These days, it seems like everyone and their mother is developing a personal brand. As it turns out, branding isn’t just for big businesses and corporations. If you’re an entrepreneur looking to start or grow your own business, developing a strong personal brand can give you a major leg up; it’ll help you differentiate yourself, establish your expertise, and grow and audience. Get started today with these seven actionable personal branding tips.
Developing a brand doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an ongoing process that builds on itself over time. The good news is, you get to take the lead and decide which direction you want to take your brand in. In this post, I’m sharing the top personal branding tips I’ve picked up in my experience as a strategic brand and web designer who works primarily with solo entrepreneurs, such as consultants, coaches, and creative professionals.
Seven tips for developing a strong personal brand
Ready to develop a powerful and meaningful brand that aligns with your vision and values? Here are my top seven personal branding tips for entrepreneurs.
1. Be yourself
My first personal branding tip for entrepreneurs is to be yourself. In other words, don’t just try to imitate your competitors–what works for them may not work for you. And besides, the key in developing a strong personal brand is to stand out. By embodying your authentic self, your brand and business will feel much more aligned and fulfilling than if you were constantly struggling to be someone you’re not.
Although it sounds intuitive, this tip can be difficult for some to implement. It’s important to be really intentional with how you define your personal brand. You’ll want to focus in on a few key traits and values that relate to your business or industry. Below are a few questions to ask yourself as you develop your personal brand:
- What’s my purpose? In other words, why do I do what I do?
- What are my values?
- What makes me uniquely qualified to do what I do?
- How does my approach or perspective differ from my competitors?
Let your answers to these questions form the foundation of your personal brand. It’s okay if they shift and morph a bit over time–it’s all part of the process.
2. Define your audience
Just as it’s important to have clarity around your personal brand identity, the same holds true for your audience. Develop a crystal clear identity for your target audience. Doing so has a couple key benefits. For one, if you know your audience, you’ll know how to speak to them in a way that resonates. Secondly, it’ll help you attract more of the type of people you actually want to attract into your network.
Take some time to jot down a few characteristics that define your audience. You can start with basic demographics, like age, sex, marital status, and education level. Then, dive deeper into their values, likes and dislikes, hobbies, and pain points. Get to the root of who they are and what they resonate and struggle with. Every piece of content you create should revolve around your target audience. The better you understand them, the stronger your personal brand will become.
Related post: How to attract your ideal clients
3. Determine your unique value proposition (UVP)
If you only implement one of these seven personal branding tips, let it be this one. A clearly defined UVP is crucial for differentiating yourself in your industry. Let’s face it, unless you’re in a highly specialized niche, you likely have a lot of competitors out there who are just as qualified and experienced as you. You need a way to stand out from the crowd that resonates with the target audience you defined in step two.
You may already have an inkling of what your UVP is. Usually, it revolves around a unique skill, perspective, or process. Let’s look at a few examples:
- Skill: A marketing strategist who specializes in automated sales funnels.
- Perspective: A love coach who teaches women how to find their soulmate through inner work and spiritual tools (this example comes from an amazing client of mine, Ester Fried!)
- Process: A web designer who offers a website-in-a-day service.
Tip: To make your UVP even stronger, connect it to the results you create for your clients (i.e. I help coaches and consultants launch their dream business with ease through my intentional design process).
4. Establish your expertise
If you’re building a personal brand, you’re an expert in something. Establishing your expertise is one of the most important personal branding tips I can share that also takes the longest. In fact, it can feel downright tedious at first. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just say we’re an expert, and everyone would believe us? If only it were so easy. Fortunately, there are many different ways to establish expertise, and you don’t need to do them all. That means you can find a way that feels good to you, and over time, create a compound effect as you establish your personal brand.
Here are a few different ways to establish your expertise as you develop your personal brand:
- Write blog posts to share your knowledge about your industry (my personal favorite)
- Start a podcast and/or be a guest on podcasts that your target audience listens to
- Share bite-sized chunks of knowledge on social media (Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
- Attend conferences and networking events–better yet, speak at those conferences and events
- Write a book
- Create a course or offer some kind of training
When you’re just starting out, I recommend starting small. If you try to be everywhere at once, you’ll quickly get overwhelmed. Be patient and trust that every small step forward is a step in the right direction.
5. Share your story
Why are you developing a personal brand? What’s your motivation? What’s the big vision you’re working towards? Everyone loves a good story. Sharing yours will make your brand more relatable. It helps people create a personal connection with you, even if they’ve never met you.
Most people share their story on their about page, but don’t let that be the only place you share yours. It’s an important piece of your brand identity. Talk about it in your marketing content. Share both the highs and the lows. Use your story to show your audience that you can sympathize with them and their problems.
6. Make a positive impact
The most loved and memorable brands are making a positive impact. Apple made computers accessible for the average, non-tech person. Target made shopping for everyday items fun, easy, and affordable. Patagonia is transparent about their carbon footprint and donates a percentage of their sales to environmental preservation and restoration. Your personal brand doesn’t have the same reach as these huge corporations, but you can still make a meaningful, positive impact.
Your way of making an impact might simply be through the transformational work you do for your clients. A health coach, for example, is helping people live healthier, happier lives. But there are many ways to spread positivity through your brand. You could share motivational quotes on Instagram. You could create a scholarship for one of your programs. Or you could offer free mentorship. Bottom line, positivity attracts more positivity and could even lead to incredible opportunities. There’s no way to go wrong with this personal branding tip.
7. Practice consistency
Consistency is an essential pillar of branding. With consistency, all of the other personal branding tips shared above become that much more impactful. Consistency in branding takes many different forms. For instance, there’s consistency in your messaging and tone of voice. Do you sound like a different person on your website versus on Instagram? Then there’s visual consistency to consider–are you using the same colors, fonts, and imagery across your different platforms?
It’s also important to be consistent with your marketing efforts. How often do you send out newsletters? And post on social media? Or release a podcast episode? People like routine, and when that routine is broken, we suspect that something is off. All in all, consistency helps to eliminate confusion and make your brand more memorable.
Need help implementing these personal branding tips?
Creating a strong, memorable, and unique personal brand is not an easy task; it requires time, patience, and a great deal of self-awareness. The good news is that by working through these personal branding tips, you’re already ahead of the game.
If you think you could benefit from expert guidance through the branding process, feel free to schedule a free discovery call with me to chat about your goals and vision for your brand. I love supporting passionate individuals in their entrepreneurial journey through my strategic and heartfelt branding process.