Your personal brand, simply put, is the way you are perceived by the world around you. It is a reflection of your individuality; a widely agreed upon perception of you based on your skills, experience, personality, style of work, achievements and more. Contrary to popular perception, a personal brand isn’t limited to celebrities. Each and every one of us has a personal brand. Don’t believe me? Just Google yourself. All that information out there is a reflection of your personal brand. If created consciously, your personal brand can create opportunities like none other. If you’re an entrepreneur, consultant or freelancer, having a powerful personal brand can be your greatest asset. Let’s look at 8 ways in which you could build a powerful personal brand:
1. Identify your value propositions
Much like brands, individuals have value propositions as well. The first step to building a powerful personal brand is having the answer to these key questions:
- What are your areas of expertise?
- What is the value you create through the work you do?
- What separates you from your peers?
- What are your key achievements?
- What are your interests and passions?
No matter what industry you’re in, you need to bring strong value propositions to the table in order to build a powerful personal brand. If you happen to do multiple things well, ensure that you can back them all up with a solid portfolio of work.
2. Get testimonials
Getting endorsements from your clients or colleagues is a powerful way to let your work speak for itself. Testimonials are known to build trust – reviews from people who have benefited from working with you can only attract more people who want to work with you.
Let’s take the example of digital marketing wiz, Neil Patel. He confesses to having started off as an unassuming college student who through a lot of trials and errors, managed to learn a few tricks of the trade. He was hired as an SEO and online marketing consultant in early 2000s. The results he delivered coupled with the positive testimonials he received, helped him successfully build his personal brand.
3. Know your worth
The biggest disservice you can do to your personal brand is to undersell yourself. At the same time, overcharging isn’t going to get you far either. In order to truly know your worth, you need to be aware of two things: the impact of what you bring to the table and the general market rate for services such as yours.
If you want to be able to charge more than the average pay, your work needs to justify it. If you know your work is stupendous, go ahead and charge that premium! Keeping these points in mind will help you come up with an effective pricing strategy and create your own positioning within your industry.
4. Create a powerful online presence
We all have a digital footprint. But most of it is created organically without much thought behind it. What if you were to develop it consciously? The first step is to Google yourself. Everything you see out there is a reflection of your personal brand. Don’t like what you see? The good news is, you can change it. Well, at least most of it! Optimize your online presence to reflect how you’d like to be perceived. Rework your website, social media pages and every other touchpoint such that it strongly reflects your personal brand. Please remember that authenticity is key here. Trying to portray yourself as someone you’re not can backfire terribly.
Let’s take the example of Jay Shetty – the former monk who is shaking things up by making wisdom go viral. Google him and take a look at his online presence- from his website to his social media pages, he is leveraging each of these platforms to represent himself in a consistent and engaging manner. Even his LinkedIn page is up to date with all that you need to know about him professionally. You get a sense of his personal brand quite clearly through each of these avenues.
5. Develop a sense of personal style
Why is this important, you’re wondering? Well, because personal style is a powerful form of self-expression. It has nothing to do with how expensive your clothes or accessories are. It’s all about how you can put it all together to reflect your individuality. Remember that while fashion can be reproduced, personal style is inimitable.
Does this mean you have to spend a lot? Not at all! Look at Steve Jobs – his personal style was a turtleneck tee teamed with jeans and a pair of sneakers. Michelle Obama became synonymous with well-fitted, formal knee-length dresses. Maybe your style is to wear retro glasses or a bowtie. Or maybe you do enjoy looking like a fashionista. Whatever your style is, just ensure that it reflects your personality and aligns with the kind of audience you’re looking to engage with.
6. Share your knowledge
Are you great at what you do? If yes, there is another effective way to cement your personal brand in your line of work – share your knowledge and opinions with your target audience. There are many ways you can do this:
- Publish content regularly on your website and social media pages
- Look out for speaking gigs at conferences and panel discussions
- Create a podcast
- Write contributor blog posts
- Make yourself available to the press for interviews and opinion pieces
7. Invest in continuous learning
In today’s ultra fast-paced world, it is important to remain relevant. No one ever knows everything. Invest in continuous learning to ensure that you’re always at the top of your game.
There’s a growing trend in the corporate world – many senior-level execs are being sent by their companies to attend courses that can help them do their jobs better. As a freelancer or entrepreneur, it is easy to get complacent or get caught up with too many things. If you’re a startup entrepreneur or small-business owner, you will often end up doing multiple things at once. Therefore, it becomes imperative to expand your knowledge base.
The good news is, it doesn’t cost too much to learn a new skill or hone your existing skill-set. There are tons of free or inexpensive resources out there that can help you – online courses, instructional videos, podcasts, Facebook groups and so on. Make time to attend industry specific conferences and workshops as well.
8. Be consistent
Consistency is the key ingredient that will bind all of your personal branding initiatives together. You can do all of the things mentioned above and still fail at creating anything impactful if you’re not consistent. Remember that creating a personal brand is a lifestyle – it takes years to build something worthwhile. If you’re in it for the long haul, you’ll have to make consistency your best friend. You’ll also need to ensure that there is uniformity in your messaging across all channels – online and offline. Refrain from saying conflicting things on different channels.