How Do You Shine?

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NO MORE DIMMING YOUR LIGHT.

When’s the last time you celebrated your uniqueness?

Or felt gratitude for the power inside of you?

Have you truly embraced the gifts and talents you were born with?

Or do you keep it a secret, afraid of how big it is and how everyone might judge you for shining so brightly?

There’s a part of you that’s still hiding, that nobody sees, waiting to be set free.

And you know it’s holding you back.

You were born to change the world.

You have a one-of-a-kind calling and sharing it with the masses is what you’re here to do. You already know that; it’s the motivation behind your business and every amazing client you serve.

You also know the only way to serve more aligned clients is to become more of who you already are.

No more resisting and avoiding.

No more hiding in the shadows, thinking you don’t deserve more.

Let’s celebrate the hell out of what you were created for.

Over the next several weeks, I’m going to be sharing how to show up as the brighter YOU in every area of your life. We’re tapping in deeper so that you can go higher in all areas of yourself:

- Self-love and appreciation
- Self-confidence
- Self-worth
- Your untapped potential
- Your unique talents
- Courage to be more you
- Connection with your tribe

Because when you do all of this, the universe responds.

The layers of YOU are essentially endless, which means there’s more work to be done. The more you connect to your deeper self, the better you show up for your own clients.

It’s time to stop being afraid of what you know you can do.

The part you’re avoiding? Is the piece the world needs.
Release fears. 
Banish shame.
No more hiding. 
Just total freedom and wholeness.

Own it. Share it. Be it.

Show them what your soul is made of.

I’ll be sharing the next 30 days of inspiration on my facebook page and instagram feed, but if you want more you can join the email list and get reminders, recaps, and receive my daily SHINE graphic that doubles as a phone wallpaper.

You’ll also automatically get my free 34-page ebook all about how to Stand Out and Get Noticed online.

Own who you truly are and show the world.

Join us here —> http://erinkmonaghan.com/shine

Why and When You Should Update Your Brand Logo

Why and When you should Update Your Brand Logo

You know how important your logo is, and you've already managed to hack one out - whether it was from Fiverr, your assistant or Canva - you got the job done. 

But is it working for you? 

How do you know? 

When is a good time to update it? 

Do you even need to? 


Here’s how to know if it’s time for a revamp and why you might need one sooner than you think:

Reasons why you need to update:

A strong brand logo has key benefits for your business success. How you’re perceived is everything.

Do you look modern and professional? or outdated and amateur? NEWS FLASH - it only takes a couple seconds for someone to judge this about you. 

1 - A strong logo tells people what you do and who you do it for.  It carries meaning, often on a subtle subconscious level.


2 - A strong presentation leads to a strong perception. Look legit, create trust. In a nutshell? Dress for the job you want. You’re not going to attract high-end clients if you yourself do not look high end.


3 - A recognizable logo is a way to stand out. It’s an opportunity to become memorable and recognizable. Do you look like all the other brands out there? (Current trend to avoid: Gold Foil Script)


So how do you know when it’s time to redesign your logo?

1 - It looks old, dated, from a specific era, and makes people think they traveled back in time. Remember the 1st websites ever?

Trends and tastes change, and that can affect perceptions of your logo. When people see a logo that looks outdated, they perceive YOU as out-of-touch. When you’re selling high-ticket services, the last thing you need to give off is that you don’t know what you’re doing.

Rule of thumb? Every 5 years (minimum) your logo needs a refresh.

2 - It doesn't accurately reflect where you are now

Entrepreneurs evolve faster than your average business.

Businesses evolve to survive and stay relevant.
Entrepreneurs evolve as part of the work to finding your deeper purpose.
Combine the 2 and it’s no surprise you feel like you’re ever-changing.

So, if you're not the same business or the same person from a year ago, why do you have the same logo?


3 - It’s not in synch with everything else you’re doing

Maybe your business focus hasn’t changed, but how you present it to the world has. If you’ve recently changed colors or vibes (new photoshoot anyone?), it’s worth taking a look at the entire brand to make sure you’re in alignment. 

Rebranding should always go hand-in-hand with updating your logo so that everything communicates a seamless message.

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Just like your website, your logo creates an immediate impression.

Within seconds of viewing, it gives people a perception of your business - and you only get that 1st impression once.

A logo is not the end-all be-all of your organization, but, like all your efforts, it certainly makes a difference.

There’s no definitive timeframe for a brand update, but if you’re feeling like something’s off and you’ve evolved beyond the “template” look, follow your gut.

