How to Define Core Values for Your Creative Business

Sometimes, as a business owner it can feel like you’re always a bridesmaid, never the bride.

I get it.

Last January I thought I would be doing the foundational work I do for my clients for my business.

I was wrong.

I put off doing a deep dive into my branding because building my client projects were (and always will be) more important.

But, last year’s lack of planning and time management to make my business a priority was a mistake.

Pushing off something I could have easily integrated into my schedule became a problem.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I was able to grow and build my business my first year without having all of my brand elements completely identified.

Related: How I quickly grew my business

To be fair, I knew at the beginning of last year that I couldn’t answer all the questions. I needed some data and a year of running this biz under my belt to really get a better understanding of what I wanted to offer, who I enjoyed working with, and what those people really needed.

Sure, I loosely knew who I was talking to, and what my core values were.

But, not having them written out as a constant reminder is an easy way to lose sight of what they are.

Last week during my business deep dive, I was in a place where I felt like I COULD NOT move forward until I identified my business core values.

I needed them in order to identify my goals for 2019.

So, I stopped pushing it off and got to work.

It was interesting to see how I developed my core values for myself versus how I pull them for my clients.

My one-on-one branding clients answer an in-depth questionnaire that goes over a lot of different aspects of who they are, what their business does, and who their target audience is.

From all the answers in the questionnaire and our conversations I am able to identify and pull their core values out pretty easily.

But, it’s always easier to see the forest from the trees when you’re not the one in the middle of it.


As I approached doing this exercise for myself I did the following 3 steps:


I referenced client testimonials and feedback to pull out the words they kept using to describe their experience.

From this, I was able to create a word bank of the different keywords people used to describe me.

In the middle of doing this exercise, I even texted a friend (non-client) and asked her if any words came to mind to as my core values.

It was so fun and interesting to see how well she knew me because the words truly aligned with the same words my clients were using!

Before I moved on to the next step, I took a minute to think about other businesses and brands that I love to follow. I considered what words and emotions came to mind that I loved about them and looked at how those words might fit into what I already came up with.


From the keywords and phrases I pulled from my clients and what my friend shared with me, I began putting each word on different sticky notes.

Once I had all the words written out, I began grouping similar ones together. I even highlighted and continued to pull out words from those groupings to further define and hone in on my core values.

After a few rounds of arranging and rearranging I found 5 core values that truly embodied who I am and what Simply Sianne has to offer.


Now that I had 5 clear groupings I quickly turned to Google Docs and started typing it up.

I focused on writing it in a way that shows my commitment to my clients and my audience through my business with these core values.

Once I got them on paper, I truly felt like I was able to do a similar method for my 2019 goals.

There was a lot of reworking throughout this process. Mainly because I realized some of these “goals” that I had written out, weren’t really goals, but more of the tactics of “how” I was going to reach a specific goal.

So, I lined them up, and eventually pulled out my 4 goals for the year. I moved the remaining sticky notes under each one of those goals to identify how I was going to achieve that goal. I even took it a step further before truly committing to the goal by identify why I wanted that to be a goal.

By having my core values written out, I was able to double check the why behind all of my goals to ensure it truly aligned with my vision for Simply Sianne.

Before I leave you to write out your core values, I want to share mine with you so you can see what they ended up looking like and how I want to continue serving my community through my business.



Commitment to innovate and create intentional designs that speak directly to your ideal client and portray your core values. I am committed to testing and experimenting to share what’s working in today’s ever-evolving world.


Commitment to teach and empower others to market and brand their business simply. I am committed to being a resource in the community and providing knowledgeable and helpful content.


Commitment to keeping it real, sharing what’s working and what’s not working. I am committed to providing honest feedback on where you should be spending your energy.


Commitment to keeping it simple. Running a business is hard, with lots of moving parts, I am committed to providing simple solutions that provide tangible results.


Commitment to giving back to my community, both the creative community as well as non-profits I’m vested in. I am committed to serving and building those around me.

Do you have core values for your business? I’d love for you to share them in the comments below!


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