As a small business owner, it’s important to create a brand around your business. No longer is it adequate to simply be a freelancer. You should have something to stand behind, a brand that defines who you are and what you believe in. I recently rebranded my business to be my name. Everything I chose, from the logo to the color scheme to the tag line, defines what my business is and what my goal is. So, if you’re interested in creating your own brand, here are five things you need:

A Fantastic Name

You can create a wonderful company name as your brand. Think of all the memorable companies in existence, from Coca Cola to Tesla. Many successful companies have fantastic names, but you can also use your own, especially if you are a solopreneur. Sometimes using your own name reinforces that you are the leader of your company.

A Strong Message

It’s important to spend some time thinking about what your brand message will be. When you sit down and decide what the core themes are for your business, it not only helps give you direction but it helps you to strip away anything that does not fit within that message. For example, I used to blog about anything that had to do with personal finance, especially if it was with a sponsor. These days, I turn down thousands of sponsored opportunities on my blogs from advertisers who don’t fit in with my message or my audience. It can be hard to turn away business, but in the long run, it’s better if you have a memorable, strong message that your fans can relate to and know will be consistent.

A Great Support System

Every brand needs a great support system, whether it’s supportive, hardworking employees, or a group of other business owners who work together to help each other succeed. I’ve started to notice that many top brands are using Instagram and other social media platforms to do joint giveaways. Most recently, I saw a top jewelry company and a top shoe company create images with both of their products featured, even though they are completely separate entities. Support systems like these can help you grow your fan base and expand your reach.

All the Legalities

When you start your brand, it’s important to get all the legalities in place. You don’t want to come up with an amazing company name only to find out that someone else has already trademarked it. Make sure that your url is available as well as other urls that are even remotely similar to it. Speak to a lawyer about the best ways to protect your business from any legal problems that may arise.

Ultimately, creating your own brand is an exciting and rewarding process. I personally loved re-branding my business and taking the time to think of my core message and my audience. It has made my business stronger and I’m more excited than ever about what the future holds for my brand and my business in general.

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Catherine Alford is the go to personal finance expert for educated, aspirational moms who want to recapture their life passions, earn more, reach their goals, and take on a more active financial role in their families. Named the Best Contributor/Freelancer for Personal Finance in 2014, her writing and expertise have been featured in dozens of notable publications and in national media.

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