A few months ago Sophie and I kicked off a project that we'd been wanting to do for almost a year now. We started filming a short video for The Brand Plan.
Kicking off this project had two feelings for me: excitement and guilt. I was excited because I'm a creative person who loves making new things, and any time we can collaborate with other smart, talented people it's a great feeling. But I didn't expect to feel guilty.
When I listened a little more closely, I realized this guilt was the voice of my inner critic. Saying things like, "You've known that you've needed to do this for almost a year. I cannot believe you are JUST NOW getting to this project."
I'm supposed to be the professional marketer who keeps my clients on task — shouldn't I be making sure we're doing all the right things when it comes to our marketing?
Listening to that voice, I had to evaluate it against what was real. The interesting thing is, when I stop and think about it, Sophie and I HAD been working on this for a year. We had to let ourselves, The Brand Plan, and the business go through some pretty formative evolutions. We added new processes to the brand plan, we revamped the questions, we streamlined and optimized the deliverables and we even added an entire offering for teams. We re-wrote the positioning, and I even built several versions of new webpages to help us get clear on what exactly it is we're trying to say about this product.
Building a business is like writing a book.
When I was doing my MFA, I was really comfortable with the idea of drafting in the creative process. When you first sit down to write a book, you literally CANNOT write the final draft. Your job is to get all of the story out of your brain. And from there your job is to shape the story, to edit and refine. Maybe you get lost, and you definitely write chapters that never see the light of day. It's part of writing a book. You cannot write version 17 without first sitting down and writing version 1, 2, 3, ...16. So why would I think I could jump to "final" with my business?
I wanted to decide this short post to those of you out there who are feeling rushed. This post goes out to all of you who feel behind or ashamed that you haven't made more progress. This is for those of you who feel like "you should know better." Because the reality is you're just drafting, and that's the only way this whole thing works. So keep getting your ass to that chair, and keep going.
Books sometime need a good editor
If you've gotten as far as you can on your own, it might be time to call in some help. In my writing life, that can mean sharing my work with friends or an editor and asking them, "What do you see here? What is really the story? What is really going on."
For us, The Brand Plan has become our way of doing that for our clients. It's our way to act as an editor for our clients, helping them draw out the deep, compelling stories and draw more into the business they're becoming. It's beautiful work that we're honored to do.
I want to close this post with a small though: writing a book is hard. Building a brand is hard. But you don't have to do either alone.
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