Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Building Your Personal Brand

Be bold. Be real. Be you.


I may not be an expert, but I've definitely learned a lot about building a personal brand over the years. I started my digital journey using an anonymous pseudonym "MorganFreeman7" in 2011. As I quickly gained followers in those first few months, it wasn't long before I realized how important it is to create a strong, authentic personal brand. Rebranding and revealing my true self as "Denise Joyce" was one of the best decisions I've ever made. So whether you're just starting out or hoping to improve with hopes of growing and retaining your audience, here are my tips for building your personal brand.

Be you.
The first thing that I learned creating content as "MorganFreeman7" was that I didn't want to gain followers as someone else. Every time I gained a new YouTube subscriber, I felt ashamed that I was hiding behind an anonymous screen name and referring to myself as "Moe". Don't build your personal brand around a facade. Authenticity allows your audience to get to know the real you. Your brand should be a reflection of who you are, what you believe, and what you stand for.

If you don't come across as authentic to your audience, it's much harder for them to relate and believe in what you have to say. Though I gained a good amount of followers as "MorganFreeman7", I constantly felt disingenuous. Building a personal brand requires developing an understanding of your true self and choosing to share that person with the world. Don't be afraid to take off your mask and be vulnerable! Believe me, your audience will appreciate it. 

Build your online presence.
The way you project yourself online becomes your public persona, so you need to be aware of how you're appearing and coming across to your audience. Be sure to build your online presence in a way that represents your true self and improve upon it on an ongoing basis.

Every so often, take some time out to evaluate your social media profiles. Your online presence should accurately reflect your persona as you continue grow and change. You will always be your best PR, so be sure to interact with your audience as well as other creators in your industry. Even if you get anxious and shy interacting with new people like I do, just go for it! You never know what opportunities await you if you just take a risk and put yourself out there. 

Keep learning.
Industries are constantly changing, so depending on your niche/area(s) of interest, it's important to stay relevant and up-to-date with new trends. It's easy to get lost in the shuffle if you can't keep up with any new changes within your market. 

Even if you're not actively creating content, I encourage you to keep learning. Read books, read blogs, listen to podcasts, or watch videos. Your next exciting burst of inspiration can come from a variety of outlets. I've always been an advocate of learning, developing new skills, and expanding your knowledge. I refuse to be complacent.

Be kind to yourself.
Especially if you're just starting out, understand that it takes a lot of time to build your personal brand. Don't beat yourself up and compare yourself to someone else who much further along on their journey. As long as you keep moving forward at your own pace, you'll eventually find what works best for you. 

It's also good to recognize when you need to take a step back and relax. (Don't worry - even I have trouble doing this!) In the past couple of weeks, I've been told that I'm "overly ambitious" and "addicted to the hustle". Despite the sincere concern from my peers over my well-being, I usually brush off these types of comments, because I like being driven and ambitious. 

I prefer to wake up each day with purpose and determination, but like they say too much anything is bad for you. Be sure to pay attention to your mind and your body. You're not going to accomplish much if you end up exhausted mentally and physically. Taking a break doesn't mean you're giving up on your dreams, it just means you're human. 

XO,

Denise