Despite all the talk about the importance of personal branding, I constantly notice that many independent entrepreneurs are hiding the personal brand behind their businesses. Sometimes it’s impossible to find even the name of the entrepreneur who is supposed to offer you his or her services. How likely would you be to buy your services from this entrepreneur? My motivation, at least, would be very low.
Now, I understand that it feels difficult to put yourself out there and market your own expertise, especially when you are just building a business. Besides, at least in Finland, it is a cultural expectation that you should not "advertise" yourself too much because it's considered somewhat pretentious. That’s why it's so easy to just choose a catchy name and "hide" your personality behind it.
When I was planning my business, I spent a lot of time thinking about how to name it. That was until I got some valuable advice from my mentor: When you are in a coaching business that is based on personal relations (and which business isn’t?), YOU ARE THE BRAND, whether you like it or not. So it isn’t enough that you provide quality services and offer them online, you also need to be out there as a person if you want to succeed.
Now I’m on a quest to build my personal brand along with my business. Thankfully, there are already many female entrepreneurs to look up to and learn from. Here are four of my personal favorites:
1. Marie Forleo, Life Coach
Marie is an iconic example of how consistent personal branding can lead to spectacular results. She started to build her professional online brand nearly 20 years ago, and 10 years ago she started to make YouTube videos from her kitchen. Today, those videos have grown into an award-winning MarieTV online show made in a studio with a production team, and she is embraced by Tony Robbins, Sir Richard Branson and Oprah. Marie TV has over 470,000 subscribers on YouTube, and she shares engaging content also through her podcast, email and other social media channels. See more about Marie on her website.
2. and 3. Emily Thomson & Kathleen Shannon, Being Boss
These two bosses have rocked my and many other creative entrepreneurs’ worlds with their empowering content. Emily and Kathleen started their Being Boss podcast for creative entrepreneurs in January 2015 to talk about the lessons they’ve learned from their own businesses. Now, they have published over 100 episodes and reached over three million downloads. They have also published a book, launched other podcasts and organized special vacations for their followers. Find out more about Being Boss on their website.
4. Nani Annette, Photographer
Nani is the person on this list that I have been following for the longest time, and she just keeps inspiring me with daily glimpses into her life. Nani started her business as a photographer seven years ago and has been a model example of how to focus your brand into a niche. Now, she focuses mostly on dog photography and offers training and mentoring to other small entrepreneurs. In addition, she has her own Luovia podcast for creative entrepreneurs and sends out three different newsletters to separate audiences. Find out more about Nani on her website.
What each of these four entrepreneurs has in common is their way of building and maintaining their brand. They produce content regularly and consistently and always aim to keep it interesting and valuable. But most importantly, they are still authentic. Marie can even post a photo or video on Facebook at home and without make-up, and her goofy moves before an episode of MarieTV are a regular part of the show. They don’t hide behind their businesses, and that is why you feel connected to these women even though you don’t know them personally. That’s the sign of a great personal brand.
Did you find these women inspiring? Who is inspiring you with their personal brand? Feel free to comment below; I am happy to add more entrepreneurs to my list!