Lidia Drzewiecka is a Brand Specialist with an extensive background in marketing, photography and web design. She launched Visuable in 2015 and in just under two years has worked with 50+ businesses to help them define, create and launch their impactful new brands into the digital world. Read our interview with the lovely Lidia below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I’ve always admired people who are their own bosses, and who have a thirst for running a business. Go doers in other words! This is what motivated me to start my own business. Luckily, I’ve always been quite entrepreneurial, and let’s face it, I was rubbish as an employee.
It’s my 5th year in business now and if I were to pick one thing that I really love doing more than anything else, it’d be turning business ideas into successful brands. From the initial concept, to a business plan and though to an online launch, it just comes naturally to me and it’s something I enjoy enormously. This is why I’ve decided to dedicate my time and make it my job and mission to help other entrepreneurs turn their ideas and passions into profitable businesses. I do that through branding. A business that always provided some useful print branding related materials is spectra integration, I’m told they do some industry-leading digital printing for businesses.
Tell us about your business.
I run a brand marketing company called Visuable that helps small business entrepreneurs translate their brand identities into photos and websites that their audiences love. My proven 3-step process for launching a brand online consists of a brand clarity consultation, a photo-shoot, and a web design package. I also offer a joint service with my friend Gosia who is a personal stylist. It’s called a Brand Upstyle Experience and it’s a personal branding, styling and photography package that turns female entrepreneurs into the #bossladies they’ve always wanted to be!
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Yes – I offer 30 min FREE brand audits to entrepreneurs who join my mailing list between now and the end of this year. I’ll look at your entire online presence and give you my best tips on what to improve to instantly make your brand work harder for you!
Want one? Sign up via my website and drop me an email to claim.
Where is your business based?
Bristol, UK – I work from co-working office spaces, independent cafes and my living room. Most of my clients are in Bristol but I’ve also travelled to clients from London and South West Country as well as Poland and Cyprus and I’m now looking to expand my reach.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
You mean my first business or my current business? I am on number 6 now! First thing I did to get my very first business up and running, was creating my digital brand! I went online and created my very first business website, set up my Facebook profile, and started marketing and sharing my photos. I was well equipped for these tasks since I’ve studied Media and Cultural Studies at University, and specialized in web-design and conceptual photography. First thing I did to get my current business up and running? I did exactly the same! In fact, I did exactly the same all 6 times. Every time I was bringing a new business idea to the world, I always started with creating a digital brand. I can’t tell you this is the right way, and it certainly isn’t the only way, but I can tell you that this is the way that worked for me. Through trial and error, I soon realized what my “zone of genius” was and what my business should be about: helping others bring their own brands to life!
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
There are many ways to raise awareness and get new customers. For my business however, the most effective one revolves around people and personal relationships. Building relationships with local business owners and having a network of business friends is crucial for running a successful business. Without a network of people who support you and are willing to recommend you, your chances of succeeding are quite low. A completely different brand, but similarly to Integrated Air Systems Ltd, who have managed to take their brand across the globe, this is something I aim to do as well.
Your brand is what people understand and think about you. Your brand’s reputation is also your reputation. If you can make people know, like and trust you, they will surely recommend you and your brand to others who might need your service. I have a very strong presence online and on social media and I think that this is what all business owners are expected to have right now. The online world is very noisy and only the strongest brands are able to stand out and stay top of minds. I also network several times a week and I am always keen to meet people for coffees in town and get to know each other better. Many people go to those follow up meetings with an expectation to directly sell their products/services. I never expect anything, apart from a nice chat and a new business friend. I like to get to know people and find out about the passion that drives their business. I invest time in understanding what their business is about, how I might be able to improve their brand image, and I also recommend their services to others who might need them. This is often appreciated, reciprocated, and as a result both our brands grow. That’s called brand building and it’s crucial to business success.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
The biggest challenge for me is to take time off – no really! – even though all my Facebook friends would argue that I seem to always be on holidays. While I do travel a lot, it’s not all playtime. I take this opportunity to focus my attention on my own business, do research, catch up on current trends, and think about what I want to do next. When I’m away on holiday is when I get to stop thinking about my client’s businesses for a little, and think about my own brand strategy, and how I can improve my service. One tip that I have for bloggers who go on holiday is that we all love using the free internet in cafes and internet cafes. Beware of this, as there may be people who are there just to try and hack other people’s computer and steal data and work. It can happen. Free wifi is available to everyone so you cannot opt this out. If you want to look into this further, here are 9 ways to protect your work data on the move.
