3 tips for small business owners building their personal brand

By Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation

What should entrepreneurs do first when they’re setting out to build or elevate their personal brand? Many tend to approach it from a “do all the things” place. This is where you try to be everything to everyone – blogger, podcast host, and event speaker, to cover a few branding areas. In the race to get on everyone’s radar, you might lose sight of your message or lack a plan to keep the momentum moving forward once you start to get noticed.

Building a personal brand means going back to the beginning. You must be able to determine what will set you apart from the competition. Before you start guest blogging or sending out weekly newsletters, make it your mission to thoroughly define and understand the value you’ll bring to your audience.

1. Pick one thing to be the best at

Make a list of everything you want to be the best at, even if you aren’t quite there yet. Ask yourself these three questions as you go through the list:

• Is this something I am passionate about?


• Do I have some understanding of how this particular field or industry works?


• Am I curious and willing to keep learning everything I can?


Strike out every item on the list that does not answer these questions. In the end, you may only have a few items left. 

Don’t dabble in doing a ton of things. Keep your personal brand consistent from the start. Choose the one thing that challenges you and allows you to thrive. This one thing, no matter how niche it may be, is where you know you can stand out and be the best.

2. Determine how – and where – your personal brand can add value

Now that you’ve decided on the one thing you’ll be the best at, how can it add value to your audience? You may help meet a need they have, offer advice, or provide a “wow!” experience that keeps them coming back for more.

As your personal brand adds value to the lives of your readers and audience, it should also tie back in with your own values. These will likely be on the same page. A vegan blogger may be committed to providing readers with unique vegan recipes through his or her blog. It’s not likely that the blogger will suddenly switch to blogging about steak and chicken. He or she is dedicated to bringing value to readers with vegan recipes and staying true to his or her own values and mission, too.

3. Be authentic with your fans

As social media gradually shifts to a place of curation – where everything is aesthetically pleasing and comes with a posting strategy geared toward getting the most attention possible – it gets harder to be the real you. Real life is complicated and messy. You may have some great accomplishments, but you probably have some failures. How do you share your failures without compromising your personal brand?

Don’t be afraid of your story. By now, you’ve likely begun engaging with fans of your personal brand and established a rapport together. They won’t abandon you if you’re not 100 percent perfect. Sharing a story of failure, if you do it from a genuine place, may actually draw your audience closer to you. They can relate to what you went through, and the connection together grows deeper. Don’t use a story of failure to blame someone else. Openly discuss what you learned from the experience and how it helped you grow and become better because of it. Your audience will appreciate this kind of transparency as much as they would if you were sharing a success story.

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com which provides online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, startup bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent services, DBAs, and trademark and copyright filing services.  

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