The idea that we can all start a personal brand is a game-changer in today's world.
Thirty years ago the ability to brand yourself however you please was not a thing someone could do ('personal branding' was coined in 1997).
Building a personal brand goes beyond just having social media profiles or a website.
It involves shaping and showcasing your unique identity, expertise, and value proposition to your desired audience.
Despite its potential, many people overlook the concept of personal branding or believe in misconceptions that prevent them from embracing it.
So, what really prevents people from starting a personal brand?
Lack of Awareness
One of the main reasons why personal branding is overlooked is simply a lack of awareness about what it entails or the benefits it can provide.
Personal branding can be a powerful tool for career growth, networking opportunities, and professional visibility.
By establishing and promoting your personal brand, you can differentiate yourself from others in your field, attract new career opportunities, and increase your industry influence.
Fear of Self-Promotion
Another barrier that holds people back when it comes to personal branding is the fear of self-promotion.
Some people worry about coming across as self-centered or boastful when trying to build and promote their personal brand.
But, personal branding is not about arrogance, excessive self-promotion or narcissism.
It's about showcasing your skills, experiences, and expertise to improve your credibility and attract opportunities.
To overcome this fear, consider your favourite personal brands that manage to strike a balance between self-promotion and authenticity.
They share their knowledge and accomplishments in a genuine and helpful manner, resonating with their core target audience.
To promote yourself effectively without appearing arrogant, consider the following:
- Share valuable content to provide value to your audience.
- Highlight your expertise by offering insights, tips, or educational resources.
- Collaborate with others to showcase your expertise and broaden your reach.
Fear of Vulnerability
Another barrier preventing people from starting a personal brand is the fear of being open and vulnerable in public.
Many people hesitate to share their personal journey - whether struggles, failures or fears.
However, vulnerability can actually enhance your personal brand significantly.
By sharing your authentic self and being transparent about your journey, you connect with others on a far deeper level - the ultimate trust builder.
Consider your favourite personal brands again - they have all embraced vulnerability and reaped the benefits.
They share personal stories about challenges they faced, lessons they learned, and how they persevered.
Their vulnerability not only strengthens their personal brand but it also inspires and resonates with their audience.
Misconceptions about Personal Branding
Some of the common misconceptions about personal branding that prevent people from taking it seriously are:
- Personal branding is only relevant for creative professionals or entrepreneurs.
- Personal brands are limited to specific industries or professions.
- Personal branding is a one-time effort and doesn't require ongoing maintenance.
- Personal branding is only about your online presence and doesn't impact your offline reputation.
- Personal branding requires a large following.
Of course, none of these thoughts are true and to counter these misconceptions, it's essential to understand the benefits of personal branding and the opportunities it can create.
Personal branding allows you to define and curate your professional reputation, positioning yourself as an authority and thought leader in any industry.
Overcoming Barriers To Getting Started
So how can we overcome the resistance to taking personal branding seriously?
Here are some practical steps to get started:
- Define your personal brand: What are your strengths, values, and passions? Identify what sets you apart from others in your field.
- Craft your professional narrative: Develop a compelling story that showcases your journey, experiences, and perspective. Highlight your accomplishments and the value you bring to followers, businesses or clients.
- Establish an online presence: Build a personal website or create social media profiles that reflect your brand identity. Share valuable content and engage with others in your field.
- Network strategically: Attend events, join groups or clubs, or connect with others in online spaces. Strive to build genuine relationships and offer support to others.
- Seek opportunities for growth and development: Continue to enhance your skills and knowledge. Stay up-to-date with trends and insights.
- Promote your brand authentically: Share your expertise, insights, and accomplishments through blogs, articles, videos, podcasts etc. Focus on providing value to your audience and showcasing your unique perspective.
By removing our misconceptions and overcoming barriers, personal branding can become a powerful tool for our personal and career growth.
It allows you to differentiate yourself in a crowded marketplace, attract meaningful opportunities, and establish yourself as your own niche.
So, why not embrace the power that personal branding offers today?
Start from zero, show your true colours and find your tribe.