brandingThe concept of branding and particularly personal branding has changed in recent years. Social media has been a real game changer in that we all get to (if we choose!) have a public and recognized personal brand.

It’s a brilliant thing for the solo-preneur and small business owner. Why? It allows you to compete with everyone and anyone by being you.

What does this mean? What defines a personal brand? Really, it’s who you are and how you move in the world and how you do that differently from anyone else. It’s your unique viewpoint, your skills and talents, your way of relating to people, your passions and your interests.

It used to be a brand stood for an idea or a promise – and it still can. However, the definition has become a bit more fluid and it allows a whole range of possibilities that weren’t previously available.

A colleague and friend of mine who teaches copywriting to business owners shared a story with me. She was giving a talk to the Graphic Artists Guild in Seattle, WA in the States. She asked the audience for examples of how social media influenced their buying decisions. A woman told a story of looking for technical web professional to work with on various projects. She went to a good number of websites and looked at samples of work and read bios- all the typical things we do when we’re considering working with someone.

This woman found she was having difficulty being impressed by any one person. They all seemed to have the skills and talents she was looking for – where to begin, how to choose? Then she came across a website that in most respects was similar to all the ones she had visited previously – with one main difference.

The woman whose site she was reading talked about her love of Latin dance and how she was taking dance lessons and she wrote a few pieces about learning to dance, about what she learned about herself in the process. The stories were poignant and gave the visitor an insight into this woman’s personality. It made her real and three dimensional. Through her stories and sharing her passion – that had nothing in this instance to do with her profession – she became a real person, she stood out.

Be Your Brand

In essence, she shared her brand. She told her story, she showed who she was, she became real and as a result, she was chosen for the job.

We often have the tendency to not want to narrow down our brand, afraid we’ll alienate someone. What if they think I’m not a serious programmer because I talk about Flamenco dancing on my website? What if they think me trivial, or not focused? What if? What if? What if the audience who appreciates your passion and sense of humor and humanity beats a path to your door? What if it helps you attract the exact right and perfect clients for you? What if the people who are ‘turned off’ by your brand disappear and work with someone else? I say: PERFECT!

That’s exactly what you want in your life and in your business – the people who are the exact right fit. The people you’ll enjoy working with, who will appreciate you and your unique talents, skills and idiosyncrasies as expressed through your brand, which when boiled down to it, is your personality.

Be bold. Be who you are.

Make a statement and watch your business grow and your confidence soar and your bank balance won’t be far behind. I guarantee it.