You don’t need to hire a brand designer as soon as you get your business license!
Sure, having a logo and a couple visual systems in place is important. BUT! You have so many things to figure out that branding might not actually be the priority right away. You need clients, you need experience, you need confidence in your services, you need to learn and figure out where you want to get. That’s a lot.
When I started freelancing, of course I worked on my branding because that’s what I do. But I had no idea where to start in terms of goals, target audience (you know, when you are scared of narrowing down, that’s a sign that you are not quite there yet), I was not even sure what I was good at. I was focusing more on how my old colleagues/fellow designers would see me rather than putting my clients first. This portrait is from (hence this portrait. I love it, it encapsulates a side of me that is real, but not quite where I needed to be professionally) So… I had to do a complete rebrand two years later because I knew better then.
Of course having a custom branding made by a professional will help with all of the above, but it is an investment and it won’t be sustainable if you don’t have the right strategy behind it. And for that, you need to know yourself and what it is like to run a business first. There is no way around it!
When you started out, did you reach out to a designer or did you go the DIY route?