Want to have the best reputation on and off the web? Wondering how to turn your presence from “Who are you?” into “Thank you for being here.” Personal branding is your answer! Now with only one question left to answer, how to get there? This article is your answer, much easier said than done and this being a mystical task, our technological age has made it the easiest it has ever been. The theological definition of “personal” states, existing as a self-aware entity. So get to soul searching before you make leaps to be known on the web. Digging deep is a task for anyone so then you have to ask, why? Why is creating a personal brand important? Aaron Orendorff Editor in Chief of Spotify Plus tells Forbes “personal branding is the story people tell when you’re not in the room.” When talking about importance it is vital to be aware of what will happen if you don’t. There is the obvious, blending in to point of no recognition. And shockingly, overselling yourself. It happens more than you think and mostly at the beginning of branding. Applying to multiple areas looks good on paper but unless those papers are degrees in all the areas you claim to have expertise in, your first deal may be one that you oversold and you will have to step away. That is unprofessional and in the business world, word spreads. Balancing your authentic personal brand and trying to appeal to businesses is cutthroat and you can find yourself feeling like an item and less like a person when your brand isn’t clear and genuine. If your personal brand visions, goals, and passions are as deep as your life is long, losing yourself in a business will be the least of your worries. 

Soul searching should be hard, that is equally reassuring as it is scary. But it is like a wave, once you catch it, it will be hard to get off. The hardest part is knowing where to start, and living in a world that is full of people, starting with those closest to us is the easiest way. Asking a family member or close friend to describe you in three words can give you direction even if you don’t like what they say. Then asking those that are not as close to you and see if you like one more than the other. Next focusing on what it is you have done around that person that has allowed them to think that. And if it matches with values and passions you have, even better, if not now you have direction. The outside world is a mirror to your inside world, when you’re out there keep track of what catches your eye, and demands your attention. The best part about personal branding is that it never has to stop once you gain direction. Your direction should lead you towards your goals, values, and passions. The stars start to align when you know what you want. Albert Einstein once said “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” 

With the idea of soul searching in your mind now is the time to apply it, put it into the universe. The good news is that you can finally use those notebooks/journals we all have stacked up throughout the school years or holidays. Write down what your personal brand will look like, whether this is an actual brand emblem or goals you want your brand to accomplish. Your personal brand is your new top priority and should be treated like one. Write it down along with the values your brand will have, values that will separate you from your fellow influencers. While your values and passions help your followers learn more about you, the aesthetic of your page or editing style makes a world of difference, so don’t be scared to watch that video editing tutorial you once saw. And if you haven’t seen one, I have attached one for you, who knows it might trigger your creativity and help you create something no one has ever seen.

You set your own boundaries. This journal/notebook is your everyday reminder of what YOU originally wanted. Because the public can be very influential and tempting but there is no one like you and being reminded of that daily will be a tool that will only gain importance as time goes on. Knowing what your brand looks like is no easy task, this article will help give you direction in your vision and how to obtain it. 

The next step to take will sound easy but will be the number one thing that will hold you back, and that is discipline. Saying no to all the things that don’t fit into those values you wrote down in your journal. Personal Branding is a full-time job so staying on track to achieve your goals will mean saying no to those actions that drain your energy, all day and every day. You want to change your daily routine, because the one you are in right now is different from what you wrote down, so time to do different things and say no to the old ways. 

Finally, find your passions! You might be thinking values and passions are the same thing, you went over this already. But that is where most are mistaken, good ol’ webster defines a passion as something that is almost uncontrollable, something that demands your attention. Your values are things you decide are important, and passions you can’t ignore. The best thing about a passion is that if you don’t have one now, that means a lot of new things are in your future. Go to that guitar lesson you’ve always wanted to, pick up that paintbrush, or simply listen to that podcast that you have saved but never went back to. Your passion could be found anywhere and that is very exciting if you want it to be. Then guess what, write it down and remind yourself of the thing that once demanded your heart’s attention. 

As lonely as personal branding sounds, networking will get you very far. Once your passions are realized on any scale you can look for those around you who share those same passions or something similar. Follow them, look for patterns they may have to then find ways to stand out. Then reach out, (if they are in a city near you) and go to those events together. You might make some new amazing friends and have a bomb post to add with people your followers haven’t seen before. Talk about two birds with one stone, this online age definitely likes staying inside and we all know making new friends is hard but this fellow influencer, no matter how big, shares your interest and has followers that don’t already follow you. Going to local events that cater to your passions and goals is the greatest tool to growing your personal brand and creating content, and sense content is what we all need, saying no to an event simply because your tired just won’t cut it. You remember me saying this is your new full-time job, and we don’t always want to go to work but go anyway and it ends up not being that bad. If a collaboration doesn’t interest you right away, going to local events away from the screen gives you an edge when compared to other influencers that don’t live in your city. There is always something going on in each corner of the world and your personal brand perspective in your corner of the world is the biggest edge you could have, that matched with a genuine and distinct personality, you can become an unstoppable force that demands attention.

Now that you know what to do, here is what NOT to do. Surprising yet not surprising at all, don’t do the things you always see when you get on social media. Posting with private jets, expensive cars, or loud videos of some beach somewhere. We have all seen enough, and doing something that has been overdone will always push you to the back of a room. That lane is full and has been for the past for years, social media has been around longer than we think, and that is just because we have grown up in it, it feels normal at this point. But normal doesn’t pay or demand the attention of potential followers, genuine passions, and the heart does. Another do not is buying fake followers, and yes that is a thing. Or paying those accounts with thousands of followers to post one thing of yours. It may sound like a top-notch idea or an innocent one, because it’s publicity, right? Wrong, it isn’t genuine and your passion isn’t publicity, at least it shouldn’t be. Finally, don’t let small things get to your head, celebrate accomplishments of all sizes but not all need to be shared. Your followers who have been there since day one will notice and the authenticity that you once had will be gone faster than you can google how to get it back. You have probably seen smaller “influencers” make courses or post about having all the right moves to make money as a freelancer with a following only slightly bigger than yours. Claiming to have the answers and want money for it is for universities, not small-time accounts that once stood for saving animals.

These steps sound easy, but that is where most fail, our individuality is the best thing we have but finding it is no task for the faint of heart. If the challenge is accepted you are already a move ahead from those that are just copying those already successful influencers.