. Sometimes you just can't find your groove. And on top of all that, you can't help nitpicking at your own brand as it starts to feel lackluster and stale.
So how in the heck are you supposed to be consistent with the weight of all this dragging you down? I wish I could tell you there's some magic formula, and while I can provide a guide I can't promise you it will be easy. But sometimes a shot of honesty and insight is just what you need to get your head right and find your focus.
So with that in mind, these are the steps that help me be more consistent. I hope they can do the same for you!
1. Get your priorities straight.
When you're a one-person-business or even a small team, and you've got 1.6 bajillion ideas all playing bumper cars in your head, it's hard to know where to start. You feel all this pressure to choose the “right” idea. Meanwhile that same pressure keeps you paralyzed for fear you'll pick the wrong one.
So what do you do? Start by listing out all your responsibilities and ideas. Just getting them out of your head and onto paper will help ease your anxiety. From there you can begin to prioritize them. What needs to get done today? What can wait until next week? When can you find time for the work that lights you up and keeps you sane?
From here the pecking order of what needs to get done and when will start to come together. Then you can work on the blend of getting your responsibilities accomplished while also making progress on the things that inspire you, give you life, and bring you closer to where you actually want to be in work and life.
2. Just get started.
Once you've got your priorities in order, don't waste any time. I've found that spending time “deciding” is an absolute energy killer. If you can, decide what your tomorrow will look like today. That way, when your day starts you can dig in right away.
Stop second-guessing yourself about starting with the “right” thing and all those other ideas waiting on the back burner. If you try to do them all at once, you won't make progress on much of anything. You've already prioritized, now channel your laser focus on that first thing, tune everything else out, and start doing.
3. Set it and forget it.
When you're working on being consistent in your brand, repetitive tasks can be a total time suck. To avoid this black hole of monotony, implement systems wherever you can. Automating any tasks you can will save you more time than you can imagine. Meanwhile, using templates will bake consistency right into your brand.
What are some examples of systems and templates you can put in place?
- Project management
- Your client process
- Canned email responses & newsletter templates
- Social media templates & scheduling
- Your branding
That's right. Even your branding counts as a system. Think about it. Systems back you up. You create them and do the work once, and then they work for you while saving you tons of time. Your branding is an investment up front, but then it does the work of making you recognizable and trustworthy in the sea of others doing what you do.
With systems in place, you can stop redoing what you've already done before and spend more time making progress on your goals. Honestly, using systems almost feels like cheating when you first begin but it's not. It's working the smarter way, and all the while people will start to wonder how you manage to be so consistent.
4. Make the commitment.
I find that I don't get much of anything done unless I have a deadline and/or someone else's expectations holding me accountable. However, many times we need to create this sense of urgency for ourselves.
You want to create a product? Figure out when you can (realistically) release it and work backwards from there. Write out the steps you think will be necessary and create a schedule for yourself. Want to blog weekly? Where can you make the time in your schedule, and when will you have it ready to post each week?
You have to show up. Day by day. Time after time. Over and over again. Consistently.
If you want to be consistent, it starts with the commitment to show up and do the work. To kickstart this process, it helps immensely to make the commitment in public or on social media or to your subscribers. Or find an accountability partner you can check in with regularly. Getting your goals out of your head and in front of others makes them more real and creates the sense of urgency we all need to get things done.
5. Show up.
It may seem like common sense, but after you commit to show up you actually need to do it. You have to show up. Day by day. Time after time. Over and over again. Consistently.
6. Wear your brand proudly.
To breed consistency within your brand, you need to be cohesive and consistent with how you use it. From the typefaces and colors you use to the voice you write in, your brand makes you recognizable to the world. Sure, it's easy to get sick of your own logo and brand assets or to feel insecure about your voice, but that's because you live with them every day. Trust me, no one else feels that way.
There are certainly times when you should rebrand or switch things up, but not just because you're bored with what you have. It's impossible to be consistent if you keep reinventing your brand every other week. Instead find power in showing up consistently, and use your time and energy to bring yourself closer to those goals of yours.
7. Keep showing up.
That's right. This isn't a one-and-done type of thing. When you commit to showing up consistently, you need to keep showing up. Even when you're distracted. Even when you don't feel like it.
Believe me, I know this is hard. Like I told you before, I wish that I had a magic wand that could give you a library of insightful weekly blog articles and perfectly curated feed of social media posts but the true magic is in showing up each day.
It will not be easy, but take a look back at those priorities. Sometimes it will be hard and you'll need to hustle and work late and avoid Netflix like the plague. But in the end you need to decide what's more important to you. Would you rather spend your nights relaxing on the couch, or are you ready to do the work needed to make your dreams come true? It's up to you. No one else is going to do this for you.
One thing I can tell you is that month after month of showing up consistently—when people finally start to take notice—the late nights and sacrifices melt away and you will feel so very proud that you chose to be one of the few that did the work.