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Build Your Stage: How to take charge of building your personal brand for your business

In this world of influencers and famous people that we all follow on the internet, it’s very easy to think about ‘personal brand’ being this huge thing that’s only for the real superstars. Those who want a million followers on Instagram and everyone to follow them. 

But personal brand is also really a very simple thing for leaders and owners of a business to adopt as well, by showing up and sharing the human side of themselves in order to help people understand what kind of business they have, and also decide whether they want to work with that business. 

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Personal brand is a really awesome way to build a group of people who like us and who get us (or who can also choose to not like us and move away from us). They want to follow and see what we do, to a point where they may want to work with us one day or alternatively refer us to someone because they think we will be a good match. At the end of the day you don’t need masses of people. In fact, Seth Godin says that you only need 100 people to build a personal brand, which is not that many people (hurrah!), so it is worth spending some time thinking about doing it. 

 

Define who you are 

The reason that this is called ‘Build your stage’ is that for a long time I waited for someone to pick me. That is how I was raised – that you would get picked by someone else and then you would be the chosen one.  So I tried being lots of different things and what happened is one; no one chose me, and two; I couldn’t work out who I was or what I really stood for. So what I decided to do three or four years ago was to build my own stage. To create something myself that was very much about who I was and my values.

 

Show who you are

We started doing free events around New Zealand and it was so hard to get people to come to them at the beginning. And we just started doing a range of other events in areas that people don’t know me, so I am feeling that again. It is hard to start. But it is also much easier this time around because people do know who we are.

Building your stage is about working out what your voice is and who you are. And then getting out there and actually taking charge to build your own brand, instead of waiting for someone else to give you approval and tell you that it is okay to do. 

 

You need to think about why. And make it good enough.

The first thing you need to think about is your why. Why are you building the stage and what it is you are doing. Is it because you need public/personal affirmation? Because if you do, this isn’t a great place to do it. Believe me. Nothing ruins your feelings of personal affirmations than having people not like what you do and having them say so very plainly. 

So think about what it is and how it helps other people, or adds value to their lives and/or business. It might be around informing, serving, lecturing, teaching or sharing with others. But it also needs to be good enough that it makes you want to do it. 

For me, I wanted as many people in the world as possible to be demystified about how to do their own marketing. That is what my heart wants me to do. And so that is good enough for me to get out of bed and work on days I don’t feel like showing up. 

I love being out on the stage but I hate everything else about building a personal brand – I am very private and I don’t like having to do those things. However, I will do them to help the brand and to build it further. And the reason I do it is because my ‘why’ is good enough for me to stick at it and continue to push myself. So you need to think about what your why and see if you can use it to build your personal brand. 

 

Your fears can hold you back

Be aware that your fears can hold you back. Quite often we worry that people won’t like us, that we will look like an idiot, that we will say the wrong thing, that we will make a mistake, that we will be in the wrong place, no one will watch us. I suggest writing down your fears and then reframe them. For example – if no one is watching me, I can practice all I want until someone does watch me; if I make a mistake, that’s okay because people will see that I am learning as I go. 

Switch up your fears so that they no longer hold you back and you end up having a lot more enthusiasm for trying things. 

None of us start off as experts. I look at how I used to present for example, three years ago compared to now, and it is completely different. You have to start somewhere and we aren’t going to be experts when we start – so don’t allow a need for perfection to hold you back from doing this new thing of building your own personal brand. 

 

Find your own voice

So once we have got that sorted, it is really important to find out what your own voice is. And it is different for everybody. For example, I am just not a babe person. I don’t use the word babe when I am talking to other people. And yes, other women do, which is actually okay. Because that’s who they are. 

When we look at finding your voice, I want you to think about things that make you really excited. Write down all the things that you get energised about. Is it Black Lives Matter, is it feminism, is it politics? For me it is marketing and educating people how to feel confident with it. Seeing anyones light go on when I am teaching fires me up, so working out what fires you up is really important. 

Think about what you really care about. I care about people feeling confident and that they can do it themselves, that they can take action to better themselves and their business. That is important to me. 

Then what about your values? Using time wisely, adding value, keeping it really simple and following the customer needs are what we have as both our business values at Identify and my personal values. Writing those down will help find who you are. 

Think about using the words that define you by choosing three or four core words that best describe who you are. Generous, kind, thoughtful, persistent, angry, frustrating – they can be positive or negative. This is your personal brand, you can choose the words that spring out for you. 

Then what I want you to do is show me what those words are like in action. You’ve defined who you are, now SHOW me who you are. So if you are kind, how would you show that? What would your tone of voice be, what are some things you would say, what actions would you do to show you are kind? If you are direct, maybe you are going to share lots of straight facts, with intense eye contact and really clear, concise communication. Consider ways to show what your brand voice will look like and write all of those down next. 

I know this is a bit of a job guys, but it is worth it. 

 

Add in the bits that make you different

Once you have done all of those, think about all the things that make you different from anyone else on the planet. And here I mean about all your personal quirks, unique experiences and what makes you weird. Like I realised that I have whole conversations with people in my head sometimes, all without having them out loud – some people think that’s totally weird (but some would get it as well). I also want you to think about your faults. List them all. Boy could I tell you some of mine! 

List all your favourite things and don’t forget to write down your fears. These are really great things you can talk about that help people understand you, see that you’re a real person, enable others to relate to you and ultimately, help you stand out. 

 

Your journey is your power

Once you have done that, you need to think about what has happened in your life that is your journey – no one else owns that either. Write down some of the best things that have happened to you in your life, the highest of the highest, most amazing things. And then write down all the worst bits as well – the broken marriages, the failed friendships, the failed businesses. The times you were low. You don’t have to go too heavy here, but it is good to get a nice blend of the good and not so good times. Once you have processed them, go through and highlight the ones you feel safe to share (you don’t have to share everything). People will really connect with those stories of your life.  

 

Collect people who light your fire

You know what you have now? A powerful mix of what makes your personal brand uniquely yours. And now you can start collecting people around you. 

So look at all the people you follow/that you have heard of and find those you resonate with – and it doesn’t matter if they are not famous. Choose those you want to connect with and talk to. Follow them on Insta, Facebook, go to their events and their webinars and just hang out with them. I really love following people like Glennon Doyle and Mel Robbins, but then there are other people who are not so well known like Emma Wallace and Evie Kemp – they are people I enjoy talking to and interacting with, people who light up a part of me and help me define who I am. Check out their content and if it resonates with you, it is likely you will find other people who will also resonate with yours. Make a list to connect with, follow, interact and engage, and start collecting people to build with. 

 

Create content that reflects your voice and focus

Almost there! Now it is time to create content that reflects your voice and your focus. Put it where your people are – so that could be across different social media platforms, podcasts and video, interviews, public events and webinars, but whatever you do, create things that reflect your voice and your focus. Never lose sight of that hard work you have done creating that. And as you do it, let the people come.

 

Let the people come. 

If you are building a stage, sometimes you have only got one or two people in the audience and other times you’ll have hundreds or even thousands. Let them come in their own time by being consistent and continuing to build that stage. If your messaging is clear and consistent and you’ve good people around you (your 100 or more), the rest will come. Trust me.

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