Building a brand while working a 9 to 5
Building a brand and working a 9 to 5 job contains some of the most daunting tasks we will ever experience in our lifetime. An entrepreneur, who creatively needs to express his ideas, dreams and aspirations are in the same pressure cooker that a breadwinner, an ultra provider is in. There is no shortage of problems to solve, physical or mental labor to overcome, and failure to be had. Each stressful situation requires a strong will, a big heart, and a impregnable mind. Each of which are grown with experience.
What if you're creative and work a job that is mentally limiting? Yeah, you can do it but it provides no stimulation, it kicks no tires and lights no fires. You feel as if you're dying upstairs as if your brain is being stripped of it's vital nutrients or depleted of its' oxygen. You know you have responsibilities, bills, and payments but you would do anything to escape. You are not alone.
To me, 2013 seems like a lifetime ago. Yet, it has only been 5 years. I can remember being in a field with a thousand ticks and chiggers looking at my daily task of pulling two-year old silt fence out of the ground for minimum wage. I was young but man I was tired, defeated, and fed-up. I remember going home and instantly getting to work. I devised a plan to escape my personal hell, thinking long and hard about my interests, my aspirations and where I wanted to be in the future. I landed on a personal passion of mine, Sneakers. Enter in DeadLaced.
TIP : Don't Think about doing it - Just Do It
I worked! I mean I really worked hard. I instantly transformed from an adolescent into a man. I began to write, and plan, and go over the plan. I set up my schedule, my to-do list for before and after work. I envisioned my brand being in magazines and on blogs, all over Twitter, and eventually on clothing. I craved creativity, to be the best person I knew how to be, to be electric, funny, and knowledgeable. I wanted the best brand because I wanted to succeed and to help others succeed. Here is an example of my first schedule:
- 9 to 5 was actually 730-4 so I wake up at 5 [30 minute hygiene - lunch making - breakfast]
- 5:30 was coffee time, email check, and review of notes
- 5:30 - 6:30 was a full hour of scheduling social media
- 6:30 - 7:00 I check my engagements and write down notes of my afternoon session.
- 7:00 - 7:15 I squeeze in a couple tweets or research
While i'm at my brainless job I continuously think about my business. How can I make it better? How can I reach my goals, both short term and long term? Am I engaging enough? How can I better someone else's life? Today, we have these powerful, micro computers in our pockets and they are truly a lifesaver. My phone allows me to never miss a beat, engaging and researching as if I'm sitting in my office. They allow me to be up to date, and on point. Most of all they give me the mentality that there are no excuses in business because it is all at our fingertips.
Your First three steps:
Choosing a Niche
Your Niche should be researched thoroughly. It should be a topic that you are both excited about and knowledgeable about. For example, If youre into hair don't start a construction brand just because you find out a construction brand makes more money. Never chase the money, as I will explain below. Think about your likes and dislikes, what you can see yourself staying up late for and waking up early for. Think about why you love it. It should be something you can see yourself quitting your job for or doing on the side for disposable income. The thought of this niche will bring a smile to your face. It will not feel like a burden to do, before or after work. It will be a pleasure.
Naming your Brand
Naming your brand is as important as finding your niche. You want your presence to be felt wherever it seen, heard, or experienced. The name must encompass what your brand is, who your brand is and what it will achieve [slogan]. A brand name should be short and electric so that it can be remembered with the slightest fire of the brain's synapse. Let's look at the sneaker world and their top brands, Nike, Adidas, Jordan, Asics, and Puma. What do all of those brands have in common? They are short, sweet, and electric, not to mention marketable. Choose your name wisely.
In today's technological world companies like UpWork and Fiverr make it extremely easy to find a graphic designer that will work with you and for you. Your logo represents your taste and your taste creatively represents what your company is all about. Picture this: You need advertising done for your app development business. You're in the market for a complete package and stumble across two competitors. Ten out of Ten times you're going to choose the competitor that visually represents itself in stunning fashion. You're logo is your consumer conduit. Visually, it represents your image, which is everything.
Tip: Perception is Reality - Not just an overused cliche
[Take time and make your logo look incredible]
The Rat Race
Here is an amazing photo by @stri_khedonia. The implications are deep and heavy. As I explained above, you should never chase the money especially when you feel as though you have a craft. Crafts, like brands and businesses, take years to develop. They require patience and careful planning. They do not require you to chase the money because once your particular craft is sharpened the money will chase you.
A rat race is described as a constant chase of the money, to pay off a debt or a bill because one is scared of being labeled poor, or scared of missing out on a payday. It also means the rat [worker] busts his rear 60-80 hours a week because he has essentially spent 80 hours worth of work on frivolous items. He will say he wants to change but with every pay increase come a bigger financial hole. Don't be the rat - Be free.
All Cliche but also all true
Three "I don't have time" Excuses
Children - A person will use their child as an excuse as to why they are not accomplishing a goal. "I have to feed my kids" "I have to take my kids to school" "I have to take them to practice". Although I agree that children are a handful, I don't feel it is an excuse to not move forward with your entrepreneurial dreams. Schedule around your children - bedtime would be my first thought.
Working Late - The most tragic individual in this world is the person who bends over backwards for a boss who does not reciprocate, even with the slightest intention, any kind of effort. I see this all of the time in small business scenarios. They fake smile, they fake care, they'll say whatever it is to make you work a bit harder, they'll break you off crumbs and take the loaf home. It's part of the rat race. The rat gets a thimbles worth of mead while the Dom Perignon is on ice. NEVER agree to work late - Reserve the second half of your day for yourself and YOUR goals.
Laziness - We've all been here. We watch a show, then eat, then watch another. We come home and lay down or pass out. We all get tired. Entrepreneurs are driven by their dreams - their day dreams. Laziness is not acceptable because it is not in their plan; not on their to-do list. The greatest remedy for a lazy person comes in turn parts: Reading and Eating Healthy. Both parts feed the brain and the body. Both are essential to success because they allow you to brainstorm, to think with clarity, to be energetic, and to be captivating.
Working a 9 to 5 and building a brand can be a tough task. It will take precise planning, deep thinking, creativity, and, in the beginning, much of your free time. Remain focused, driven, headstrong, and dedicated to your brand. Build it with respect. Care for it. Most importantly, take it seriously as if it were your only means of income. Doing so will enable you to work for yourself, happily ever after.