As we've mentioned before, here at Prim'd Marketing we believe it takes a village to produce awesome content week after week. Which is why we love bringing in our fabulous brand-friends to write on topics relevant to our readers. This week's post comes one of our Prim'd Partners, Grace Kraaijvanger, founder of The Hivery (for more of her rad credentials, check out her byline the bottom of this post).
Everyone has a story. And each of us has reason to share it. Whether you’re a business owner, a freelancer, you’re thinking about going back to work, or you have a presence online (that’s everyone, really), personal branding is the way in which you tell your story. It creates an emotional connection to who you are, what your past experience has taught you, and where you would like to go.
What is Personal Branding?
Personal branding is about moving away from a one-dimensional resume or list of offerings, and moving towards a portrayal of the real you. Not only is the real you more attractive and engaging for your audience as we all have a keen radar for authenticity, but putting your real self out there in your personal brand, enables you to get very clear on what you want to contribute and do in this big (but, little) world.
Personal branding applies to everyone, but pay close attention to your personal brand if you’re pursuing things like:
- Re-thinking your resume or considering a career change
- Considering going back to work
- Kick-starting your independent consulting practice
- Cultivating a passion project
- Creating clarity around what you offer (i.e. figuring out what you do)
Why bother? Branding, schmanding.
In order to cultivate work and relationships that align with who you are and what you really want to do, you not only have to be yourself, but you also have to be your self’s best advocate. This might be the hardest part of the job. Your personal brand needs to shine the spotlight on what you love to do, so you can attract the work you want.
A personal branding approach has three parts:
1. What You Do.
2. Who It’s For.
3. How You Communicate It.
For today, let’s focus solely on What You Do. Part two of this blog series will include who it’s for and how you communicate it.
The first step in creating your personal brand is an honest and thorough inventory of everything you know, contribute, and bring with you. This is your chance to show how diverse, rich, and whole your experiences have been.
FOR AN INDEPTH EXERCISE, LET's DEFINE WHAT YOU DO
STEP ONE: Take Inventory
Get comfy and set your timer for 20 minutes. Start with a BIG, blank sheet of paper. Divide your paper into four sections: Skills, Behaviors, Knowledge, and LOVE (or download The Hivery’s Personal Brand of You Worksheet here).
Write down every skill, experience, talent, know-how, tidbit, etc. in one of the four quadrants.
Make this list long, broad, and even funny. Poke in every corner of your life, personality, and experience…this part isn’t just about your work-life, this is about your REAL life. Turn over every rock here.
- What are the things you do in your friendships, relationships or marriage?
- Are you the process and schedule maestro in your relationship?
- Did you manage the budget and timelines for your kitchen remodel?
- Are you a mega multi-tasker?
- Do you turn the kids’ soccer carpool into a streamlined process, complete with contingency plans?
- What are you known for? Write down at least three things your friends or colleagues say about you. Slot them into the appropriate quadrant.
Step Two: Visualize the Future Product of you
Set the timer for 4 minutes. Close your eyes and visualize yourself five years from now. On a blank piece of paper, write down what you saw:
- What are you doing?
- Where are you?
- Who are you interacting with? Be very detailed here.
- What are you wearing? What is the energy like? What does it sound like?
- Write 20 descriptive words about the product of YOU in five years.
STEP THREE: HONE IN FOR CLARITY
Sometimes the problem is that you’re just too talented. You know how to do a lot of things. But, many of those things make you cringe…you can’t stand doing them, you’re uninspired by them, or they suck your energy and time from you. Stop serving them on the menu of what you offer. Offer the pieces that are at the core of who you really are and who you really want to be.
- Go back to your quadrant-list of everything that you do. Circle the words that are at the core of what you want to offer the world
- Cross out the things you hate doing.
- Circle the words from your five-year visualization that light you up. Those words are the focus of what you offer in your personal brand.
STEP Four: CReate your personal brand statement
Create 2-4 sentences using the words you circled to begin building your personal brand statement. This is a 2-4 sentence summary of the total product of You. Use words that describe your personality…don’t be afraid to be effusive. Be yourself.
- Check your personal brand statement for actions, personality, and texture.
- Do your authenticity check. Is this really you?
This should feel like "the total you," not just the one dimensional you!
When I first worked on a personal brand statement, I wrote three sentences about my experience in b-to-b marketing and that I was founding a new organization. Yawn….I wanted to fall asleep reading it. But, then I layered in the real me. Here’s a peek:
I’m Grace Kraaijvanger, and I created The Hivery (a women’s co-working and collaboration lab) because I’m passionate about bringing women together in a creative space to cultivate what’s next for them.
I am a strategic, artistic thinker and I’m dependable at getting things that I’m passionate about done with style and grace. I love to write. I am a combination of a creative artist, (as a former professional dancer), with a practical, efficient mind. I’m great at launching things, generating ideas, producing, creating, instigating. I have a lot of marketing experience but can also tackle the other facets of running a business (operations, hiring, product development, sourcing, etc). I’m at my best when surrounded by high-energy, creative, passionate people with a sense of humor and conviction around creating work that aligns with their true self.
Can you see the real “me” coming through? People are very intrigued by real people…not so much by bullet points of our last job. So put aside your old ideas of a resume, and re-frame personal branding as an exercise in being your true self. It’s a self-exploration and expression of the gloriously unique product of You. Enjoy!
This content is an excerpt from The Hivery’s Personal Branding Workshop, “The Product of You” taught by Grace Kraaijvanger, founder of the women's co-worksing space The Hivery. To learn more about developing your personal brand, join Grace by reserving your spot here.
Grace Kraaijvanger is the Founder of The Hivery, a collaborative women's work lab, centered around helping women to explore, identify, and create what's next for them. The Hivery is a women's co-working space, community, and knowledge resource. Grace created The Hivery to incorporate her business, creative, marketing and training expertise in a way that gathers, empowers, and supports women. Learn more about Grace's commitment to women cultivating what's next at www.TheHivery.com.
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