Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in marketing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kristin Lawton, Owner of District Brand Bar, located in Washington, D.C., USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm a full-service brand and marketing consultant and coach through my business, the District Brand Bar. However, my favorite title is Chief Marketing Mixologist because, yes, when you own your own business, you get to give yourself a fun title! I love to mix the best marketing strategy for my clients and to mix a great cocktail!
I work with solo entrepreneurs and small business owners who are tired and overwhelmed from DIYing their brand and marketing without significant growth and are ready to nail it once and for all.
Tell us about yourself
I left a long career leading communications and marketing in-house in Washington, DC, feeling burned out and tired of toxic work environments. I wanted something better for myself and to use my skills to help more people. So I launched the District Brand Bar in the summer of 2020 to help solopreneurs and small businesses get their brand and marketing off the ground. It's essentially my pandemic baby.
I love helping fellow entrepreneurs take their marketing from overwhelming to effortless. It's so rewarding when they are finally able to feel like they are no longer throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks and have a strategy that works and the systems in place to make it all efficient.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think sometimes the biggest accomplishments in entrepreneurship aren't about the numbers (like revenue or the number of clients) or even the wins you've gotten for your clients, but the transformation you've made happen for your own brand. And for me, it was when after so many different iterations, I finally had a client journey that is perfectly aligned with my brand, my personality/values/expertise, and what my ideal audience needs. It came together last year when I launched my new quiz to introduce new audiences to my business which helps them discover their signature brand marketing style. You can take the quiz here:
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
It can be lonely and hard to build as a solopreneur. As much as I have my friends and family's support, they don't fully get it. I knew all the necessary steps to go out on my own and market myself. After all, I'd already done it all - website, social media, renaming, branding, messaging - you name it. But doing it on my own, without a big team and budget as I'd always had, was a new experience for me. It was lonely, stressful, and overwhelming. I eventually found my way, but the struggle was real. And that's one of the reasons I created my membership. To give fellow solopreneurs community and support as they build and grow their brand at a cost that's accessible to all.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Oh, I have so many tips! But I'll start with these three:
- Don't go at it alone. Find a support system early on that understands what it's like to launch a new business. I met a lot of fellow entrepreneurs through Instagram or Facebook groups, getting to know them via virtual coffee chats or co-working sessions, and it really was a lifesaver!
- Create a streamlined client journey. The best thing you can do when starting out is to keep things simple. It's the key to not getting overwhelmed! Choose one or two marketing channels where people can discover you and get to know you. Have one solid offer or product that will let you get some quick wins and solid reviews or testimonials.
- Become your own marketing mixologist. Marketing strategies aren't one-size-fits-all. And as business owners, we are constantly bombarded with new strategies, courses, freebies, coaches, and marketing tactics, which may or may not work for your business. A mixologist knows what strategies to stir into the mix that will work for them. It starts with a strong brand and marketing foundation and then tracking your data to see what strategies make up the perfect recipe for your business.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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