BRAID CREATIVE & CONSULTING
is branding & business visioning
for creative entrepreneurs.

Today I want to share just a few tips on how to embrace your personal brand in business but first – our Braid ECourse Personal Branding: Blending Who You Are with What You Do is in-session starting this Friday. It's by far our most popular ECourse and has already been taken by hundreds of creatives, aspiring entrepreneurs, and bloggers. Learn more and see if it's a good time to take it here.

As the phrase "personal branding" continues to catch more mainstream buzz I'm finding creatives become even more confused and intimidated by the whole topic. "What is a personal brand? What's MY personal brand? Oh my God, WHO AM I?" It turns out stressing out about your personal brand looks a lot like having a quarter-life crisis. So today I'm going to uncomplicate it and break it down with just a few tips for you.

Personal branding is simply being yourself.
It's about being brave enough to be enthusiastic about what you like and sharing that with not only your friends but your coworkers and clients too. That may look like wearing what you want even when you're "on the clock". It might look like asking your clients to indulge in a quick 2-minute meditation with you. Or it could even look like being transparent about the things you don't know or can't do. Just be yourself 100% of the time and you'll see it pay off in both your bank account and in your soul.

Personal branding is ditching the "we" speak.
If you're a solopreneur you might be hiding behind the "we" on your blog, your website, and in your newsletters. Your intentions may be good – you say "we" because you have an amazing and supportive partner behind-the-scenes, or maybe you have big vision of expanding your team one day. Perhaps you're saying "we" because you want your client to feel confident in your services by pretending that you aren't doing it all by yourself. But here's the deal: it's cool that you are talented and confident enough to have launched your own thing. Own that. That means trading out "we" for "I". Try it on for size. I think you'll like how it feels. (And if you do say "we" specify who the other person is – otherwise you might sound like you have multiple personalities.)

Personal branding is the stories you tell.
From your big adventures to small weekend anecdotes your personal brand is about the stories you tell on Monday morning at the coffee shop and the stories you tell on Thursday nights over cocktails. It's the stories you share online – from detailed blog posts to an Instagram snap. What stories do you want to be known for?

In closing I'd like to point out that the difference between simply being a person (a really interesting, rad, and creative person) and having a personal brand is understanding that sharing who you are with your clients, colleagues, and potential customers can be financially lucrative. It's accepting that you might not be for everyone – some people may be scared or intimidated by your ability to live with authenticity and a whole heart all the time – and that's okay. Because in return, by embracing and sharing who you are online and off, you'll be attracting your true tribe.

Want more? Sign up for our Letters for Creatives where I'll be sharing how becoming a mom has impacted my own personal brand.

Our Braid ECourse Personal Branding: Blending Who You Are With What You Do is the next to be in session! This ECourse is by far our most popular and shares a lot more when it comes to being who you are on your blog – both professionally and personally. It will be in-session from May 16-25th. Learn more and register here.

Or check out our DIY Coaching for Creatives email series. It’s insight delivered straight to your inbox over the course of 4 weeks.

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Let me guess. You’re the creative type with lots of ideas. So many ideas! TONS of ideas! And while that should feel like a blessing it often feels like a curse that has you either A) paralyzed or B) crying into your pillow because you can’t get focused, you feel scattered, and you don’t know where to start. You’re energetically sketching up a new business model every other day and lose steam when it comes to actually launching or following through on your ideas. Your head is spinning and you feel like there is something you should be doing – so you refresh Twitter and check your email for the 8th time in 3 minutes. You’re straight-up confused and diffused. 

1. Confusion is what repels your customers, readers, and people who would become your customers if they weren’t confused by your content that’s still melting all over the place. It’s delicious and yummy and appealing but they can’t figure out how to pick it up (or if they should even try). This kind of confusion is why you want to “shape up your content” and is the main purpose of our Braid Ecourse of the fitting name, Shape Up Your Content.  But, let’s talk about diffusion, which is more about the idea-focus (or lack of focus) behind your content.

2. Diffusion is what hurts you, the business owner. It’s even more dangerous than confusion. Diffusion is your outward-facing confusion’s, inner and ongoing root cause. You’re a grown up, and one who is brave enough and smart enough to start (or dream about starting) their own business. So I won’t say that too many ideas necessarily distract you. But they do diffuse your energy. Of course, you always want to be thinking ahead to the next idea for your financial success and personal happiness. 

The Confused Creative

The Diffused Creative

But we want you to either: 
a.) idea-generate behind the scenes and not let it influence the content you share today, which should be more singularly focused; or 

b.) pick a more narrow path, even if just for a little while, and really let it drive your content as equally as your actions.  

In reality, a balance of both of these ways of thinking about your business ideas, is the most practical approach.

Kathleen here. This excerpt above is from Lesson 1 of our Braid ECourse Shape Up Your Content: Tame Your Ideas and Tell People How to Buy You. And here is where I tell you to go register for the course (you have until Thursday!) to find out more on confusion and diffusion culprits and antidotes. But I don’t want to leave you hanging between now and then. 

So if you’re feeling confused or diffused try the following content fixes and exercises for a quick shape up: 

3 Content Quick Fixes

1. Tell people how to hire you. Look at your website – more specifically the sidebar, about me, and “how to hire me” page. Explicitly tell your tribe how they can hire you in these spaces. That means getting specific about your services, who you’re for, and how they can get ahold of you to learn more. Easy peasy. While you’re at it, check your social media profiles and make sure they’re up-to-date with what you want to be putting out there.  

