Hey hey hey budding entrepreneurs!
Personal brands are a hit!
In fact, there is probably no other shortcut to start an online empire. However, the question that arises here is:
WHAT EXACTLY IS A PERSONAL BRAND?
To put it in very simple words, personal brands are one-man/woman-shows. Like for example, Instagram influencers and YouTubers are 2 best categories of personal brands.
But how do we actually become one?
I mean yeah the general concept is something like: anyone can simply create an Instagram account, put pretty pictures or take a video camera, shoot couple of vlogs and become a hit!
But honestly, this idea couldn’t be any more further away from the truth!
With the ever-growing number of such accounts, new social media and search engine algorithms, latest marketing strategies and fierce competition in every industry, it is becoming more and more difficult to gain traction and actually gain results out of a personal brand.
This doesn’t mean though that you should give up your hopes. There is always a way when there’s a will, and the good news here is: YOU CAN STILL START YOUR PERSONAL BRAND IN 2019 AND BECOME A HIT SIMPLY BY HAVING A STRONG FOUNDATION.
1. Your Core Purpose
We all have a story, a passion, a compelling drive to do something, to achieve something or to help others achieve something. The sad truth is that most of these dreams are crushed by the so-called-practical individuals! However, at the same time, another truth that should always be kept in mind is: No big invention nor discovery has been made by being practical. We need some kind of insane individuals who believe in the impossible to bring about a big result, massive change, groundbreaking invention or discovery.
The core purpose or a brand’s mission in case of personal branding is based on the similar idea. Brainstorm your core purpose, passion or mission. Find what really stirs that joy, that feeling of utmost inner drive, and that certainty of this specific purpose being exactly what you really want!
In addition to this, hold on to it. Dig deeper and try to wholeheartedly understand why is it that you want to take up this mission. Don’t judge, don’t let society’s standards or practicality ruin your purpose. If someone laughs, let them. If someone doubts, let them. If someone seeds fear, let them. All you have to do is to just believe and keep going.
2. Name It
Once you truly KNOW your purpose, it’s time to name it. You can have a look at the deeper discussion about naming a business here.
For the sake of personal branding, keep these few points in mind:
- Make it different. Don’t go with what’s ‘hot’ or what everyone else is doing. Go against the wind and come up with something that totally speaks with you. Also, this way you will have all the social media names open to claim.
- Use your own name. Only go for this option if your name is unique and easy to remember. If the latter option is true, you can persuade the audience to remember your name through repetition but that will require a lot of persistence at your end.
However, you should not take too much time here. Some people never really start their brand because they can’t come up with the best or perfect name. Do not make that mistake. Just start with whatever you come up with. You can always re-brand. Growing and making amendments is always an option.
3. Your Brand’s Personality
There are quite a number of ways to categorize and explain a brand’s personality. One of the categories includes an authoritative vs likeability brand. (Read complete article here.)
In this step, it is important t decide what you want people to perceive you as.
For example, if you ask my siblings about me they will tell you that “Unaiza is a crazy girl wrapped in shawls or hoodies or a blanket, a weirdo who doesn’t go out, spends most time on her laptop and a bookworm who chose a career path none of us really understand.”
If you ask my childhood friends about me they will say “Unaiza is a genius who has an answer to almost everything, can solve almost any problem and is very sweet, loving and compassionate.”
If you ask my team members who work under me, their comment will be something like: “She is a monster who needs things in a very specific way, she is very focused and doesn’t really have a life.”
These are some of ways in which different people in my life see me. But, who really am I? The first one, the second one or the third one?
The truth is I am ALL OF THE ABOVE.
The crux of this whole situation is that we teach people how to treat us by displaying a certain aspect of our personalities to them.
While establishing your personal brand, you have to decide the side of your personality that you want to bring out. What is the relationship you want with your audience? Do you want to be considered as a teacher, guide, mentor or a friend, someone they can share their secrets with or do you want to be someone they can be more frank with? Are you cheerful, bubbly and sarcastic or mature, practical and serious?
Whatever you really feel inclined to, jot that down – this is going to be your brand’s personality.
4. Let’s Have Some Visual Fun
Alright, so once you have your foundations set, it’s time to look at the bigger picture. As a person, you must already have an inclination towards a specific style when it comes to your outfits, room decor or environment in general. Similarly, your brand needs a style too. You do not have to super perfect about it from the very beginning, but coming up with a style that complements your brand’s personality is the first and foremost way to stand out and make a strong connection with your audience right from the start.
Why is this so useful? Probably because humans are visual beings. As time goes on, our attention span is decreasing. So people, to be a Lamborghini in the sea of Toyotas, make a style statement right from the start :).
5. Communication is the Key
All the homework you do is useless if it is not communicated to your audience in a proper manner. I have had like a 100 ideas but none of them was making me any money nor helping anyone out, until I took the plunge to actually put myself out there!
Even after taking this plunge, if I had not brought in my different style, a different perspective on design and branding, a different spark in my content and a different message, I would have never been successful in booking clients for 3 months straight in the very first month of starting my online business!
So guys, without further ado, here is an easy way to communicate effectively with your audience once you start your personal brand:
- Know who you are talking to. I have talked in great detail about this here. The element on which I will emphasize on here is: who do you think will benefit most from your services/products? Where do they live? What do they do? What are their fears? What are their desires and inspirations? What problems are they looking to solve? and What are they looking to get done? If you have a clarity on all or most of these questions, it will bring you much closer to finding your audience, fans, customers and/or clients.
- Choose a medium. Knowing where your ideal folks hang out is extremely important, since we are talking about online business, I am talking about a platform like Instagram, YouTube, Facebook or LinkedIn. Choose one of these and stick to it. Don’t burn yourself out by trying to cover everything at once. Once you are consistent with one medium, you can always use this blueprint to spread your brand across the internet BUT in the start, do not attempt it unless you have already had a marketing experience.
6. Persistence. Persistence. Persistence.
WARNING: along the journey, you will face setbacks. This will happen specially when you will not get results and people will make sure to rub it in your face about how you’re doing everything wrong and wasting time plus energy, etc. Well, no matter what happens, don’t quit. Just keep your head up and walk.
Personal branding is the easiest way today to make a name for yourself. It really comes down to whether you truly believe in your purpose or not, whether you are confident enough or not, whether you are courageous enough or not and whether you are persistent enough or not.
Wrapping it Up:
I will never suggest that there is no serious work involved once you have the foundations. One still has to stay committed and put in their heart and soul to gain the best results out of a personal brand.
However, I do firmly believe that personal branding is in fact the easiest, most fun and cost-effective way of starting your own business, brand, hustle or whatever you want to call it.
Once established, you can, of course, choose a route that suits your grownup self. Just stay true to the roots and it will keep blossoming for you. 🙂