Your personal brand matters! Especially if you have a business!
It’s all about your persona: your vibe, your attitude, your tone, your voice and messaging, your aesthetic. It should absolutely be YOU, although sometimes a bit amplified. But never fake; there is a difference, be yourself (just as much of yourself as possible).
For me, my own personal branding has shaped my life, and my life has shaped my personal branding. In other words, through curating my brand, I have also curated my actual life (but I mean that in the very best way)! So what you see is what you get!
MY HOT TIPS
1. You DO NOT need to be in business to build a personal brand; this can also help with a regular career trajectory in many cases, OR it can just help you gain more confidence and live a life that is more in alignment with who you really are and what you really want!
In the work of creating your personal brand, you will be forced to uncover what’s most important to you in life and who you want to be, and you will end up making those things a bigger priority! Now, if you are in business, there is your business branding, and then there is your own. They will (if done right) support each other, but they are actually two separate things. So think and strategize about them that way.
2. Persona. Close your eyes and imagine you are just living your best life. Your most beautiful, or calming, or adventurous or bad-a** life (whatever feels right for you). That version of you, what is she like (edgy, feminine, sassy, etc)? What does she like to do (think big stuff, sure, but even smaller weekly or day-to-day stuff)?
What does she like to have around her? What does she like to eat? What does she like to wear? Where does she like to shop? What’s most important to her? Make a long laundry list of all the things above and anything else (again, big or small) that brings her any kind of joy.
3. Content pillars. Take your above laundry list and organize it out into 3-5 groups of like things that seem to fit together (as best you can). I did this exact same exercise (again, as my life and brand are always evolving) not too long ago myself and I ended up with the main categories of: self love, treating yourself, wellness, and creativity. When you share something on social (or wherever you are trying to build this personal brand), focus on relating it back to these pillars as often as possible.
4. Take more photos and/or videos - and get creative! I LOVE personal branding photoshoots - I have been doing them since I first started Hot Mess! I have another one next week, and I can’t wait to share the photos.
My first one ever (6 years ago now), I was wearing a maroon graphic tee (that I designed myself and had printed) with big white bold writing that read ‘brand yourself, babe’ and another that said ‘your new website is calling, I wore ripped jeans and red high heels, I brought a cheap magnum-sized bottle of champagne and a couple glasses, my makeup artist put dark red lipstick on me, my hair stylist straightened my hair (which was already a deep shade of red/burgundy too), my photographer and I found an area in town with tons of graffiti to shoot at, it was a whole vibe!
You don’t have to start with a shoot like this, though, and you don’t need to invest in a photographer, makeup/hair stylists, or outfits/props.
Start where you are with what you have. Learn to be comfortable taking photos of yourself (and your life) with your phone (sometimes selfies, sometimes just aesthetic scenes around you in life, get creative here, make it fun)!
5. Now put it all together and SHARE. You can start with a goal of just posting once per day (or even every other day, always quality over quantity). It should get easier over time and start to come more naturally too.
Feel free to post way more than once a day if you are feeling inspired! Inspiration is the stuff of life, you will never bother the RIGHT people when you are posting from your heart!
And on that note, try never to post just to post. It should be coming from your heart and soul. It doesn’t always have to be super deep, however it’s in those depths (of your dreams, of your fears, of your struggles and even of your gratitudes) that you can really start to build relationships with others, that they can relate to you, that they can be inspired.
I personally have always led with my truth, even when it’s that I’m having mental health issues or I’m feeling scared about big changes or I’m truly struggling at something I set out to do. Because that’s just how I want to ‘lead.’ Make sure not to post as a victim though, that’s not helpful or inspiring for anyone (including and especially yourself). So if you need to wait to share a challenge until you can share the hard stuff from a more hopeful/empowering place, then wait!
And also, you always get to decide how deep you go and what areas of your life you keep for yourself. I go deep and leave little just for myself, which works for me as of now because something in me gets charged up when I release it all into the world! But it’s ok if that’s not you! This all should feel good and natural, not forced or dreaded (but this doesn’t always mean the same as easy or comfortable; it’s good to get out of your comfort zone, and it’s not good if you end up vomiting or having a panic attack about what you just shared, go slowly if you need to).
I could really go on! I LOVE branding! (Kinda why I got into the business OF branding!)
Where are you struggling with all of this? If you have a business and aren’t working on your personal brand, why in the heck not?
Even though I highly recommend personal branding professionally, you also never have to.
Whether you don’t for one day (I recommend this often), or a year, or never. Ultimately, you must always come first. There are successful business owners who never really build their personal brand. Some people don’t have social media at all.
It can all feel heavy sometimes. You can lose yourself in it sometimes. You can feel vulnerable (in a really raw sense of the word, as in open to attack and judgment, which you are when you put yourself out there). So YOU have to be in charge. And you have to know yourselves, your intentions, and your worth better than your haters (and I say this even though I’m still a work in progress here myself).
At the end of the day, every day, It’s YOUR life. And that’s enough, too!
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