A couple of years ago, Inc. published an article stating that there are more than 27 million entrepreneurs in the United States alone. What’s cool about that is it shows that many of us are willing to stop using our gifts and talents to build other people’s businesses and empires. Instead, we’d rather step out, take risks, seize opportunities and use our abilities to reach our own goals and manifest our own dreams.
You know what? Creatives—artists, graphic designers, writers, influencers, etc.—are what make up a significant part of this demographic. (If you happen to be one, take a moment to give yourself a round of applause and a pat on the back!)
One thing that helps entrepreneurs to be successful in their particular field is to create their own brand. You know, the thing that you need in order to maximize your brand’s relevance and cultivate loyalty between you and your customers (clients/audience) in a very competitive world.
As any creative is in the process of putting a brand strategy together, it’s important that they first develop a personal brand. It’s kind of like a personal mission statement, only it’s less formal (sometimes a bit longer too).
Why should you do this as soon as possible? Because as a creative, you probably already know that while you may be a master at coming up with ideas, execution may be challenging at times. Not only that, but while you may have million-dollar ideas, sometimes low cash flow can take a toll on your self-confidence. A personal brand is what can keep you centered on the good days and self-encouraged on the not-so-good ones.
Keeping all of this in mind, here are nine solid reasons why I think every creative needs to put their own personal brand together as they’re in the process of thriving in the areas of their dreams and visions.
It builds a solid foundation.
Imagine building a mansion with cracks in the foundation. Let a big enough storm hit and it will shake the building to its core; no matter how beautiful it is or how much work you put into it. Along these same lines, this is what a personal brand does for your creativity. It gives you the kind of mental and emotional foundation that you need to keep you strong and centered on the days when money isn’t pouring in or your plans aren’t coming together as smoothly as you’d like.
It keeps you focused.
It’s almost in a creative’s DNA to not be as focused as they should be (at least not all of the time). Developing a personal brand can be just what you need in order for you to become more methodical, strategic and time-efficient. With a personal brand in place, it can remind you that the little things are what lead to the best end results. It’s the fuel you need when you’d rather do any and everything but administrative work or completing minute details.
It carves out a particular niche.
Say that you’re a graphic designer. There are millions on them out there, right? By having a personal brand in place, you can come up with a signature niche. Maybe you want to design for other entrepreneurs. Maybe you have a passion for weddings. Maybe you like to design for companies that exclusively work with children. Having a niche is what will make you the immediate go-to in your area of expertise. When that happens, the next point falls perfectly into place.
It separates you from your competition.
Creatives are one of a kind and technically, originals are incomparable. This means that in the grand scheme of things, you have no competition. But when you’re in the process of building a business off of your creativity (you know, so that you can pay your rent and put gas in your car), you do need to find a way to make customers choose you above others who may do what you do (not exactly or as well, but you get what we mean). Having a personal brand? That makes standing heads above your competition an automatic thing. The less competition, the more customers. The more customers, the more success!
It keeps you honest (especially with yourself).
How do you establish loyalty with your audience or customers? You do what you say you will in order to cultivate trust. The best way to manifest trust is to start with being honest with yourself. Honest about what you want. Honest about your abilities. Honest about what you can do and the timeframe you can do it in. An honest person is well on their way to having a pretty amazing personal brand.
It keeps people coming back.
Another way that establishing a personal brand benefits you is it earns you repeat customers/clients. The trust that you establish with them by keeping your word, providing great service and products and being honest with them at all times is invaluable. In fact, the only thing better than new customers/clients are faithful ones who work with you for years on end.
It builds self-confidence.
As you start to see the manifestation of cultivating a personal brand, you can’t help but feel more confident about who you are and what you have to offer. The awesome thing about self-confidence is it makes you bolder. You find yourself taking more risks with less fear. More times than not, that pays off—BIG TIME.
It makes it easier to cultivate a strong support system.
No matter how big or small your company is, there are going to be highs and lows, good days and bad. Having a personal brand makes it easier for you to create the kind of relationships that can serve as a solid support system. Mentors, professional peers and other individuals that can encourage you and also help you to take your vision to the next level.
It makes you better—both personally and professionally.
Ultimately, a personal brand is all about deciding what direction you want to take in life—both personally as well as professionally. When you have a “map”, not only are you clear on where you’re headed but you can get their quicker too. This is why, more than anything else, cultivating a personal brand is the key to becoming a better creative and ultimately a better individual. No true entrepreneur, especially in the creative marketplace, is able to succeed without it.
Whew. With all of this in mind, do you have a personal brand yet?