Should I be investing in my personal brand? 3 questions to know if personal branding is for you
The concept of personal branding is relatively recent and regularly misunderstood. Essentially, personal branding is the act of proactively managing and growing your reputation online. It’s the ‘you’ that the world sees when they aren’t seeing you in person. Personal branding is a concept that delights some and depresses others, but it’s something that’s becoming more and more necessary in our ever-connected online world.
The terms ‘personal branding’ and ‘influencer’ are often used in the same sentence — but actually, are completely different. When I work with a client on their personal brand, it is to establish them as an expert in their field — as a thought leader, as a passionate go-getter — who others want to follow, learn from and work with.
I wouldn’t tell my clients I can make them an ‘influencers’ and nor would I want to. In my opinion, influencer culture is everything that’s wrong with social media and I would never want to contribute to it.
By definition, there is nothing wrong with being an influencer — to be an influencer is to have people look to you for advice or guidance, and to have a strong sway with a large audience. However, the last few years have taken what it means to be an influencer and turned it into a crazy, fake, harmful industry that us personal branding specialists rarely want anything to do with.
So, if you want to become an influencer and sell protein shakes and teeth whitening products, this isn’t the blog for you. However; if you have a message to share, have ambition and want to be seen as a leader or an expert in your particular field, be that technology or cooking or race car driving or inspirational coaching, then this is for you.
I regularly get quizzed on what I actually do as a personal branding specialist and why I do what I do. And I answer that the reason I chose to be a personal branding specialist is because I get to work one-to-one with passionate, driven, skilled people and help them to get clarity, define what they want to be known for and then connect with their ‘tribe’ online (I can’t stand this word, but thought I’d drop it in…a tribe is just a group of people who believe what you believe and want to see what you do — like a follower, but on steroids).
So, is it time for you to start investing your time and money in your personal brand? Possibly, but not always. I am not in the business of telling people who don’t want to do something that they should do that thing. However, I usually find that those who are the most resistant are often the ones who most need it. Kind of like the gym.
Anyway, enough chatting (there’s never enough chatting). Let’s get to the 3 questions.
1. Do you have an ambition greater than where you are or a passion deep inside your tummy?
‘Brand yourself for the career you want, not the job you’ve got’
In life, in my opinion, there are three types of people:
The first type: those who play it safe and accept that life ‘is how it is’. These are the people who just ‘get on with it’ but rarely complain; in fact, they’re quite happy to just ‘do’, life just is what it is, and their part is just to play along. They’re agreeable and they’re content, just following the path that many others are.
The second type (my least favourite): These are the people who live the same lifestyle as the first type — but they moan about it. They complain about every part of it but do nothing to make a change. They often live in the land of the victim where they believe other people can do things they can’t or have things they don’t (bollocks). They follow the path, but they drag their feet at the back, complaining.
And finally, the third type: These are the people who grab life by the balls (such a revolting phrase). They take risks, they make noise, they create change. They make a ton of mistakes, they have big highs and big lows, but they keep on going because their ambition forces them to.
If you’d consider yourself one of the first two types of people, I suggest you drop off here because I think my blogs are going to wind you up. But if you are the third type, then stay with me — you’re my type of person.
If you have big goals — be that to change the world, own your own business or to just have a fantastic, safe career but to leave a big mark on that company and have fun while doing it — then it’s time to invest in your personal brand. It’s time to get known online for that one thing that you’re excellent at, that you love or that you just want to talk about all the time. You don’t need to be an expert now — you could build your brand while you become an expert.
To the third type of people — my people — I beg of you to get moving! Write, record, tweet, shout, just get going because that fire in your tummy is going nowhere, so you may as well embrace it. Don’t fight it; get ready for your big ‘this is me moment’.
2. Are you solving a problem? Do others need what you want to offer?
Most people start a business or a blog or a YouTube channel because they can’t find the thing they’re looking for and they know that others have the same issue. The fitness pros were struggling to find that programme, the tech startups couldn’t find that app, the Mummy bloggers couldn’t find those kiddy recipes.
If sharing your message and passion solves a problem — then, honey, you’ve got a personal brand.
Unless you’re Kim Kardashian and you get 1,000,000 likes on a photo of you tying your shoelace, then your brand needs to solve a problem. It needs to have a reason. Often, that reason is what actually caused you to want to do what you do in the first place. You couldn’t find someone who spoke to you the way you wanted to be spoken to, who shared the content you wanted to read or made videos exactly how you wanted to consume them.
We’ve established that you’re someone with a skill or a passion. We’ve established that you want more than you’ve got now and we’ve accepted that the fire driving us isn’t going out. Now we just need to make sure that we’re solving a problem.
Do some research, join some Facebook groups, ask the people around you, ask experts, tweet famous people, prove demand for your brand. I’m pretty much 100% sure that you will find that demand. There is a niche and a tribe for pretty much everything and anything — if you can’t find it, then get moving. Build your personal brand. Now is your opportunity!
3. Have you got to this question?
Question 3 is actually a bit cheeky of me, but I thought it was more interesting than a standard ‘conclusion’.
If you’ve read this blog to this point, it is very likely that it’s time for ‘someday’ to be now and for you to start spending your time on your brand.
What this looks like is totally unique to you and your personality type, but below are a few suggestions of what you can do if you need a little extra push. If you’re ready now, then get moving. Get googling, get writing, get set up. Reach out to me if you are interested in working with me on getting clarity on your why, your audience, your niche and your message and how to get it out there — this is what I do for a living and, if you’ve read this whole blog, I’d probably like you and we’d probably work well together.
If you need a bit more of a nudge, then take one small step. It only takes one small step to then take the second. Start with just the one:
- Set up one account — Twitter, Instagram, a URL, YouTube.
- Read around your area — often, we want more confidence in what we’re talking about before we start talking. So, pick a book and read it quickly. Then look in the mirror and back yourself. You know what you’re talking about anyway — the books just add to your repertoire
- Clear out your social media following and replace it with people who inspire you and encourage you — get rid of that dead weight that makes you feel like you can’t, and replace it with people who make you feel that you can
- Write an article — one blog, one article. You never have to use it — just put pen to paper.
- Record a video — again, you don’t have to use it. Just speak out loud about your passion, about your why, and about your decision to invest in yourself.
There are a ton more things that you could do but I just want you to do the one for now. One step towards investing in yourself. You are the best thing you can invest in and I’m here for you along the journey.
If you want to be with other likeminded people, join my Facebook group and post a question.
Always celebrating you ❤