Relaunching my brand from to was one of the scariest things I have ever done. I really had no idea how intense it would be. There are so many details that inevitably get overlooked because it is a huge task. It has been 4 weeks since has been live but we’re still in the relaunching process. Lots of content for the site and other business decisions are being made to bring the new brand to 100%. If I’m being honest, a thorough relaunch can take you anywhere between a week to 3 months. The relaunch will happen in phases and more than likely happen before you’re “ready.” You have to also recognize that you – like everyone else – are a work in progress. And your brand is, too. Things will always be changing; for the better is the goal. Especially if you’ve been blogging for awhile, you’ll need to sit down and make a long laundry list of everything that needs to get (re)done. It is lots of work, but certainly not impossible.

Whether you’ve been blogging for 7 years like me or 7 months, here are 5 things you must do to successfully relaunch.

This may seem like a no brainer, but you’ll be surprised how many people forget to use their brain during the relaunch process. You have to set a deadline.

Here’s why.

There’s a little piece of us that is obsessed with perfection and leaving the relaunch date open means that we don’t have to relaunch until everything is perfect. Which is never. And who wants to work this hard to never launch?

Also, the deadline creates a sense of urgency. I gave myself 30 days. Anything longer and I would’ve started sitting on my hands and procrastinating. It also worked financially and was compatible with the other things I had going on. I’ll say this: don’t give yourself more than 90 days. What I’ve seen is that most people start dragging their feet and a relaunch that should’ve taken 3 months has turned into half the year.

30 to 90 days is a realistic, work your butt off time frame to relaunch your business. Set a date – not a month or week. PICK A DAY and get to work.

Honest moment: My original deadline for launching was January. But I never picked a day. I finally committed to February 1. Missed it. Ended up launching February 6 even though things weren’t perfect. But there were enough things done to launch.

Everything that’s in your head when it comes to this relaunch – yes, even the CRAZIEST idea – get it down on paper. Ok, I get it. Most of us are digital, but if you can, create a physical list just to get all ideas out and then type it up in Evernote or Google Drive.

Do yourself a favor – get out all of your ideas and then organize them. Literally, braindump. The problem that most people have when they braindump is that they start to try to organize in the process of brain dumping. That’s hustling backwards. Just get out all the big, small, maybe, absolutely, that-would-be-cool ideas out. Write them on a plain white sheet of paper. Once you’re done, like really done, go back over them and organize them by categories.

For example, my categories were: Content, Products, Masterclasses, Videos, Podcast.

Then after you categorize all your ideas, mark them by phases:

Phase 1 (something to be executed in the next 30 days)
Phase 2 (to be executed in the next quarter)
Phase 3 (to be executed within the year)
Phase 4 (at some point just not this year)

Once you do that, get to work on Phase 1 stuff. But you’ll be much more productive because you don’t have a bunch of ideas stuck in your head.

Because I know my audience, the majority of you who are reading this are creatives, bloggers or what I like to call “wantrepreneurs.” I know this because I was very clear on who I was going to speak to. And the more specific you can get, the better. The creatives, bloggers and wantrepreneurs who read my site are women, who are more than likely Black and millennial. Can my content help you if you’re not these things? Absolutely. But they’ll speak to you more if they you are. The way you address a kindergarten class isn’t the way you address the graduating class of a four year university. Your voice and topics at hand would be grossly different.

For the most part, relaunches occur because during the first go around of your brand you tried to appeal to everyone. Everything ain’t for everybody. Including your brand. Find the thing that people respond to and build around that. Make sure it’s aligned with what you like or are good at as well. How do you figure that out? Pay attention to what people respond to. In your analytics. In your comments. In questions people ask you in person.

It’s pretty simple: the people you should decide to talk to are the people who are already talking to you.

Honesty moment: I wanted to talk to everyone about everything. It just doesn’t work like that though. But I’ve narrowed down my two “tribes”: 1. People who like the Mattie James story. 2. People who want to create a business similar to mine. This is mostly because I’m 1. an influencer and 2. an infopreneur. If you don’t fall into either one of those groups, this isn’t the place for you.

So, here’s the thing that many people seem to forget: the world doesn’t stop when you relaunch. Trust me. I tried to stop it but just couldn’t. It’s so important that after you’ve put all this work into making your brand bigger and better than ever before, that people see it. And a lot of planning needs to go into that as well.

Once you have a launch date picked out, also figure out how to introduce yourself on the following:

+ your email list (even if only 7 people are on there, send them a message)
+ your Instagram (it’s important to have the first 3-5 posts planned out to drive people to your site)
+ your Pinterest (creating promo graphics for Pinterest with your blog will be so imperative to drive followers to your new URL)

One of the hardest things to do in 2017 is match your social branding with your URL. And not just your site’s domain, it’s almost impossible to match all of your social handles period.

While my URL is that name on social media is taken because there are quite a few Mattie James’s in the world who use social media. But if you know my style and have taken any of my masterclasses, you know that I truly believe your social handle has to be the same everywhere.

I didn’t want to compromise the spelling of my name, so the next best thing was adding the word “the” to my name. Turns out, no one had that anywhere, so I ran with it.¬†You can find me @themattiejames on social across the board. That’s Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and even YouTube.

Now, I really took a risk and didn’t change it until the night before my site launched. My relaunch was hush-hush, so I didn’t want my sudden social handle change (the one I had for 7 years) to all of sudden raise some eyebrows and spoil the surprise. In hindsight, I was blessed no one took the name! Once you decide and find a name that’s available everywhere – move forward with it immediately. (It’s not worth the risk of losing it!)

But you want to make it easy for people to find you and see the change. That’s what streamlining – matching all of your social handles – will do. Try to keep things simple and spelling easy. Even though a lot of names and ideas are taken on social media, I believe there’s a fix and social handle that you can decide on that will work. Make it easier on yourself and your followers. If you can’t match all of them, try to at least match 4 out of 5 them.

I get it. Relaunching can be an overwhelming process if you don’t plan properly. Essentially you’re deciding to hit the reset button on your blog, brand and/or business. Need help? Be sure to download my free 9-page #RelaunchReset workbook by signing up for my email list below!