Episode 9: Can You Define Your Brand?
A hot topic in business and entrepreneurship is personal branding. To me personal branding is first knowing who you are and for what you stand. Once you understand this for yourself, people or circumstances won’t be able to define it for you. It took me a few years to understand who I am as a business woman, and even longer to always stand behind that brand regardless of the circumstances. I’ve never won trying to be someone I’m not. That being said, I’m not above feedback, growth, and evolving. All of those things have a place in my professional development. Still, at my core when I remain honest with myself, I know who I am and for what I stand. As a leader, I am a passionate, direct, competitive, energetic mover and shaker. I like being on top, out front, having fun and laughing loudly. I get the job done. People can count on me to deliver.
There have been times I have allowed people and situations (MISTAKES) to convince me I don’t know myself. One of these situations is entering a new career like freelance writing. Part of this platform is to help me find my voice as a writer and shape this platform as I stake my place as a thought leader. But a thought leader on what? That’s the thing. So as I find my voice as a writer, I’m going to use the same process I used to understand my brand as a business professional.
1. Ask myself some questions.
- What kind of work gets me out of bed in the morning?
- What topics am I passionate about?
- What have been my proudest accomplishments?
- What do I want to be know for?
- What type of mentorship do I need in this space to thrive?
- What can I read to help me close knowledge gaps? (My favorite question)
2. Go for what you know.
I am confident I can write about anything that interests me. However, while applying for writing jobs, I need to establish myself as an authority figure with something to offer. (At least I think so). Things I will argue you under the table about include: football, amazing things to read, business, and leadership. I always have a well formed opinion on those topics. So I’m going to focus more energy writing on these topics. I am also going to pitch to the publications in these industries. Taking this approach will certainly help me build my confidence. I have not experienced true writer’s block (knock on wood). Should I ever experience it, thinking about different angles on topics that I feel most comfortable will help me get over the hump.
3. Seek support
In business, the support is on going and from many sources. Friends, colleagues, leaders, and people I lead all have some perspective that help me become better and sharpen as a professional. Next to continue working on my voice and brand, I need to start actively seeking out people who are doing well in this space. So far I have been going at this alone. Sure, I get support from family and friends because they read my work and give me feedback. Still I need support from a community of writers. Iron sharpens iron. I need to be sharpened as a writer.
4. Keep doing the work
In this case, keep writing. On this blog, I’ve been pretty consistent at delivering 2 posts per week. I’ve written double that as somethings just haven’t made the cut. I don’t have a daily writing habit. I could say its because I am busy (i.e. work, school, life, etc). The truth is I don’t have a daily writing habit because I haven’t planned a daily writing habit. I write when I feel like it. I need to force it a bit more and become more disciplined about writing. This is the only way I’m going to produce more work and better work. I have tons of books on writing exercises. I’ve been putting them to use and I need to do it even more.
Overall my approach to entering the market of freelance writing is my approach as a business professional. I have to jump right in and just learn as I go. How about you? Do you know your brand as a professional? Could you articulate it with confidence in an interview or when asked? If not, let me know if some of my questions help.