Branding. Just the word probably either makes your skin crawl, because you don’t know how to do it, or makes you want to lay your head down and cry, because you’ve tried so hard but can’t quite seem to get it right. Unfortunately for us, as business owners (yes, as a Teacher-Seller, you are indeed a business owner!), branding is as important to our businesses as making sure we’ve got our business finances sorted out.
Hold Up! What Is Branding, and Why Does It Matter?
Branding refers to the way a business (or institution, or whatever it may be) is visually represented. Branding includes things such as a company logo, the colors used, the fonts used, and the overall feel or vibe that it’s all giving off aesthetically. Brand recognition is really important for businesses because, well, you want people to recognize your stuff when they see it! If a teacher is scrolling through Pinterest and sees one of your pins, and your branding is really consistent, then the next time they see another one of your pins, they’ll recognize it and know it’s from your Teachers Pay Teachers store. Then, the hope is that he or she thinks something along the lines of, “Oh, hey! I know that TpT seller, and I like her products. I want to check this out.” And bada-bing, bada-boom, you’ve hopefully landed another sale, all because your branding is consistent.
Oh, Okay. Cool. Why Do YOU Care About Branding?
When I first launched my virtual assistant business, I had a real food and holistic lifestyle blog, because I was really interested in those topics at that time in my life (I still am, I just don’t want to blog about them anymore). I had a really hard time branding that blog and my VA business! This is because the name of my blog went really well with the topics I wanted to write about, but squishing a VA business into the mix…it just wasn’t working. I also didn’t love the colors on my blog, and I didn’t have a consistent style with the graphics I made for my posts and social media. Basically, it was a hot mess.
GIF credit to PopSugar
And let’s, like, not even talk about my Teachers Pay Teachers store and what it looked like until September of 2017, because it was even MORE of a hot mess express. (And it’s still a work in progress now, because I just can’t stay up for however many days in a row it would require to do nothing but fully revamp and update 120+ really old resources to be higher quality and more consistent with my branding…but it will get done eventually!)
So, how did I get here? I’m assuming that if you’re on this page, then you’ve taken some time to look around my website a little bit and have observed that my branding is locked down these days. Back in September and October of 2016, when I made the transition to working from home full-time, I did a full business re-brand, so I spent quite a bit of time deciding how I wanted my business to be represented visually and aesthetically. And I did it all myself. I asked some friends for their thoughts on font pairings I was considering, but…that was about it. I made my own logo and buttons, I chose my new brand colors, I set up my new website and installed the theme and customized the theme…all by myself. Fun fact: I did try to hire a graphic designer to design my logo, but one was too expensive and the other…didn’t get back to me, or didn’t have availability, I can’t remember now. Sign: Do it myself. Another fun fact: I did try to hire the designer of my website theme to customize it for me, but she happened to be moving across the country at the time and completely flaked out on me, after (I think) the move was over – even though I gave her access to my WordPress account, she didn’t do the work. Sign: Do it myself.
GIF credit to The Odyssey Online
Back in 2016, a client suggested that I offer some kind of brand analysis service for Teachers Pay Teachers sellers. She thought that a lot of Teacher-Sellers would be interested in this kind of service and would really appreciate the guidance on improving their stores and businesses. I liked the idea, and I’ve had it in the back of my mind ever since, but I haven’t really known how to act on it…
…Until now, because I’ve got some major changes to my VA client schedule coming up soon, and I’ve been brainstorming like crazy how to handle these shifts. Seriously, it’s been like fireworks in my brain these last couple of weeks, coming up with new ideas and new ways to grow my business. I’m happy to report that those fireworks didn’t deteriorate my brain but instead actually gave me a few really solid and actionable ideas. Woo!
Finally, I had some ideas and concepts for how I could offer this to Teacher-Sellers in a meaningful way. Then, I threw the ideas out there to a few trusted folks, and they came back with some great suggestions that helped me further clarify and define what I want to offer. And now, here I am, ready to tell you all about it! So buckle up, because we’re going for a ride.
Brand Analysis Packages
I’ve already done a fair amount of talking so far on this page, so in explaining these packages, I’m going to keep it to the bare bones, because that’s all you really care about, right? You want to know what I’m going to give you, how much time I’m going to dedicate to you, and what you’re going to get out of it. You don’t need quirky quips and funny GIFs. Right.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The prices listed below are introductory prices! 🙂
Package 1: $65
- I will thoroughly analyze your Teachers Pay Teachers store: your logo, your quote box, your store banners, your product covers, your previews, your descriptions, and anything else that catches my eye as part of your brand. I will complete a form that I’ll provide to you about 24 hours prior to our Google Hangout (see below) that has my observations on strengths and weaknesses, as well as concrete suggestions for improvement in your brand recognition and consistency. This way, you have time to read over my observations and suggestions ahead of our Google Hangout.
- Then, we will chat “face-to-face” for 30 minutes on a follow-up Google Hangout to go over said observations of and suggestions for your store, if you’d like further explanation or clarification, and to answer your questions. I will also share a few specific Teacher-Sellers who have done an exceptional job with their branding for you to study as inspiration. The Teacher-Sellers being recommended as examples here have provided me with permission to do this.
- You will receive a copy of the form I complete so that you can use it to help you improve your store after our consultation.
- You will receive a 25-page Brand Planning Workbook PDF to help you work through your ideas of your brand and to provide you with a foundation to start improving your branding in a focused and decisive way: your brand colors, your fonts, your product cover templates, and much more!
Package 2: $97
- This package includes everything in Package 1, except I’ll spend 45 minutes on a Google Hangout with you during our follow-up (instead of just 30 minutes).
