Confidence in life does not always translate well in brand and business. I’m speaking as a 6’1” woman who’s been rock’n 3-4 inch heels since my fake ID club days. I was less round back then and I got a lot of attention and I liked it for all the wrong reasons. If you’ve been around me a minute you heard me mention my problem with dick, dick, and dick due to low self-esteem. But just as I dug myself out of that pit of bullshit I had to learn to do the same in business. Personal branding helped me do that.
I don’t agree with most of the personal branding experts out there, which is not the same as saying they're wrong. I don’t agree because despite their tips, tricks, and hacks, more and more folx are complaining of imposter syndrome, burnout, and being a fucking fake. They trot out the word authentic, wrap it in bullshit, and slap a high price tag on it for good measure. It pisses me off because what they're doing is fuck'n with folx head walking and got them in these streets every day with an I am my brand banner.
In my house a personal brand is an asset just like a business brand. It has value like any other business asset. Most personal brands can’t be passed on like Dear Abby, but they can definitely leave a legacy. The only folx that come to mind that have turned their names into brand-able assets are Oprah and Michael Jordan. Gary Vee gets a little love in this area, but only a little. Everyone else named there business something else. If I’m wrong tell me.
Folx always wanna trot out folx like Richard Branson, the man who created the Virgin brand. Then there’s Steve Jobs, the man who started Macintosh and became Apple. Jeff Bezos, the man who started Amazon. There are others, but these are the most overused examples of personal branding. These are men who have made name for themselves through means that may have nothing to do with personal branding.
I know this sounds like a bit of a tangent so I’m gonna bring it back. I believe each of these men had a strong sense of self. They believed in what they were doing and had the confidence to do it. That does not make them a brand.
It just hit me that no women or non-white folx ever make this overused list 🤔.
But here's the thing, if these are your role models for personal branding, it’s no wonder you question every fucking move you make. And that in turn fucks with your mental state.
A better example of your personal brand is you. Not all of you, but the part of you that makes you feel good about what you do in your business. And to make it memorable, give it a name. I’ll tell you why later.
Let me bring in the mental health aspect for you:
Realize you're the expert
Relying on the fact that you know your shit. The thing to remember is to not be a dick about it. Don’t go out in the world as if someone is supposed to kiss your ass as if you hold the keys to the kingdom. Just rest in the fact that you can answer damn near any question about what it you do, and do well. Be reassured by the fact that you get result.
Don’t be like my stepson when he was 12. He constantly bragged about how smart he was. Although it was true it did not end well. It cost him 12 stitches to the lip. It cost the person who hit him more, but that’s not the point.
When you’re confident in your expertise you're less likely to feel anxious or stressed. And you’re better at handling challenges and more resilient. All of this can contribute to better mental health and well-being.
Set the mood with boundaries
In order for your personal brand to be trusted be clear in where you stand 10 toes down. When folx know what lines you will not cross, your brand is the better for it. Folx will test you and if you’re more concerned about their reaction than your peace of mind, then you send mixed messages. Making exceptions can bite you in the ass when your audience starts throwing them in your face. It’s opening the door to fuckery and being overwhelmed.
I’m a former bbq restaurant owner known as Mrs. Mista. I would look stupid trying to give an expert opinion on fine dining. Not my monkey, not my show. What I could speak to is the owners personal brand and how he wants it to take up space in the overall brand architecture. I can even speak to back of house drama, but at some point I gotta know when to STFU.
Maintain control of the situation
When you intentionally build your personal brand, you're taking control of how people see you. You're not being led around by a researched audience or competitive analysis. You’re not beholden to some corporate title. You craft your personal brand with as little or as much of yourself -not your family, not your food - yourself that you care to share. This is how you shape the narrative, haters be damned.
This sense of control can be incredibly liberating, especially if you've struggled with feelings of being stifled, ignored, or anxious. When you know that you hold the cards to how others see you, it can impact your life overall.
You may think it's easier to be a brand than build a brand, I'm here to tell you that it's not. Just as you're intentional with your business brand, be intentional with your personal brand.
Be genuine - People can usually get a feel for when you’re faking the funk. Trying to step into a personal brand that's completely at odds with who you are is begging for trouble. Don’t worry about your haters. To the folx you attract, you’re a hero.
Be consistent - Show up at events the same way you show up online. Don’t back peddle or down play yourself when you get in front of folx. You know your shit and you know yourself. Give them the same heat in person as online. If your online vibe is lukewarm, then don’t show up talk’n about I’m coming in hot.
Be a storyteller - One of the most powerful ways to attract with your personal brand is through storytelling. And don’t just tell random ass shit. Tell stories that can relate back to your business brand. This can include your experiences, your successes, your failures, and your decision making.
Be stingy - Save some of yourself for yourself. Hell, even my husband and daughter don’t get all of me. Don’t allow certain parts of your life to be used for content. Some of y’all out here using your friends and family like props, but that’s beside the point. Give yourself the gift of privacy, not because you’re trying to hide something, but because you’re preserving something.
Personal brands aren’t set in stone - it's something that can evolve as you evolve. As you learn new skills, take new risk, and pushing yourself some of it will seep into your personal brand and in turn attract more opportunities.
I’mma wrap it up like this. Personal branding and mental health should go hand in hand when you're a business of one. It will make space for you to separate your who from your do. This means you’re better able to define yourself by who you are, not what you do. And that leads me to why you should give your personal brand a name.
Giving your personal brand a name gives you a bit of anonymity. Who you know as GCB is not who others know as Phyllis. When folx talk about GCB, if folx wanna know more they have to Google it. What they get is the controlled narrative, not the hot mess. Also I’m able to identify when I cross the line from personal life to personal brand and adjust accordingly. If I lived under the banner that Phyllis is a brand then I have to ask when is Phyllis a person.
If you ever wanna chat about it, Brandma's home.