You've had these ideas in your head, and you need to figure out how to build your personal brand to execute it. There's so much information on personal branding out there that it probably left you overwhelmed and even more clueless than when you started. I feel you. At times, it can be so discouraging to see your peers breeze by you into success as you struggle to build your brand. Before I allow you to keep feeling sorry for yourself, let's analyze why they breezed by you in the first place. Are they smarter than you or are they outworking you? It's easy for you to get into a rut about your lack of progress, but you're probably the reason you're in the rut to begin with. Yep, I said it.
While that make seem harsh, you might be in need of a reality check like I was a few years ago. I shared this in my Glow Up Challenge, but I wasn't getting as far in my business because fear and comparison was holding me hostage. That person that "passed you by" had access to the same internet that you did. They just chose to execute, while you been over here playing. You can do anything through God and Google. Don't play yourself. Now that I got that out the way, if you're ready to learn how to build your brand and do something with the information, keep reading.
Why You Need to Build a Personal Brand
The goal of building a personal brand shouldn’t be to attract more followers on Instagram and Twitter, but to become more marketable in your business and career. Your personal brand helps you to embrace your purpose and live your passion in a way that wasn’t possible before. It allows you to live life on your own terms. Competition is fierce and the number of people jumping into entrepreneurship and creating “brands” and “businesses” are exponentially increasing every month. So whether you're trying to supplement your income as a consultant or freelancer, want to switch industries, launch your career out of college or simply create an avenue to do what you love, a personal brand is the first step.
Let's define personal branding. Your personal brand is the packaging and management of your reputation. It's your message, personality, skills, accomplishments, and the return on investment that people get when they interact or work with you.
What are you doing for others? What do you bring to the table? Building a successful brand is one of the most humbling experiences, because you're bearing it all and being uniquely and unapologetically you for the sake of helping others. That kind of spiritual and emotional nudity takes confidence and courage. I tell y'all most of my business for the sake of helping you learn. The more that you grow and become self-assured, the easier building this intangible brand will be. You cannot touch and feel your brand. You can’t fully describe it, but it is a collection of moments, skill sets and experiences that come together to speak to who you are on a personal and professional level. It is based as much on your personality as your expertise.
You build a brand because you're ready to give of yourself and pour into other people. You build a brand because you're willing to honestly and whole-heartedly share your expertise, regardless of what you will get in return. You empty yourself to fill others up. Whether you are an entrepreneur or an employee, you know what it’s like to give all of yourself and leave it all on your desk to come back and do it again the next day. Don’t build a brand for the validation of others. Build your brand to leave a legacy, no matter how great or how small.
The decision shouldn't be taken lightly. I see many young people jump into it without proper planning and no strategy in place. They get an idea for a business or side hustle; they put up a website and get some business cards and think they are ready to go. Unfortunately, they quickly realize that something is missing, because they become stagnant and aren’t making money or progress. Blogging and social media channels are simply strategies to build a personal brand. They aren't a brand. Once you are clear on this, you will stop asking yourself why no one reads your blog, or obsessing over your Instagram followers and begin to connect with the right people and opportunities. So where do you go from here? Whether you're an entrepreneur, a corporatepreneur working full-time, or just trying to build your personal brand, below is what you need and often overlook when building a brand.
Get more eyes on your site and your name on a weekly basis.
You need to increase the amount of people that know your name. In order to sell your skills or services, you need people to be able to find you. That could be traffic to your website or meeting people in person at events or conferences. You should focus on creating content that brings new, fresh eyes to your website and also helps to build your credibility and expertise. Traffic means more people will learn about what you do and ultimately more people are in your marketing funnel to become clients, customers or partners.
Use content, speaking engagements, press and networking to increase your exposure. Provide yourself with at least one of these opportunities per week.
Increase engagement with your audience through email marketing and funnels.
While traffic is an introduction, engagement builds relationships. An email list and social media audience full of loyal followers and excited fans are important when marketing yourself and building community. Quick Public Service Announcement: Your social media channels cannot replace a website and email list. You want to build your email list so that you're able to directly access your audience at any given moment. Yes. However, you also want an email list in the event that Instagram were to disappear tomorrow, you aren't starting from scratch. You can build a list various ways including a free offer on your website, a sign-up option on your site and collecting emails at an event.
You want to erase the anonymity that the Internet provides. By emailing and engaging your audience on social media, you can develop and nurture relationships. Participate in Twitter chats, pose questions on Instagram and email your audience at least once a month. If you aren't having conversations with people, you aren't engaging properly.
Take the time to map out your brand and don't skip any steps.
Your personal brand isn't built just by launching a website. Remember, a brand is an intangible collection of things such as your experience and personality. Brand channels, like a website, are what communicate your brand to others. In order to bring your brand to life, there are some things you need to nail down first.
Niche and Target Audience
Personal Branding Statement
These are just some of the things that you should have outlined. If you need help with these, my book is the perfect resource.
Invest the money on the right tools.
Money is a huge factor when building a brand. I started my business with $1000 dollars, which included filling fees, licenses, website hosting and other start-up costs. For my personal brand, I spend about $50 a year. However, I was able to save a lot of money on things that I already knew how to do myself like graphic design and website design. Remember that in order to make money you have to spend money, and just because something is free, it doesn't mean that it's good. Entrepreneurship and brand building is not for the CHEAP. Invest in your success as well as in your knowledge.
These are the tools that I invested in for my business:
Convertkit - less of a headache than MailChimp and removes the need to buy Leadpages.
CoSchedule - streamlines social media scheduling saving you a ton of time. Plus, they have a free trial, so try it out.
Squarespace - I was over wordpress and their trillion plugins. Squarespace gives me more creative control and built-in functionality. Read this is you're debating between Wordpress vs. Squarespace.
Camera and Tripod - Better visuals mean more engagement. Get all these likes on the 'gram and a stunning head shot.
It is important to understand that an infrastructure and processes must be put in place to help your business run smoothly and grow over time.
Too much to take in? Purchase Make Yourself Marketable, if you're really trying to build and grow your brand.