For many people, especially creative types and those involved in business, building a personal brand is one of the most important steps towards success. This is also something that is never “finished.”
Building a personal brand is on ongoing project that can easily eat into your work time—if you let it.
However, it is possible to build your brand without letting the process consume you. It just takes organization and self-control.
No matter how much effort you put into building your brand, certain mistakes can make the process less successful. No matter what stage you are in the brand building process, keep in mind these mistakes—and avoid them at all costs.
1. Not Being Real
Being fake, whether you are trying to be a fake version of yourself or trying on a completely new persona, will make building your persona much more difficult. Additionally, it is exhausting to try to keep up with all the details you create. Like your mom told you when you were a kid, be yourself.
2. Not Taking a Stand
If you refuse to take a stand on anything, people are not going to know who you are or why they should trust your opinions. Do not be wishy-washy. Share your opinions and let others determine how they feel about them.
3. Jumping Into Things
You know the old adage “measure twice, cut once?” This is very true when building your brand. Think about each action you take and how these actions affect your overall brand strategy. A poorly written blog post, negative encounter on social media or other seemingly insignificant action can have a big impact on your overall brand.
4. Choosing Quantity over Quality
Whether you are talking about connections on Linkedin, blog posts or business cards passed out at a live event, focusing on quantity instead of quality is a rookie mistake. Make every action you take count and then it won’t matter nearly as much how many actions you take. One quality lead is worth 100 leads that do not have much hope.
5. Focusing on Fame
Personal branding is not about becoming famous (or even “internet” famous.) It is about sharing the genuine you with those who encounter you. Do not think about branding as a way to put your name out there, think about it as the way you control what information IS out there associated with your name.
6. Forgetting that Branding is an Everyday Activity
Working on your personal brand is not something you do once a year, month or even week. Branding is part of everything you do. Make building your brand part of your daily plan—it will take less effort this way also.
7. Keeping Your Brand Online
While online branding is very important, there are still many organizations that prefer to do business the old-fashioned way. Take time to make those business cards, schedule meetings and around for face time with those who are important to you. This will show that you are someone who is committed to doing business right.
8. Doing it All Yourself
Depending on your particular branding needs, you may not want to try to “do it all” yourself. Build a community of likeminded people, reach out within your industry and make those important connections. By doing this, some of your branding will be done for you.
9. Being Selfish
While branding will ultimately benefit you, think about ways you can build your brand while helping others. You’ll brand yourself as a generous, caring individual and you put yourself in the position of helping others get ahead. It’s a win-win situation.
10. Not Checking Results
It is possible to become so focused on the brand building process that you forget to check in and see what is happening. Utilize analytics tools to find out how you appear to others. This can save you time and money when you quit using techniques that aren’t successful.
Every person is different. As such, every personal brand will be different.
While avoiding the mistakes above is key, the most important thing you can do is to have a strategy in mind.
When you know what you plan to do with your brand and work on implementing it, you are less likely to stray from your long-term goals for yourself—and your brand.