Let’s play a game. When I say branding, you write down the first three things that come to mind. Ready? Set. Go.
Did you think of things like logo, colors, and fonts? Maybe pictures? If so, you’re in good company; that’s what most solopreneurs think of when it comes to branding.
And you aren’t wrong. That is PART of your branding, but it isn’t everything.
When you focus on just the visual aspect of your brand, chances are the whole brand misses the mark. Ouch!
Don’t worry, almost every online business owner makes the same mistake when they’re starting out. So much focus is put on getting a brand when you’re starting a business that it can feel like a checklist of decisions to be made.
- Decide on a business name
- Choose 5 to 7 brand colors
- Pick 3 brand fonts
- Design a main logo
- Make a submark
- Buy a domain with your business name
- Reserve all social media channels
But what if just going down the checklist like your daily to do list is causing you to miss the whole point?
Most new solopreneurs struggle with deciding on their branding because they don’t understand how all of these pieces are tied together. It’s kind of like buying clothing one item at a time instead of thinking through how those items will fit together as outfits. You end up with shirts you never wear because nothing matches!
If you want an impactful brand that captures your audience’s attention so you can really makes a difference in their lives, then you don’t have time to waste making the same mistakes as everyone else else.
Start with Who You Are
Have you ever put on clothes that just didn’t feel like you at all?
I’m a t-shirt and jeans girl all the way. Though if I am honest, jeans are dressing up nowadays thanks to the invention of black leggings.
But for my 14th birthday, my entrepreneur grandfather decided I needed a nice skirt suit for job and college interviews. (Once again… I was 14… goodbye childhood, here’s a skirt suit to start high school with?)
I guess it was a nice sentiment, but every time I put on that army green skirt suit and rose silk cardigan, I just did not feel like myself. The suit didn’t make me feel professional; it made me feel awkward.
When you’re building a personal brand for your business, you are your brand, and your brand is you. That might seem like a “duh, Dara” moment, but it’s a major point that most people miss.
Creating your brand has to start with who you are.
It’s been said that values are like a compass that directs your life. The same is true of your brand values. Figure out who you are and what’s important to you as a brand, and the rest of the decisions will just fall into place.
Build Trust By Being Yourself
That 14 year old girl dressed up in an army green skirt suit was a projection of the person I could become one day (but probably would never become). But when a potential boss or college sat down to talk to me, they would quickly realize it’s not who I currently was.
Don’t let the same thing happen to you with your ideal clients!
If you build a brand with a bold vibe, but show up to discovery calls with a casual, peaceful personality, your ideal clients will know something is off. And it will cause red flags about your trust factor and lead to them running to your competition.
You don’t have to become someone else to be successful. You just have to step fully into who you are meant to be.
Your personality and demeanor, your values and voice – all of the things that make you YOU are what attract the RIGHT people to you and rebel the WRONG people.
Yes, I said rebel. Because if your brand isn’t repelling people, it isn’t an impactful brand.
The truth is not everyone will like you or what you have to say. Not everyone will be attracted to you. And not everyone will want to work with you.
And all of those are good things!
Create a brand around who you are at your very core, and it will build your trust factor and attract the right clients.
The Mirror Lies
Do you know when you look at yourself in the mirror, you’re seeing an altered version of your true self? Yup, it’s not just true of those weird funhouse mirrors.
If you stood up right now to look at yourself in your regular, every day mirror, you wouldn’t be seeing your true self. You’d be seeing your reflection, your real self in reverse.
It might seem like no big deal, but it’s the reason why you don’t always like what you see when you see a picture of yourself!
When you look at yourself in a mirror more than anywhere else, that version of yourself becomes your engrained reality. Scientists call it “mere-exposure” effect. So even when you see a true picture of yourself, you reject it as not looking like you!
When it comes to your brand, it is so hard to take an accurate look at ourselves because we’re so close to what makes us who we are. You don’t see how you’re special or what sets you apart.
That’s why getting an outside opinion to brand strategy during a Brand Boost is so life changing for my clients. It’s an opportunity for you to share about where your business is and where you want to be, and get a clear direction on how to get there.
Your branding is so much more than a few fonts and colors. It shows the world the essence of who you are and what you value. With so much on the line, you’ve got to make sure that you get it right!