Building a personal brand is something I sort of “fell into” or did “by accident.” It was sometime last year that I realized this, over lunch with a chic and acclaimed, couture bridal designer here in my country. Looking at my blog, she quipped, “You don’t just have a blog; you don’t just write; I can see you have built a brand.”
By this, she meant two things: One, that I had grown my blog to a certain level of influence and that it became synonymous with certain qualities. Two, that I had developed enough of an online presence so that people could identify me as a kind of “go-to girl” if they wanted to start a blog, or build a website, and my blog as a “hub” for women who loved working from home.
We All Are Our Own Brands:
Like I said: I did all this unintentionally; it sort of just happened. That’s the thing with being a brand: it’s who you already are, and the emotional connections people have with you when they think about you. You don’t fake it; it’s not a put-on. As work at home women, we each are our unique brand.
The question is, do we know what our brand is? And if we do, how are we going to leverage our personal towards our business or freelancing?
3 Tips to Discovering Your Brand as a Work-at-Home Woman:
Your brand — the way your existing and potential customers see you — is directly aligned with what you are known for. It’s worth it to delve deeper into your brand, so that you can gain insight into the services you provide (like if you’re a virtual assistant) and the products you sell (if you’re a product-based business owner).
Here’s how to know what your brand is, and how to leverage your brand towards your success.
1. Discover Your Brand, if You Haven’t Already.
One of the best ways to find out more about your personal brand is to ask people: existing clients, potential customers, even friends or family. What do people say about you when you’re not around? What do people perceive about you? These findings are all related to your brand. You can use these to work on your brand, to improve your personality, and even make a few changes, if needed.
You can use guide questions to help you along this act of discovery. For instance, ask yourself:
- What do people associate me with?
- What am I known for? What do I bring to the world?
- What comes to people’s minds when they hear my name?
For instance, when someone hears “Holly Hanna”, they associate it with The Work at Home Woman, with Holly’s platform as an expert in the work-at-home lifestyle. In your case, what do people associate your name, your services, or your business with? Use this to help you understand your brand.
2. Create a Definition for Yourself.
When you know a bit more about how people perceive you, as well as your work, your services, try to create a definition for it. This is much like a “company vision” or mission statement. Business coach Jess Lively (who helped me to further refine my brand) recommends that business owners or solopreneurs imbibe their “purpose equation.” This is essentially the result of two key elements: your unique gifts + helping people = your purpose equation.
As work at home women, this is something we naturally imbibe, but have likely never clearly defined in our work or business. What is your purpose equation? For me, it’s “to provide creative business solutions that help small businesses thrive,” because that’s what I am known for and what I excel at. What could be yours? Define it, and let that give you clarity.
3. Craft a Brand Identity.
Once you decide you want to establish and build your brand, it is wise to invest in a brand identity, or the visual elements of a brand. Many work at home women — especially those that offer professional services, or have a business — invest in a professional logo and photography. A great photo, even on your About page, is key to personal brand recognition. These visual elements of your brand should be seen across your website and social media profiles. Your photo should accompany everything from your author bio, even your email signatures. This way, your clients and potential customers easily recognize you, wherever your “brand” follows you.
Investing in a brand identity, however, takes a lot of time and clarity. Spend time developing these visual elements of your brand, because they will represent you, your values, your brand promise.
These are just some basic steps to discovering and defining your brand. Having a brand can really help give you clarity about your ideal customer or client, so that you can refine your offerings and really work with the people who are perfect for you.
Finally, branding is never a “once-over” process. Your brand evolves as your offerings evolve, even as you evolve. Knowing and understanding your personal brand is really about bringing the heart and soul of who you are as a work at home woman into your business, into your unique work ethic. Most of all, it can give you the satisfaction of knowing that you are fulfilling a unique purpose, based on your natural gifts and skills.
Have you started building your personal brand online yet? Have you ever even thought about what your brand is or might be? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
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Martine de Luna is the director of The WAHMderful Life, an inspirational business suite comprising a blog and live training events for work-at-homemakers. The WAHMderful Life blog and workshops are designed to inspire and equip mothers and married women to work from home, profitably and with intention. Martine began working from home as a freelance copywriter, and eventually ventured into blogging; her lifestyle blog, DaintyMom.com, has received accolades internationally, including an award for Best Home and Parenting Blog at the 2011 Philippine Blog Awards. Today, Martine runs a boutique consulting service, which offers mentoring for mom bloggers and work-at-home women. She also conducts writing workshops for women, writes marketing and communications copy for small-to-medium businesses, and offers web design services for SMEs. Connect with her at Martine de Luna Creative Services and the WAHMderful Life website.