March 14, 2022
One of my pet peeves is when people ask me what kind of drink our business would be. What exactly does that tell you about a business? Not much. It can be interpreted a million different ways…
That being said… What kind of drink would your business be… if you had to choose?
Our business, A&M Design, would be peppermint hot chocolate, (More on that later). So if I HATE that question so much, why am I asking it? Why bother writing an entire blog on that question alone? Because the most important part of building a personal brand is YOU. There is value in creating a business whose brand and values represent YOU.
Marketing has seen a major shift lately. Instead of big companies with name brands, people want small-town connections. Before buying from you, people want to know who YOU are.
The more connected people feel to you the more they will want to buy from you… and the more loyal they will become. So the next time people need the services you are offering, the more likely they will be to choose to buy from you.
Loyalty is the ultimate goal of branding. Loyalty is the main reason I will eat at the Kabab Hut over going to Panda Express. Loyalty is why I drive 30 minutes out of the way to eat at the Kabab Hut.
According to Forbes, “[…]freelance and contract workers will make up 43% of the U.S. workforce. As a result, workers need to be able to clearly communicate who they are and what they do to stand out to prospective clients and employers. If you aren’t effectively managing your online reputation, then you run the risk of losing out on business.”
Sounds obvious right? To have a personal brand you have to be yourself. But it’s so much harder than it sounds. How can you be authentic on social media or other marketing platforms when the goal there seems to be the opposite? How do you ignore that ingrained fear of judgment?
The first step to being authentically you is to know who you are. Like, who you really are. When was the last time you spent time getting to know yourself?
One of Austin’s best friends growing up taught me about the importance of getting to know yourself, several years ago. He had just gotten out of a bad relationship, and instead of sitting around feeling sorry for himself, he set a goal. His goal? To get to know himself and God better during the next year.
For the next several months he committed to taking himself on a date every week. He went to the movies, out to eat, on long walks, all just to get to know himself better. His goal was to better prepare himself for the next relationship that came his way.
As he went through this process of getting to know himself, something amazing happened. He began to attract people in his life that were more and more aligned with the kind of people he needed/wanted in his life.
The same is true in business.
Now, I’m not saying you need to commit to weekly dates with yourself, though if you do I would LOVE to hear how it goes. I’m saying that you need to unplug occasionally to ask yourself what you think and feel about different issues. We are so bombarded with the news, the newest must-haves, and the latest trends that we often forget to ask ourselves what we think about an issue.
Taking time away from all the noise is vital to getting to know yourself without outside influence telling you what to think and who to be.
The more we can truly own who we are as business owners and allow our brand to reflect that, the more we will naturally attract more clients that align with us and our business.
That’s a great segway into my next point.
You don’t have to be something for everyone. In fact, you shouldn’t be something for everyone.
If you and your branding are something that everyone likes, you’re probably too boring to remember.
I don’t mean that to sound harsh, but if the goal of branding is to create loyalty you need to be memorable. That means that you aren’t going to align with everyone. That’s okay! In fact, that’s a good thing! You want to attract clients who align with you for being you. Not for the generic fluff on the internet. The key to successful personal branding is to authentically be yourself, knowing full well that the authentic you isn’t for everyone. By accepting that fact you can attract loyal customers who appreciate you for being you.
Here is a FANTASTIC podcast by Elizabeth McCravy that goes into this fact in more detail if you need some more inspiration.
Here is a pro tip: when you are working on creating content for your business- get off of the socials for a while. Find your zone; whatever that looks like for you. Don’t try to just copy and paste the content you have seen do well for others. It gets old fast. To stand out, you need to connect with yourself and create things that feel authentic and natural to you.
In theory, this is all great and dandy, right? But you know as well as I that despite our best efforts there are going to be moments of insecurity. This can be crippling.
Insecurity is the killer of all creativity.
This insecurity is often called ‘Imposter Syndrome.’ Battling imposter syndrome is a real struggle. It never goes away, no matter how good you get at your craft. But don’t be discouraged, it can be overcome.
I wish I could tell you exactly how to beat impostor syndrome…. but there is no cure-all. That being said, when it comes to your mindset and limiting beliefs, there are some extremely powerful tools for combating imposter syndrome: manifestations and visualizations.
When you feel like an impostor, remind yourself that you do belong and you are capable. You do belong in your niche. You do belong in the business world. If this is something you really struggle with I recommend talking to a licensed life coach or mindset mentor. They can help you find the tools that will work best for you.
Now to circle back around to why I would choose peppermint hot chocolate for our business drink, and probably the reason I hate that question so much.
Austin and I have chosen not to drink alcohol and coffee. Making that choice makes it hard to fit in sometimes. We live in a world where the social norm is to drink. There are so many times that we have felt out of place when friends, coworkers, and acquaintances ask us to go grab drinks after work. Or if we want to catch up with someone the default seems to be to go grab a coffee to chat.
Being social people, we LOVE connecting with others. On several occasions, we have had virtual “coffee chats” with other business owners. On one occasion someone asked us where our coffee was. We laughed and showed them our hot chocolate and bottles of water we had been drinking. I will never forget the advice they gave us. They told us we needed to stop calling our meetings coffee chats since it wasn’t authentically us. They laughed and began to call our meeting a “hot chocolate and water chat”. (Wanna be friends? Let’s connect!)
Being different is hard. Ignoring the fear of judgment is hard. Building a brand that is aesthetically you is hard. But it’s worth it.
Are you ready to build a brand that attracts your ideal clients and is more authentic to you? Let’s get started!