Personal branding is crucial in today’s word. If you want to follow your passions, create a meaningful career or any sort of impact in the public sphere, you need to become crystal-clear about your personal brand.
In order to obtain this clarity on your personal brand, you need to be established in who you are- your passions, interests, strengths, and the pathway you intend to take.
In my own process of combing all of my passions into a meaningful career and brand, I realized that personal branding is a super-fun opportunity- for self-reflection, making your mark on the world, and of course finding a job or creating a business you are excited about.
What I love about personal branding is that it gives you the opportunity to get in tune with your individuality and passions. You have something to offer that no one else does, and that’s why it’s fun.
Here some tips to refine your personal brand:
1) Figure out ways you are naturally talented and identify what you are passionate about.
Talent and passion are the ideal marriage in creating a career that you are excited to wake up for on Monday mornings. It is important that you feel motivated about what you are doing.
In order to identify your natural talents and interests, it may be beneficial to take multiple career placement and aptitude tests to develop ideas on the best direction to go in your career.
Additionally, look at the great loves throughout your life in terms of outlets and extra-curricular activities. Sometimes it is not always feasible to become a famous athlete, but careers in sports management or sports broadcasting are good options to look into. Or, if you were always sought out for advice in an area, it may be interesting for you to research it as a career.
2) Don’t be afraid to go in a different direction.
It’s okay to occasionally change your mind or shift careers within related fields- or even completely different fields if you are certain this is the direction you would like to go in and truly believe the shift will be successful. Do a cost-benefit analysis and speak with people close to you in order to make this decision.
When you’re young- it’s perfectly fine to experiment with various pathways with short-term intentions, too. But to be honest- you can’t keep changing your mind if you want stability in your life.
Evolving is good- spiraling will lead you in the wrong direction in your career.
3) Make calculated choices in what and whom you choose to associate yourself with in professional circumstances.
It is important that your decisions “align” with who you truly are- and your personal brand. Just like actors will decide that a film does not fit their image, make choices that are in alignment with your personal brand and the brand of your business if you have one.
If you write for publications, associate yourself with brands that fit your personal brand. For instance, if someone sees that you wrote for Elle, National Geographic, and Psychology Today, this shows that you are versatile, but it is confusing to determine if you have any focused specialities.
If you are an artist or public figure and have the opportunity to interview with a publication that is just completely outside of your personal brand, consider waiting for another opportunity.
Now, I would not always advocate for throwing opportunities away if they arise, but much of personal branding is about positioning. Positioning of yourself and your brand in order to attract the right opportunities, clients, offers, etc. This requires calculated choices in what you are connected to in the public and online sphere.
You will not always be in a position in the beginning of establishing yourself when you have the luxury of association versus disassociation. But thinking in these terms from the start will allow you to create a personal brand in the online and public sphere that is cohesive and intentional.
4) Talk to people who are doing what you want to be doing.
Set up some informational interviews with professionals who have gone in the same direction you would like to go in. Plenty of professionals will be happy to share their insight if they have some spare time to talk to you.
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, it’s a little bit different though. It’s better for you to talk to people in a different or somewhat related field- for insights on business law, investors, etc. Many entrepreneurs prefer not to share their secrets with aspiring professionals because they don’t want to be imitated. If you have aspirations to start the same kind of company, it is highly likely they won’t want to talk to you. So, you need to be clear about your intentions and let them know. And please- don’t be that person who is the source of the comment, “Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.”
Nonetheless, surround yourself with people who are better than you in your friend group, as well. You are the sum of your five closest friends.
5) Align your personal brand with where there is already a need.
Finally, while it’s important to follow your passions, it’s also important to be practical and look where there are currently an abundance of job opportunities.
Of course, there are special cases- you were born to be an athlete or actor. This is what you’ve been working towards your whole life- that’s you, it’s your craft. But for the average person, it’s less feasible and they have not been working on this pursuit for years.
But currently, we are in a competitive job market where it is important to be practical in the direction you choose. Sometimes you need to take one pathway temporarily before starting a business or following your “calling” in order to pay the bills.
Many entrepreneurs struggle when they establish businesses providing a product or service that most many don’t need or are uninterested in paying for.
So, it’s important to cater your personal brand where there is already a need. If you’re not catering to a need or widespread interest than it will be harder for you to find a job or create a company where you are providing a product or service.
I hope these insights were helpful to you! Keep posted for more posts on personal branding, and let me know if you have any questions in the comments. xoxo