Another challenge I’ve faced in my numerous business endeavours, was to sell my services. Yes I know this isn’t a very original challenge. In fact, almost all entrepreneurs I know struggle or have struggled with this one. I’d put on dirt-cheap promotions, pay for advertisements, and tour business events around Bristol to find clients. Nothing seemed to work. Nothing until I finally found my “zag”.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Selling is perhaps the most important challenge of any business, and it’s what keeps us entrepreneurs up at night. We live in a very competitive world, and in order to sell we need to be able to understand our customers’ problems, we need to have a clear idea of what makes our service or products unique, and finally, we need to create a brand that will act as a vehicle for generating leads and ultimately sales.
Things have really turned around for me after attending an amazing sales mindset training which transformed the way I think about sales – I understood that selling isn’t really about selling at all, it is about providing an ideal solution to a customer problem whilst having their best interest at heart. Since I learned this simple truth I started to take much more time to find out what my clients needed help with, adjusted my services to meet their exact pain points and as a result I feel that I can now read their mind. My clients come to me because they know that I can “sort them out”, I have a perfect solution to their exact problem.
I love helping small business owners translate their ideas into lovable brands that magnetize their audience. It’s not just a front image with no content though. My favorite part of working with my clients are my Brand Clarity sessions where I help them understand how they might be able to solve their client’s problems and suggest what their audience needs to see on their website to trust that they are the perfect solution for them. Visually, this boils down to gaining an understanding of who their clients are and what they may find desirable. Sometimes we need to improve the business idea first or adjust how their value proposition is presented as a service, and only then we can improve how my clients present themselves in the online world. Once we are clear on what is needed, we then work together to bring their brand idea to life through a carefully planned photo-shoot and a website that their audience will be drown towards. I help people find and project their “zag”. This is my zag, and this is how I’ve helped my own business sell.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
Determination to keep on going, and a lot of support from close friends. Thankfully, I haven’t had to deal with many difficulties lately since everything is ticking along at the right pace. I remember however when I had some really tough times to overcome. One person who really motivated me was my wonderful boyfriend, Orestis, who probably didn’t know how well I’d be doing today, but he still kept mentoring and supporting me until the times got better. I remember that one year when times were really tough for me and I was full of disappointments. He took me for a weekend break to Monaco to take my mind away from all the problems and to cheer me up. We were sitting at the front of Grand Casino, drinking the most expensive cocktails ever and laughing that I was such a loser at the time while dreaming up the master plan for success. Now, we remember that moment every time I achieve one of my targets and laugh. Life is unbelievable. Your whole world can change for the best within a very short time and when you least expect it. You just need to believe in yourself, be positive, and keep on trying.
How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I am in the business of branding, one of the best ways to distinguish yourself from the competition. Visuable, is my brand, and it stands out because of its strong brand identity, it’s unique service and customer centric values that drive everything I do. Whilst everyone around seems to think that a brand is a logo, or a website, and others are totally utterly confused what this term means, I’ve managed to create my own take on this concept. What’s more, I’ve been able to persuade others that this is the way forward. “When everybody zigs, zag” (Marthy Neumeier, Zag). A brand is what people think and feel about your business when somebody mentions it or when they see one of your branded materials. It’s an invisible aura that surrounds your business. I try to understand what that aura is for each business, then recreate it in their photo-shoots, capture it in their photographs, and finally showcase it on their websites.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Do what you do best and outsource the rest. Depending on the maturity of your business, this advice can go a very long way. Whether you’re looking to establish a new business, to grow your services, or to expand your reach, focusing on your strengths and outsourcing the rest can help your business make progress faster, gain healthy traction, and also connect with other businesses which may need your services. If you can’t afford to outsource, skill swap.
Another good piece of advice is to identify and focus on the important stuff. Drop, let go and say ‘no’ to anything that is not a key result area, takes too much of your time or does not contribute to your vision and is not in line with your core values. I’m reading about ways to achieve this in my currently favorite book “Life Leverage” by Rob Moore.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Be nice to people, make friends, offer value before asking for anything and always show appreciation and give back to those who help you along the way. Also, read books and blogs about business. And fail fast!
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
Facebook. Because all my business friends are there so we often have virtual networking parties! Also, it combines all my favorite channels for marketing a strong brand.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
Lately, I read 3 books by Marty Neumeier: “The Brand Gap”, “Zag” and “The Brand Flip” which are an amazing resource to learn all about building a successful brand and currently reading Life Leverage by Rob Moore which is all about doing what you do best and outsourcing the rest.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
My business mission is to help small businesses project themselves better online via branding, so they can take on bigger markets. I know exactly how to achieve that, but first I need a passionate team who can support me. I am therefore currently looking to build my team of digital creatives, train them and prepare them for taking over the world!
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
My goal for this year is to work with 50 businesses to improve their brand presence. I am on around 40 now and I’m positive that I’ll hit my target. My goal for next year is to become the most effective small business branding consultant in the UK. I like to dream big. Until then, I will continue to create only amazing work for my clients as I believe in commercial karma.