Personal Brand 101: Stop Associating Your Personal Brand With Your Business

Woof. If you’re reading this, you’re likely trying to figure out how to get your personal brand in order.

Or, maybe you know you need to have some kind of focus on your personal brand, but you just haven’t had the time to figure it out yet.

This is a topic that not many people discuss, but every business owner, entrepreneur, future self-starter should keep in mind.

personal brand girl sitting at desk

Not to be dramatic here, but…

Your personal brand is not your business. It’s your personal business, but it’s not always what’s paying the bills.

Why is that?

Because your personal brand is your purpose. It is tied to who you are; what you inherently know, and everything that makes you YOU.

Your personal brand is not your business – it might, in fact, just be a small slice of the pie (at least for right now.)

In today’s post, we’re going to detail the three steps you can take on your own to begin to understand your own personal brand, and how you can tell its story – beyond your business.

Man sitting on car - personal brand/personal branding

Step 1: Use Your Past As Insight

Let’s think back on a time when your personal brand did exist – yes, we’re talking pre-business.

What did that look like for you?

Maybe you’re a new entrepreneur, and can faintly remember when you had that degree of separation.

Think back to college, or even when you were younger, and answer these questions:

  • What did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What were you known for?
  • How did your teachers/classmates perceive you?
  • What were your hobbies?
  • What have you always been inherently interested in?
  • Who were people that you looked up to? And why?
  • What is an interest of yours that has never really seemed to go away?

Make a list and write it down.

Let’s use these answers to fuel the next section.

Surfing as a hobby - personal brand/branding

Step 2: Establish the Now

When I work with clients on their personal brand, it’s hard to get them to think outside of their day-to-day tasks.

Most often, they are frequently bogged down by what they have to get done in a day and they can’t even begin to do a brainstorm (on their own) of where to draw the line.

Often times, I’ll bring my clients through this exercise to see how we can begin to uncover, together, who they really are without their work.

These types of questions include:

  • What do you want to be known for?
  • Where do you want to be in a year from now?
  • Who do you currently look up to and why?
  • If you had a week off of work, what would you do?
  • When you’re sitting down to read or watch TV, what kind of genres do you tend to gravitate toward?
  • What is something that people always recognize you for? For example, do you know more about ancient Egypt than anyone else?

These seem like simple personality questions, but the truth is, once people start to design a business for themselves, they become their business. Their identity, their own personal brand, gets lost in the shuffle.

Sometimes I find going back to basics with questions actually helps uncover what people would’ve never been able to answer on their own.

Step 3: Build Off the Now

It’s not enough just to brainstorm your hobbies, where you want to be, or fun facts you know.

The biggest step you need to take in actually building your own personal brand is to actually begin to pursue these things.

What do I mean by pursue?

Just like you’ve built your business, you have to spend time building your personal brand, too. That might mean spending time building a website under your own name, pitching yourself to write articles on hobbies outside of your business, or volunteering your time for an organization that you’re passionate about – that has nothing to do with your full-time job.

At the end of the day, your personal brand is a culmination of who you are. Your business likely is not (even though there are rare circumstances where the two may be truly, deeply intertwined.)

So, how are you going to begin to prioritize your personal brand?

Additional Personal Brand Resources

Shameless plug: yes, I do help executives and business owners develop their personal brand. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, you can learn more here.

Otherwise, if you want to learn more about personal branding, check out the following resources:

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