March 8th, 2018 - Brand

Do More

It’s angsty out there. I’ve felt this angst from several clients I’ve talked to over the past week. As tactile as a blanket of apprehension, this angsty-ness is stopping people in their tracks.

Angsty (according to Merriam-Webster)

Feeling, showing, or expressing anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity …

I first recognized this cloak of anxiety when working with a client from the US last Friday. Desperate to up her game, increase market share and work with higher-end clients, Sarah booked in with Blackcoffee.

I dove into our first call with gusto but soon felt her angst choking off the free flow of ideas. “Can’t, don’t know how, don’t have money, already invested so much …” these terms bubbled into our conversation at a maddening pace.

Too often, I see entrepreneurs held back by fear, defiantly refusing to go the extra mile in their businesses. They work so hard to create a business, invest in a website and then wring their hands in frustration when buyers don’t flock their way.

Just because you build it, does not necessarily mean they will come.

They – potential buyers, clients, customers – may not know who you are or what you are selling. Those that do may have forgotten about you or you may not be top of mind so they aren’t broadcasting their love of you to their networks.

When times get tough it’s time to show up and even show off just a little.

If you’re feeling even a little bit angsty, ponder these questions:

  1. What have you done recently to build relationships with would-be clients?
  2. What have you done to enhance relationships with existing and past clients?
  3. How have you recently shared, enticed, or created interest with these people?

These are the actions that elevate a business to a brand.

When operating a business, you simply sell a service or product. Money changes hands and you move on to the next prospect.

When you build a brand, you build relationships.

Brands aren’t interested in a single transaction. Brands work to enchant, to delight. For brands, clients come back again and again, and they return not just for your services or products, but for the experience of working with you.

Clients become brand evangelists, telling the world about your awesome-saucery. And that means return business, word of mouth referrals AND permission to charge more.

So if times are tough, bring the determination to banish the fear.

Don’t turtle-in and hope for the best. Get out there and tell the world who you are and why your offerings are special.

And yes, this is scary. Because unlike the hard work you may be doing in the background, this is the stage where we bare ourselves and our souls to the world: asking for a sale, asking if we are good enough, sharing who we truly are.

Need some ideas? Let’s get to work. 

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With gratitude,

Shannon Larkins

Shannon Larkins

Founder, Blackcoffee Studio

Over the course of 15+ years, Shannon has grown Blackcoffee Studio out of a love for building brands and reputations. She serves up Blackcoffee as a morning ritual while caffeinating clients and readers on the regular. You can find her at


Blackcoffee Studio

Blackcoffee is a premium brand development agency, offering luxury brand experience to clients at home in Calgary, Canada and around the globe. Brands create experience, set you apart from the competition and drive growth. Anyone can bulid a business but only the exceptional can create a brand. Are you ready?

Shannon Larkins

Shannon Larkins

Hi I’m Shannon, founder of Blackcoffee Studio. A former reporter, spin doctor and politico, I now focus on using my powers for good.

I create mighty brands for clients and share their stories with the world. I’m also rather addicted to my nutty family, dogs with pushed in faces, Mexico and of course coffee … black.