You may think you need to get all your ducks in a row—a perfect business vision, business model, business brand, personal brand… all neatly lined up and packaged up, before you start sharing content with anyone else.
So you hesitate to launch until you know every single detail is perfectly in place (and every person who sees it will love it).
You shy away from telling people what you really do in conversations until you’ve proven you’re a success at it (and that means proving it to yourself first, which can be the most difficult person to please of all).
You circle around a blog post or an email you want to send for days, until you muster the courage to put something that’s a little more personal than professional out into the world.
Or vice versa, you backpedal from writing about your business dream versus the typical weekend highlights that your friends and family have come to expect from fun-loving, weekend-loving (but surely not business-loving!) you.
You’re waiting. You’re waiting for your business, or your dream, or your brand, to match what it is you want to say now. But they’ll never catch up with your head and heart. So just say it. (Tweet this)
Whatever the content is—you’re waiting to hit send, publish, or even say it out loud—the point is, you’re waiting. You’re waiting for your business or your dream or your brand to match what it is you want to say now. And here’s the thing—they’ll never catch up. Your head and heart and all it wants to say are always going to be two steps ahead of the business or brand or dream you’ve already been able to create. So just say it.
Say it if it’s not perfect, write it if it’s not 100% fully-formed, share it if it’s still just sharing the journey along the way. Because if those first rocket-fast years of working for ourselves taught us anything, it’s that your content shapes your what you do, not the other way around.
If we sound passionate here, it’s because when we started Braid we were saying all the things our past experiences had taught us were true, but we were also saying a lot of the things that we wanted our business to become. We said we were “for the creatives!” when half our clients were simply small businesses and the other half were the creative entrepreneurs. Today we’re 100% creative entrepreneurs. We used personal branding as just one aspect of the kind of branding we do. But we talked about personal branding in practically every post or email we wrote. Today we consider almost every branding project we do – personal branding.
The spark for this post, for the words we’re sharing with you now is our Braid ECourse this month, Shape Up Your Content: Tame Your Ideas and Tell People How To Buy You. If there was one revelation that’s come from this ecourse, now in it’s third year, it’s come from the “Braiders” who have taken the course and haven’t been shy to share their comments. They ask us tough questions as they carve their messages, because they take this course seriously. Because they get it. What they say about their business now is really what they are saying about their future vision – and themselves. It’s where they want to go next. What they want to be doing.
So yeah, this is an ecourse about sorting your ideas and writing content that says what you want it to say about your personal brand, about your business—but it’s also about shaping what you want that business to become.
What you’re saying about your business now, is really what you’re saying about your vision. It’s where you want to go next. (tweet this)
The next time you introduce yourself, instead of diminishing what you do, say what you do plus that dash of what you are just starting to to do but still don’t have completely figured out. So if you’re a designer who is really starting to transition into brand consulting. Say “I’m a designer, but my specialty is branding.” If you’re a lifestyle coach who is really wanting to focus in on eating issues or concerns, start writing most of your posts (be it your blog or simply your Instagram) about changing our relationship with food.
To quote the work of Florence Scovel Shinn (you know it, but it’s an oldie and a goodie), “your word is your wand.” What you say, what you write, what you choose to talk about is what you put out into the world – and lookie there, it’s what comes right back at ya.
If you’re looking for brand guidance around sharing your content check out our Braid ECourse Shape Up Your Content: Tame Your Ideas and Tell People How to Buy You. It will be in-session from April 16-26 (yes, that's TOMORROW)! Learn more and sign-up here.
If you’re dealing with creative fear, need help with time management, or simply need a boost of inner-confidence when it comes to showing up and being seen you might like the DIY Coaching for Creatives email sessions. You can sign up anytime! It’s just $40 for 4 weeks of content delivered straight to your inbox – plus, it’s a great way to invest in yourself at the beginning of a new year.
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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.
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:
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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