2. Use your own words and don’t be vague! Ditch the jargon and say what you mean. A lot of the creatives we work with like to stay vague thinking it leaves them sounding professional and open to paying jobs. But instead that just leaves a potential dream customer confused or unsure you’re the right fit for them. So, use the kinds of words you use in real life when explaining what you do to people who aren’t necessarily in your industry. I find that including examples helps. So if you do “branding for creatives” you might follow that up by saying “that means I not only design logos and websites but I help other creatives like photographers and designers tell their story with words and images that really reflect them and what they do.”  

3. Know yourself. If you’re still confused about what it is you want to be doing, or scared you might alienate someone with money by being more explicit about what you want to be doing, try these Braid brand exercises for creative entrepreneurs – designed to help you get a little bit of clarity: 
- Get specific about what you want to be doing 
- If you had to write a book
- Imagine your business from the future 

And of course, if you want to dig deeper into shaping up your content check out our Braid ECourse for Creative Entrepreneurs called Shape Up Your Content: Tame Your Ideas and Tell People How to Buy You. This ECourse is $75 and will be in-session from this Friday, Oct. 18 - 27. You can learn more about this Braid ECourse and register here. You have until this Thursday to register! 

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Tara here. First off, just want to let you know that our Braid ECourse, Personal Branding: Blending Who You Are With What You Do, starts tomorrow. Deadline to register is today. This course isn’t coming around again until, oh, turkey-time, like November if you can imagine being that far into fall on this summer day.

Speaking of personal branding, Kathleen and I have consulted and created brand and business vision guides using our Braid Method for, oh, I’d say eight creative entrepreneurs this summer, so far.  A yoga instructor/freelance designer from Washington D.C., a vintage sewing blogger/pattern designer from New York, a coach/writer/speaker from Seattle, and a Nashville-bound artist/musician consultant to name a few. Notice all the slashes?! That’s the work-slash-life, the passion-slash-profession of the creative entrepreneur. And that’s why, even though they hired us for the whole shebang, all of them really got into their personal brand and how to get it more defined-slash-blended into their business brand.

So let’s say you were to take a peek inside the pages of the personal branding section of these ladies’ Braid Method vision guides (yes, most of the creatives we work with are ladies, girls, gals, dames, not-typically-dudes, though we have been known to make exceptions if one of our creative macho-men is reading this post right now, you know who you are, own it.) You would see Personal Branding, right about smack dab in the middle of their thirty-something-page custom guide:

1. Your Business Vision
2. Your Dream Customer
3. Your Style Point-of-View
4. Your Personal Brand
5. The Content You Share
6. The Creative You Sell
7. Brand Look & Feel 
8. To-Do’s For You

This is because no matter how clear and concise and “duh! of course that’s what I do” we get with their business vision, their dream customer and their unique stylistic approach, there comes a point where we gotta talk about the personal brand. Because in the world of the creative entrepreneur you’ve got to get cool with this idea that people aren’t attracted to you as a product or service alone. People buy from people.

Think People Are Only interested In Your Skills And Services?

Here’s a sneak peek of how we talk about personal branding in our Braid Method guide:

Your Personal Brand / Use The Personal Brand Section of Your Vision Guide To:
- blend the person with the business as the face of your brand (people want to buy from people!)
- get okay with talking about yourself (but decide what you will, and will not talk about... boundaries!)
- think of your personal style and stories in snapshots that you capture, shape and share with intent (do curate / don’t get “dear-diary” here)
- and decide which voice you want to tap into, when – when are you edgy? inspirational? helpful? down-to-biz? (think layered, not multiple personality)

Now the pages that follow this “how-to” introduction, are, well, personal to each creative. I could show you, but I’d have to kill ya, and all that jazz.  But I can tell you that in just the past few weeks, we’ve had personal brands that tap into the coolest, most unexpected blends – a mesmerizing nerdy girl, a rock-n-roll researcher, a mathematically-minded artist, and a designer who taps into the divine.

They have personal branding fears like:
“I don’t know if what I do is considered ‘cool’ to the people I want to work with.”

“It’s hard to describe what you do, especially when you’re discovering it as you go.”

“I want to be the cool girl. I want to be irresistible.”

They have personal branding revelations like:
“I’ve been hanging onto my business voice for so long, but it’s time for new words!”

“I thought my clients were drawn to me for my content. But half of them were drawn to me because I did something they only dreamed about doing!”

And what are some “to-do’s” Kathleen and I have given them?
- forget saying “we” or acting like a company
- get your voice and face up front
- get more visual when you share that content, use photos, use art
- think of every post as talking directly to someone who loves your personal brand
- pepper in ways to hire you, don’t forget people want to buy from people
- be the one who translates to others this idea or service that’s new to them, be the one to make it cool, make it accessible and make it irresistible

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What are some of your personal branding fears or recent revelations? Let us know on Facebook.

And just a final reminder today is the last day to sign up for this month’s $75 Personal Branding Braid Ecourse. It starts tomorrow, Friday August 16 and is in-session (available to take at your own pace) until August 25.

If you’d like to learn more about hiring Braid for creative mentor coaching, to help you create your brand and business vision, or to even develop your complete brand platform using our Braid Method we can do a little or a lot. Let us show you the ways, ha! Feel free to email me, tara@braidcreative.com to learn more.

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