How I Built My Personal Brand
There came a very clear moment when I understood that building my personal brand was the key to unlocking new doors of opportunity for me, ones I may not even be able to understand yet. And I wanted to share the steps I took but first start by saying that there was a pre-step, let's call it step 0.
Step 0 was inner work. I decided to shed my fears about being "out there", let go of my hesitations and just jump. I knew that they jump would be worth the risk but it didn't diminish the fear. So, when I decided that this was the next step, I decided to go forward, full steam ahead!
I don't think there's a 'right' order for everyone. But, here is how I proceeded in building my personal brand.
1. Instagram- Here are some practical basic steps I took as I was getting started
a. Changed my Instagram to a business profile
b. Set up my Instagram bio to be clear and intentional about telling people what I did
c. Made sure I had relevant buttons where people could contact me easily
2. Logo Design- I know this seems preemptive. But, for some reason I knew that I needed to do this in order to move forward. Just call it listening to your intuition
a. Contracted with Clare Hyde Designs
Let me say this first. I didn't want to just hire my friend that dabbles in graphics. I wanted it done right and masterfully the first time. I knew that investing in doing things the best way the first time was the way to go instead of having to rebrand in a year when I had more money to do so. Quality was essential!
I had no idea what I wanted and knew I needed someone that could take my random ideas and my brand voice and transfer it into something. Clare mastered this. I put together a mood board and she came back with a proposal that stunned me because it represented me so well. I finally had a visual that represented who I was as a person (my personal brand) and could build around it.
a. From my logo and brand board, Clare built me a website. I created all my copy on my own and we built pages that (at the time) represented my services.
Here's what I want to say about that- my services have changed. I was doing more lifestyle and family photography and hadn't focused in specifically on branding and the brand services I offer clients yet. And here's the beauty of a personal brand. As I evolved my service suite, I just modified the pages and copy on my website. "I" hadn't changed. I didn't lose connections or have to start over or do something entirely new because I had already begin investing in building my personal brand and creating connection. So as I continue to evolve, I'm not changing my brand.
Next, I had my photos taken so I could make sure I had pictures on my website of myself that were current and would help people get to know me. At this point, I also knew that I wanted to start shifting some of my content to bring more of me into it and not just show the pictures of others that I took. (Thank you Sand and Stone Media for that special first session!)
5. Personal Development- tools to grow
I felt like I had all the foundational components and I needed more strategy and tools. I took different courses, attended webinars, masterclasses, downloaded pdfs, listened to podcasts or followed experts on things from Instagram strategy, writing content, ideal clients, marketing, email lists, launches, writing courses etc...
Here's what I want to say about this time:
#1 I learned a TON. I was trying out thing after thing. Some stuck, some didn't. This was a time of real growth for me where I was expanding and pushing boundaries and getting uncomfortable and stretching. It was exciting! But, I also felt a little like Dug the talking do in UP (SQUIRREL!). I was trying to piece things together and figure out the best plan but hadn't quite figured out how my personality played into the whole thing.
#2 Only now looking back can I see how this time taught me a lot about what I didn't want to become. I think about tactics that were used on me that suckered me in and just think- "Ewww. Never, do that Alexis!" Or I look at the pdfs, online courses, masterclasses etc... that I partook in and look at ways that were helpful( excellent speaker, clear presentation, non-salesy)and beneficial and things that weren't (like crappy slideshow presentations or people that just can't teach live). So all that investment of time and resources really helped ME grow in my profession and not just in the content that aided my growth but just the experience.
6. Hired a coach- Getting serious
After all my resourcing of information and strategy and approaches, I knew I needed to focus it in. I was tired of scrapping information and getting unpersonalized advice. I needed someone who would get their eyes on my business and think about who I was and offer advice about how to best proceed. I invested in two different coaches and got a lot of clarity and direction. They both helped me in different ways at different times and I felt validated in my efforts and had very clear frameworks to move forward with. This step really helped me feel like I reached another level because I was able to push aside what wasn't necessary anymore and focus on my services.
What this helped me do:
-get clear on my services
-own my strengths
-focus my efforts on what to invest time in
-learn how to market those specific strategies
-learn what I should be outsourcing and how I should best use my personal time
-know what the next step was for me to work on
-helped me streamline the backend of my business
That was my initial personal brand foundation. Since then, I'd say I'm in constant implementation/ evolution mode. I know a lot more about myself now, about personal branding and continue to grow as an entrepreneur and professional. I am continually investing in my growth and how to be the best service provider I can for my clients.
Like I said in the beginning, there isn't ONE right way or order to things. But, I hope learning about my personal brand foundation was helpful!