Personal Branding 101: Q&A

Happy Friday beautiful people! We have finally worked our way through each of my four personal branding series steps.

I can’t thank you enough for sticking with me, engaging so well, and coming up with some awesome questions. After reading through everything that was submitted, I took the top ten most commonly asked and relevant questions, and I’ve given some insight that I hope will be helpful to those who asked them – and all of you. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

You Asked and I Answered

When you first began working with the development of personal brands, what resources did you lean on to learn about the industry? What do you rely on now to stay ahead of the knowledge curve?

I really leaned on my own years of experience and time spent working with people both personally and professionally. The biggest thing about branding is that you don’t create brands–regardless of the misconceptions that professional marketers often portray–you have to understand who you are as a person, and then figure out how to bring that to life as part of your brand. Creativity is so important when it comes to personal branding, and being inspired by interactions with others is a great resource in and of itself.

When I reached a point where I wanted to become more tactical, I started listening to tons of podcasts, referencing lots of YouTube videos, and reading relevant books and articles to learn as much as I could; these are practices I still incorporate into my weekly routine. Some are related to marketing and branding tactics, some have a focus on social media, and then others highlight trailblazing female entrepreneurs. Expose yourself to different insights from different people and then take what you learn and make it your own.

When it comes to monetizing personal brands, where should you focus your efforts first?

Go internal. You have to humanize to monetize. What does it mean for you to be authentic and how does your authenticity help create organic content? What do you add to the world that no one else can? At the end of the day, everything that you’ve done and experienced in life makes you unique, and therefore valuable.

Before anyone else can see value in you or your idea, you have to first see and believe this value for yourself. You have to know your worth. The sweet spot comes into play when you realize that you have something special to offer, and then you figure out how to turn that into a business piece.

When you say “you are your brand,” how do you navigate using who you currently are for your brand, but aspiring to grow into the best version of yourself?

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that because your brand is literally you, it is always evolving. As you grow as a person, your brand grows with you.

Do you have any advice for those who are wearing ‘too many hats’, but are doing so because they don’t want to pass up any opportunities or chances to learn? What should be considered when deciding which one’s to ‘hang up’?

Wearing too many hats simply means that you’re too many versions of yourself, not that you hold too many titles, per say. No matter what your role is, whether you’re a mother, sister, friend, mentor, wife, etc. at the core, you need to be seeking to be the same person no matter what; hang up all those different versions of yourself. Strive to wear one hat that spans across different titles.

You stress the value of documenting, not creating. Shouldn’t there be a balance of the two? Being creative with content can add so much value to a brand.

When I say document, do not create, this does not mean that you cannot be creative. This means don’t try to make up content for the sake of likes and follows. Your focus should rest in documenting the things that have happened in your life, and then sharing how those lessons, experiences, memories can all add value to other people’s lives. Creativity comes into play with how you go about sharing your message.

I love the point that you made about waiting until a wound has healed into a scar before turning any kind of vulnerable moment into a post. With the ‘organic’ approach to content becoming more and more popular, is there ever any value in using the realness and rawness of a moment for content?

There are definitely opportunities to jump onto a social platform and share how you’re feeling or an emotion that you’re experiencing, but strongly consider how and if this is adding value to someone else. If the only desired response that drives you to do this is in the hopes of receiving “poor me” sympathy from others, this is probably not the best approach for putting content out there. Take your followers on the journey that you are on, and use your victory over the struggle as a means of encouraging others who may be facing similar situations. Relatability holds so much power.

When leveraging your mediums, do you have a favorite social media tool?

I personally love Instagram, but lately I have been challenging myself to stop having a monogamous relationship with it, lol. You don’t want to get stuck using just one platform because there are so many great tools for getting your message out to your audience–and to a further extent, even expanding your audience.

What if you decide that the best option for your brand is to clean house and start fresh, essentially undergoing a rebrand. How did you go about navigating people’s remarks that the change is one of insincerity, being ‘fake’, or ingenuine, even though it’s a change for the better?

You never really “start fresh” with your personal brand, considering that your brand is ever-evolving just like you are. Old posts and comments may not align with who you once were–and in this instance, deleting and deactivating social media accounts may be the best option–but the character that you have developed and matured with time is part of the journey your brand has taken. Rather than having a “cleaning house” and “starting fresh” mentality, shift this to be a “pivot” mentality. 180 degree changes may be necessary for some, but for others, just a ten or twenty degree pivot can get them going in the right direction.

What are some techniques or mental practices that have helped you, or your clients, stay the course when the personal branding journey faces difficulties and setbacks?

Everyone faces difficulties and setbacks on a daily basis, but the most successful–and even the happiest–people out there are not the people who don’t have problems. They are those who find solutions to problems and figure out how to innovatively use those setbacks to propel them forward and help other people along the way. Meditation is one of my absolute favorite practices (go check out my blog Keep Calm and Meditate On) to help me refocus in the midst of the business and craziness of life, but it also clears my mind at the end of the day. Take breaks, go on walks, read a chapter of a book, do whatever you need to do to allow your mind to reset. 

What is your favorite part of working with personal brands?

Getting to know people, and empowering people to chase their dreams. Helping individuals actualize the fact that they have something to offer this world, and then helping them take action on this is one of the most rewarding parts of the work that I do.

Thank you all again for following this personal branding blog series. Keep an eye out for others to come in the future! Love you all, and as always, have an amazing weekend!

With Love,

– LW

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