How to Start a Brand That Lasts and Avoid the 70% Failure Trap: Major Musts No One Is Telling You About (Video)

Here’s a sobering fact for you:

50% of all businesses fail in five years.

Who makes it to 10 years in business? Who starts a brand that lasts?

Less than 33% of us. 👎

If that sounds dire…

It is.

So, why do some businesses burn out quickly and fall by the wayside while others hold steady and strong?

First, let’s call a spade a spade and admit that starting and building your own business is HARD. If you do it successfully enough to last — really last for at least a decade or more — you have something to celebrate.

And something to share.

I belong in that small, minority camp. I started, built, and grew a business over 10 years of hard work. (That business is still going, by the way — I just sold it recently for $1M and made my final bow. Now my focus is building another biz to great heights. 🌄)

How did I get here?

I started with my passion. (Writing is at the heart ♥ of everything I do.)

…But I also had a few other essentials:

  • Vision.
  • A solid niche.
  • Market demand.
  • A crystal-clear differentiation factor.

You need ALL of these things to not just survive but thrive in business. 💗

Let’s explore how to start a brand that lasts and deep-dive into each essential element.

Struggling to keep your business afloat? Need advice yesterday? Grab a seat in my FREE video training: How to Build Your Self-Sustaining Online Business in 90 Days (Without Burnout from Overcomplicating It). I’ll give you the keys to a sustainable digital business, one that powers itself through smart processes, systems, and strategy. Watch now.

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5 Essentials to Start a Long-Term, Profitable Brand That Lasts (Video)

How to Start a Brand That Lasts: Here’s Exactly What You Need

Starting a brand that lasts is a much more involved process than simply building a business.

If you just build a business, you’re not focused enough on your customers.

When you build a brand, you’re building the reputation, image, and overall perception of your business. You’re deeply aware of how customers see you, interact with you, and remember you.

If you want longevity, you must think in terms of brand building, not just business building.

After all, your longevity depends on your customers. Branding will ensure you connect with them in all the right ways.

With that said, the first major “must” for a lasting brand is a passion behind it.

1. The Brand You Start Needs to Come from Your Passion

If you start a brand just to make quick money, you’ll throw in the towel 10x sooner than your competitor who started from a place of passion.

If you want your brand to last, you need to have a deeper motivation behind starting one.

Without that fire, that passion, that motivation, getting through the ups and downs of brand-building will be infinitely harder.

For me, creating and writing content are my passions. They remain at the core of what I do. If I stray too far from them, that’s when burnout happens. That’s when I lose motivation.

Think about it this way: The average time it takes a new brand to reach profitability is two to three years.

In that interim where you’re not making any take-home pay, what will sustain you mentally and emotionally?

For a brand that lasts, it needs to be an enduring love for what you do, what you offer the world, and how you help people.

A strong passion will drive your brand forward better than any other motivator.

After that, what comes next?

Vision. 🧭

2. The Brand You Start Needs to Have a Vision

Do you have an overarching vision for where your brand will go as it grows?

If not, you should. Your vision will guide you forward in ways you never imagined. Especially if it scares the heck out of you.

When I started Express Writers, my vision was to build the best writing team out there that would create the best content out there. That was the goal. And I never stopped trying to reach it, no matter how hard it got.

Because of that, my vision trickled down through everything we did at EW. The lofty goal I established at the beginning not only sustained us — it made us!

In a marketplace of content writing mills just trying to turn a dollar, one of our key differentiators was how we strived for greatness.

And it all stemmed from my grand vision for our brand.

Remember: If your vision doesn’t scare you a little, it’s probably not worth going after. Dream BIG for big returns.

10 commandments of a great business

3. Verify Your Business Niche to Start a Brand That Lasts

Let me be blunt: Not every passion can be monetized.

So many entrepreneurs believe the opposite. They love doing it — there must be an audience for it out there somewhere!

Unfortunately, no. This isn’t the case.

I don’t care how much you love it, or that you’re the best at what you do. If there’s zero demand, you can’t create a business niche from thin air.

That means before you dive into starting a brand, research the demand. Verify you have an audience (potential or existing) and that they need/want what you’re selling, first, before you invest every dollar of your savings into your start-up.

And, by the way, don’t make the mistake of targeting everyone. Not a single product or service in the history of mankind has had that kind of mass appeal. Remember: If you’re targeting everyone, you’re targeting no one.

With that in mind…

4. Verify the Market Demand in Your Business Niche, Too

Find out exactly how much demand is out there for what you want to sell. With that information in hand, you can confidently move forward to start your business.

It’s super simple to do:

  1. Google your niche using keywords your potential audience might use.
  2. Look at the search demand, including the search ads other brands are investing in. (The presence of ads means your niche is in demand!)
  3. Look at the jobs available in that niche. More jobs = more demand.
  4. Search on Amazon with those same niche keywords. Look at the books people are buying and the reviews of those books.

Do you see a demand for your potential venture? Do you see a pain point you can solve? That you would love to solve?

