Building your Personal Brand: For Introverted Bloggers & Business Owners
Building your personal brand is a key element to creating success in your career. Whether you’re looking to grow your blog readership, increase your client base or just get your foot in the door of an industry you’ve long admired, having a strong personal brand can open doors and create opportunities.
Putting yourself out there and working to grow your personal brand can be that little bit more challenging for introverts. As private people, introverts often shy away from attention grabbing behaviour. They also work hard to keep themselves to themselves. Creating a personal brand is quite conflicting to this behavior, and requires you to be more forthcoming about who you are and what you do.
As an introverted business owner myself, growing my personal brand presented some challenges. It’s important to push yourself out of your comfort zone, otherwise you would never reach our full potential, but it’s also possible to go about developing your own personal brand in a way that is more comfortable to you as an introvert…
The Introvert in Business…
Introvertism is becoming more widely known. For many this provides an answer as to why you’ve felt a little different to those around you for the majority of your life. Being an introvert may present unique challenges to the blogger or business owner. It’s generally assumed that if you run your own business you must be an extrovert. However, there are studies that suggest being an introvert could be a positive thing in the world of business.
It might surprise you to hear that some of the most successful business owners and leaders are introverted – Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Marisa Mayer, Mark Zuckerberg and Emma Watson, to name a few. It has been suggested that introverts make good leaders and business owners. This is because the have the ability to focus for long periods of time, have a propensity for critical and balanced thinking, and feel comfortable empowering others.
Introvert traits can include: being a good listener, thinking before acting, forming close and loyal relationships, enjoying time alone to be creative, and taking a calm approach to tense situations. Now some might disagree, but for me personally, all of these traits can only be a positive when it comes to running a business.
As an introvert myself, over the last five years I’ve had to navigate the world of business being a little more reserved, a little quieter and more thoughtful than many might have expected me to be.
Now I would be lying if I said I was all the way over on the introvert spectrum. You can take a test to find out how introverted or extroverted you are. Generally you’ve probably got a pretty good idea of where you might sit on the scale already. From what I know, I’m about half way down the introvert scale, and I can confidently say I’m a good listener, thoughtful, creative and considerate. I also love spending time alone, which bodes well given my career choice as a freelance writer.
Being an introvert for me has been a positive and a negative thing in business. It’s positive because I listen to and interpret briefs well, meaning I often get things spot on first time. In addition, my creative thinking means I’ve been able to come up with unique ideas to stand out from the crowd, both for my own business and my clients. On the negative side, over the years I’ve shied away from building a personal brand, becoming the face of my business and my very own USP.
The problem with this is that 99.9% of ideas have been done before, and the reality is that you are your own ready made USP. There’s nobody else like you in the world. That in itself makes your business unique, you just have to know how to communicate that to the world.
Building your Personal Brand…
As an introverted business owner or blogger, it can be all too easy to hide behind your brand and keep who you are and your personal life to yourself. I’ve spent years trying to talk myself into being more upfront and open about my opinions on my social media. Sharing what I’m up to, where I’m going and what I’m doing, and showing who I am in my own environment doesn’t come naturally.
One of the biggest challenges for me was talking myself into doing a professional photoshoot to add that personal touch to my brand. At 5 foot 1 I’m no model that’s for sure, but I’m admittedly a good face for my business – everything aligns quite well. I think (or hope!) I probably look exactly like how you might expect me to. Many introverts find being the centre of attention very difficult, so being in front of the camera can be tough.
An approach I’ve always tried to take is to push myself to do things, even if they scare me. To extroverts, being afraid of doing a professional photoshoot might sound ridiculous, but for introverts this kind of thing can be pretty daunting.
Building a personal brand can be important to everyone. Whether you’re a business owner, a blogger or even if you’re employed, creating a name for yourself is key. Creating a strong personal brand establishes yourself as a leader in your industry. This can open doors, help you gain new clients or grow your blog readership. Whatever your goal is, building a strong personal brand is sure to help.
Anyone can setup a website, and these days pretty much everyone does. It’s your personal brand that will set you apart from the rest. Here’s how to get started with building a personal brand, in a way that’s comfortable for you as an introvert…
1. Create your website…
I’m assuming that most bloggers and business owners already have a website. If your blog or business isn’t focused on yourself as an individual, there could be great benefit in setting up a separate website to build your personal brand on. The key to building a successful personal brand is to establish yourself as a leader in your industry. Think about what you want to achieve from building your personal brand and use this to move forward.
