I am often asked how solopreneurs can grow their businesses with sweet marketing on a limited budget. My response is always: don’t remain the world’s best kept secret – invest in building your personal brand.
Creating a powerful personal brand for yourself and your business will drive business growth and open doors, whether this means new PR opportunities, an increase in reach and engagement with your ideal customers or sales enquiries.
Since I invested in my own personal brand development, these positive things have happened:
- My website traffic has increased by over 100 % over the last twelve months
- Commercially viable sales inquiries have increased
- I will deliver a talk on personal branding at The Cambridge Social Media Day
- I have been invited to guest on Twitter chats and podcasts, most recently #ContentWritingChat, #TwitterSmarter, WeRSM and The Marketing and Finance podcast
- People in the wider social media community recognise my name and share my content with their audience
Let’s start at the beginning: do your strategy homework
When I start working with new clients I identify some quick fixes to inject a sugar rush into their strategy by asking these key questions:
- Who are your ideal customers?
- What are their interests and challenges?
- How can you position your services/products as the solution to their problems?
- How can you serve them better than the competition?
Your roadmap to success with building your brand and business will start with doing your strategy homework.
Building a personal brand helps us to communicate what we offer, how we differ from the competition and who we are. Knowing what your why is, is a fantastic starting point for developing brand you.
Whatever your business, people want to believe in the person behind the brand. There’s no better way to convey who you are – and what your why is – than by building a personal brand strategy.
This all sounds perfectly logical (after all I am German) but many people struggle with branding when they are the brand.
Which of these stumbling blocks is holding you back?
These are the challenges I hear most commonly from clients:
- I have a mental block when I think of myself as a brand
- I can’t make any time for this – I am busy delivering for clients
- I don’t feel confident enough in my abilities, the last thing I want to do is draw attention to myself. I almost like blending into the background
- I don’t have any marketing/branding skills
- I don’t understand why developing a personal brand matters
If you’re used to being part of a corporate brand, it can seem overwhelming to define your own brand. We don’t have enough emotional distance from it. And let’s be honest, how could we? It’s ourselves we are talking about. Overcome this by starting a ‘brand you’ inspiration board today:
- Collate examples of successful solopreneurs you admire.
- Look around in your sector, what is your competition doing? Write out a table with points you like and where they could do better. This will help capture your first ideas for your personal brand.
- Do you have some LinkedIn recommendations or testimonials that could inspire you?
- Speak to current and past clients and ask them what they consider your key strengths to be.
- Think about what you enjoy delivering as services, and how you like to work.
Lack of time for personal branding
As entrepreneurs we often struggle with time. Treat yourself as a client to change your mindset. What method do you use to keep track of business tasks? Use the same for building a personal brand. Write down a list of tasks, and allocate deadlines to them.
Maybe even offer yourself some incentives. Find an accountability partner. Whatever motivates you to get things done, apply the same approach to your personal branding.
Get a marketing coach to step away from the vanilla comfort zone
This is what worked for me. I was stuck and just couldn’t move forward after years of working in a corporate environment where I was part of a company-wide brand. A business coach helped me to address my mental blocks and to simply get on with it. It made me move outside my comfort zone. I started thinking about what makes me different and closely linked this to how I want my brand to be perceived to attract my ideal clients.
How can you get started with developing your personal brand?
If you struggle to describe what your personal brand is about it’s a helpful starting point to admit this. As soon as you own this stumbling block you can do something about it.
Why not book a free Mini Pick Me Ups session to help plan the next steps in your branding journey?
Last updated September 2018.