You’re in business, my friend. (Literally.) 🤝 And once you start, you can be sure you’ll also start getting clients.

5. Get Clear on Your Differentiation Factor

Before you dive into the new biz waters, make sure you know EXACTLY why someone would choose your brand over your competitors.

This is essential. Don’t skip it.

What do you do better than everyone else?

What separates you from the pack?

How do you help people better than XYZ brand?

Lay it out in clear terms, and then infuse that differentiation factor into your whole brand identity: your website, your content, and your entire online presence.

Example: For the Content Hacker™ brand, our differentiation factor is baked into our mission. (We recently refreshed this to better reflect our desired lasting impact on our audience.)

brand mission and differentiator

Remember, it’s about why someone would choose your brand over another. Why should they care? What’s in it for them?

Plenty of other brands offer their audiences strategies to create profitable content and build sustainable businesses. Our unique twist is we believe both of those things should bring you freedom and joy in your life.

What’s your unique twist in your industry? Make sure you shout it loud and proud. 📣

6. Embed Your Values into Your Brand

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, businesses are now the only institutions consumers see as both competent and ethical.

Additionally, consumers today expect brands to hold values and broadcast them through their brand identity and actions. In turn, consumers like to support these brands if they’re like-minded.

60% of millennials tend to make purchases that reflect their personalities. If they align with a brand and its products/services, they’re even willing to pay more for such a purchase.

That means if your brand has no personality — no opinions, no causes to support, no defined style, no values — it won’t draw customers looking to make a connection.

where's the flavor

Embedding values into your brand doesn’t have to be complicated, either. What matters to you should matter to your brand. You started your biz with a passion after all, right? That passion should infuse everything you do.

And if you’re afraid of turning people away, don’t be.

You’re not looking to appeal to all people. You’re looking to appeal to the RIGHT people. And if you share your values and embed them into your brand, the people who align with them will come.

That’s how you create a brand name with a legacy.

7. The Brand You Start Must Stay Consistent

All of the above keys to starting a brand that lasts are useless without consistency.

For customers to trust you and what you sell, you need to prove yourself to them time and time again.

You need to stay true to your values and brand vision. You need to practice what you preach.

You can’t compromise on what you believe for the sake of making another dollar.

For example, when I was CEO of Express Writers, I never compromised on my belief in quality content. It takes time, skill, and finesse, but all of that is totally worth it for the results true quality content produces.

If a client wasn’t interested in quality, they weren’t the right fit. And I told them so.

And, eventually, we became known for that very thing! Our commitment to quality was not only our differentiator — it was also one of our values. And we proved that over and over in a myriad of ways:

  • In our content.
  • Across our web presence.
  • Through the people we hired, who grew with us long-term.
  • When we were tested.

Remember, there’s no quick shortcut to prove your consistency. You just have to keep showing up in multiple areas and ways, no matter what.

Granted, digital brand management is a hero in this arena. Case in point:

But, ultimately, you need to stick to these tools, too, which requires planning and forethought.

Ironically, one of the secrets to a brand that lasts is to stay strong and steady as you navigate through the ups and downs. 💪

But, rest assured it pays off in the long run. Brand consistency has been shown to increase revenue by as much as 20%. It’s a trust factor, for sure.

brand trust

Source: Edelman

Customers notice when you show up consistently. So stand up, show up, and be prepared to do it for the long haul to create a brand identity that stands the test of time.

Along with the keys outlined above, I have another major tool you can use to build a sustainable business that lasts: The Content Transformation System. If you’re ready to build a long-term biz the strategic way, this coaching program is for you. I’ll teach you how to set up your business, systems, and marketing in 90 days or less — and reach the income and impact you crave. Apply today for your spot.

content transformation system

Ready to Start a Brand That Lasts… and Lasts… and Lasts?

Almost 70% of businesses fail before their 10th year.

They bail out, fade out, or close their doors before they can reach true longevity.

You don’t want to be part of that dismal statistic, and you don’t have to be.

To make your brand last, you need the keys outlined above. Build and grow from a place of passion, define a grand vision that scares you a little, verify your niche and market demand, and clarify your differentiation factor. Embed your values into your brand, and stay consistent.

With this solid foundation in place, you’ll be on firm footing to begin moving forward with a business that will stand the test of time.

I’ve shared five essentials to building a long-lasting brand, but that’s only half of it. For more guidance, check out 10 more absolute musts you need in my FREE guide, The 10 Commandments of a Self-Sustaining Online Business. Get it right here.

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About Julia McCoy

Julia McCoy is an entrepreneur, 6x author, and a leading strategist around creating exceptional content and brand presence that lasts online. At 19 years old, in 2011, she used her last $75 to build a 7-figure agency, Express Writers, which she grew to $5M and sold ten years later. In the 2020s, she's devoted to running The Content Hacker, where she teaches creative entrepreneurs the strategy, skills, and systems they need to build a self-sustaining business, so they are finally freed up to create lasting legacy and generational impact.