If you look at your logo design and it just doesn’t feel like it represent who you are —today, at this very moment— then you know it’s time to elevate to the next level.

Having a strong image that represents your brand that people can easily visualize?

POTENTIAL MONEY IN THE BANK. 

A generic or dusty old logo that turns people off? Much more likely to hurt your business. 

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Need help? 

I have 2 open spots right now for the woman who knows she's ready for a branding upgrade.

You're tired of doing it yourself & looking less than your best online.

What you want most is someone who hears you and brings your essence to the screen.

That's what I do - 

High-quality, anything-but-boring and above-the-rest are my specialty.

If you know it’s time to up your game, I’m all ears.

I help other industry leaders OWN IT. Reach out. We have no time to waste.

CLICK HERE for flat-rate visual branding packages.

—> http://erinkmonaghan.com/work-with-me-1

How to stop looking unprofessional and amateur online

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Sick of looking at your own logo?

Gah... what was I THINKING?!

Your branding feels gross. You threw something together years ago from a template. Or, you're still trying to bootstrap it with your assistant doing your graphics. 

You're more than ready for an upgrade because you're tired of looking at what's going on now.

Its ugly. 

Boring.

It feels unprofessional. 

If you want to be taken seriously, professional and personalized online branding is not optional. You want to look like the amazing rockstar expert that you ACTUALLY are.

Who doesn't?

Hi I'm Erin & I'm your resident branding expert. I'm here to help you take your branding from lame to LIT AF.

I've spent almost 20 years in this industry, and I've worked with everyone from agencies, non profits, big box companies, and most recently, entrepreneurs.

Your big goal is to captivate your audience in the handful of seconds you have (2-8 before they lose interest, by the way).

So what can you actually do that accomplishes that? If you don't get the branding right on the front end, nothing else is going to work effectively. 

Step 1 is getting absolutely CLEAR on what you want ... and what you don't want.

I just talked to a new client today and ran through my standard questionnaire to help me understand her business better. These questions give me clarity on my client, but they also help YOU fill in some gaps that you might not have thought about yet. 

I'm sharing my top five brand clarity questions right now to help you start this process on your own.

You can use these questions to assess your own business and get super clear on what direction you're going in terms of your brand look and feel. 

Ready?

1 - What are logos / brands out there that you REALLY like?

You buy them because of packaging or you always drool over how cool they look. There's a certain style that draws you in. This will give you hints on the aesthetic you're naturally drawn to.

Why does this matter ? Because your brand is an extension of YOU and as much as we're going to be making it amazing for the customer, its vibration and essence comes down to YOU and who you are. Branding is a visual representation of you, it's an expression of your deeper self.

2 - What colors do you have in your wardrobe? How about around your house?

For the same reason as the previous question,  its valuable to become familiar with what you subconsciously surround yourself with. Textures, patterns, certain colors pull us in because they speak to us in some way.

3 - Where do you show up online and how many platforms need branding materials?

Do you have a checklist or do you create these on the fly, often missing certain opportunities to show up on brand? We allow ourselves to "forget," become overwhelmed, and therefore come unprepared.

Plan it out - how many posts do you do each day? How many graphics are you in need of on a regular basis? How many are static headers that can be done once a month or less?

4 - What words describe you and your business?

Voice, vision and visuals (The 3 V’s) are all at play in your brand. You need all 3 working together to have a successful brand that works for you. What is your vision for your business and how would others describe it (voice)? 

5 - Your competitors.

What are they doing?

What does their branding (and marketing) look like?

What do you like / dislike about their brands?

What do they bring to the table and how are you different? 

(Make a list - see what similarities show up)

The next few weeks I'm going to be talking about the essential assets of your branding: what you need and why you need them.

I'll also be touching on extra assets and what they can do for you, and finally, how to go about getting all of this done. 

If you need help, this happens to be what I’ve mastered over the last 2 decades. Right now til the end of the month my Visual Branding Package is available for TWO business owners only. This is the most popular package option as it includes all the essentials to set you apart and look incredible.

The details for the Visual Branding Package are right here. Scroll to the handy chart (looks like the one below) showing you exactly what's included and how you can easily upgrade or get a custom quote to meet your specific needs.

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I'm basically giving this away. When I worked at an agency years ago, all this would cost you around $20K. There's so much value here to fully upgrade your brand, its insane.


Ready to dive in? Click HERE and email me directly.

How many more perfect clients would you attract if you had a brand that reflected who you are?

That’s the piece that takes you to the next level.  

Branding is about the impression you make. And it should accomplish two things: what is special about you and your business.

With high-performance branding, you’ll...

