If you want to make a real impact in the world, people need to know who you are.
That’s why aspiring leaders and changemakers learn how to build a personal brand so others can easily understand exactly who they are and what they stand for — and what makes them great.
But if you’ve been busy focusing on honing your skills and figuring out the best ways to share your magic with the world, chances are you haven’t had the time to put much effort into creating a thoughtful, well-considered personal brand for yourself.
Maybe you’re feeling stuck, uncertain what to do beyond posting inspirational quotes on Facebook and Instagram. Or maybe you’re afraid that putting yourself “out there” will take up too much time and effort without doing much to grow your business.
The good news is, learning how to build a personal brand can be much easier than you think. This guide will show you how to create your own brand that will leave a positive and memorable impression, plus see how to get people excited to work with you in person.
What is Personal Branding?
Every time you interact with someone online or off, you are creating your personal brand, whether you’re conscious of it or not. That’s because your “brand” is basically how you show up in the world and how people perceive you based on your words and actions.
Personal branding is the process of consciously cultivating your brand to make sure it does a good job of communicating who you are and what you stand for.
If you want people to perceive you as someone who is great to work with and incredible at what you do, that’s what your brand should reflect: your skills, knowledge, and the experiences that have shaped you into who you are – not only through your interactions with others, but also in terms of what you post on social media, how you communicate in your emails, the images and graphic elements you use for your website, and so on.
By learning how to build a personal brand that catches people’s interest and builds confidence in your ability to get results, you make it easier for yourself to stand out from others in your field to create a lasting impression.
How to Build a Personal Brand
Here are seven proven steps you can follow to learn how to build a powerful personal brand – plus personal branding tips to help you establish your credibility and get people excited to work with you.
1. Establish a Foundation
To create your own brand effectively, your first step should be to lay a solid foundation with a compelling personal story that describes how you came to be where you are in life.
What dreams and life experiences have determined the direction of your journey so far?
Have you experienced epiphanies that have liberated you?
Do you have mentors that have helped you along the way?
When you are clear on your personal story and able to share it in a way that allows people to see the real you, you’ll do a better job of creating an unforgettable impression while also inspiring your ideal clients to connect with you on a deeper level.
2. Lead with Your Purpose
In his incredibly popular TED Talk, “Start with Why,” bestselling author Simon Sinek said:
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”
In other words, the reason why people will choose you over the competition is because they resonate with your values and sense of purpose — the things that drive you to do what you do.
That’s why, when you create your own brand, it’s crucial for you to get clear on the ‘why’ behind your business. What is your purpose in life? — and how are you manifesting it in the world through the work you do? The more clearly you convey this in your words and actions, the easier it will be for you to attract clients and other people who are eager to support you in your mission.
Getting clear on your ‘why’ will also allow you to identify your Unique Value Proposition (or Unique Selling Proposition) and more effectively communicate what makes you stand out from a crowd – and demonstrate to people that you are a leader worth following.
3. Align Your Purpose with Your Passions
To lead with your purpose, first, you must get clear on what your purpose is! The best way to do that is to pinpoint your core values and beliefs and explore how they might intersect with your passions and interests.
For example, maybe one of your core values is to protect the environment and two of your passions are creating art and working with children. Then your purpose might be to use art to teach children about the importance of the environment.
That way, your purpose is based on values that are important to you as well as things you love to do, which will help you build a personal brand that genuinely reflects your true self.
Remember, you are the only “YOU” there is, and the world needs your unique contribution to thrive! The best way to identify your unique contribution is to explore what makes you, YOU.
4. Define Your Audience
One of the most important aspects of your “brand message” is the audience to whom you are speaking. That’s why, as you develop your understanding of how to build a personal brand, it’s important to get really clear on who your ideal clients are, so you can do a great job tailoring your communications to their wants and needs.
Ask yourself: “Who is most likely to not only need and want what I offer but actually use it to make their lives better?”
Be sure to consider their demographics (their gender, age group, income bracket, etc.) as well as their dreams, desires, and passions. Think about how you personally can help them live their passions and achieves their dreams and desires.
Additionally, be sure to consider the kind of people that you personally want to have in your life.
