Branding – Business or Personal? by @ProjectMaven

Hey, nothing is personal… No wait, it’s all about you.

Building a small, service-based brand is an inherently personal undertaking, yet it’s important to remember what things not to take personally when growing your business. Navigating the boundaries between business and personal as you create your brand can be a bit of a balancing act, but it is a skill that can be learned. Content branding is key, as a tool for developing your public persona and your business identity. However, for it to work, it has to have an original, personal twist.

Authentic Connections

These days, the key to building your brand is creating strong relationships around something unique that you offer to your clients. This entails putting a personal touch into everything that you do. When speaking or writing about your product, you want to make a genuine connection with prospective clients or customers. Passion speaks volumes – generic sales talk can be a real turn-off.

Telling Your Story

One way to develop these strong connections is to share some of your personal story in your presentation. “I grew up creating puppet shows for the kids in my neighborhood, so it was inevitable I’d end up being a party planner.” Tell us something about you that is unique. Let’s say you’re an event planner. If you line up in a row with ten other event planners, assuming you are all skilled at your jobs, what is it that makes you stand out from the rest of them? It’s your personality, your story, your unique set of interests and experience that will allow certain clients to connect with you more naturally than others.

Sometimes You Just Don’t Get the Gig

OK, you’ve connected with the client. You’ve come in with a good proposal. Your pricing is good, the pitch is clean. So why didn’t you get the job? Sometimes things just don’t work out. It doesn’t make you a failure. In fact, just as a writer expects to get an overwhelming number of rejection letters before getting something published, expect that a good percentage of your proposals will not end in jobs. Especially when you’re just starting out. The reality is that even though you put a lot of yourself into your work, in the end, people make business decisions, such as who to hire for a job, for many reasons, some of which may have nothing to do with you at all.

The good news is, the more you get out there and make genuine connections with people, whether it’s through the stories you share on your blog or the conversations you have at social events or business functions, the better you will become at finding your natural allies and potential business partners. Particularly if you work in a business that entails collaborating on projects over a period of time, folks are more willing to commit to extended working relationships with people that they genuinely enjoy being around.

These days, the key is to remain genuine and honest, and don’t be afraid to share a little about yourself as you learn about the other people in your industry. Some of the best working relationships have been forged out of unlikely connections and random pieces of common ground. If you don’t put yourself out there and have some fun with the process, you’ll never know what is possible!

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