Let’s get one thing clear from the outset – you already have a personal brand. But one question I get over and over again is ‘Do I need to have a personal brand?’ It’s not something you acquire – You were born with it! The choice is whether or not you’re going to leverage it and how committed you are in investing in it.
Some of us are quite happy to have our faces everywhere online; our egos and extrovert nature mean that we’re ready for anything. However, it isn’t as easy for the majority. There are a few factors that hold people back when it comes to personal branding, things that make them nervous or uncomfortable with the concept. The biggest worry, other than how to actually build a personal brand, is often around how to keep their values in check. Conversations around concerns over how to maintain integrity, maintain humility or how to avoid compromising other values often crop up in my coaching sessions. Just as importantly, discussion around how to keep your personal and business personas separate and protect your privacy and that of your family.
The answers to these questions are simply to make a contract with yourself around what’s acceptable and what isn’t. It’s a promise you keep that you work to in order to ensure you stay on track and ensure you don’t compromise yourself or your values at any time.
How long does it take to build a personal brand?
If only I had a bulletproof answer for that! You need to decide what success looks like for you. If you can define it in one sentence or a few bullet points, then you can develop some specific goals that will ensure your success.
However, you need to be prepared to put the work in. There are no overnight successes when it comes to personal brand. It took years to craft who you are, and now we’re going to take that and introduce it to as many people as possible as quickly as possible until they all feel that you’re their best buddy… even though you won’t know most of them!
You’re going to be posting on social media and potentially getting next to no engagement in the early days. You’re going to be running webinars or sitting on panels where nobody turns up, and you need to learn from those experiences and keep showing up.
The more you do this, the more you’re going to come across people who are going to do the opposite of liking, loving or supporting you. Remember, you can’t please all the people all the time!
And you’re going to be doing all this with persistence and consistency because every post and every appearance means you’re getting there! The more you do, the more traction you gain. Trust me when I say you haven’t truly made it until you’ve had some negativity online! When it happens, embrace it and know that you’re on the right path!
What are the mistakes people make with personal branding?
When you choose to leverage your personal branding – you’re choosing to put your head above the parapet and stand out as an example to everyone else. People Will follow you; never forget you are the leader of your tribe. (It doesn’t matter if to start with it’s a one-person tribe, it’s still your tribe!) I talk about the need to ‘show up’, and this is one of the times it’s most important.
You are not a broadcaster; this isn’t about you grabbing a megaphone and screaming your message to passers-by. You need to go out and engage with others, hear what they have to say and offer meaningful responses. Creating situations that are more intimate than a public social platform allows your audience access to you to have the conversations they might not want to commit to a written reply on a post they’ve seen! I’ve seen people get so focused on producing content that they’ve forgotten how powerful listening, responding and being part of a conversation is!
How do I monetise my personal brand?
It’s a horrible question to ask, isn’t it! But if you’re going to do it, this is the output! There are so many ways to monetise you. I make jokes about my team’ pimping me out’ (I know, it’s crass). But being asked to turn up somewhere and share your knowledge as an industry expert is a great way to monetise. Whether it’s paid speaking gigs, or that the speaking gig gives you the opportunity to gain leads you can convert later, that’s monetising your efforts! I can go through a whole list of ways to monetise and the tactics you need to employ to make it happen, but essentially before anything else, you simply have to accept that this is a core output and be comfortable with it. Making money from being you does not compromise who you are or what you stand for – it’s your reward!
I’ve written about personal branding many times over the years, but it’s not a topic I go to town on because it’s always been around – it’s a bit of a false trend, in my opinion. It’s never been the new thing. Just a new label on an old thing!
I was thinking about how to wrap up what I consider most important about personal branding and the lessons I’ve supported people in learning, so here you go. The 4Ps of personal brand…
Promise – What promises do you need to keep for yourself? This ties into your values.
Persistence – This isn’t something you can achieve overnight. Knockbacks in the shape of social posts with little or no engagement will come in the early days, only to be replaced with what you might view as a lack of support as you gain traction from those who are not courageous enough to do the same themselves!
Presence – Showing up is key to success! You’re not a broadcaster, you’re a leader of a tribe. Engagement is key, whether it is online or face to face. Maintaining a consistent presence means being true to who you are through your personal brand.
Profit – you are monetising you. It’s hard at first to accept, but the reality is people have always bought into you in one way or another. The difference now is that you have chosen to take responsibility in driving and leveraging this to achieve success. Be clear on how you want to monetise your efforts, but be open-minded enough to identify the opportunities that will arise along the way and take them when they fit with your promise.
At the end of the day, when it comes to personal branding, you make the rules. You are accountable to you. If it’s something you want to have a conversation around, let me know. I’m always happy to chat about this topic to help you move forward.