- In addition to analyzing your store, I’ll also ask you to email me three different products that you sell in your store. In analyzing your products, I will be looking for fonts, style consistency, and other similar branding patterns that you use within your products. I would like to analyze products from different product lines or that are otherwise unrelated to one another, since products within the same product line are often more consistently styled. This request is purely for my analysis of your brand consistency within your products, and your products will not be sold, shared, or otherwise distributed once in my possession. After our work together is done, I will move your three products to my Recycle Bin on my computer and then permanently delete them.
- I do request that you keep the three products you send to me at 100 pages or less in length. Thank you!
Package 3: $130
- This package includes everything in both Packages 1 and 2, except I’ll spend one hour on a Google Hangout with you during our follow-up (instead of just 30 or 45 minutes).
- In addition to the services in the two packages above, I’ll also analyze your blog/website and your blog and store Pinterest boards for brand consistency. I’ll look over the design, fonts, graphics within your blog posts, style of your product pins, and so on. I’ll also analyze and compare how the branding of these other aspects of your business connects to the branding of your store.
To recap, in all of these packages, you get:
- My thorough analysis of your brand and how it’s represented
- A Google Hangout with me to discuss my analysis, observations, and suggestions for improvement
- A form, completed by me, with details of my analysis, observations, and suggestions for improvement for you to keep and utilize for improving your business’s brand (so that you don’t have to take notes during our Hangout or try to remember everything that was said!)
- A workbook PDF to help you nail down what you really want your branding to look like
The Best Days by Julie Santello
Having another set of eyes affirm some of what I'm doing and give me pointers for ways to make my brand and store more consistent is extremely helpful! I know I'm going to be able to make some changes right away that will help, while there are a few things I need to fully mull over to decide the direction I want to go.
Regardless - I couldn't be more pleased with Leslie's professionalism and expertise during the call! (Especially considering both of my kiddos decided 30 minutes was farrr too long for mommy not to talk to THEM.)
If branding is something you want help with - I HIGHLY recommend working with Leslie. She'll give you ideas and a fresh perspective. Because sometimes our own eyes go "blind" to certain things, and we can use the help. My only "wish" is that I could have done this back when I was just starting with my store so I didn't have as much "clean up" to do now.
And let's not forget about the branding workbook. While I've had colors and fonts picked out for awhile now, this was a great way to think through the entire process (something I should have done YEARS ago!) and really make it all "click" and work together. This is going to be a lifesaver if I ever go for a different look down the road, but it was a great refresher to think through ways to bring everything together to be more cohesive.
Thank you, Leslie! Your work was great and I highly recommend this package to any TpTer looking to improve upon their branding.
HoJo's Teaching Adventures
Other Things That Need to Be Discussed
As much as possible, I would like to make sure the Hangouts are scheduled Monday through Friday, because I typically either don’t work on the weekends (#selfcare) or like to spend time on the weekends working on my own business things. I would prefer to have at least 48 business hours to give myself ample time to analyze your store (and other items, depending on which package you purchase) and to complete the form I’ll be giving you with my observations and suggestions before our Hangout.
Below, you will see a Google Form to complete to let me know that you want to purchase a package. In that Form, I will ask you to detail your availability, starting with 48 business hours after the day you complete the form through the following two weeks so that we can find a time we’re both available for the Google Hangout. Please be sure to include what time zone you’re in when listing your availability. Then, I will email you with a date and a time, after I compare your availability to mine, and will send you a Google Calendar invitation.
Therefore, please don’t expect to complete the Google Form and have everything done the same day. I am running my own Teachers Pay Teachers store and a virtual assistant business, so I can’t turn things around quite that fast. 🙂 But, I will make sure this service is done as soon as possible with my best effort and attention to detail.
As you have seen, the prices for each package are listed above. In the Form below, you will select which package you want to purchase, and I will ask for the correct PayPal email address to send you an invoice, directly from my PayPal business account, for you to pay for your chosen package. When you complete the Form below and we schedule the Hangout, I will invoice you for 50% of your chosen Brand Analysis Package’s cost, which will be due upon receipt. Then, after my analysis and our Google Hangout are completed, I’ll invoice you for the remaining 50% of your package, which will also be due upon receipt.
What Happens If You Want Someone to Actually UPDATE Your Branding for You?
Here’s the thing: I’m happy to analyze your brand and help you nail down some strategies to improve it, but I’m not a graphic, website, or logo designer, so I can’t do the work of actually updating your things for you. BUT! The excellent news for you is that I’ve partnered* with Sareeta Lopez of Flight & Scarlet, who completed my Teacher-Seller Virtual Assistant School and who has worked with Teacher-Sellers in a virtual assistant capacity. However, Sareeta also offers graphic design services around product cover templates, social media graphics, cover/header photos, and other similar things. If, after working with me on your Brand Analysis Package, you’d like to be connected with Sareeta to start overhauling your branding, then say the word, and I’ll connect the two of you!
*Important note: While I’ve partnered with Sareeta to offer you this, there is no crossover or overlap between us in payment, work agreements, or anything of that nature. You will complete the Form below and pay me directly for your Brand Analysis Package, and when you work with Sareeta, you will discuss the improvements you’re seeking, work out a working agreement, and pay her directly for her graphic design services. I am simply making the referral to Sareeta when you tell me you’d like to work with her to start updating your branding. Please don’t hesitate to ask me questions you have about this partnership.
you have additional questions before you want to commit to working with me? Please email me at email@example.com, and I’ll be happy to answer them for you!