This is something I wrote for my mailing list. If you dig it, sign up here to get emails like these auto-magically every Sunday.
How Dare You (A lesson on defining your personal brand)
What I’ve found over the last few years is that people aren’t just looking for interchangeable products or services. They’re looking to find someone with a specific attitude, style and point of view. That’s who they give their money to. That’s also why there can be 233 million results in google for web designer and why there are over 1.4 million books about business.
There’s room, regardless of how crowded or sparse a market is, for you and your perspective. And not just for you to say the same things in the same way—but for you to give your opinion, in your own style, on a topic.
As makers, we express who we are through what we make. That is, if we’re being honest about ourselves and what we stand for. That’s why websites I design for clients are minimal and focused—because I believe strongly in those ideas. That’s why my books and courses are no-BS and slightly silly—because that’s exactly who I am.
And in turn, people pay for my design services or buy my products because I shine through in them. They consider what I make a non-interchangeable piece of a puzzle that they need to finish (probably a corner piece).
I used to think there’d be no bleed between products if the topic was different. My first book was a vegan cookbook and my second was an online business book. I figured exactly zero people would buy both. What I found though is that most people bought both. Why? Because they were interested more in my perspective than the specific topics. And because I let my own voice and personality shine in the spotlight for what I make and how I teach, the people who are interested take notice.
This is why I’m teaching a workshop with Jason Zook about using your unique perspective to build your business. Because that’s exactly what we’ve done. And while there isn’t a boilerplate formula to achieve success with it, we’ve both learned a lot about doing it well and in a way that works for us. Building a unique and personal brand is the most rewarding and the most important part of our businesses.
Your opinion, personality, style and voice is what makes up your brand. But in order to do this right, you’ve got to do a bit of introspection. In order to do it in a meaningful way, you’ve got to know who you are, what you stand for and who you serve.
Your brand isn’t a tactic to sell shit at other people. It’s a guiding set of principles that define what you make and how you present what you’ve made to others.
This is how you intentionally build an audience (and shoo away everyone who’s not part of it). You want to build a group of folks who not only dig what you do, but support it.
Regardless of your skillset or the audience you serve, 99% of what you do is the same as the competition. The remaining 1% is unique to you. That’s your personal brand.
That last 1% is how you stand out, differentiate, build a tribe, become known.
That 1% is the most difficult and most scary part to work on. Because it’s you, the real, honest, vulnerable you. Yet, this is how you stand out in a crowded world.
If you dare.
PS: If you’re interested in our How Dare You workshop, tickets are only on sale for four more days and the price goes up a dollar with every purchase.