It had been four years since I had changed anything major about the website.
Four years without switching out logos, restructuring sidebars, or even doing a whole lot of copy-tweaking in the depths of the website.
This wasn’t because I wasn’t thinking about changes, mining my own depths, or doing my best to keep my content current.
I had conversations.
Thousands and thousands of dollars spent.
And still I didn’t pull the trigger.
The hardest part of any rebrand is the waiting.
The waiting for all the pieces to come into clear-enough focus that you can make the jump.
It’s not close to clear, it’s not even vaguely clear, until suddenly, WHAM! I want it to feel intimate and magical all at once. I want peeps to know they’re home. I want to push away people who aren’t fully into this whole living-as-big-as-possible thing. I’m okay if my list gets smaller. I’m okay if I get hate mail for pushing too hard. I want to turn people ON or OFF, all the way.
And GO we did.
Over the course of five days in sunny/snowy Calgary, Nikki, Shannon and I started from scratch. (To be clear: yes, that’s insane. Leave this to the professionals, folks.)
New logo: check.
Endless conversations about getting away with the word ‘Fuck yah’ 3 inches high in the header: check.
New pink hair: check.
Tenuous moments in which crying about newly-dyed hair seemed imminent and no one knew whether we’d make it out alive: check.
New headshots created because only jumping on the bed could keep me from crying about said new hair: check.
Lattes, late nights, endless conversations about minutiae: check.
Conversations about hosting, templates, CSS, pop-ups, plug-ins, and other technological disasters: check, check, checkity check check.
There were a few elements I knew I wanted: the handwritten, the spirit animals, the paintings I create for fun. (Because business is like a painting — layer after layer, no done point, no absolute right or wrong way to do it.)
But the rest? I asked the Gimme That It crew to Alpha me.
Tell me what, as former clients, you’d like to see.
Tell me what’s interesting about me.
Tell me what’s fascinating.
Tell me what draws you in, tell me what pushes you away.
Tell me what makes you smile.
THAT works for you?
THAT’S the reason you hired me?
THAT’S my biggest gift?
Those conversations about what people want of me versus what I want to give them — yes, I can respond to your e-mail — no, I can’t be your BFF — are worth their weight in gold. Because we business peeps don’t get to see ourselves from the outside. We never get to see the full glory of our gifts, or we’d all walk around with swelled egos and major superiority complexes.
When it comes to starting new, there’s nothing more valuable than the voices telling you what’s so damn special about you, just as you are in this moment.
I couldn’t have asked for better co-conspirators in the process of bringing my best, fullest, and most balls-to-the-wall self into the light. Thank you, Nikki and Shannon, from the bottom of my deeply-full and swear-y heart.
5 things I learned from 5 days of crazy-intense rebranding:
1.) Speak in visuals.
Describing a painting is in no way the same as showing someone the painting. Use Pinterest, Pinterest, and more Pinterest to communicate with your designer(s).
2.) Go farther than you thought possible.
NO ONE in a few groups that vaguely know me on Facebook thought the whole ‘Fuck Yah’ thing was a good idea — but the people who know me best were practically waving friggin pom-poms with excitement.
Listen to the people who know you best. Ignore the rest.
3.) Hang on to the non-negotiables for dear life.
It took a full day to create the animals that now adorn the site as markers to take you to the worlds of marketing, money-making, mojo, magic, making meaning, and purpose. One full day of the five that I was present. But they were non-negotiable, and the whole site starts and ends with that animal medicine.
4.) Work only when you’re ready.
Not feeling it? Too tired, over it, or inspiration isn’t coming? Do something else. Dance to hip-hop. Hold a baby. Ignore the problem entirely. Even on a deadline, ‘pushing through’ leads to lame-ass results. I got surprisingly large amounts of sleep whilst in Canada.
5.) Allow for serendipity.
The jumping-on-the-bed headshots only came about to stop myself from crying about my 2-hours-old haircut and color job. It started out a little gray-purple, like a 30-years-younger Paula Deen. NOT GOOD. Now those images lend life and exuberance to the whole freaking site. Serendipity up the yingyang.
Oh, and! I hear the Gimme That It ladies are headed to Mexico in June! Should you want to rebrand with the best of ‘em while wearing your bikini and rockin’ the business expensed vacation, reach out now.