What kind of people do you want to work with most? Think in terms of their personality, habits, work ethic.
Who makes you happiest to spend time with? The more you speak directly to them, the more they will pay attention to what you’re saying!
5. Create a Successful Strategy
In today’s connected world, if you want to know how to build a personal brand that creates an unforgettable impression, you have to get online. This includes creating an attractive website for your business as well as being active on at least one social network where you know your ideal audience tends to hang out, such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter.
If you’re unsure where to start, do some research to discover where your ideal audience spends most of their time. Look at competitors’ social platforms and see where their audience engages most with them.
It’s better to focus on one social network and get really good at engaging with people there than to try and be everywhere and do everything all at once.
As you develop your online persona, be sure to showcase testimonials and other forms of social proof that provide solid evidence that your work makes a huge positive impact on the lives of others. This is some of the most powerful content you can share because it uses the words of real clients and customers to showcase the value of what you offer.
If you don’t have a lot of testimonials or reviews for sharing purposes, the best way to get them is to ask! Asking is a powerful tool that will help you grow your business.
6. Build a Community
Another effective way to learn how to build a personal brand that stands out is to develop a community around your business and the values on which your business is based.
Create a space where people can talk with each other about their challenges, triumphs, and experiences — then invite them in and engage with them. By encouraging and becoming a part of those conversations, you will create countless opportunities to build relationships with people who will help establish your brand and extend its reach through word of mouth.
It’s also a good idea to become an active member in other people’s Facebook communities. Participate in conversations. Ask questions and offer helpful advice when appropriate. Take advantage of whatever networking opportunities come your way.
Look for opportunities to interview other subject matter experts then share the interview far and wide, encouraging the person you’ve interviewed to do the same (thus, introducing you to their communities as well).
Let it be known that you are available to be interviewed or appear on other people’s podcasts or guest-write articles for their blog. These are great ways to make a name for yourself and extend your brand reach to a larger audience.
7. Begin a Training Business
One of the best ways to establish your credibility as an expert in your particular industry is to teach what you know to others. No matter what your niche or area of expertise may be, there are countless people out there who want to know what you know and are eager to learn from the best!
Learning effective training skills allows you to empower others and create a community of successful clients who will sing your praises to others. To support your business, you could offer workshops or online programs, or deliver your teaching in other ways such as working one on one with clients.
You might also want to consider the idea of writing a book. Being able to say that you’re a published author is a powerful way to enhance your personal brand image. At the very least, it shows you know enough about the subject matter to write an entire book about it!
It’s also an effective networking tool as you can send copies of your book to potential new clients or networking partners who may be interested to work with you and will need a final credibility-building push to make a decision.
It’s also beneficial to grow your brand reputation through online and in-person events, such as webinars and public speaking engagements that allow you to share your skills and expertise with people around the world.
The more you showcase your self-brand, the more likely people will know who you are and share your work with others. Become a great leader using this process and you will not only have a successful brand establishing you as an authority in your field – you’ll have a successful business as well!
Build Your Brand & Be Yourself
If you want to grow your business and be successful doing what you love, people need to know you exist. That’s why it’s so important for you to build your own brand and put in the work to get your name out there.
If you’re just starting out, the idea of self-branding may be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. You can make huge traction by investing as little as 15 minutes a day to your branding!
In the process, you will be able to clarify your true life’s purpose and build a personal brand that will inspire others and help them leverage your expertise to get better results in their own lives. The gratitude they feel will motivate them to talk about you and share your work with others, which in turn will effortlessly help grow your own community.
As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, Jack Canfield fostered the emergence of inspirational anthologies as a genre—and watched it grow to a billion dollar market. As the driving force behind the development and delivery of over 100 million books sold through the Chicken Soup for the Soul® franchise, Jack Canfield is uniquely qualified to talk about success. Jack is America’s #1 Success Coach and wrote the life-changing book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be and Jack speaks around the world on this subject. Check out his newest book The 30-Day Sobriety Solution: How to Cut Back or Quit Drinking in the Privacy of Your Own Home. Follow Jack at www.jackcanfield.com and sign up for his free resources today!
Image courtesy of Ivan Samkov.