Personal branding is not about being famous or being an influencer who promotes teeth whitening strips and diet weight loss shakes. It’s about being known for something – be that an expertise, a passion, a message. It’s about inspiring your audience, building a tribe and having an impact. Your personal brand is your reputation online. It’s what people who don’t yet know you but one day will think of you. The practice of ‘personal branding’ is not only controlling the narrative of how you’re seen but actively working to be seen as a leader in a certain field.
The sky really is the limit. You can become ‘known’ for pretty much anything – and be hugely successful in it. The key is identifying what you’re passionate about, knowing what makes you unique and making sure there’s a market for it (which, if you’re niche enough and clear enough, there probably is).
For one simple reason – because I believe that investing in and growing your personal brand is the best thing you can do for your career, for your business, and for your life. Because spending time delving into your true passion and purpose, spending time learning and sharing information on this topic, stepping into your true light – the light that completely, 100% reflects you – is the best step you can take towards finding fulfillment and happiness in your everyday life.
Want to further your career in a big organization? Want to be known for being excellent at your craft? Want to work remotely from the beaches of Bali? Have an online brand that makes it easy for people to buy your services.
What to create change in a particular area? Connect with as many people as possible online and be known as a change-maker? Having a personal brand creates opportunities that you didn’t know existed.
It’s the only thing you can rely on when trying to open doors if you can’t get a recommendation. Now, it is not only for people who want to wear fancy clothes and take photos on the street, or cook fancy vegan meals and share photos on Instagram or take go-pro videos while surfing in Australia. It is for anyone who is passionate about a topic and would like to eventually make that topic their life. If you love to cook and you dream of one day opening a restaurant, you’re going to have an easier time getting investment from people if they can pop you into Google and see what you can do. If you want to rise to the top of your company, the odds are that you’re going to need a reputation in the market to enable you to sell deals and go on those fancy lunches. If you’re living your passion already, then write about it, engage with others, take photos. If you aren’t living your passion yet, then write, video and share your passion so that one day you can live it!
Most of the opportunities I’ve had have been because of investing in my online brand. From tweeting with the owner of a business landing me a cushy summer job while at Uni and getting my first role at Accenture because of my ability to use a CMS system (WordPress, because I had a blog), to moving to Bali and getting my first remote role and eventually starting my first business – all of this was possible because I was clear and known for something online (even if sometimes that was just ‘being a millennial’). That is why I not only invest time and energy in my own personal brand but also why I work with others on theirs. In the UK we are only just scratching the surface of personal branding, and this means that the opportunity to become the leader in a field is huge.
Your personal brand is unique because it is you. That’s my favorite part – your brand can be whatever you want it to be. You no longer need to fit into a box. You can be and say whatever you want. The uniqueness of your personality, your experiences, your passions, your skills, and your journey is what makes your brand.
There are people less qualified than you, doing the things you want to do, simply because they decided to believe in themselves.
Firstly, what does it mean to niche?
I have always been passionate about personal branding. However, in 2018 I decided to focus myself on it full time. I had done the classic ‘new entrepreneur’ thing of creating multiple businesses doing a multitude of different things and not actually identifying what it is that I do. If you spend time looking at the successful entrepreneurs out there, it’s pretty clear that they all became known for doing just one thing: ecommerce, marketing, business strategy, technology. They may have branched out once the money started rolling in but, initially, they did one thing and one thing only. We all struggle to niche; we resist it, we hate it, we fear it. We don’t want to be put into a box and we think that if we focus on one thing it’s going to limit us. It is exactly the opposite.
Think of your personal brand as how people would describe you if you’re not there: ‘Sarah, she’s the Instagram girl’, ‘Jack, he’s the ecommerce guy’…‘Hannah, she’s the jewelry, digital marketing, ecommerce, branding, consulting, digital nomad girl’ (this was me at the end of 2018. It just doesn’t have the same ring, does it?). I made a big decision. I put two of my businesses on hold (a digital agency, POWER nomads, and a jewelry brand, Seder Hana) and focused solely on the one thing I loved and thought could bring the most value to as many people as possible: helping others to build their brands online.
My rule: Niche first, broaden later.
You’re never stuck in one niche forever, you’re only stuck in it as long as it takes to become EXCELLENT at it. Then you can broaden slightly. Almost like ‘leveling up’. If Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen, and Kim Kardashian are at level 1. The level that people are interested in knowing when they flush the toilet or buy a new pair of shoes then put yourself at Level 10, then ‘level up’ over however many years it takes, to reach that level of being ‘known’. How long does it take? That’s up to you and how much time you’re able to spend in your ‘level up-ing’ mindset (the tasks which stretch you, which cause you to learn, create and strategies with your brand and business).