by Neena Nandagopal | Featured Contributor
A personal brand can set you free by allowing your creativity to soar. But it can also chain you down.
Be true to yourself and people will follow.
Bloggers and entrepreneurs often start out online tentatively.
You set up a blog, some social media profiles, and start writing – sometimes with focus, and sometimes randomly.
An audience begins to grow – and then doubt creeps in. “What if my writing is not what my audience wants?”
You get stuck.
The fear of not giving people what they want paralyzes you from doing anything at all.
Instead of helping you to create the life that you love, your personal brand begins to weigh you down.
It’s time to get out of the rut and let the world see who you really are.
Understand Who You Really Are
The first step to getting unstuck is to take a step back and understand who you really are.
What is it that you really want to do with your business? Who do you want to help and how will you do it?
Make sure that your answers are based on your true feelings and your strengths.
What do you love to do?
Don’t be afraid to be original. After all, this is your business and you need to set yourself apart from other people in your field. People want to work with you because you are different from the rest, it is what makes you unique.
Personally, I have found myself in this spot too many times. Instead of embracing what I have to offer, I compared myself to everyone else.
I kept looking for the “secrets” that all the other successful entrepreneurs must have.
The answer, of course, was right under my nose.
These people were successful because they were doing what they loved to do. Instead of wasting time comparing themselves to everyone else – they were working to spread their personal brand and share their knowledge.
Here are some other personal branding mistakes that entrepreneurs often make.
Don’t Be Afraid to Evolve
Sometimes we start out on one track and move to another.
Small business owners tend to think everything has to be black and white. Yet when we look at the bigger brands around us, we see evolution everywhere.
Rachael Ray started out with cooking. Now she sells cookware and has a non profit organization too.
Kathy Ireland started out as a model and turned entrepreneur. Her personal brand changed.
Many celebrities and sports stars now have beauty and clothing lines.
Dunkin’ Donuts® now sells sandwiches and oatmeal.
Evolution is a part of life. You can work it into your existing brand without having to reinvent the wheel.
Having found your direction, it is time to let people know. You have to get out there and grow your personal brand.
There is a certain confidence that comes from owning your mission. When you have decided that “This is who I am, this is what I am doing.” – tell everyone you know.
Send emails to your current and past client or to your subscriber list.
Pick a few social media channels that make sense for what it is you do and work them hard.
You don’t want to market on the wrong channels because that can lead to paralysis.
Be where your clients hang out. If your audience is businesses – this might be LinkedIn, if you market to consumers – this could be Facebook or Pinterest.
Sometimes it is a bit of trial and error, but you will soon see a pattern of what sources sends you the most traffic and clients.
Focus on these.
No matter where you hang out online – the most important thing is to add value. Thin content isn’t going to fly.
The more helpful you are, the bigger your following will be.
Communicate Authentically and Consistently
Finally, posting consistently on your blog and social media channels will serve two purposes.
First, your audience will get to know you and keep coming back for more.
But most importantly, you will start to gain confidence in your own voice and become more and more comfortable with your own personal brand.
Consistency is truly the key to success.
Be True To Yourself
Your personal brand is a reflection of your true personality. Let your authenticity shine through and represent who you really are – not who you think you should be.
People will appreciate you for it.
She is passionate about giving creative and talented women concrete guidance on how to establish an online business that is in line with their lives.
Her services include everything from blog coaching packages to creating individualized policy and procedure manuals and business processes.
Neena believes that working more efficiently is the key to business success. However, her philosophy is that time management is outdated. Instead, she works with her clients to manage their focus and attention, because that is what brings maximum results – both online and offline.
When she is not working, Neena enjoys spending time with her husband, four teenage children, and her little shih-tzu.