March 28, 2020
For solopreneurs, the fear of letting the rest of the world into your personal life can feel daunting. “Showing up”, “being authentic” and “owning your brand” can seem like a tall ask. It’s something many of my clients have commented on during my time as a photographer.
How much of myself do I have to reveal?
Do I need to put boundaries in place between my personal brand and my personal life?
How can I get rid of the fear of embracing my identity within my personal brand?
Although it can feel intimidating to build a brand centered entirely around you, it truly is invaluable. It is your foolproof way of carving out your unique space in the market. There’s no escaping the fact that no service or product is 100% new. In fact, there are likely hundreds or thousands of people that run a similar business to you.
The difference? YOU. YOU and YOUR personal brand.
And while the aim of a personal brand is to show the human behind a business, the beauty is that we are entirely in control of its narrative. This means we have the opportunity to put in place the barriers between what stays in our personal life, and what makes its way into our brand. We get to create our own brand story.
There are several tools you can use to draw the line between your personal life and personal brand. For me, they help ease the pressure and allow me to feel more comfortable and connected to my personal brand, while allowing the space to unwind and be free in my personal life.
A useful way to separate your “home” and “brand” life is by enforcing dedicated time where you switch off entirely. So, whether this means not checking emails in the evening, or turning social media notifications off during family time, set some rules that allow for time totally away from your work.
This will remind you that not everything you do should be a part of your personal brand and that time away from your brand can be a wonderful source of respite.
Particularly when it comes to your social media, take a moment to reflect: “Is this relevant to my business and my brand?”
If the answer is YES – then absolutely, share share share. But, if you have an inkling of doubt, this could be a sign that your content is veering more into your personal life than you might be comfortable with. The aim is to hold back from automatic posting, and curate content that you are happy sharing to strengthen your personal brand.
This one is more of a mindset.
We’ve all heard the phrase YOU are your brand. And yes, it is your beautiful individuality that will make your brand shine. But… your brand does not define you. As you change and explore different roads in your life, you can move and adapt your personal brand accordingly. You choose the narrative, and that is a pretty empowering position to be in.
While parts of your personal life may come into play within your personal brand, choose the elements that you want to keep sacred.
For example, will you include your family in your brand? What about your hobbies? Is there a different arm of your business activity that you want to put in a siloed box? By having at least one thing that is yours and yours alone, you can better distinguish your boundaries and “switch off” from your brand with greater ease.
Don’t forget; you can hit the brakes whenever you need to. Although continuously showing up and being visible is important for brand awareness, remember that you can always take a moment of peace if it’s needed.
Your audience will always understand; we are all human, afterall. Keep this in the forefront of your mind whenever you start to feel nervous about committing to a personal brand. You can hit *stop* whenever you want to.
Plus, by better understanding what your brand is not, you can more effectively capture what your brand is. You can then translate this innate understanding into the photography and marketing materials that will bring your brand to life.
Exploring the fine details of a personal brand is one of my favourite parts of my work. I love looking at the different sides of my client’s personality; both in life and their brand. Together, we can then build a visual identity for their business that is genuine, impactful and really connects.