I always tell my clients that the only way their personal brand will work is if they show up as their authentic selves. Many times my clients tell me they want to be Gary Vee or Tony Robbins, but trying to be someone else never works because you’re not honoring who you really are. If you’re pretending to be someone else, people will see right through it. We don’t need another Gary Vee — he’s already taken and is dominating his space. You have to find your X-factor, something that makes you different and that people will pay attention to.
I’ve worked with female CEOs, fitness instructors, politicians, attorneys, financial experts, you name it. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in — your personal brand will be successful if you package it correctly, stay authentic and solve a problem that your audience struggles with.
One of my favorite clients, Nona Lee, worked as the lead general counsel for a Major League baseball team for 22 years. The money was great, but Nona was ready to do something different because her job wasn’t fulfilling or energizing anymore.
After leaving this position, Nona discovered that her passion was in the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) space. She was one of the only openly gay, Black women who worked at the executive level at Major League Baseball and had been subjected to racism, homophobia and misogyny because of her identity.
When I started coaching Nona, I saw her face light up when she spoke about the DEI volunteer work she had done over the years. We decided to create Nona’s personal brand around diversity, equity and inclusion work. We spent nine months perfecting the brand, creating her website, social media presence and her consulting program. Now, Nona is speaking and consulting all over the country for massive companies like Disney.
Nona finally has a job that’s her passion, a job that makes her wake up every morning and want to make a difference in the world. That energy is what personal branding is all about. It’s you living out your passion and purpose and being paid to do it.
If you are thinking of starting a personal brand but have no idea where to start, here are five questions to ask yourself:
- What do you excel at that comes easily to you? That is your X-factor. The quicker you discover what you’re great at at, your life gets much easier. Then, you can hire someone else to do what you’re not skilled at.
- What things do other people ask your for your advice about? What do your friends and family see you as being the expert of?
- What are your non-negotionables? These are the things that you have to do when it comes to work in order to be happy. Maybe it’s working from home, or not working on the weekends.
- What is your ultimate goal with your personal brand? Are you trying to make money? To have more time and financial freedom? To help people? To create a legacy?
- What is your ‘why’? You have to have a strong sense of purpose to get up and work every day. If you know why you’re doing what you’re doing, you can get to the finish line.