My feature on Jennifer Hamley (re-blog)
Jennifer Hamley meets Lidia Drzewiecka from Visuable – Q&A Monday
It’s Monday again and I am excited to introduce you to another fabulous and inspiring business woman; meet Lidia Drzewiecka from Visuable, a branding company specialising in helping business owners boost their brand identity.
I really enjoy introducing inspiring women to our growing audience, and as soon as I started the series I hoped that Lidia would want to be part of it. I first met Lidia at a networking lunch in Bristol last year, and we instantly hit it off. I am a very visual person, and so Lidia’s work really stands out for me. She is a woman doing what she excels at; helping businesses to leverage their brand to reach more of their perfect customers. Now who doesn’t want to reach more customers?!
Hello Lidia, it’s fabulous to have you here, how are you today?
Hi Jen, I am great thanks. Thank you so much for having me. It’s a real pleasure to connect with your tribe and chat to them about the power of visual branding.
It’s a real pleasure to have someone as passionate and talented to share with us. As branding is your passion, can you tell us what the word ‘brand’ means to you?
The word ‘brand’ is an interesting but very confusing concept. So many people talk about it, yet so few understand it. At the same time, it’s such a crucial concept for us entrepreneurs to master if we want our business to succeed.
For me, the word ‘brand’ means the perceived value and the overall experience that people have about you, or about your business. A brand is the intangible gut feeling that we leave deep inside our client’s minds after they come in contact with us or our business. It’s what they recall when somebody asks them about their opinion about us.
What’s great about a ‘brand’ is that we are in total control of it. If we treat our customers with respect, deliver quality products and services and our business presentation is great, we will instill in our audience a great impression so their perceived value and overall experience will be positive. This will lead to positive word of mouth and business growth.
I am so passionate about this topic because all my work resembles around helping my clients to shape that positive impression of their business in their client’s eye’s, minds and hearts. I do that by first understanding what impression my clients want to place in their audience’s minds, and then creating a visually striking expression of it through a brand photo-shoot. I love it!
We live in an evermore online world. This is particularly true in business, especially for small businesses who can now reach global markets and dance up a storm through social media and a cool website. This is why I’ve positioned my business as to revolve around custom built websites where striking visual branding does most of the talking, hence the name “Visuable”.
Here’s a short video showing how I use photography to help my clients turn their concepts and ideas about themselves, and their businesses into authentic visually led brands:
I absolutely love how you work, it’s really inspiring to see the brands you work with before and after your sessions. The love for your work really shows and the results are fabulous.
As you love your work so much, do you find it hard to switch off? What is your favourite way to get away and relax?
Oh yes it is! As entrepreneurs, we need to wear many hats as most of the time we are the sole person responsible for day-to-day business operations as well as project/product creation or delivery, marketing, customer service and so on. Never ending to-do lists often leave us with very little time to relax. This year, I made a commitment to myself to try to achieve more balance in my life so I can relax more. I now actively search for ways to relax, take some very much needed time-off in the evenings and weekends and I stopped answering business emails and Facebook messages outside of working hours (which I now set to 10am-5pm).
And here is what I do with my new reclaimed ‘me’ time – I’ve taken a new fitness & leisure membership which gives me access to hundreds of health centres around Bristol – I reengaged in regular exercise which includes my favourite activities: Body Pump class, swimming, sauna, steam room, yoga and dance classes. I’ve been attending regularly for 3 weeks now and I can already feel the difference! I have more energy and feel that I am actually getting more work done in less time, so it’s a win-win for me.
Me and my partner are big fans of travelling so whenever we can, we book short trips to Europe. We then jump on the plane and visit neighbouring countries and enjoy and discover local cuisines and cultures. Favourite activities include chilling at the coffee shops, eating, visiting museums and nature sights. I love travelling, it clears my head and injects new creative and business ideas into my mind. When I get back, I am usually fully recharged and ready to log back in and drive my business forward.
Sounds like some perfect ways to get away for a while, and to really rejuvenate you for when you get back. I think taking time off, especially when we are passionate about our work, is a skill to learn and in the early days of a business the lack of this skill can hold us back as we can head towards burnout.