  • Shine above the rest.

  • Add value and credibility to your services.

  • Visually communicate what you and your business represent.

  • Quit wasting time and money piecemealing mediocre graphics that don’t get results.

Time to quit playing small.

Reach out if thats something you're ready for. 

How to make more money with high-level branding

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DOWNLOAD THE PRINTABLE PDF GUIDE HERE
(Bonus Material Inside!)

Taking your brand from amateur to pro takes strategy, creative skill, and intention. Knowing where you are right now and how to move into your full potential is key to your business growth.

And if you’re not a designer by trade, it can feel hard to tell what needs upgrading. (Do I start with a logo? New website graphics? A color palette? Does any of it matter?)

Yes, it matters. A lot more than most people realize.

Your branding has the potential to be your best salesperson. 

Big brands know this fact and invest piles of money to understand the intricacies on a deeper level. As an entrepreneur, you may not know where to start, what matters most, what needs to change first, or even who to reach out to for help. 

How do you attract the best clients?
How do you keep people engaged on your website? 
How do you convert them with design?  

If you’re making 6-7 figures in business, but your graphics and website aren’t reflecting the quality you know you provide, then this is for you. 

You have ONE chance to nail a first impression (online you’ve got 7 seconds to grab their attention).

People stalk you on your site and your social platforms before they ever contact you. Potential clients are making snap judgements about you and the value you provide before you even connect.

No pressure, right?

The brain processes an image 60,000 times faster than text.

Which means?

Start using biology to your advantage. You’re leaving money on the table by not capitalizing on how the brain and eyes can work in your favor.

What if it could make them stick around instead of leave?

What if it was the difference between them becoming raving fans and long-term customers?

You can effortlessly increase your prices when your brand quality screams value and people are sucked in to learning more about you. They’ll already know they want to work with you because you look like the expert you are (aka badass extraordinaire). 

If your current designs are cheaply thrown together with a wing and a prayer, they’re unfortunately going to be perceived that way too.

First impressions are hard to reverse.

What most entrepreneurs have been told is that they can worry about all the branding stuff “later.” Just get something up there, done is better than perfect, don’t get caught up in the details.

Right?

Which is a fine strategy when you’re new and have no idea what you’re doing.

But now you’re a seasoned pro with a list of clients and business that runs like a well-oiled machine.

Your brand is no longer sufficient as just a cool logo and a color scheme.

This is your positioning, who you are, being set apart, deserving that freedom, and getting paid what you’re worth.

This is how you’re known in the online space and your higher self shining through.

Shouldn’t it represent you accurately?

If you…

  • Want to attract more quality clients and more money

  • Feel like your designs and website are cheap looking and embarrassing

  • Want a look that reflects who you really are

Then I have good news for you.

High-level custom branding and strategy has the power to help you fix these problems.


What do you need to do to look like a top tier brand?

Below is my 7-step process that I use with all my clients. Dive in and put it to work on your branding. If you’d like my help, get in touch.

  1. Commit to your next level. 

    Are you ready to be seen as the expert you are? Are you ready to look like a million dollars and take your business higher than it’s ever gone?

    This is a big step for some, and you may not be ready. Fear and doubts, not to mention imposter syndrome can easily show up here. There’s a ton of excuses to not have your brand look this good or put it out into the world yet. 

    When you commit to showing up as the best version of YOU - even the future version of you that you’ve been visualizing for so long - this is where it starts to take real shape. 

    Decide it’s time to grow, not hide or stay small because it’s more comfortable. Choose to elevate yourself to the level you deserve. 

  2. Gather your team of experts.

    You already know delegating is a huge part of being a boss. This is no different. 

    It takes multiple people to do this right and to make you stand out in the right way. Here’s a quick list of the bare minimum team needed to take you to the top:

• Brand Strategist / Designer

• Copywriter

• Web Developer

• Photographer

Sounds overwhelming?

You can always skip the next steps and contact me directly as I’ve got all the above pre-assembled for you, ready to dive in.


3. Brand Strategy & Clarity


There are 3 V’s in Branding: Vision, Voice and Visuals.

  • The vision is your plans, goals, where you’re going and what you want.

  • Your voice is your message, what you sound like, and ultimately your copy.

  • Visuals are what everything looks like - the tangible part of the brand you create. 

All three must be in sync in order to get the results you’re after, but the VISION dictates the other two.

Which means you need to be really clear on what you want your brand to do for you before you do anything else. Form follows function. If you’re not clear on how you want your brand to operate, the end product won’t work for you. 


