You don’t need a logo to build a brand

When I first started my business, I thought I needed to have a brand logo, but it turned out to be a huge roadblock for me. I knew exactly what kind of logo I wanted, but I found it really challenging to convey my visual idea into the written word. I even drew a picture of what I wanted for several designers on Fiverr, and yet I still got something completely different than what I drew.

Am I speaking English? Are we looking at the same drawing I reference? I was so frustrated and eventually settled for some calligraphy version of my business name. Yep, all I ended up with was a bunch of fancy letters and I called it a “brand.”

It wasn’t until much introspection and reflection that I realized I never needed that stupid little “logo” to build a brand. Why, you might ask? Because I am my own brand. Gulp. The scariest part about that realization was the fact that now I had to go find myself. 

Known by many of my peers to have my hands dipped in many pots, I’ve always been a particularly multi-faceted individual. Growing up, I was a book worm highly motivated by summer reading contests (and seeing how many stickers I could rack up next to my name before school had event started).

Then I took up an interest in writing and decided I wanted to be a singer/songwriter when my best friend in 5th grade got me my first CD album, Daydream from Mariah Carey, as a birthday present. I was a choir girl, a cheerleader, an athlete and an excellent student. I was a pretty well-rounded child if I do say so myself.

So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to find myself in a constant predicament whenever someone asks me that dreadful question: What do you do? Hell if I know. Scratch that. I’m a writer. Not quite. I’m a marketer. Yes, but I’m so much more. I’m a hypnotherapist. Yes, but I’m also a marketing professional. I’m a life coach. Yes, but I’m also a hypnotherapist. 

So what do I do? Honestly, it depends on the day and it depends on the people I’m talking to that day. At the end of the day, I’m here to help people. I help people solve problems. It doesn’t even matter what the problem is. If there’s a problem, I want to fix it – that’s how I’ve been wired thanks to my two left-brained parents.

I especially want to fix a problem if I have or had that problem too because I get the frustration. I get the internal conflicts. I get the pain of having to do hard work even when you’d rather just not. Because I too believe there has got to be an easier way, which leads me back to this idea of why you don’t need a logo to build a brand…

My journey into entrepreneurship started shortly after the Great Recession, and right after I graduated college with a print journalism degree that was pretty much outdated by the time I graduated. My dream of writing for a newspaper or magazine had been crushed. So I postponed my graduation by one semester to take a single online journalism class that forever altered the trajectory of my career. (Thank you Danny Paskin for all your support!) 

During that class, I learned how to create a multi-media package of content that included video, audio and of course, the written word for digital publications. During that time, I also started a blog called “Dating is a Payne” at the height of my experience with the anger stage of grief and I needed a place to vent my frustrations about how backwards dating was compared to how I was raised. 

So when I applied to be the LA Singles Examiner for Examiner.com (RIP), I was the perfect candidate since I had already established myself as a singles writer through my blog. I had a problem with dating, so I set out to learn everything I could about being a better dater and how to have healthy relationships. I interviewed dating experts, I wrote book reviews and I even shared my own personal commentary on dating as I knew it at the time.

The next thing you know, I had become a “dating expert” among my friends because I writing about dating and sharing content about relationships on a weekly basis if not daily. (I’m pretty sure I annoyed some people.) During my first few years writing for Examiner.com, I took advantage of all their educational resources to teach myself everything I needed to know about marketing my words online and getting people to read something I wrote.

So naturally, I fell into a career in marketing, which I will always have a passion for me because of what effective marketing did for me and led me to career opportunities because I was so consistent…. until I wasn’t, but I swear I am working on it, especially for my newest business in coaching and hypnotherapy

Journalism school certainly taught me how to write, but it didn’t teach me anything about marketing nor the business side of writing. But all the struggle made me all the more wiser. And you know what I finally realized years later? I didn’t need a damn logo, which was my roadblock in growing my hypnotherapy practice. My real road block was a fear of being seen because in retrospect, all I needed for my “logo” was a smiling picture of my self next to my regularly published content. 

You don’t need a logo to build you brand. What you need is subject-matter expertise and the only way I know how to establish subject-matter expertise is through writing and/or speaking on a consistent basis. And a smiling photo of yourself certainly won’t hurt your personal brand by any means.

Create original content whenever you can. It did a world of wonder for me, and I know it can for you too. Choose a format that works for you and commit to publishing consistently. 

Cheers to your continued success!

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