For freelancers like me, my personal brand is my business, so it’s not necessary to build a separate website. For others, you might not have setup your business around yourself as an individual. This is where having a separate website comes in. For example, if you own a skincare brand you might setup your own separate website, where you blog about the latest advances in skincare, share tips and expert advice. In doing this you are building an audience that are interested in skincare. This will help you grow awareness for your brand, but it was also help you to gain trust.
2. Put a face to a name…
Whether you’re blogging about fashion, building a business in the health and fitness industry or trying to break into a career in finance, putting a face to a name and sharing who you are is key. As mentioned above, this will involve doing some kind of professional photoshoot, which you may feel a bit unsure about. Trust me though, in pushing yourself through that hour or so where you feel a bit uncomfortable, you’ll see great rewards when you add your personal images to your brand.
As humans we are curious and we’re also naturally wired to seek out common ground and an understanding of each other. Without publicising who you are, it’ll be difficult for your audience to get to know you and feel like they can relate to you. Be brave and push yourself to open up about who you are.
The best place to start is with professional photography. If you’re a blogger, get a photographer to shoot you at your laptop, Instagraming your latest photo, or just relaxing in a coffee shop. For business owners, opt for a mix of professional photos and images with a ‘just me at home’ vibe. Show your professional side and your private side so that people can really get to know who you are. Consider a photo of you at work – if you are an interior designer you might choose to create images of you putting a concept board together, or hanging a painting. For your ‘at home’ images, I’m not talking in your pajamas with a face mask on. Instead try you in the kitchen sipping on a coffee, or out in the garden with the dog.
3. Take a break…
For introverts being constantly connected and feeling like you’re in the public eye can be overwhelming. Make building your personal brand an enjoyable to experience for you by establishing some ground rules. Think about what you might like to stay private and keep it that way. Avoid oversharing so that you don’t end up feeling like everyone knows all the private details of your life. Establish what you will and won’t share from early on and decide when you’re happy to work on your personal brand and when to take a break to recharge.
4. Identify your style…
Your personal brand is all about being yourself, but who you are isn’t always absolutely spot on for your target market. From the offset it’s important to create a style and be consistent. Don’t use words you wouldn’t usually use or create a persona, but you can tweak your content to create a strong personal image that aligns perfectly with what you do. When it comes to your personal brand it’s all about editing. Work out what to share and what to keep to yourself to create a strong brand that your audience can relate to.
5. Be purposeful…
Everything that you share online creates a picture of your personal brand. Try to avoid publishing content on your blog or via social media for the sake of it. When it comes to building your personal brand, content is key. Just remember, there has to be meaning behind it and a reason for publishing it in the first place.
The internet is a crowded place, so think about how you can add value. Think about your audience and what they might want to know. What they might engage with and relate to, what they might find helpful and interesting.
6. Get social…
The digital revolution does present a pretty good opportunity for the introverted business owner or blogger. It enables you to network from behind a screen, but you can’t let it become your safety net. Your website, blog, email and social media all enable you to build your brand from the comfort and privacy of your own home. The first step to pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is by taking part in a professional photoshoot. You can then break the boundaries and make photos of yourself part of your digital marketing.
The second part is starting to build relationships in person. For introverts the idea of networking can seem terrifying. It’s all about taking small steps and encouraging yourself to push that little bit further. Try going to your first networking event with a friend to ease yourself in. Find events that will really add value when it comes to building your personal brand and raising your professional profile. When you’re working hard to push yourself, you want everything you do to be of value.
7. Associate with other strong brands…
You can strengthen your personal brand by connecting with other professional brands. This is where socialising on social media, making new connections and networking can come in handy. Share posts by other brands that align well with your own and encourage them to share your content too, all the while remembering to add value and be purposeful at all times.
Outline the brands that align well with you. Try to find brands that might have built a similar audience to yours to tap into. Get involved with these brands. Swap blog posts and create guest post opportunities, comment on their content and share their posts. Get involved in the conversation both online and offline from time to time too.
When it comes to building your personal brand, for introverts it’s all about taking things slow. This is the kind of thing you wouldn’t want to rush anyway. Start somewhere and start small if you have to. As you go you’ll start to see the benefit that building your personal brand can have. Once you start seeing results you’ll be driven to take that next step, and the next…
Got any tips or have a story to share regarding building your personal brand? Comment and share your experiences…
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