As a personal brand photographer, I’ve been learning about, experimenting with and experiencing the power of Personal Brands for many years. I’ve known how important Personal Branding is from a business perspective and have made it my mission to ‘convince’ other powerful, creative and impact-driven women of the virtues of personal branding and how, if they set about actively creating their personal brand, they have more chance of rapidly reaching their desired success.
As with all purpose-driven endeavors though, the more time you invest in it, the more gets revealed and the more there is to learn. It’s an evolving process. Much like we, as humans, are always evolving.
Life in the time of COVID-19 has shifted many things – not least our businesses.
As small business owners and solopreneurs, we’ve been forced to do some re-evaluating and some re-engineering.
As a photographer and videographer who can no longer (for the forseeable future) go out and photograph or video people, I’m having to decide on new ways in which I can serve my clients. For example – consulting with and offering editing services to those clients who are taking the DIY approach to their business photos and videos.
What this time has also allowed is a re-evaluation and re-invention of me. The person outside of and away from my business.
Now that, during lockdown, I’m being forced to confront the parts of my life that are out of alignment with what I truly want, because I no longer have the excuse of being ‘too busy with my client’s work’, many things have become apparent to me about my personal life – which will ultimately have a significant impact on the way I market my businesses in the future.
And that brings me to the point of this post –
Why Personal Branding is bigger than ‘just business’…
With the current global situation, the reasons you should be prioritising your personal brand for your business have been amplified innumerably, because EVERYONE and their aunts are hopping into the online space now.
Previously, if you had just a smidgen of technical know-how, you were already further along than the majority of the population and your competition. Now though, they have no other choice BUT to start showing up more actively online, and that means – it’s getting VERY NOISY on here!
How do you even stand out?
That’s where your Personal Brand comes in.
If you need convincing of the merits of building your personal brand and why it’s a good idea to start now, then you can watch this video here.
Beyond the Business Personal Brand…
The forced introspection of the lockdown has brought with it many realisations, especially in relation to the TRUE value of embarking on the process of building your Personal Brand. So even if you don’t own a business, even if you’re an employee, this is the part of Personal Branding that’s relevant regardless of your vocation.
The process of building a personal brand brings clarity. Clarity about all the obvious things like – what’s your offering, who’s your audience and what your goals are.
But deeper than that it brings clarity about who you are as an individual.
When done properly, the process can reveal the myriad of ingredients that make you into the delicious specimen of humanity that you are, and all that you hope to experience in this life, beyond simply projecting a 5 year business forecast.
This process can, if you’re willing to, take you to the heart of what a life well-lived truly means for you, and clarifies the decisions that are needed to be made and the actions that are needed to be taken to bring that envisioned life closer to your experienced life, and having your business (and all that comes with it) slot seamlessly into that vision, rather than bending, warping, moulding and scrunching your vision to fit the business.
Yes, we’ve been told this before, but not many of us have really put this into practice.
Whatever the reason, we’ve allowed our vision for our lives – our REAL lives – to be muddied by the ‘shoulds’ and the ‘coulds’ of others.
Someone who truly embarks on this personal branding journey will emerge with an understanding of themselves like they’ve never had before, and a deep KNOWING of where to go, what to do and who to serve. So much so, that they can surrender the chasing of the next strategy and the next tactic and the next methodology and the next webinar and the next free opt-in.
Your clarity about YOU connects you with your purpose. When you truly know WHO you are, you open up to WHY you are.
Why are you here?
Of all the planets in all the night sky, at all the times of the universe, why are you HERE, NOW?
There must be a purpose. There IS a purpose. Do you know what it is?
When you’re doing the work of gaining clarity, connection to your purpose follows naturally and that purpose is waiting for you to wake up and realise it’s there, and has been ever since you were born.
And when you do wake up. When you do get connection to your purpose, you’ll realise that the playbook, the cheatsheet, the roadmap you’ve been looking for… has been with you the entire time.
The second ‘less business, more life’ benefit of embarking on a personal branding adventure is the connection that’s birthed as a result of the process.
Having established your connection with yourself in a way that’s possibly deeper than you’ve ever experienced, you’ll soon begin to experience connections with others in a totally new way.
From family and friends to colleagues and clients.
Through this process, a tangible shift in connection with people, places and things will begin to emerge. Conversations become richer and more meaningful, synchronicities and collaborations become more commonplace. You may feel drawn to particular environments or perhaps the way you’ve always experienced or perceived them has changed.
You may even experience some disconnections from people, places and things that no longer align to the YOU you’re becoming. And that’s ok.
Every chapter has to end at some point, and having your newfound clarity and purpose will make it more apparent who & what you should and shouldn’t give time, space and energy to.
Those connections you keep will become deeper. Those connections you release, you can do so with love and gratitude for their part in getting you to where you are now.
After all, this rollercoaster of life has it’s ups and it’s downs, and an up wouldn’t exist without a down, and vice versa. If it did, it would be one long flat-line – lifeless.
That brings us to the 3rd reason personal branding is more than just business…
Trusting that life is always working in your favour.
Trusting that all your experiences have contributed to bringing you to this point.
Trusting that you have access to all the support and resources you require.
More importantly though, the practice of self-trust becomes a notable by-product of this process. Having gained clarity of yourself and your purpose and having deepened your connection with all the people, places and things around you, self-trust begins to bubble to the surface from the internal well of wisdom you carry around with you.
Especially once you begin actively implementing the nudges from your intuition, your level-of self-trust begins to upwardly self-regulate, as you see more ‘real-world’ impact and evidence of your actions.
Commitment + Integrity + Consistency = Self-Trust
(deciding what you’ll do) + (doing what you said) + (repeatedly doing what you said) = Self Trust.
Once you trust yourself, others begin to trust you too.
Self-doubt can be covertly ubiquitous if there isn’t a process in place to counter-act it and, if left undetected, it continues to grow like mold on the underside of a forgotten lunchbox sandwich.
And much like that rotting sandwich you (and others) might be aware of something ‘not smelling quite right’, but not being able to put your finger on it. You (and they) know that something’s ‘off’ but you (and they) can’t quite put a finger on it.
So at this stage of the journey, if you’ve followed the process, you’ll be filled with so much self-trust there will be no dark corners left for self-doubt to spread. Which is good for you, and good for your audience.
That brings us to the final reason that personal branding is good for you as a person beyond just a strategy for business.
All of the inner work that goes into the outer realisation of a well-executed personal brand, brings with it unbreakable confidence. The ripples of which can be felt in all aspects of your life.
Having confidence in the process, in your clarity, in your connection and in the self-trust that you’re actively growing and deepening, gives you the courage and confidence to you dream bigger, leap further and explore more freely.
And who knows what will be possible for you when you do that?!
So now you see why Personal Branding is bigger than just building an instagram following. It’s bigger than creating a fancy logo. It’s bigger than publishing a glossy website.
It’s all of those things and more.
It’s a journey of self-discovery. It’s a beautiful adventure. It’s a long and winding roadtrip and you’re inviting others to join you for the ride.
It’s the ride of a lifetime.
About the Author
Personal Brand photographer and videographer specialising in female-led and impact-driven entrepreneur brands at abigailk.co.za
Founder of Cafinnate Academy.