Personal branding is not only about visual design. While logos, colours, fonts and professional photographs are essential, branding starts with messaging.
Your message is the foundation for everything you do in your business. It shapes what you offer, who you offer it to, and most importantly- why.
If you are a service provider, coach, consultant or practitioner, personal branding is an essential part of standing out in your industry. Without a recognizable brand, it’s even more difficult for anyone to remember that yours exists (and is super special!)
Your brand messaging is the spearhead for everything in your business. Clients and customers want to connect to brands they feel aligned to. This is otherwise known as ‘brand affinity’.
Customers desire to buy from brands who are transparent and authentic is even higher on their priority list when buying 1:1 services.
To stand out online as a coach, healer, consultant or small business owner – you don’t need to hire a personal brand coach to get the ball rolling. Everything you need to start is in this article!
As a personal brand coach myself, it may seem odd that I would recommend DIY-ing your own brand. But exploring and testing your ideas out before making a large investment on branding, is business-smart. When you’re ready, it’s a no-brainer that hiring a branding expert will help you take your business to the next level.
But surprise!!! – branding isn’t permanent! Most businesses upgrade and shift their branding over time, so enjoy experimenting with it as you get going.
Now, let’s jump into the key personal branding steps you need to know!
1. Find a need and fill it
The first step is identifying your business niche. If you’ve had any online experience, you’ve likely heard the ‘riches are in the niches’. This is very true – and is especially important as you begin marketing your services.
One of the best ways to gain clarity on your niche, is focusing on a need, desire, or problem that you can solve or improve for someone else.
It helps when you are more specific about this problem, so that even those who are not familiar with your industry can understand what you do.
- An example of something not specific enough would be: I help people with their relationships.
- An example of something too specific would be: I am a coach that works with single 20-year-old stamp collectors who have pet ferrets find their ideal partner.
- A better example (aka, the right balance) would be: I am a relationship coach who helps busy professionals find love.
I know a lot of people get stuck overthinking their niche, trying to define it to a tee. The most important thing to consider is if a niche has enough demand for the solution you are offering.
A good way to know that your niche is viable, is to see if there are other people in your industry doing a similar thing and doing it with measured success*.
Tips for finding your niche:
If you are having a hard time with figuring this part out, I suggest going broader to start and then narrow your niche focus after you’ve started getting more experience.
Once you’ve worked with a few clients (usually 10 will be enough) you’ll get more clarity around what specific area you are best at helping in, or enjoy working in the most.
2. Get clear about who has the problem
Knowing who has the problem you want to solve is one of the most important steps in clarifying your brand. As a service provider, coach, healer or practitioner – your focus is on serving your clients and often your work is 1:1.
You have to be clear on your ideal clients needs, desires and challenges. Basic demographic details will also help you know where your efforts should go when it comes to client outreach.
And, the best part? It will help you create better programs and offers that appeal to your audience.
If you’ve already worked with a handful of clients, it’s likely you have an idea of the kind of person you want to work with.
Outlining one client ‘avatar’ (or character) can give you clarity on who you are targeting but it can also be helpful to also create various avatar personas. For example, you could have 3 different personas for each stage of their problem, or their customer journey.
To get better quality clients that are the right fit, make sure you consider these questions:
- Can they afford my services, offers or products?
- Does the problem they have bother them enough to see the value of investing their money in solving it?
- Do I get excited about working with this person/people?
- Are they accessible to me? (in your personal network, community groups, social networks etc.)
- Is there a large enough pool of these people for me to serve? (think at least 10,000+ people).
If you can find communities of people gathering together (online or in person) to share their experiences, or there are multiple books published around the niche you’ve chosen – it’s likely you have a pool of people large enough to work with.
Tips for identifying your audience or ideal client:
If you aren’t sure that your audience sees the value of investing their money in your offer – or it’s not a high priority to them, go back to #1 and reexamine the niche you’ve chosen to focus on.
The most motivated audiences are often seeking solutions around their health, appearance, relationships, finances and professional growth. A great resource for understanding the various needs people have, is Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs pyramid:
While everyone wants to reach their highest potential, often we have other needs first. If you want to support clients in their overall life satisfaction or ‘living their best life’ – try to anchor it into one of the areas mentioned, or the levels beneath ‘self-actualization’ on Maslow’s Heirarchy pyramid (you can learn more about Maslow’s Heirachy of Needs here )
3. Know your values
Values are the foundation OF. EVERY. THING. when it comes to your personal branding and business (dare I say your life, too?!)
Values are the standards, or principles, that represent the things that matter to you. And, they often shape your views on life and the beliefs you live by.
Values motivate the decisions you make, the actions you take, your ambitions and your desires…
Let’s just say, values matter a whole heck of a lot!