In your opinion, what are the top three things that hold women back in business?
That’s a really tough question which I’ve personally felt very close to my heart since these are things that I’ve had to overcome myself. And it wasn’t easy.
The most important struggle that women (and men, but mostly women) need to overcome is themselves. Limiting beliefs which we often impose on ourselves limit our potential by self-inflicting barriers. As women, we often think that we need to have endless experience, several degrees, certifications, accreditations and so on to move forward in business. I know so many amazing women who are putting their dreams on hold because they think they need to complete yet another online course before they can launch their business idea. The real world is out there and waiting. So my message to them is this: ‘Don’t put your dreams on hold, take action now’. And if you don’t know how to get started, call me! I’ll have you up and running within few short weeks
Technology phobia is another excuse for women to hold back from business. The online business world can often seem quite daunting. So many of us have felt overwhelmed by technology, terminology, and of course the sheer size of the internet. The truth is that the internet is massive, indeed larger than a Google (a large number with a “1” followed by a hundred zeros), but it’s not difficult at all. There are hundreds of easy tools and apps out there which can help you get started, and you don’t really need to know how to code, and you don’t really need to buy access to expensive software and licenses. There are soooo many articles and blogs with recommendations. There’s online courses as well, and plenty of welcoming online and offline communities which encourage participation in learning exercises. Speaking of which, I’m currently running a 52-week free online community challenge which teaches entrepreneurs how to grow their brand and market their business online using images, you can join via this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/visuablebrandimpact/ . Women with an entrepreneurial flair inside them should not hold back on their dreams and aspirations simply because of technology. Jump on the tech train and enjoy the ride.
Last but not least, it’s time management. We have a busy life, and sometimes this includes family commitments and house chores which are arguably not very compatible with the fast paced and demanding world of business. Even so, there are many ways of running a successful business part-time, or from home. Online tools and apps are very helpful in this front. Knowing but also applying the 80-20 rule is vital in getting more things done in less time. Partnerships. Being super efficient and also delegating jobs is another ace up your sleeve. If time is really pressing, then try to direct your business towards high return low volume products and services. Plan ahead. For example, as part of my photo-shoot and website packages, I always have a thorough consultation meeting with my clients where we sit down and discuss the market segment they are operating in, their ideal clients, and also how these aspects of their business will evolve in the future. This way, our photo-shoot and website development is well prepared and planned out as to support these possible changes and can also grow with the business. I can then also know how to time manage my commitments to these clients as I take on other projects.
Three great tips there, and I love that you’ve used examples form your own experiences. What do you consider to be the most important quality in business owners/entrepreneurs/business women?
Determination to keep going.
They say that an entrepreneur is someone who jumps off the cliff and builds a plane on the way down. This is such a great analogy. Entrepreneurial personality is so beautiful, rare and unique because of that inner drive that gets us all out of bed in the morning and motivates us to keep building our plane as fast as we can so we can fly it up, all the way to business success.
Absolutely! I 100% agree with this! With this in mind, is there anything that you would say to your 18 year old self if you could get a message to her now?
Do more! Fail faster! Think it through!
As most teenagers, I wasn’t clear on what I wanted to do when I grow up. I’ve gone through two BA Degrees, several full time jobs and set up, launched and failed at 5 businesses before I’ve figured out what my ‘zone of genius’ was. If my 18-year-old self knew that she was destined to help other entrepreneurs launch their dream brands so they can run after their goals and ambitions, I would have never taken her though all those full-time jobs… But I guess it’s the experience that counts, the people you’ve met and what you’ve learned on the way.
I’m happy with where I am now, and so wouldn’t want my 18-year-old self to have taken any other course. Instead I’d like her to have done more part-time and full-time jobs, worked in more projects, collaborated with more people, travelled more. I’ve learned so much each time I’ve failed, especially how to pick myself up and start running again. So I’d encourage my 18-year-old self to fail faster but also to think it through. No point in failing if you’re not going to learn something.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat to me today Lidia, It’s been lovely having you here.
(This article was first published on jenniferhamleyblog.wordpress.com )