Building a business can be tough! Especially when it may start as a side hustle…
“Branding” is one of those terms thrown around a lot these days, but no one really knows what it means or how it applies to their life or business. A famous person, sure—but a regular human? How could that possibly be relevant?
What is a personal brand?
A personal brand is a combination of actions, details, and adjectives that, while not necessarily unique to you alone, are especially representative of you, especially when put together and done consistently. It is what you are or what you become known for.
While the proliferation of reality TV shows would have you believe that being a generalist is best—such as a model who can model everything, a chef that can deliciously cook anything, and a tattoo artist who can successfully execute every style flawlessly—how a person really becomes known in their industry is by doing something specific very, very well, and doing it repeatedly.
This concept applies wherever you are in your career and should be reflected in every aspect of your professional life, including but not limited to: the way you dress/do your hair and makeup, how you interact verbally and through the written word (email, blogs, articles) and of course however you do whatever it is that you do. This is not necessarily what you do (which might not be 100% unique) but rather how you do it that makes it specifically “yours.”
In the pole industry, what we are teaching and performing is not new—although arguably there is uniqueness in our individual processes. The key is how it is packaged and presented.
The trick here is not simply to identify a style or a way of doing business/interacting with your customers or your boss. You must do it consistently. You cannot become the next greatest photographer, pilot, or pole dancer if you are awesome once. You must continue to deliver whatever your signature thing is repeatedly. Then people will start to understand what you’re doing and, more importantly, start to inquire as to how they can also learn/experience/enjoy whatever it is you do. This is how you build a brand.
Embodying your personal brand
Identify something about your personal, current way of interacting or current thing that you do that you can deliver to the world in a unique way. Other people can quickly tell when you’re being disingenuous, which may cause your attempts to backfire. It is also very difficult to keep up the appearances of being someone you’re not all the time—even “just” at work or “just” on social media. Of course, you can take a break from always being the whomever, wipe off your makeup and put your feet up. BUT know that your “public,” whomever they are, if you have done your branding consistently, will come to expect something specific from you. If you don’t deliver, then you will no longer have them to buy your product, support your decisions, attend your classes, or come to your shows.
Your style is not constrained to only one aspect or sellable thing in your life. If the way you conduct yourself is natural, you may find your style and your methods follow you and are applicable in new situations. Be you, all the time—it is far easier than being someone else!
Is this applicable to me?
Building a personal brand is relevant for people who are entrepreneurs or solo-preneurs and have something specific to sell when the product/service becomes synonymous with the person behind it. AND it’s applicable to regular people, too.
Want a new job? Hate your old job? If you act like you hate your job all the time, then you will be known as that person who always hates their job. If you are looking to move up in your current company or move out to a new company; if you are seeking volunteer opportunities to learn useful, new skills; or if you’re just organizing a bunch of friends for a big party; other people notice the way you conduct yourself. They notice, weigh, and measure your conduct to help them decide whether to interact with you again. You are constantly marketing and selling yourself to others. We are constantly making snap decisions about everything in life—put what you want out to the universe and it will be reflected back to you.
Will some people not like whomever you are, whatever your brand is, or what you’re “selling”? Yes. Some people will irrationally not like you or what you stand for, and you know what? That’s ok. You probably won’t like them either.
Be true to yourself and know that as you navigate life, you can modify your behavior, interactions, and “content”—even something as simple as what you post to social media is now your branded content—to represent more clearly who you are and what you want out of life.
Be you all the time, and don’t worry about everyone else.