Personal Branding 101: Step 1

Time for Empowerment

Beautiful people – welcome back to the first step of my Personal Branding Friday blog series! I pray that everyone is doing well, and that you have each grown, made progress, or succeeded at something that you set your mind to this week.    

I have been so excited to go over my first key step of personal branding with you! I want to use our time wisely to share a ton of secrets, and bring about the same result that I do for all my own clients – have you leave feeling empowered to make something out of your personal brand.

I do just want to quickly remind you that the final blog in this series is going to be completely made up of your questions, and my feedback. I will be answering anything you want to know about building a successful personal brand, so let the note taking begin. To submit your questions, leave a comment below, or feel free to DM me on Instagram @laurenewalsh in this format: “Blog Series Q: xxxx”. I am so looking forward to hearing what you want to know more about. Now that we have the details sorted out, let’s get started!

You Do Not Build a Brand, You are Your Brand

The biggest thing that you need to understand with branding, especially with personal branding, is that you do not build a brand, you are your brand. If you’re taking notes (which I hope you are) write this down: You are your brand. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is your WHY? Why do you get up in the morning? What gets you out of bed?
  2. What are your Core Values in life?
  3. What are the hardest things you have had to deal with in life? How did those shape you? What did you learn from them?
  4. What is your biggest success? How has that impacted you?

The answers to these questions (be that they only scratch the surface) make you who you are, and to a further extent, these make up your brand. Please understand that the best way to bring this to life is to accept that the things that make you who you are have already happened. You can not change the past, so it’s in your best interest to accept it. Understand that there will always be consequences for past actions, but–rather than running from those–lean into them. Trust me, your vibe will attract your tribe, meaning that once you are willing to accept all of you, the right people will come. You do need to have the reality check that it’s not going to be easy, and your tribe will not include everyone, and that’s alright. Remember that you are the average of the five people you are around most, so make sure those people are worth it. I can assure you, however, that those of you who are willing to genuinely be who you are–you are powerful, and not everyone can handle that. You will quickly find out who your true friends are, and you must be willing to let those who are less than loyal fade away.

How do I know this? Because I went through the biggest breakthrough in my company and career when I was willing to apply these very steps to my own life. It was the summer of 2018. At the time I was a single mom, and around the same time that I gave birth, I grew my company 200%. This translated to our client list, our monthly revenue, a full staff of 10 people, and opening my dream office in the heart of River North in Chicago (I’m pretty sure I pinched myself everyday to make sure I wasn’t dreaming).

Too Many Hats

Despite the fact that all of this looked, and sounded, amazing I was mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. I had been wearing so many different hats that I had no idea who I even was. Yes, I knew all of my titles like mom, boss, friend, but I didn’t know who I was beyond all of that. So, I decided it was time to take a step back, and reevaluate who I was. I went through my whys, my values, my core beliefs, my mission in life, and the legacy that I wanted to leave behind when everything was all said and done. 

Not only did this “intervention” of sorts lead to a complete rebrand of my company that was noticeable across all of our platforms, but also an introspective rebrand of myself…which was really just me going back to my roots of being my genuine self. You see, when you get caught up in titles, you can easily lose sight of your identity and begin to feel like you have to show up as certain versions of yourself depending on who your audience is. I am a living example that this approach will lead to burn out, period. You will feel lost. And how you feel on the inside will not match the facade you are portraying on the outside. 

This exact story is the reason that I am able to write to you today. It’s also why I was able to land some of my biggest clients not long after this revelation happened, along with being featured in the Associated Press, MSN, Huffington Post, and go live on air with CNBC. It wasn’t a coincidence. Genuine is good.

Please do yourself a favor and do not get caught up in the idea of needing to undergo a “rebrand.” As I said at the beginning, you are your own brand–literally the face of it. Your life makes up the unique story of your brand. You may not be able to go back and change certain aspects of the story to this point, but you can move forward, allowing it to impact your direction. 

I hope that something in this post has resonated with you, either sparking an “ah ha” moment, or getting gears turning for how this idea of not building a brand, but being a brand, applies to you. I strongly encourage you to reflect and ask yourself those four questions–they are great prompts–and don’t forget to drop a comment or DM to me with anything you would want me to answer or expand upon in June 19th’s post. Next week, I am going to focus on all things content, and the best means of getting this, so be sure to come back.

Love you all, and as always, have an amazing weekend!

– LW

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