Building Your Unstoppable Brand | Guest post by Beka Burch.
We're so excited to have our good friend Beka Burch on the journal today to tell her story about building an unstoppable brand!
My heartbeat and pride, Praising Hands, Traveling Shoes, has been a business for a little over a year now. Although I started this space on the internet to blog about my travels and encourage people in their spiritual walk, God knew that He would change the platform to become much more than that.
In May of last year, I started what would become the greatest adventure of my life. I actually started a business that gave back and ministered to women pulled out of sex trafficking. Many people often asked how I got into this field or what made me start my business. The answer is always the same – God gave me a box. After traveling out of the country 12 times, I had accumulated quite a large box of currency left over from my travels.
As I was praying about how I could get involved with sex trafficking, as it had become a giant burden on my heart, I discovered the box in the depths of my closet. Immediately, a vision flashed before me out of nowhere – “Women are bought with coins every night and sold into the sex trade. I want you to take these same coins and turn them into jewelry to set them free and show them that they are priceless in the eyes of Christ.” WHAT?! Where the heck did that come from, I wondered? I never, in my wildest dreams, thought that I would undergo such a task as this. I always, in the back of my mind, thought about opening my own business, but never dreamed this is what it would entail.
I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that this was a desire and dream that God was building within me- it was all Him.
So, here I am, 1 year later, blogging about my journey. And you want to know some secrets?
I never had any formal training in business. My degree is in Spanish education.
I never took design classes, yet I designed my whole website and design all of my graphics.
I never designed or created a piece of jewelry in my life before this dream of mine.
I never spoke the HTML jargon that most of the people in my field know…and that’s okay with me.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because I know ONE THING.
If you have a passion and drive inside of you to fulfill the dreams and desires that God has put in you, with His help, you are UNSTOPPABLE.
So, how am I seeing the growth in my business and how did the branding of PHTS evolve to where it is today? With the help of friends, mentors, and community, I have learned a thing or two about branding and business. Here are the biggest DO’s and DON’T’s I have learned along the way to truly “find” my business AND attract all the right people.
DO: Know your dream clients.
Figuring out who my dream clients were was the biggest breakthrough of my business. Once I realized that I cannot reach the masses (because my biz would not be at all what I wanted it to be), I found freedom in my branding. I seek to establish community and sell my products to adventurous, fashion-forward, ethically minded women from the ages of 15-35. Although I do have the occasional woman that may not fit my “dreamie,” most of my customers fit into that description.
If I tried to sell to everyone in the whole world, I would not be completely irresistible to the women that I want to attract.
So, after I figured out WHO I wanted to make a community with, how did I grow my brand? I began to answer these questions concerning my dream customers. Where do they hang out? If all of them have goo-goo eyes for Anthropology and small, local coffee shops, let me research and see what makes them LOVE those stores. What social media platform is their favorite? I must make SURE that I am using it. What kind of content do they like to read? I have to make SURE to write about it. What is a problem that they want solved? I must ENSURE that I can solve that problem. Your dream clients are what is going to make your good business a GREAT business. So, find out who they are AND then research and dive in to everything that they love. Once you do that, your brand will become a brand that they can’t get their hands off of.
DON’T: Compare your business to the one down the road
As easy as it is to compare yourselves to others in your field (or a similar one), especially with social media, you must not do it. You must know that your business is enough and focus on how you want to form your business for your dream clients. You must not fall into the trap of doing what everyone else is doing. Do YOU, because that’s what you are going to do best.
I know that my business is dedicated to women from 15-35. I know that I give back 50% of my profits, because that is important to me. I know that I value freedom with my schedule and traveling the world to make a difference. I know that making handmade goods is vital to my dream customer. That is MY business and I must NOT compare myself, my Instagram, or anything else that my business entails to the biz down the road.
I have to find what is UNIQUE about me and my business and focus on building that up, NOT copying what someone else is doing.
Because, frankly, you are not going to do what they do better than them. However, you are going to do what YOU do better than anyone else ever could.
DO: Stay consistent.
Everyone loves consistency. You MUST stay consistent - everything from your Instagram theme to the time of the week you send your emails. Your dream clients want consistency. They want to be able to go from your Instagram to your website and know that you are the same person simply by noticing the same color scheme (I know it may be tedious, but it’s worth it). My community KNOWS that my Instagram focuses mostly on my products, encouraging words, and travel photos. It is easy to notice that my Instagram features whites, blacks, browns, greens, and an occasional square of color. CONSISTENCY. Your community wants to know that every Wednesday they are going to have an encouraging email from you waiting in their inbox. CONSISTENCY. They want to know what kind of product you serve and what you stand for. Make sure to stay consistent in everything you do and they will keep on coming back for more.
DON’T: Focus on profit over people.
Before you all go crazy reading this, let me start by saying this: the only way your business is going to work is one thing – PROFIT. Don’t misunderstand me in that. There is no way you are going to make it without the green rolling it. However, you should never sacrifice the quality of customer experience in order to make a profit. Businesses should always revolve around the customer, the client, the community. Focus your time on creating a community that fosters the beliefs your business stands for and they will never turn their back on you. And, in fact, they will purchase your product or your service because they know YOU, your heart, and your values.
DO: Include God in everything
From the very beginning of my business, I realized that one thing would always keep my business afloat and would keep me from doing something completely crazy – God. With every decision I make, every email I send, and every customer that purchases a product, I include Him in it. I know, without any doubt, that my business would NOT be where it is today without His guidance and growth. I wholeheartedly believe that He is going to bless me by placing my business in His hands. Once you truly allow Him to take over your business, your dreams, your branding, and your heart, your life will never be the same.
I am so excited about where He has taken my business and how it will continue to evolve throughout the next year. I encourage you all to focus on these few things and I am certain that you will grow your brand into something that will be completely irresistible. I wish you all the best in your brand and I believe in each and every one of you. I cannot wait to see what amazing things you #waketomake.
Born + raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, you could say that the south runs in Beka's blood. In may 2015, Beka graduated from LSU after studying the beautiful Spanish language for 4 years. Her love for languages, the globe and people birthed from her travels, and since her first international trip at 9 years old, she has had constant travel fever. Beka has been on out of the country over 14 times to adventure and spread love in the Dominican Republic, Peru, Honduras, Panama, Belize, Mexico, and Grand Cayman.
She is currently working on her bucket list "25 before 25" including feats such as backpacking across Europe and bringing the biz, Praising Hands, Traveling Shoes to a national level.
A few of her favorite things include coffee, spending an unseemly amount of time creating things on the computer, snuggling up in her hammock and looking up flight prices in her off time. Follow along with her crazy adventures and send her some love at @rebekah__elizabeth.