Ask yourself these questions to find brand clarity:

  • What words would you use to describe your business? What personality do you want to portray? (Use adjectives like trustworthy, exciting, high-end, approachable, etc)

  • Who is the client? What do they want? (Pull out your ideal client profile. The more specific you are, the better)

  • What is the main thing (call to action) you want them to take: 
    - On your website? 
    - On your social media platforms?
    - Via email?  

  • What is the main thing you want them to buy from you?

4. Creating your brand identity (the fun part)


Now that you’ve gotten clear on your vision, you can start to nail down what it looks like by creating your overall brand identity.

This will become a set of guidelines you’ll use going forward so everything stays consistent, cohesive, and looks “on brand” (making you recognizable and memorable).


This is where the creative process comes into play and you decide on elements like:

• The overall look and feel of your designs
• Your colors (primary, secondary, tertiary)
• Your fonts
• Your logo
• Your textures / patterns / illustrations
• The imagery style / photography style


This is a great time to think about color psychology - how they trigger emotions, and what they say about your brand. Whoever you hire to help you should have a basic understanding of this science in order to make it work for you. 

At the end of this process, a set of brand guidelines and standards should be compiled for you. This ensures that you and anyone else on your team can use the same colors, fonts, and other elements in a way that keeps your brand consistent. 


5. Map out your website and social platforms.


Website mapping is called a framework, or a wireframe. And it’s not as complicated as it sounds.

It’s basically a blueprint for how your website will be built and shows the developer how to make it all connect. There are some key components to consider - like not overwhelming your reader with too much copy, strategically placed calls to action and eye-catching photos - but the basics can easily be sketched on paper.


All you need to do is think about what pages you need, what each communicates, and how people are meant to flow from one to the other. It also helps you plan what copy and images belong in what place, which will save you time and money down the road.


Prioritize what the viewer needs to know and in what order of importance, and use that to guide how you lay out your content.


For social media, think about what platforms you use the most. What needs a header graphic, and what does that image need to include? Refer to your brand strategy and vision and think about how your client uses each platform.

It’s unwise to simply create a single header image in four or five different sizes and call it a day. 

Consider each platform’s function and brainstorm how you can use it in the best way possible. This can go beyond header images too. How do you plan to implement your branding on each and every post while still remaining cohesive and engaging?  


You may want to look at a week’s or month’s worth of content and create a template set. 

6. Get your copy written + photos in motion


Remember the rest of that team you assembled? Now that you’ve gotten the nuts and bolts of your brand strategy in place, it’s a great time to start working on the copy you need and get an incredible photoshoot done.

It should be really easy to knock these out thanks to the branding work you did in the previous steps. You know what copy goes where, you know what kind of photos you’re looking to take, and you know how much of everything you actually need.  


You also know the vibe you’re communicating and the color palette you’ve decided on, which all influence your photo direction, locations, and the outfits you wear in your shoot.

PHOTO TIP: Your photographer needs to understand your images are for online purposes. Be sure to have them include several wide-angle shots with empty space for text. Mix in solid backgrounds (or very simplified) with whatever else you’re including to give your designer room to add text. DO NOT hire them if they plan to “photoshop it” later. It never looks right.

7. Putting everything together.


The best part is seeing it all come together. Your brand is coming to life!

However, don’t check out of the process quite yet. You did your due diligence when you hired your team, but you’re still the decision maker and they need your input in order to do the very best job.

Make sure you’re on the same page with each person on your team so there’s no surprises later. Over-communication is never a bad thing and it’ll make it easier on you later.

A few things to make sure of:

  • Your website is responsive (meaning it can switch from desktop to mobile devices without looking weird or like it doesn’t fit the screen)

  • Different browsers are tested with web and social platforms. Online interface changes constantly, so it never hurts to be double check. 

  • Your links to other pages and calls to action buttons are working and accurate. 

  • You’re able to make quick changes on the back end of things so you don’t have to hire someone for every little typo or image swap. 

  • Your images are all high-resolution and RGB formatted

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Use this list to prevent worst-case scenarios from happening in your branding process.

Always keep in mind, if you wouldn’t hire the cheapest electrician or plumber to fix your house, don’t do the same for your business branding.  

What’s next?

If you’re sick of looking at your sub-par website, knowing your branding is less than it could be. 

If you’re tired of feeling less valuable because your look just doesn’t excite you anymore. 

If you’re ready to be first in line instead of second-best.

Then it would make sense for us to chat and see how I can help.

Click here to schedule a call and start the process.

How to pick the right fonts for your brand

Choosing the right fonts

Can a font REALLY portray a personality?

