When I started my business in 2012 I did what the majority of new start-ups do – I concentrated on the minutiae and overlooked what really mattered. Me!
It was only after a 121 with sassy marketing genius Lucy With A Why in Spring 2019 that my eyes were woken up to the big wide world of Personal Branding. Lucy’s feedback of my website (of which I was incredibly proud!) was at best, brutal. It was corporate. It was cold. It was anonymous. She then softened the blow by reeling off traits of my personality that could easily be weaved into my website and social content, to make it more …. well, me. I’m approachable, I have a sense of humour, I can be fairly self-deprecating when the need arises. And when it comes to social media, in Lucy’s words ….. I know my shit!
After hiding for a few days in a darkened room, digesting all this fresh information, I took the bull by the horns and decided it was time for a complete overhaul. Let’s have more ME in MY business. After all, I’m a one-man band, if you utilise my services you get me, and I network by butt off in a bid to get to know people better.
For someone who loves to write, writing my own web content was one of the hardest things I’ve ever set my mind to. Rather than eat the elephant, I broke him down into bite-sized fully digestible chunks. Yes, it took far longer than I (or my patient web designer) had bargained for but I got there. Eventually!
Another wake-up call was the need for decent images to use on my website. Images of me, not stock images of social media screens that could also appear on 1001 websites around the world. Like most of the population (unless you’re a Kardashian) I hate having a camera pointed at me, so to find a photographer with whom I felt comfortable and trusted was like switching on a light. Yes, I’d had head shots done in the past but personal branding opened up a whole new chapter – thank you Emotive Eye!
Lucy’s personal branded masterclass even went so far as to suggest that I wear my branding colours to networking events, when delivering coaching and having 121s. Cue frantically shopping for lots and lots of pink – fortunately, a colour I can wear!
Joining up the dots, putting it all together and learning not to cringe when faced with images of myself has taken balls of steel, but I can honestly say, now I’m in my 9th year of Tao Business Solutions, I’m incredibly proud of my personal brand, how my business is growing and what the future holds.
If you’re hiding behind an anonymous corporate façade, remember, people generally buy from people. Here’s my Top 5 tips to help you make the break and get personal.
- Know your audience. If you’re targeting small businesses, being too corporate will make them run a mile
- Build a trusty tribe: web developer, copy writer (if needed), photographer, graphic designer – all key components to help you get your personal brand off the ground.
- Be yourself in your social media posts and blogs. There’s nothing wrong with being warm and funny – the majority will find this much more engaging than being spoken at from a great height
- Determine what you want to be known for. Flitting from pillar to post will only confuse your audience – just as they were getting to know, like and trust you!
- Embrace networking. Prepare well and be yourself.
I’m honestly excited about how Tao Business Solutions is set to develop over the new 3-5 years. There’s one thing for sure though – it’s my personal brand and I’m gonna work it til the sun goes down, baby!