Can I be honest with you for a minute? Between access to technology and people being unbelievably talented, this world is dang competitive. And if you've ever had to go job hunting, you know how stressful it can be trying to prove yourself in an interview that lasts less than an hour. And if you decide to take on the journey of entrepreneurship, being the face of your business comes with a bit of pressure.
But what if I told you there is a way to get a head start on the whole process of proving yourself?
Let me introduce you to personal branding.
What is a personal brand, and why is it important?
A personal brand defines YOU and what you stand for as an individual. Building this is important for numerous reasons. Here are just a few:
- It can help you stand out from the competition. Remember when I said, "the world is dang competitive?" It's more important than ever to differentiate yourself from the world. Big task, I know. But hey, this is why a strong personal brand is important.
- It can help you attract new opportunities. When you are known for specific values, goals, talents, etc., you'll start attracting opportunities that align with them.
- It can help you build credibility and trust. Again, when you are known for specific values, goals, talents, etc., people will begin to trust you with them. This is where confidence in yourself and your abilities is huge!
- It can help you become a leader in your industry. Take what you know and share it! Eventually, you'll become a leader in the space you care about.
- It can help you achieve your personal and professional goals. Standing for something you believe in will build confidence and motivation like nothing else. Once you have that, pursuing your dreams becomes a little easier.
Okay, I Get It. Now What?
Now it's time to start building your personal brand! Here's how to get started!
- Define what you stand for. What makes you unique? Why does it make you unique? What do you care about? What are your values? Ask yourself questions like these. It is a great reflection exercise and a great way to reveal what makes you. YOU!
- Create a personal brand statement. Now that you have yourself figured out. Write it down into a short, concise summary. This should be clear, compelling, and memorable! You should be excited to read this to yourself and share it with others.
- Develop a consistent online presence. Make your online presence authentic to you and consistent with your brand. Wherever you appear, appear authentically.
- Network. Networking leads to some amazing things. It's a great way to build relationships and get your name remembered. Attend industry events, join professional groups, and connect with people online. One of my favorite ways to connect is over coffee, which aligns with my personal brand and is a low-key way to get to know someone!
- Share what you know. Share your knowledge with others by writing blog posts, posting on social media, connecting with others, etc. This is an excellent way to open a revolving door of knowledge with others.
- Be confident. Don't let the negativity bug get ya. Be confident in who you are and what you have to offer. If the bug does get ya, refer to your personal brand statement to help remind you who the heck you are.
Can my career be my personal brand?
I'm going to hit you with this question. Can your career disappear tomorrow? If yes, it might be more important than ever to start developing your personal brand. It's all fun and games climbing the career ladder and becoming a leader in the office until crap hits the fan and you no longer have a ladder to climb. You'll need to lean on who you are more than ever to find new opportunities.
Backstory: Before I became a full-time photographer, I had multiple jobs in different industries. I could have easily let myself get sucked into each industry (even if I wasn't fully passionate about it), but I remained constant in my personal brand of being a silly, intentional, creative. I carried those three words into each job I held and in the end, it always helped me achieve what I wanted to in my roles. The transitioning to working for myself was seamless because I didn't attach myself to the company I was working for, but rather what I offered to each company because of the personal brand I've worked hard to build.
It's very easy to immerse ourselves in our careers. But if you don't build a brand separate from the company you work for, it can be hard to transition to different opportunities.
However, to all my entrepreneurs, your brand IS your personal brand, especially if you are the face of the business you are building.
At the end of the day, it's all circumstantial. But don't forget to check in with yourself often to see if what you're working towards aligns with what you really are.
Let's Wrap it Up.
Building a personal brand is a beneficial tool and an investment in your future. It can help you achieve your career goals, build a successful business, and live a more fulfilling life. If you are not yet building a personal brand, I encourage you to start today. I promise you won't regret it. If you are building a personal brand, I commend you. As you know, it's a never-ending process but one that is so worth it.
Need help discovering your personal brand? Let's connect!