Does it ACTUALLY speak to who you are? 

Aren't we really getting nit-picky over something insignificant like the shape of an E or a T? 

Little known fact - Your font is kinda everything. 

You don't realize it because you see type everywhere all day long, but there's a science behind fonts and how they make you feel. 

An entire study was done at MIT on the aesthetics of reading. What they found was that good typography really does affect your mood. (And that's the extent of which I will bore you with the science of fonts)

For practical purposes, take a simple example: 

Ever notice how different websites make you feel while you're reading online? 

If you've never noticed - try it now. Look at this article on Medium vs. this one on Cracked

What did you notice? How did you feel? 

When selecting a font, there's a 100% guarantee that you rely on its aesthetic virtues. It's a subconscious thing, which is why we pay no attention, but we know if it feels good (we keep reading) or crappy (we find something else).
 

Here's another trick that proves it. 

Open one of your recent text documents, select everything you see and change the font to Times New Roman. 

Take a moment and realize how the page feels, and now change the font to Arial. 

Do you feel anything? Seems like the whole text presentation turned less formal and spacious, doesn’t it?

You can do this trick with any other font you like. Play with it on your website and see how it changes the entire vibe.


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The right font choice along with the absence of sidebars and popups makes everything feel easier and better to read. (Easy, chill, no distractions.)
 

Compared to something almost painful to look at, with numerous competing titles, one bolder than the next. Very little white space. (Crowded, loud, you might even feel physical tension)
 

So why do we feel this way? It's all the same alphabet, after all. 

First things first -- It's all about the AUDIENCE.

Remember when you were younger, you could go to a concert at 11pm on a weeknight and stand there in front with hundreds of other people for hours waiting for the main event? You didn't flinch. It was cool. You wanted that experience.

And now?

You wouldn't be caught dead out past 9pm even on a weekend, you get there early enough to get the few seats they've got, and omg can we go somewhere quiet because I can't even hear myself think!?

Different audiences want different feels. 
 

HOW WE READ (more science!):

When we read, our eyes follow a pattern called a Scan Path. Our eyes break sentences up into scans and pauses. And in between, our brains take snapshots of the letters, arranging them into words, and then parses out the meaning all in a fraction of a second. 
 

Why should you care?

Because understanding the way we read is important for designing how words look because you can directly impact someone’s connection to your writing with the right font and layout.


Which can mean the difference between someone getting immersed in your content...  or not.

Why the right fonts and layouts make your clients feel good
 

Psychologist Kevin Larson spent his career researching typefaces and conducted a landmark study at MIT about how font and layout affect our emotions.

They ran experiments with separate versions of the same newspaper - one with a well-designed layout and one that was designed badly. 

In a nutshell? 

Bad design makes people grumpy and frown a lot. 
Good design makes people more focused, efficient, and clear. 
 

Enough evidence. Here's what YOU need to do so your type is making your peeps happy: 
 

1. Choose an anchor font

Your anchor font is the one people will see the most of. This will most likely be your body copy. Every other font will be based around this choice. 
 

Serif Fonts – Letters with short lines coming off the edges. Viewed as more formal and traditional (Think Times New Roman). Best suited for print copy blocks.


Sans-serif Fonts – Letters without serifs / lines. Viewed as informal and playful (Think Arial). Best suited for digital copy blocks. 

Script Fonts & Decorative fonts are not ideal for body copy simply because they make it hard to read. Especially on the web. Anything hard to read is a sure way to get people to leave your page. Don't make people work to read your stuff. 

 

2. Pick a font size bigger than 12pt

Unless you're writing a printed book piece or a research paper, the old rules of 12pt font do not apply to computers. 


Use something 16pt - 22pt for body copy. A recent study has also shown that larger font sizes can elicit a stronger emotional connection.

Give it a go and see if you feel a difference.

 

3. Spacing

Spacing on the margins, spacing between lines, AND spacing between letters all matter. 

The line length is how far your sentences stretch across the page (and conversely how much margin is left blank). The ideal line length should be about the width of a book - 6ish inches.

Too long or too short makes it all too hard to read. 


Proper spacing makes your readers feel good. And when they feel good? They stick around. :) 

More questions about fonts? This is just the tip of the iceberg (I know), so I'm here to help if it all feels like a lot to take in. Just shoot me an email and we can rock this out for you in no time. 

- Erin 


PS - I created a huge 34-page branding guide to help you get clear on what you need to do to take your business to the next level. It’s totally free and includes my entire process I use with my clients. Check it out HERE.