Creating a personal brand can feel overwhelming, but by taking intentional steps, you can build a brand that can be magical for your success in the online space.
One of the greatest perks about personal branding is that you can start today even if you don’t have anything to sell.
That’s because your personal brand doesn’t start with what you sell but with WHY you are selling.
You can build a pivot-proof brand that gives you freedom to expand beyond a specific service or product in the future, so you can create a lifestyle you want and have financial freedom.
In this guide, you will learn how to start building your very own true-to-self brand including:
- What is a Personal Brand
- 5 Key Elements of a Brand
- 7 Steps to Build Your Personal Brand
- Be true to yourself
What is a Personal Brand
Branding is about evoking a specific emotion through messaging and visual recognition.
Your personal brand does the same, but it is specifically about how YOU brand yourself. This means highlighting your superpower and leveraging it to stand out in your area of expertise.
Whether you are building a personal brand from scratch or doing a rebrand, building a brand in alignment with who you are will bring ease into the process.
Who can build a personal brand?
Anyone can build a personal brand because everyone has a super power.
It doesn’t matter if you are an extrovert or an introvert or what industry you are in.
A personal brand is not about fitting into a box. Building a true-to-self brand means you get to show up authentically as you to share your core message.
[Check out this conversation about personal branding with fellow brand coach Seema Batavia who advocates for introverts]
5 Key Elements of a Brand
There are many aspects to consider in your personal brand, but these 5 are foundational:
1. Brand personality
As with a person, your brand personality is about its characteristics. To be authentic, make it an extension of who you are.
If you are someone who loves adventure, create a brand that shows that adventurous trait.
Clarifying your brand’s personality will help you with other aspects. For example, your brand voice wouldn’t be serious if your brand’s personality is fun and quirky.
2. Brand story
As the face of your personal brand, your personal story is important, but it is not the same as the brand story.
Your brand story tells us who and what your brand is about in a cohesive narrative.
It combines its history with its core message and emotion in a structured way, so others can easily understand it and connect with it on a deeper level.
3. Strong brand voice
Your brand voice is how you choose to share your brand’s personality, story, and message.
This includes knowing the words that are important to your brand and the ones you want to avoid. It also includes your perspective and brand values because the words you choose reflect these.
You may ruffle some feathers in the process, but your brand is not for everyone, so honor your voice.
4. Cohesive brand visuals
Creating a cohesive brand visual is what people notice first. This is because visual information is impactful.
People process visuals much quicker, they remember the information better, and visuals trigger an emotional reaction.
Choosing the right colors, the right filters, and layout is just another way to share your brand message. A cohesive feed should be an extension of your brand by being its visual voice.
Choosing visuals that align with your brand will also increase people’s awareness of your brand, which is important to your success.
Whether your style is minimal or bold, using customizable templates can help you create a cohesive brand image with ease.
5. Consistency and Frequency
The online world can be very noisy, so being consistent is vital to increase brand awareness.
Showing up consistently means showing consistency not only by posting a certain number of posts, but also being consistent with your message.
If you pay attention to the other elements of your brand, this will happen naturally.
7 Steps to Build Your Personal Brand
Keeping the five elements above in mind, you can start taking actionable steps to start building your brand.
1. Start with your personal brand values
A personal brand is, well, PERSONAL. This means it stems from you and who you are as an individual.
Your values must be at the core of your branding even if you change your services later.
Have at least five values to ground your brand. A personality test can help you gain insight into who you are, an important step in your brand development and entrepreneurial journey.
You could use the Myers-Briggs personality test, the Enneagram test, human design, or astrology as guiding tools to reflect and gain more awareness about what is important to you.
Start with these personality tests or choose from a list of core values.
[Recommended: Check out my client and friend Elle to learn more about human design and this talk about how human design can help you as an entrepreneur].
Understanding your values will influence how your brand evolves, including the message you share, the graphics you use, and the content you create.
For instance, if you’re an animal lover like Seema, you can include animal graphics in your visual content.
As your brand grows and you feel more comfortable with it, you will find ways to incorporate your values.
2. Find your niche
As a multi-passionate, I struggled with niching down. But it can be done if you focus on your expertise and core message.
Choose your expertise by exploring
Your expertise does not have to be very specific, especially when you’re just starting. With time, you can start niching down based on your experience.
If you are just starting out and are not sure about your expertise, start exploring. Finding your passion doesn’t happen overnight
List a few topics and skills you would like to learn more about and take some online courses. By taking courses, you can find out if you truly enjoy a specific interest.
Pay attention to what excites you and continue to cultivate your interests.
Doing this will not only help you find your niche, but studies have found that people who have a growth mindset and are more open to exploring and cultivating their interests are happier.
The happier you are about the work you do, the easier it will be to show up consistently for your brand and others.
