I’m a strong believer that whatever you do in business you need to have a few strategies in place. And when you develop a brand you need to know exactly which strategies will work [and which don't] so you can gain clarity on where you’re heading and ensuring success for the future. Seems logical right?
You could also see it like getting in the car and without any direction of where you’re going, you can easily end up getting lost. If you think about it when you get in the car and you drive - do you know exactly where you’re heading? Have you checked that you’ve got what you need to get there? Petrol in the car? Air in the tyres?
Creating a personal brand is kind of like that. Without direction and understanding the foundations of a rock solid brand you will end up lost. If you find that you’re signing up to the latest challenge, or hanging out in Facebook groups too often you can lose the moment of where you want to be.
I’m also an advocate of sharing with others not to think and act like an employee or even a Freelancer. I’d rather cheerlead others to being their own boss. And in order to be your own boss, you have to create your own personal brand with a few strategies in place.
Let’s face it most of us have been employees at some stage of our lives and had the calling to venture on our own. And most don’t understand the ramifications of not creating a brand for their business and not creating a clear path to where you want to be.
If you find that you don’t have a brand chances are you’ll end up lost. A brand is a guiding light that steers you in the right direction. It’s the light that your ideal clients see you and want to work with you. They will get you!
How to create your personal brand
The first step to creating a personal brand is understanding you.
Years ago I would have balked at this idea. But I think it was because I didn’t understand it and didn’t really understand me. After all, I was fresh out of corporate and going from boardroom to blogging was too fresh and new. After 25 years or so, in sales and marketing where the culture was “all about the customer”, it was pretty bloody hard to re-think and train myself to act like a boss and not a freelancer, let alone try to understand who my ideal clients were.
So if I can explain a little more in depth as to why we need to understand more about ourselves.
FIND YOUR SPARk!
This is the essence of creating a brand you love. What lights you up? What’s your passion? If you haven’t heard me say it before: “if your audience can’t see and feel your spark, your energy, your passion then how are they to believe what you do?”
If you understand more about what you love, what makes you buzz and be more in the zone then you’ll find that you will create your best work.
Ask yourself these questions,
What can I talk about for 8 hours?
What gets the goosebumps standing up?
What makes your heart sing?
Now write it down. In fact, I insist you get yourself a Brand Journal.
Write down your thoughts, feelings and brand-dump ideas into this journal - every. day! Work out the pros and cons of what you want to offer. Never look at what others are doing in your industry, then offer the same.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
Without a doubt, there are probably thousands of people around the globe who offer brand and graphic design courses. And from what I can see many offer a 4, 6 or 10-week course to their community and at a $1200 price range.
I didn’t want to offer what they are doing because I’ve been talking to so many other solo entrepreneurs throughout my 5 year brand journey. And most have said to me, “I haven’t finished that course”.
My values come into play here as I never want anyone to buy from me and say “they never finished” the course. I worked out the pros and cons of offering a membership instead and with that can keep the price point to a realistic minimum without giving it away!
If you find that what you offer is pretty much ‘industry standard’, take a look around in other industries to see what or how you can offer instead.
Can you offer an additional service to your portrait photography, like a mini make up session on location? What about packaging your offerings similar to a business coach? Can you offer a three-tier pricing strategy like they do?
If you are in the industry where people come to you for your time and skills, I highly recommend to never offer packages at an hourly rate. How you spend your time it is up to you. Never offer an open-ended service package where the client guesses how much you can do in an hour.
Instead, think like a boss and develop strategies as to how you can package your offerings or create programs into bundles that are far more worth the end product rather than the client seeing the time spent.
When I worked with clients I always offered an introduction package. For people who hadn’t worked with me before, this was the quickest and easiest way for us to work on a design project and at an affordable price.
The second offering was a little more in-depth in terms of offerings and price. Generally, this second tier were bigger projects and took up some of my time during the week. And so on for the third offerings. This one is more about creating offerings that to your high-end red-carpet client and who can afford what you offer.
If a potential client sees the value of what you can bring to their business and how your services can add potential growth for them, then you will most often find they will not be squabbling over “what you did in those last 30 minutes”.
There is nothing more demoralising to offer a skill or program that everyone else is doing, and in particular, it’s not your zone of genius. Create packages that focus on your strengths and light up both you and your clients.