There is no shortage of great businesses built on great ideas that were doomed to obscurity for lack of attention and awareness. The notion of building yourself up or even bragging about your accomplishments is unnatural or uncomfortable for most people, but in becoming an entrepreneur you have to step outside your comfort zone and put yourself front and center if you hope to succeed.
On that point, I offered Simon Moser the chance to provide tips and advice he’d garnered from speaking to female entrepreneurs about how to build and cultivate a personal and professional brand that will help them succeed in the coming year and beyond.
Simon explained that as an entrepreneur, your brand is not just the product or service that you are selling to the world but yourself as well. Take Oprah Winfrey or the Kardashians: their brands are not just their products but their personal image. In fact, your personal brand can be the thing that fuels all your other ventures and makes them successful.
This, however, does not happen overnight and you need to take deliberate steps to develop your personal brand in 2021 and beyond.
Know your audience
When we think of certain public figures we immediately think ‘fashionista’ or ‘athlete’ or ‘serious artist’. When thinking about personal branding strategies, one of the most important questions is always how you want your audience to think of you when they hear your name. And to answer this question, before anything else, you need to know your ideal audience.
Having in-depth knowledge about your ideal audience is key to formulating your brand mission statement, and for developing other crucial brand material, such as your website and social media profiles.
Tell a story
Many people ask themselves how the Kardashians become so successful. It’s actually pretty simple: they are masters at telling a story — their story. Millions of people around the globe have been following the Kardashians to keep up to date with their latest ventures, media appearances, and even everyday lives.
Sandra Bledsoe, a successful entrepreneur in the beauty industry and founder of Revenge MD, advises that every entrepreneur should work on his or her story. “A personal touch is vital to building a strong personal brand. Of course, not everyone has to do it like the Kardashians. For example, I started my company, Revenge MD, to inspire women and men alike to change and improve their self-esteem,” she says.
“The story we tell is that looking your best is the ultimate revenge. By connecting our services to an emotion, we reach people on the inside and manage to build strong and long-lasting relationships with our clients.” At Revenge MD, Sandra has become a leader in her industry by providing her clients with the lasting care they expect from their medical team and by convincing through a powerful personal brand.
Curate your image
Because we live in such an image-focused, social media-driven world, your personal branding also includes the images of yourself that you release to the public. A person’s image is made up of many things, like the details you display on your social media profiles, your past work and professional and personal interests, and how you interact with other people on social media and in person.
After starting as a developer, Stéphanie Clément is now the CTO and a co-founder at Atayen with Gauthier Bros. This company, which historically develops applications for Facebook pages, recently surpassed all expectations with a $7.1M USD fundraising for their SaTT (Smart advertising Transaction Token) project. Stéphanie has unique insight on developing an image as a woman in a male-dominated field.
“Currently, most CTO positions are occupied by men. Since women are not usually associated with highly technical jobs, it was essential for me to work on my image and brand positioning. But having mastered these aspects and also proven myself as a highly skilled developer, I am now very proud to have reached this position and recommend other women to do the same,” explains Stéphanie.
Many people talk about their achievements, skills, and beliefs on social media. However, while showing potential customers and partners that you have knowledge and experience in a certain field is definitely useful, you won’t really achieve the best results without coming across as a genuine believer in what you do.
Eloisa Marchesoni, a top growth hacker, says that being authentic is the number one thing that every entrepreneur should focus on if he or she wants to succeed. “I believe that the most effective way of branding is to focus on who we really are, what we offer and what are the strengths that make us naturally unique,” she says. According to Eloisa, there are four strategic steps that can drastically increase the perceived value of a personal brand, however, without authenticity none of these will have any serious effects.
- Make sure that people can find you easily online.
- Target the right audience,
- Generate expectations and explain solutions to problems that they are solving
- Aim to become an authentic opinion leader.
Choose your ventures
As you take care to curate your personal brand, make sure that all your business decisions align with your public values. Don’t invest in businesses that might contradict your public image and thus also affect your authenticity; find investments that align with both your image and values.
Your choice of ventures also speaks to your customers about your values and is more important than ever. Tampa Bay Wave alumnus and co-founder of Wherewithal, Ellery Linder, says:
“This past year was unexpected to say the least, and showed that we’re all looking for a sense of belonging. We recognized this desire to connect with others, and as a brand our focus is cultivating deep, meaningful relationships with our customers,” she says. “Nothing is more important than supporting our Wherewithal community. We believe now, more than ever, the best way to provide value is to give your customers the wherewithal to be heard and understood so you can genuinely address their needs. And as a founder, don’t forget to lean on your own community. We are enormously grateful to our network, and partnering with organizations like the Tampa Bay WAVE was instrumental in achieving our goals.”
Thank you to Simon and to all the women who imparted their own wisdom and tips on how to grow a personal brand. As important as any other aspect of our businesses is how the world outside our walls sees us, as well as our ability to be seen at all. #onwards.