Before you start your business, there are a few things you need to do while building the structure. You can focus on legal issues, financials, or the hiring of personnel.
Me? I’d like to focus on the one thing that will keep my business afloat: producing sales.
You can take your time while building your company. In her book “Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months”, small business expert Melinda E
But, for the sake of this post, let’s just say you are transitioning from your day job to an entrepreneurial role.
In those 12 months, you can easily start creating an audience that will have an
You can exploit your personality and knowledge about your product and industry to generate attention and gain credibility within your community and industry. All you must do is put your knowledge and personality together and wrap it up in a package that is appealing to the people who have an interest in your business.
In the marketing world, we call this package a personal brand.
What is a Personal Brand?
According to Wikipedia:
Personal branding is essentially the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group, or organization.
Now, let’s turn that into easy-to-understand terms.
Think about Nike, Starbucks, Coca-Cola… all those products and services you use every day. How do you feel when you hear their name or see an image on your TV?
That emotion you feel once someone brings an entity to your attention is the brand said entity has built for itself.
Translate that into you, then your personal brand is the emotion people feel – and the response they give – when they hear your name or see your image.
Not everyone is going to feel the same way about you.
But you are not going to pay attention to the Negative Nancy’s of the world. You will instead focus on the people who want to make business with you. Those who want to hire your services or buy your products.
One of the Best Marketing Tactics Entrepreneurs Can Employ
The best way to start promoting your business (before it even launches) is to promote yourself. Remember that people do not connect with logos – they connect with people.
If you take those twelve months to display your knowledge about your industry while showing your community that you care about them, you will build an awesome personal brand.
So, what’s the point of building this brand? Simple: instant credibility for your business.
Once you connect your name to your business, you are letting people know that your wisdom and caring are the driving force behind the business.
And since you have spent an entire year promoting yourself as an industry expert to your community (and building trust in the process), those who have bought into what you present will see you as a practical solution to their problems.
Chances are high they will buy what you offer.
But, how does one go about creating a personal brand? Let’s build one right now!
How to Create Your Personal Brand
As I mentioned, having a solid personal brand will create awareness within your industry, and trust within your community.
But there are so many other benefits of having a well-built personal brand:
- Better planning and organizing of your self-promotion efforts
- Effective communications that lead to more connections
- Displaying your growth and evolution as an entrepreneur
- Clear positioning for yourself (as an expert) and your business
- Showing your appreciation to those who helped you get where you are
- And many more!
Creating an effective personal brand doesn’t take as much time and hard work as you might think. In fact, it would take less than an hour!
Just follow these four steps. And by the end of the process, you should have a well-defined, appealing personal brand.
Step 1: Determine Your Brand Qualities
The first thing you are going to do is build the foundation for your personal brand. And you will do so by selecting your brand qualities. I got this idea from the book “Branding Yourself” by Kyle Lacy (@kyleplacy) and Erik Deckers (@edeckers).
Brand qualities are the character traits you want people to immediately associate with you. What do you want them to know you for?
Take a timer and set it up for five minutes. During those five minutes, write down as many nouns and adjectives as you can, describing yourself. Don’t worry about synonyms or negatives – write down everything that comes to mind.
Once the time runs out, go to your list and eliminate all negatives and synonyms. Ideally, you should end up with about fifteen brand qualities.
Those qualities will guide the content of your brand.
If you need inspiration, here is my list:
- Craving for learning
- Big-picture thinker
- a deep desire to create
- Intrinsically motivated
- Questions the norm
- Path forger
- Natural leader
- Rapid idea generator
- Sees challenges as opportunities
With your brand qualities in place, it is now time to shape up your brand. And you will do it by creating your character description.
Step 2: Create Your Character Description
New York Times best-selling author Amy Jo Martin (@AmyJoMartin) defines the character
Your character description describes the tone of your personal brand. It will be a reminder to the world of who you are, and (just as important) who you are not.
To create your character description, go back to your list of brand qualities. Take a moment to group those qualities that are similar. Once you’ve grouped your qualities, try and come with one word to describe each group. Ideally, you should have five words for five groups.
Those five words are your character description – and they will set the tone for how you will present yourself to your industry and community.
If you need inspiration, here’s my character description:
- Creative (path forger; outward-looking; rapid idea generator)
- Passionate (competitive; deep desire to create)
- Independent (uninhibited; intrinsically motivated)
- Rebellious (big-picture thinker; sees challenges as opportunities; questions the norm)
- Flexible (sympathetic; service-oriented; diplomatic)
Congratulations! You have created the foundation for your personal brand. Now, you will give that found something to support – by figuring out what message(s) you will send to your target market.
Step 3: Identify Your Value Offerings
This is another idea I have stolen from Amy Jo. And is one that will help to showcase your personality to the world.
Ms. Martin’s Digitally Royal University developed the Value Balance Scale. The scale holds six buckets – each representing a value offering. These values are:
- Exclusive content
Select six topics that you feel comfortable talking about for. One for each bucket.
You don’t need to talk about just business (a mistake I made when I started branding myself). Talk about whatever you like – spirituality, your community, lifestyle choices, etc.
If you need inspiration, here are my six value buckets:
- Marketing advice (education)
- Poverty alleviation (information)
- Outdoor activities (entertainment)
- Behind-the-scenes at Brand and Deal (exclusive)
- Quotes from world leaders (inspiration)
- My favorite brands (reciprocation)
Once you figure out your value offerings, you’ll be on your way towards building a reputation as an industry expert and a community leader. But you are not going to stop there.
There’s a saying that goes “actions speak louder than words.” And to finish the creation of your personal brand, you are going to set some parameters for yourself. You are going to create the rules of your brand.
In other words, you are going to find your NUTs.
Step 4: Find Your N.U.Ts
N.U.Ts is an acronym for Non-negotiable, Unalterable Terms. The credit for this goes to Mr. Wayne Levine, author of the book “Hold On to Your N.U.T.s—The Relationship Manual for Men.”
Your N.U.Ts are the things you commit to – family, career, health, religion, etc. These are the boundaries that will define your personal brand. They are the rules that, if repeatedly broke, will damage your personal brand for a long time. Even permanently.
Create a list of your N.U.Ts by simply asking “what do I want to commit to?”
Think about what you like to do for fun, what makes a good friend, what makes you unhappy, and what would you differently if given the chance.
Use those thoughts to create a list of at least five non-negotiable, unalterable terms. Take them to your mentor or someone you trust and get their input.
For inspiration purposes, here are my N.U.Ts:
- Be kind to those who are in need.
- While being competitive, be ready for accommodation and compromise.
- Always question the way things are.
- Work with people who encourage innovation, unbounded creativity, and rapid evolution.
- Look to make things better, faster, easier, or more exciting.
Once your N.U.Ts satisfy you, plaster them into your personal brand, and keep them in plain sight. They will be a reminder of what you are committing to.
This is Just the Beginning
Your personal brand will change over time.
As you grow and change throughout your journey, so will your qualities, character, offers, and terms. Take notice of what’s happening around you, as well as within you. And make the right adjustments.
Should you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me.