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design secrets from branding expert madie hayhoe

Design Secrets from Branding Expert Madie Hayhoe

Today we’re joined by our guest, Madie Hayhoe, a corporate all-star who turned her creative passion into her full-time career. And now she creates brand-building designs for female-founded businesses. We explore the three essential elements every website must have. Additionally, she shares tips for people wanting to break through the “overwhelmed phase” that entrepreneurs can hit in business. This episode is packed with inspirational gold nuggets and helpful tips to build momentum in your business.


If you want to listen to other guests we’ve had on the show, click HERE! Spoiler: they’re pretty incredible too!

DIY-ing Your Branding in the Beginning of Entrepreneurship

When you’re starting out in your entrepreneurial journey, it’s easy to play the comparison game. You often see all of this the beautiful branding on social media and other websites. However, these accounts and entrepreneurs may also have large budgets, lots of experience with branding or the ability to outsource most of their branding elements.

Madie says, “DIY isn’t something that should be looked down upon because it can really help you get moving quickly. In the beginning, the most important thing for your business is to be really good at what you do and to market yourself. If the real heart of what you do it is really good, that’s ultimately what’s most important.”

As a new entrepreneur, you’re going to find that your business will shift and pivot a lot in the beginning. You’re discovering who your ideal client is, what’s resonating with your audience and what services you enjoy offering your clients. With all of this important business discovery, you don’t want to invest a lot of money into your business until you know the answers to those questions.

How to DIY Your Brand

Madie says, “There are many amazing resources out there now to help you create a DIY brand. But she also wants to acknowledge that though there are accessible tools to use, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. That usually ends up having people feel a little discouraged.”

When you’re first starting out, Madie explains that a one-page website is all that’s needed. It should include three things: a photo of you, the services you offer and a contact form. You need to ask yourself, “What will move you forward in your business?”

Having a contact form for people to reach out to you and having a website link to send a potential client will get you moving in the right direction with minimal effort on the branding side. Websites like Squarespace and Showit have free template options that you give you that one-pager that you need.

You’ll have time to worry about the fluff and beautiful things about branding down the road. First focus on growing your business and finding out who you want to be as an entrepreneur. Then, when you have that figured out, you can learn how to do other things yourself or eventually hire somebody. “If you invest in a designer early on, for some people it’s great and that ends up carrying them for a long time, but for some people they’ll realize they do things differently, have a different vibe or simply just want to change it all anyway.”

Madie encourages new entrepreneurs to give themselves grace at the beginning because building a business is a process.

Three Elements Every Website Must Have

Element 1: A Clear Statement of What You Do

Madie suggest that this be as short as possible. When someone lands on your website, they should know exactly what you do in a way that they don’t have to search for. There are different ways of doing this. It can be your logo, a subtitle that says what you do or a header that someone sees as soon as they land on your website.

Element 2: Concise Information About the Products Or Services You Offer + How to Contact

If you’re just starting out, it could be a small amount or a handful of services. But no matter how many or how little services you offer, you need to list them in the simplest way possible. You don’t want the reader to have to hunt for what you do.

Once they know who you are and what you offer, they need a clear way of contacting you. Make it easy for them to book a call or a schedule an appointment with you.

Element 3: Professional Photography

To put a pretty bow on your website, Madie suggests having professional photography images included on your website or one-pager. “I will say that with a caveat that obviously having a whole brand shoot can be expensive. However, this too could almost take a DIY approach, where you find another photograph who is also just starting their business. And you both could do a collaboration of sorts, maybe trading services or maybe there’s a payment.”

Madie also suggests taking advantage of stock imagery from websites like Unsplash or Pexels. “These websites offer stock photography for free that are very stylized,” Madie said. “You’ll be amazed how a very simple layout could look really good, striking and professional, if you have those three things.”

How to Grow Your Business Steadily and Build Momentum

Madie says that when she first started her business, she kept herself open to all the opportunities that came her way. “I consistently see encouragement to niche down and set very strict boundaries of exactly what you do. And I do agree that’s important, but sometimes it takes time to get there.”

When Madie first started her business, she wasn’t quite sure what she was the best at or what lit her up to work on or what was most financially profitable. “I recommend being open to trying something new, even if you’re not sure that type of project necessarily is for you.”

Circling back to not investing a ton of money into your website, logo etc. in the beginning. Because you don’t have that large investment hanging over your head in the beginning stages of your business, that gives you more freedom to pivot if needed. You’re going to learn and grow so much in the beginning, and it’s really about finding what projects and clients work well for you.

To learn more about Madie and her business, be sure to check out her website And go say hi to her on Instagram too!


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