Imagine, for a moment, that you’re planning to start up a business, essentially starting a new life. You’re ready to run the race, dodge the obstacles, jump the barriers, and dive head-first into your business at the finish line. The starter pistol fires, and you begin the dodging, jumping, and persevering of wrangling together the resources and finances necessary to get your startup off the ground. Many others in your same position fail as you push forward—some hemorrhage money, some run out of manpower, but you’ve worked hard to get where you are, and you believe in your cause. You and the other hopefuls finally glimpse the finish line on the horizon, but notice one final obstacle in the way: a lake of quicksand, waiting to swallow up anyone foolish enough to blindly run forward. This quicksand, in the real world, is better known as branding.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not the branding process that resembles quicksand—the quicksand represents the danger presented by sub-par branding. Those other runners in the aforementioned race will make various attempts at crossing this obstacle; some will just run forward, a business with no brand at all, and they will, of course, sink faster than their competition. Others will attempt to fashion some kind of solution themselves—also known as self-branding, the equivalent of trying to use rubber pool floats to cross quicksand—and some may last a little while, sure, but ultimately the floaties get swallowed up. These racers won’t be able to make it nearly as far as they could have if they had invested in a good foundation for their brand.

You’re the smart one, though. You pick someone, a professional, to build you everything you need. It’s not free, and it may be a labor-intensive process in the beginning, but selecting the right professional means you get the incredible advantage of walking away with a brand that will carry you clear across that final obstacle. Your new business, and in turn, your new life, get started off the right way, and are built on a foundation that’ll foster your success. Not to mention, the bystanders watching that race, the future patrons of your business, notice the boost you just received, and they’ll be that much more likely to seek you out. People are drawn to legitimacy; they want to invest their hard-earned money on “the real thing” in virtually any business transaction, so the more legitimate you seem, the more legitimate you are.

There’s a reason people spend their livelihoods creating professional brands, websites, and the like: they (*ahem*—we) are here to help you succeed. You may have a good eye for aesthetics, and you may feel confident about your DIY design skills, but at the end of the day, there is absolutely no true substitute for how exceptional, distinct, and memorable the right professional can make you look. Trade in those floaties, catapult over the quicksand, and make the branding dilemma a thing of the past. You’ll be glad you did.