Knowing your core values is essential to your personal branding. They help shape the things that make your business different from the next. They also give your customers, clients and colleagues a way to relate and align with you and your message.
If you’ve never given any significant thought to your values – don’t fret, most people don’t. But, whether you know it or not, you are already operating by your these values! So let’s get clarity on them.
The best way to figure out what your core values are is to think about the things that matter to you.
Here’s two ideas to explore what your core values might be:
- Look at the goals and desires you have and what they represent for you.
- Examine your favourite experiences and memories. What is meaningful about them?
As an example, if your traveling experiences stand out to you as your favourite memories, a core value could be:
- Healthy Risk Taking
Or, you can imagine if one of the things you want is an art studio to paint in, those values could be reflected as:
- and so on…
The words you choose for your values can differ from one person to the next (even if they are similar values). You can find in both of my examples, the word ‘beauty’ because the choice of specific words – is really in the eye of the beholder.
As long as you can define the reason for your value word (and can see it reflected in many examples in your life), you can claim those as your core values.
A pretty common baseline is 5-8 core values (try to keep it less than 10 and at least 3).
Tips for getting clear on your core brand values:
If you’re having trouble getting concrete on your core values, you can download this values cheat sheet for a collection of value words, and questions to help you figure out which ones are yours.
4. Have an offer
Some people would argue that what you’re selling has nothing to do with your personal branding – but I would highly disagree.
In order to sell your offer you have to have a clear understanding of what problems you’re solving for who; how to reach your potential customers, and, what they want. (#1 and #2 of this list).
Once you know what problem you are solving and who needs it, you want to package this into something you can sell. This can be high-ticket services, packages or consulting fees, to lower-ticket plans and printables, to mid-range retainers, day rates, events, digital products and courses. Or a combination of any of the above.
There are so many ways you can sell your skills but please don’t bite off more than you can chew – especially at the start.
You actually don’t have this all figured out to start getting paying clients. In fact, you can create offers as you go and pre-sell them so that you don’t get stuck in the ‘process’ forever. If that idea terrifies you – you can still start with something simple that allows you to get talking to people about what you have to offer as a business.
Your offers help validate your business and create recognition around your brand so that your audience becomes more familiar with you.
Remember, the more you know about your ideal client(s) the easier it will be to create offers that actually appeal to their needs.
For coaches, the simplest way to get started is to offer a sessions-based package.
If you’re looking to create digital products or courses – it’s most important that you conduct some market research before you go about creating a bunch of products. You don’t want to spend your time, money and efforts in an area that may not resonate with your audience.
You can do this in a variety of ways, here are a few ideas:
- Research what other courses, books or services are already out there offering something like what you have in mind.
- Ask your audience through polls, social media, personal networking if the offer is something they want.
- Conduct interviews with people who are in your ideal demographic to find out what they want, how they would like to learn and what content format they prefer.
Tips on clarifying and creating your offer:
You did research and came up with a good idea… Now what?
I suggest you set aside no more than 3 days and map the basic outline for your product etc. and commit to testing it out for at least 3 months.
At that point you can measure its appeal and success rate via a beta test. This will allow you to get feedback from clients/customers so you can improve and adjust your offer. Do not post the offer on your website or social media and expect to get realistic results. Proactively seek out potential beta testers!
Feedback from at least 5 people (from your target audience) will give you a good idea if it’s a viable offer or what you need to tweak to improve it. Just like branding, offers change and evolve overtime, so enjoy the process of experimentation!
5. Have a mission
All businesses need a bigger vision – a mission.
Defining what that means in a mission statement is a powerful way for you to get clarity on what your dreams are as a business owner and why your business matters.
A mission statement is often outlined in a succinct paragraph and defines what your company is trying to accomplish and why.
This should be concise and clear – it lets people know what the bigger motive is for your business and shows your company’s heart!
Take a moment to pause and look at the big picture of your business. Ask:
- Why are you doing this?
- What is the big picture?
- What motivates you to do this kind of work in this industry?
- What kind of impact or change do you want to make?
These questions are the root of your purpose as a business owner. Even if you don’t share a public mission statement on your website, it’s important that you are clear about why your business matters and what change or impact you hope to make with it.
Once you’ve worked through these five steps, you will be more than prepared to hire a personal branding coach when you’re ready!
If you apply these steps, you will have clarity on what problem(s) you solve, for who, how, and why – and you will have a strong understanding of your unique message.
With all these key elements in place, you will not only attract the right clients but you will be well on your way in creating a powerful personal brand.
BONUS Get access to my FREE DIY Brand Kit to define and design your own personal brand!
PS – If you’d like to learn more about working with me on your personal brand, check out my available services