Um, do you know that I’ve coached hundreds of women since I started offering dream career guidance in 2008? And that these women are freakin’ rock stars, leaving soul-sucking jobs and traveling the world and launching creative, grown-up businesses and simply doing work that fits their lifestyle goals? Well ya do now – and you’ll hear their stories firsthand in my Client Case Studies series! I’m so thrilled to introduce you to Courtney Fanning, whose business Big Picture Branding just launched last week! She’s taking over a decade of experience in the industry and focusing it to work on her favorite subset of clients: businesses who make the social good a priority. A dream business built for do-gooder businesses? What’s better than that?! I can’t wait for you to meet this smarty-pants powerhouse.
Why did you decide to work with me?
I knew that I could have all the motivation and gumption in the world, but unless I had some sort of structure or process in place, my business would live inside my head forever. I decided to work with you first and foremost because it was clear that you’ve worked with a ton of creative professionals like myself and know what works and what doesn’t. There would be no time wasted. The clincher was your positive, you-CAN-do-it-and-you-WILL-do-it energy. Starting a dream business can cause all those awful uncertainties and doubts to come out of the woodwork, but with you, I knew I wasn’t taking a blind leap into the unknown. More like a carefully calculated leap with a clear and visible landing pad at the end!
What were you doing work-wise when we started working together – and what are you doing now?
For four years I had given everything I had to my previous employer and in the end, found that the daily frustrations and abuses were not serving me as a person or a professional. Building on a decade of experience as a creative marketer and brand strategist, the timing felt right to leave that all behind and focus on work that better aligned with my values — helping purpose-driven businesses build brand strategies that lead to greater impact. Big Picture Branding is my brain-child and I am all in!
What was your biggest takeaway from our work together?
Whatever Michelle says to do, do it. HA! But in all seriousness, I would hmmm and hawww about a decision for days (regarding copy, design, service model, etc.,) going in circles, and then almost always realize that yes, your input was always the best choice. The practice of exploring all my options was super valuable in terms of figuring out what I wanted to stand for and convey as a business owner, but I probably could have saved myself some time and anxiety by just doing whatever you originally suggested!
Think of someone who is currently in the shoes you wore when we first started working together. What advice do you have for her?
There is value in what you have to offer and yes, someone will actually pay you money for it. I have come across so many brainy-meets-creative-meets-savvy women who, for one reason or another, have been led to believe that their skill set and abilities aren’t valuable. I was one of them. But when the support isn’t there, go out and find it. You deserve it. Work with a coach who is realistic, no bullsh*t, but also empathetic and inspiring. Find people who lift you up to help you realize your goals. Even the most badass boss out there has a support system, so create yours. It’s the best investment you can make for your professional self.
Is there anything that’s been a game-changer for you when it comes to your business that you can share? We’d love a good resource or a mindset/productivity tip!
Since my skillset errs on the side of creative strategy and messaging, I can use all the help I can get when it comes to design! I love Canva for social media graphics, Coolors.co for playing with brand color combinations, and YouTube for helpful Squarespace hacks. I also depend on a regular lineup of podcasts for helping me get into the right mindset on days when I need a little jumpstart or for inviting curiosity back into my life when I’m feeling uninspired.
- “Women, Work, and Worth” has some great interviews from fellow entrepreneurs trying to figure it all out.
- NPR’s “Hidden Brain” uses science and sociology to explain the world around us — super interesting as a person who has made a career studying what motivates and influences us!
- “Forever35” is a podcast about self-care and the strong girl-power vibe is everything when I need a small escape.
- NPR’s “How I Built This” dives into the stories behind some of the world’s best known companies. Spoiler Alert: No one knows exactly what they’re doing, exactly how they’re going to do it, and where they’re ultimately going to go, no matter how brilliant an entrepreneur they are! (There, now don’t you feel better? Keep persevering!)
- “This American Life” is a masterclass in brilliant storytelling.
- “99% Invisible” explains the thinking behind the things we interact with every day that go unnoticed — like why some doors are push and some are pull, why pants pockets were invented, and what’s the deal with barcodes?
What’s on the horizon for your business? We’d love to hear about any upcoming offerings or goals!
A brand strategy can seem like a really big and nebulous concept to grasp, but it’s really just because most businesses have no idea where to start. Right now I’m offering a complimentary and 100% personalized brand assessment in 48-hours. (Yes, really.) Just scroll to the bottom of my homepage and fill out the form. We’ll touch base, you’ll tell me where I can find your business online, and in 48-hours you’ll find out what’s hurting you the most (and what to do about it!) Having someone who can objectively see your business through your customer’s eyes, and then tell you what’s missing based on where you want to be in a year or ten years is like having a business Fairy Godmother. If you want to go to the royal ball and snag a prince, we’re going to need to upgrade a few things and get you communicating like the shiny princess you are, honey.
Where can we find you and your work?
While Courtney launched her business through my 90 Day Business Launch program, I’m fully booked through the spring & won’t be opening those spots ’til next month! If you wanna get started *next week* AND launch your biz *this* July, then check out Dream To Done, A Guided Year to Clarify, Launch & Build Your Dream Business. No-obligation apps close on Wednesday, so don’t wait too long!