Marketing tips for creative business owners

Learn how to sell your services and creations without selling your soul, from someone who has been doing this for almost two decades.


Artist vs content creator + Stylized portrait with Neocolor II crayons

Artist vs content creator + Stylized portrait with Neocolor II crayons

In this episode of Nela's Art Chat I’m sharing a Neocolor II water-soluble pastel drawing process of a stylized red-haired lady in my sketchbook, while talking about balancing the roles of artist and content creator on social media. There used to be a clear distinction between producing creative work, and publishing or promoting it. Now there is an expectation that we need to keep people engaged in between big releases, while creating said big releases at the same time. This is a significant burden on creatives. Read more...

3 ways service based businesses can specialize

3 ways service based businesses can specialize

If your market is saturated by competitors, and you can tell you’re losing clients to other (perhaps cheaper) businesses, you need to stand out in a meaningful way. While it may seem counterintuitive that aiming for a smaller market segment would bring in more business, it actually works because it gives you an edge over generalist competitors. Read more...

Fact-checking 13 MLM myths about business

Fact-checking 13 MLM myths about business

I'm tired of seeing misleading claims that multi-level marketing companies are spreading about business, so I want to raise awareness of how damaging those myths are. Starting a small business from scratch is many times more likely to lead to profits than joining an MLM, and the small business ecosystem is way more supportive than any MLM team. Read more...

How to get clients to see you as an expert

How to get clients to see you as an expert

How can service based business owners convince clients to hire us, instead of someone else? One of the most persuasive ways is to claim an expertise in a narrow field. In this article I’ll explain what it takes to be an expert, and how to demonstrate your expertise to your clients. Read more...

Which brand identity design assets does your business really need

Which brand identity design assets does your business really need?

Brand identity design is rarely just about creating the logo and brand style guide. Every brand design project I work on involves at least a few additional graphics. But which of those graphics do you need? Many business owners are stumped by this question because they may not even know what options exist. My hope is that this article helps you clarify your individual needs. Read more...

Overcome your fear of visibility

What will people think? 10 steps to overcoming your fear of visibility

I help clients who want to be seen and valued as experts in their field to increase their visibility and impact. Unfortunately, many people don’t feel emotionally prepared to receive attention, so they keep putting off their marketing activities. In this article I offer tips and techniques you can use to shift your mindset and prepare yourself before you step into the spotlight. Read more...

Creativity in digital isolation

Creativity in digital isolation

“Common sense” marketing advice for creators is to publish something every single day. I know many folks who show up daily or almost daily, and it works for them. It’s an excellent marketing technique if you can pull it off. I’m not doing it, and I don’t think it’s the right way for everyone. I want to talk about the positive side of not having to put on a show every day (or every week, or even every month) if you’re not the kind of person who can or wants to do that. Read more...

Rebranding 101 - Why and how to update your existing brand

Rebranding 101: Why & how to update your existing brand

Whenever designers create a brand for an organization, we want it to be long-lasting. What’s the point of doing it if you’re going to scrap it in a year or two? The challenge here is that in order to create a long-lasting brand, the information designers and brand strategists are working with has to be accurate and future-proof. Unfortunately, new businesses often base the information they give designers on lots of assumptions, which may or may not prove to be correct in a couple of years time. Businesses grow and evolve, and a brand may get outdated even if you did everything “right” the first time. Read more...

The The Human Centered Brand book

“The Human Centered Brand” book is out!

Whether you’re a writer, lawyer, illustrator, designer, developer, dentist, psychotherapist, coach, marketing consultant, hair stylist, jewelry designer, painter, creative agency owner, musician, bookkeeper… the methods described in this book will help you express yourself naturally in your business and grow authentic relationships with your clients. Read more...

Help me spread the word about my new book

I made a new thing! Here’s how you can help.

In case you still haven't seen one of my dozen announcements, I wrote and self-published a book called The Human Centered Brand, which is coming out on July 30th 2018. I've been working on this book for 18 months (just the book—I've been creating this body of work for much longer than that), so you can imagine it's a pretty big deal for me. Like, possibly the biggest deal since starting my own business. If you want to help me spread the word about this book, read this post. Read more...

Is there such a thing as “too much content”?

Is there such a thing as “too much content”?

“If you don’t make content, people won’t pay attention. If you don’t post frequently, people will forget about you. If you don’t follow through with a commitment, people will think you’re flaky and won’t listen to a thing you say anymore.” I've heard this from so many people, and sometimes I repeated it. Now, I'm not so sure it's a message I can stand behind. Read more...

Hyperfocused vs. holistic brand

Hyperfocused vs. holistic brand: which one is better for you?

When it comes to the very highest level of branding and marketing approaches, currently I see two currents: “Be focused” or “Be all of who you are”. Which one should you adopt? It’s not a decision anyone else can make for you. What I can do is give you pros and cons for both to help you make the right choice—so let's do that. Read more...

How to never miss a weekly blog post

My best tip: How to never miss a weekly blog post

Last year I’ve updated my blog every single week without fail, despite all the client deadlines, long workdays, launches, teaching, traveling and conferences, vacations, burnout... It was quite an eventful year, and my blog kept on ticking like clockwork. Want to know how? Read more...

Stop chasing clients - 4 effective alternatives to cold pitching

Stop chasing clients: 4 effective alternatives to cold pitching

If you've found yourself in a situation without clients and many bills to pay, you might get tempted to start pitching your services to people who haven't heard about you yet. Pitching is not fun, it puts you in an inferior position, and the effectiveness can be hit or miss. Here's what I recommend instead. Read more...

The 5 Types Of Bad Clients and How To Repel Them

The 5 Types Of Bad Clients & How To Repel Them

Service businesses can’t afford to work with the wrong kinds of clients. We spend so much time immersed in the projects and client communication, and constantly taking on people who are a poor fit will destroy your business. Here are practical ways to use your marketing to repel the wrong clients from your business. Read more...

Who the Hell needs branding

Who the Hell needs “branding”? Here’s how to get noticed, your way.

I write a lot about branding on this blog, but I don’t blame you at all if you’re getting sick and tired of hearing this word all the time. Let’s try something different today instead. Let’s drop all pretense of there being any system or formula that you need to know or follow in order to succeed in business. Let’s deconstruct “branding”. Read more...