When you’re brand new to the world of entrepreneurism and personal business, the options can seem overwhelming. You’re trying to figure out who you want to be, what you want to do, and how to pull everything together…and where should you even start?
This seems like an even starker comparison when you notice other entrepreneurs who have been “out there” longer than you and seem to have it all together. They’ve established who they are, they know their message, and their personal brand is clear.
Fortunately, that can be YOU! And in this post, I’ll give you five simple steps you can start taking right away to establish your personal brand. While building a brand is not an overnight process, it IS something that can be developed through consistent small steps.
In a nutshell, establishing your brand means that people recognize you. It’s what they’ll say about you to each other. “Oh, so-and-so? Yeah, she’s known for such-and-such.” But how do you get to be known for something? And how do you make sure that you’re known for the things you WANT to be known for?
First, you need to “get out there and be seen”.
It’s difficult to build a brand if people aren’t seeing and interacting with you! So where should you start?
In today’s world it’s almost impossible to “be seen” by your audience unless you’re also on social media. Now, if you’re like me when I started out, you may be tempted to try to be on every platform at once. However, it’s difficult to gain any traction when you’re spinning all your wheels in different directions! It’s both frustrating and daunting to try to be “everything” to “everyone”, and you probably won’t enjoy the process.
Personally, I recommend choosing a single platform to begin with and mastering it. You may need to experiment a bit to see what works best for you, and you definitely want to make sure you know which platform your audience gravitates to the most. But once you’re confident about these details, choose one and go with it.
But what about the “gurus” who have podcasts, Instagram accounts, YouTube channels, blogs, and more? Yes, they have that now – but they built it up slowly or with help. And you can get there too! For now, though – especially if you’re a one-man show – pick one account and get it stable and productive. Learn how to use it well. Then you can begin adding other platforms.
Second, niche down and be known for something specific.
What do I mean by that? As mentioned above, part of building a brand is that people know you for something specific. And while you may want to expand your business or reach many different groups of people, you need to start by picking a niche. Again, you can’t succeed by being everything to everyone – but you can succeed by being something to someone.
Let’s say you are creating a business in the health and fitness world. That’s a wonderful niche (and likely will be around forever), but you can’t simply say, “I have a health and fitness site!” because it doesn’t make you stand out from the crowd.
Instead, you might decide to target an audience of women over fifty. Yes, that narrows your audience. But that’s okay because if you really connect with your niche – if you provide high-quality, consistent value – they will start to look to YOU for your product, training, or whatever else you offer. The more you narrow it down, the more people will know (and hence follow or recommend) you for that.
Once you’re established in your niche, there’s not necessarily anything wrong with adding another niche. For example, you may have started out teaching all about YouTube, how to start a channel, how to build a following, etc. Once that is successful, you may want to also be known for what kind of equipment to use. You can develop that – just be strategic about how it relates to you and your other niche.
Warning: especially if you love teaching and can provide lots of knowledge, it is easy to go off on tangents and share content that is NOT relevant to your niche. A brand is a promise to your audience. Be ruthless in your content strategy and make sure that you are staying true to your brand and your promise.
Third, be willing to share free content.
When I first started working in affiliate marketing, I couldn’t understand why other people kept giving away free content – until I realized that they were building a deeper relationship with their audience. No, they didn’t give everything away for free. But they consistently provided valuable content to their followers. They interacted and conversed with them via different communication channels (e.g. email, social media comments). And by so doing, they built trust and rapport with their audience.
For example, as you start digging into your niche, you may reach out to different Facebook groups that have your target audience. You start being a part of conversations and making yourself relevant. You can begin to provide free content, answering people’s questions, and sharing value – and you will slowly begin to be seen as an expert.
Another technique you can use is to find other accounts or channels that are similar to your niche. Don’t try to compete with them initially, but DO interact and mesh with them. Some of these channels have become so large that they have a plethora of unanswered comments. You can respond to some of these questions too, and continue to naturally build your reputation as an expert in that field. It doesn’t need to be a full-time job – but you do need to be present where your audience is.
Fourth, become part of the community.
If you want to become known as an expert, you need to become part of the community. For example, I primarily work with YouTube in my affiliate marketing niche. There are certain YouTubers that are very well-known with thousands or hundreds of thousands of followers, and it can be hard to break into that world. But what about other people who are just starting off?
Search for these people and help each other. For example, you can find someone else in your niche who is at your level and see how you can help each other move forward. If you both have new channels, interview each other. Quote each other. Encourage your audience to follow them too. It may not seem to make a huge difference, but you are building yourself into that niche’s community – and building your reputation to boot. This can lead to other opportunties.
Remember, it takes time to establish yourself. You may have people slam doors in your face or tell you “no”. But do NOT let that slow you down or discourage you – because this is how you build a community of people who are doing what you’re doing. This is how you build peer support – interacting, not competing.
Fifth, claim who you are.
Become it. Much of the time, we feel that we can’t teach anyone else unless we are an expert first. But in order to teach someone, you just need to know more than they do. And if you have something valuable to offer others, believe it. Offer it. Share it.
If you’re a teacher – be a teacher.
If your business is in interior design – be a designer.
Or, if you write – be a writer.
Sometimes you have to take the step of believing in yourself and choosing to be confident about what you know and can offer.
What happens if people ask you questions you aren’t sure about? Find the answers. Go figure it out. Share that expertise. Not knowing all the answers will actually bring you to a greater place of growth and continue to make you a better expert.
Are you looking for more guidance on how to brand yourself? You can find the extra help here.
In conclusion, there are many aspects to branding – from logos to colors to fonts – but starting out with your personal brand is equally important. And with these five steps, you can begin establishing your own brand today – one step at a time.
You’ve got this!