Who are you? What do you stand for? What are your hobbies,
passions, or interests? What are you good at?

These kinds of questions can help you determine how to shape
a personal brand of your very own. Below, I’d like to talk about why it’s
important to develop your own public image – also known as personal branding – to serve you in whatever path of life you
choose.

Start With Your “Why”

It sounds a little cliché, but the truth is that when you
develop your personal brand you need to establish a foundation of why you’re putting effort into branding
yourself.

I’ve been working on mine for a long time, and I’ve made a
solid attempt at making sure it encompasses my personal identity and everything
that I’m both passionate and good at.

When you ask yourself why you’re creating your own personal
brand, here are some benefits that you may not be aware of:

  • A personal brand can showcase your personality,
    specific skills or talents that you have, and/or even serve as a working resume
    for a dynamic career path.
  • You can sell goods or services as a sole
    proprietorship in your state and write off your expenses every quarter that you
    normally wouldn’t be able to if you just had a job (cha-ching! Tax refunds!).
  • You can more easily create a community of loyal
    fans than if you ran a normal business because you will be able to engage with
    everyone on a personal level.
  • You can build a personal brand completely online
    and build your reputation one person at a time – this will eventually become an
    exponential growth, and your content will eventually go viral in its own way.

Develop Your Brand

Once you’ve figured out your “why”, it’s time to get to work
build your brand.

Just like any business, your brand expresses your
individuality and uniqueness in a competitive, noisy world. However, you have a
major advantage over big businesses
in one special way:

There’s only one YOU.

Now, that fact alone is very powerful in that no one else
can copy your exact style. In fact, this has led to “social media influencer” becoming
a job title for many; they are sponsored by major companies so they can get
micro-grassroots movement among that influencer’s personal brand.

Just go to YouTube and look for YouTubers who have millions
of views. They probably run ads in the beginning of their videos, give
shout-outs to specific brands during their video, and wear some kind of branded
“swag” from the company sponsoring them.

This is the power of developing your brand and using it to
your advantage. Let’s take a look at some clear, actionable steps you can take
to actually build your brand.

Express Your Style

When you think of a “brand”, what comes to mind? Colors?
Shapes? Stereotypes of people?

Let’s take McDonald’s, for example. Many in the U.S.
associate McDonald’s with overweight, obese individuals who live in poverty, or
perhaps highway travelers grabbing a quick bite to eat. Its yellow arches, always
associated with its specific shade of red.

The franchise has completely modernized its brand in the last
decade by rebuilding hundreds of its restaurants across the country. Their logo
was redesigned into a minimalist design, their restaurants fitted with computer
ordering systems to cut down on staff costs, and their online ordering system
got a complete overhaul.

No matter how much McDonald’s tries to reinvent its branding,
however, it will always be associated with whatever the public perceives it to
be and who it attracts.

Your brand,
however, can be completely different. Let’s say you choose three colors to
represent who you are: black, purple, and red.

Your logo is designed with these three colors, your website
features black, purple, and red all over the place, and all of your swag
features these colors.

The difference between you and a big company is that you can
change this whenever you feel like it (hopefully strategically), and your
followers will still like you for who you are – not your branding. Still,
things like your colors and how your website is designed helps to define your
personal brand.

Build Your Presence

Once you’ve figured out what sort of “style” you have, it’s
time to actually build your online presence.

The first thing you’ll want to develop is your website. This
acts as your digital “base of operations” where fans can learn about YOU.

Websites should always consist of at least a Home page, an
About page, and a Contact page. From there you can build out the elements that
make up the content that will surround your personal brand – blog articles,
videos, photo galleries, podcast episodes, free resources for your visitors,
and maybe even an ecommerce store.

Once your website is built, you’ll want to begin the process
of content creation.

The process of creating content depends on what you’re
trying to push out to the world. If you want to be a YouTuber and provide
tutorials to your fans on a given topic, you’ll be able to upload those videos
directly to YouTube and then embed them directly on your website in a gallery
format.

Perhaps you’re a photographer and want to display your work,
or maybe you’re a musician and want to showcase your music to the world. You
might even be an artist and publish comics or digital designs that you’ve
created.

Whatever you’ve decided to be known for, your content is the
fuel that will power your personal brand and help you gain recognition on the World
Wide Web.

Be Bold

No matter what you decide to do with your personal brand,
you can use it to support whatever life or career path you choose to take.

My personal brand is focused on highlighting my skills and
back up my claim as an expert media producer and marketer. As the CMO for the
U.S. Veterans Family of Companies and a media freelancer, my personal brand
helps me network with new colleagues and other business professionals around
the world.

What does your personal brand do?