Decide your core message
Choosing your core message is another way to niche down. Your core message is tied to your brand purpose.
My core message is to live a freedom-filled, vivacious life. This is connected to my brand purpose to help women find freedom and live their life to the fullest.
Sharing a clear message speaks to specific people, so even if there are other experts in your field, your core message is one way to stand out and attract your clients.
Take a moment to write what is important to you. Choose one word (e.g. freedom) that is important in your life and create a message around it.
Revisit this idea multiple times if you have to. It may take you a few tries, but this step will help you stay focused as you build your brand.
3. Share your story
To successfully use storytelling, you need to choose the stories that will speak directly to your ideal client and connect to your unique selling points.
Focus on the parts of your story you are ready to share and that connect to your core message.
For example, in my Transition: From Corporate to Entrepreneurship I got to sit down with Amanda to talk about our own experience with corporate trauma.
For us, this experience led us to quit corporate and build a business that gave us the freedom to create a lifestyle we love.
When sharing your story, ask yourself: can others learn from it or be inspired?
If you are not sure but feel it might resonate with even one person, do it. You might find out people relate to it more than you think.
4. Identify your mission
Think of your brand mission as the “what” and “who” of your brand.
[Pro tip: Add your why and you can have a strong purpose statement]
The “what” focuses on your expertise. As a brand coach, I help develop true-to-self brands.
I do this through different services like my brand development coaching program and customized social media branding package, but it’s clear my focus is on branding.
Remember that this can be more specific if you choose to niche down even more or it may change if you pivot later in your journey.
The “who” of your brand is your ideal client.
Finding Your Ideal Client
Identifying your ideal client can help you be more precise in your mission.
Knowing who my ideal client is helped clarify my own mission to help multi-passionate, creative women develop aligned brands.
Think about who you want to help. You can start by focusing on a specific demographic group (e.g. women, millennials, graphic designer, etc) and then think about your ideal client more specifically.
You should look at what worldview, values, and beliefs your ideal client has. You can also consider if they want a specific lifestyle that connects to your brand.
Choosing clients beyond demographics, will make it easier to find clients who are aligned, so your brand succeeds.
5. Craft your brand story
After understanding your own journey, your values, and your expertise, you can start structuring your brand story.
Your personal story should have a clear connection to your brand’s core message.
Think about what events in your life led you to where you are. Choose 2-3 major events that led to you there.
Then ask yourself: how did the events in your life connect with your brand purpose?
Identify another 2-3 key moments that led you to build your brand. That may be discovering your passion for a topic and how that developed into your brand and your offers.
Your brand story will develop as you grow, so revisit it.
6. Choose the right platforms for you
Consider your audience, your personality, and your resources when choosing your platforms.
If you are not a fan of video editing and don’t have the resources to outsource this task, using YouTube for your business is not the best move.
Or if you are shy about showing up on camera, a blog or a text heavy platform like linkedin might work better for you.
Once you’ve reflected on what platforms are best for you, select 2-3 platforms to reach your audience.
If this seems overwhelming, start with 1 platform. You can prioritize the platform that has a larger number of your target audience.
Once you feel comfortable with that platform, you can expand to other platforms.
Remember that you can also experiment with different platforms and types of content.
Just because you see videos of people dancing, it does not mean you can’t show up on video in your own way.
7. Start showing up online
Once you have the foundation for your brand, start posting. Experiment and share relevant content without expectations.
Whether it is a new tool you found, a new trick you learned, or your thoughts on these share it with your audience.
The key when you are starting your brand is to share content consistently.
It doesn’t matter if it’s three times a week or twice every day, keep a posting schedule that you can maintain.
You can keep content simple at first while you get to know your brand. The point is to let your audience know you are here, and they can trust you to show up.
This also means engaging with your community. Building a personal brand means building connections as people, from one person to the next.
The more you create and engage, the clearer your message and vision will become. Then you can start creating a brand strategy with specific content pillars.
Be true to yourself
In the end, your personal brand is unique because of YOU, so speak your truth.
Share your story intentionally, so you can reach people who align with you, your values, and your brand.
Most importantly, remember to build a brand that brings you joy!
By doing this, you will build a brand that honors your capacity, rest, and well being while making the impact you want to make in the world.
This may change as you grow as a person and as a brand. Building your brand goes beyond this page. It is a journey!
This is one thing all my vivacious clients learn in my brand development coaching program. In this program we do deep work, so you feel truly connected to your brand.
The 12-week program gives you hands-on experience creating your brand from scratch, including messaging and social media strategy. So can continue growing with your brand in alignment.
If you prefer 1-on-1 sessions, check out a customized social media branding package.
If you want to find your authentic brand strategy, check out this brand strategy quiz I created to help you understand how to show up in your business in alignment with your unique energy, personality & Human Design.