Personal Branding - Prepare to be vulnerable!
Personal Branding is the way in which we portray our business to others when we work alone. Like me, you might provide a service or you may create artisan products or sell a product. Whatever your business is based on, when people buy, they are buying into a brand and to do that, they need to buy into you too. You have to be prepared to be vulnerable because to be vulnerable means to be open and unfortunately we spend so much time trying to protect ourselves (by not being vulnerable) that all we do is build ourselves a very small and lonely prison within a very uncomfortable 'comfort' zone!
Now, before you immediately start to panic at the thought of exposing your true personality, your perceived flaws, 'individual' dress sense and general lack of togetherness....relax!!
Your personality is a culmination of your strengths but also your vulnerabilities, that's what makes you unique. You are the only You and that is something to celebrate! For example, there are lots (and lots) of people calling themselves professional photographers and I could, and have done in the past let this get to me (note me being vulnerable here!) BUT and this is a big but...there's only one photographer who is me and that, right there is the one thing I have over any other photographer.
Now is the bit that we aren't always conditioned to do and that is to think about all aspects of ourselves and what we consider strengths and weaknesses and be ok with all of them!!
Oh ok then, I'll go first!
1. I have a sharp sense of humour (positive)
2. I sometimes have a level of humour and sarcasm that not everybody gets (aha! Caught you out, you thought I was going to say this was a negative!)
Nope, this isn't a negative, it's an acceptance and celebration of another facet of my personality (let's face it, I'm obviously just too funny for some people!) Now, the other positive here is that I know that I am good at judging people and situations and can therefore act appropriately! I know that I can rely on myself to decide when to employ my highly cultivated wit and when to sit on it and promise to let it out later when it's more appropriate!
Now, when it comes to branding myself (sounds more painful than it is) by being 'Me', like I am being now, I can be honest and you will either think, "I think I could work with Julia, I think we would have fun" or "I like Julia's honesty and I like that in someone I intend to work with", WINNING!! Oh and there is a chance that you actually don't think I'm right for you and if that's the case, then that's fine too because not everyone is suited to work together and it's better to know that from the off, because business is about relationships and they need to be right and not everyone will be right for you and that's ok too.
So, in summary, be yourself and express that authenticity in your branding. People trust others who are prepared to be honest about who they are. At the end of the day, we are all humans and are all equally vulnerable. Remember that you may have perceived flaws that you are conscious about (but are now going to accept and reframe in your mind as in my example above above...no need to hand these in but there will be a pop quiz at a later date) but remember that so does everyone else!! Every other business owner and every potential client has these perceived flaws and they are much more concerned about theirs than they are yours! In fact, if you can be vulnerable and authentic, you will attract others because of it and build a client tribe who buy into you and what you do.
Be kind to yourself, accept yourself and trust in yourself...you're awesome!