13 Questions You Should Ask When Developing Your Personal Brand

entrepreneurshipWorkplace Success

What is the #1 question I should ask myself as I try to figure out what my personal brand stands for?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. How Do I Define Myself?

“A key thing anyone launching a personal brand should do is define himself. What is your purpose? What is your passion? What naturally flows out of your DNA? How can you add value to the world? When this can be clearly defined, described and put into language, then the launching of a personal brand can be impactful.”

Matt Shoup, MattShoup.com

2. Why Do I Matter?

“Seriously. What’s the heart of your business? Why do you matter to the world? Why are your people going to wake up and devote their energy to your business? Why are clients going to hire you? The answer to all of those questions is the same, and it starts with understanding why you matter and how you help your customers matter.”

Corey Blake, Round Table Companies

3. In Five Words or Less: What’s My Mission?

“If you can’t describe your goals in a single sentence, it’s a strong sign you’re being too broad.”

Sam Saxton, Salter Spiral Stair and Mylen Stairs

4. What Makes Me Upset?

“You’ve got lots of positive questions to ask yourself, but I’ve found that we can often find our “fiery mission” by asking ourselves what we don’t like about our industry or how most things are done. The clearer you are on what you don’t want to stand for, the easier it is to make your mark as a personal brand.”

Nathalie Lussier, Nathalie Lussier Media Inc.

5. What Do I Believe In?

“A successful brand should be an extension of the values and beliefs of the company. Truth is hard to fake, so if you live and breathe what your brand represents, people will take notice. Ask yourself, “What is the purpose of my brand? What makes my brand different?””

Elliot Fabri, EcoCraft Homes

6. What Are My Past Accomplishments?

“Ask yourself how those accomplishments naturally align with where you want to take your brand. A brand is a story; it needs one or two memorable themes or congruent aspects.”

Andrew Fayad, eLearning Mind

7. Is My Brand Authentic?

“Whether or not your personal brand is authentic is one of the most important parts of building your brand. People can see through what is fake, and if your brand is not authentic or isn’t really you, it’s doomed to fail from the start. You won’t build any sort of following or respect.”

Pablo Palatnik, ShadesDaddy.com

8. What Don’t I Stand For?

“A good way to jumpstart the creative process for brand building is to identify what you don’t stand for. What’s not your speciality? What’s not in your wheelhouse? When we see what we don’t stand for, it provides perspective and makes it easier to identify what we do stand for.”

Antonio Neves, THINQACTION

9. What Would I Do If I Knew I Could Not Fail?

“It’s a popular question, but it’s one that is crucial to figuring out what you stand for. When you dig deep and ask yourself that question, you can get a glimpse into what truly matters to you and what you’re most passionate about. While your personal brand may not be a culmination of that question’s answer, it’ll get you pretty close to it.”

Erin Blaskie, Next Dev Media

10. How Do I Want Other People to Describe Me?

“If you picture the moment that a friend, colleague or peer is describing you to someone else, what do you want them to say? Imagine what they say today (or just ask them), and start there. Is it something you’re proud of? If so, build from there. If not, get in the driver’s seat, and work to change the conversation.”

Aman Advani, Ministry of Supply

11. What’s Right Under My Feet?

“The best brands communicate who you already are. They are an extension of your existing personality, strengths, interests and values. Oftentimes, we search tirelessly outside of ourselves for what our brand message should be, when in fact, it’s likely already right under our feet. Revisit common threads from childhood to where you are now, and ask close friends and family for feedback, too.”

Jenny Blake, Jenny Blake

12. How Did I Get to Where I Am?

“The most powerful personal brands come out of powerful origin stories. Think about how you got to where you are. Why do you do the things you do? Work on crafting that story. Why do Spider-Man and Batman fight crime? They were victims of senseless crimes as children. They crafted their brands around their background; you should do the same.”

Adam Lieb, Duxter

13. What Difference Do I Want to Make?

“Figuring out who you want to help, why and how is all you need to know. Start with the difference you want to make and the impact you want to leave on the world, and then the rest will follow.”

Alexis Wolfer, The Beauty Bean