Guide to Building a Personal Brand (2019)

So if you’re reading this article you probably either:

  1. Have a business and see how your personal brand can help the business grow.

  2. Are looking to build a personal brand so you further your reputation by showcasing your expertise. This in turn will help you find your dream job or lead to you being able to build an online business where you can earn extra income and potentially quit your current job.

Many of the different things we discuss in this guide, depending on your budget and how quickly you want things done, could be outsourced 100% to an agency like ours. However, this will probably run you several thousands of dollars a month. You also have the options to teach yourself and do everything on your own, or find a middle ground and do lots yourself while still outsourcing the things you feel will take you the longest time to figure out on your own.


PART 1 - WHAT’S YOUR WHY?

If you’re reading this article you probably already have a goal in mind. Maybe you want to grow your personal brand to be famous, maybe it’s because you want the freedom to quit your current job and pursue your passions, or maybe it’s because you want to make a ton of money.

No matter the goal, there is one important thing all people setting goals must have in order to be successful--a why. A why is something that is bigger than yourself and is what keeps you working hard to accomplish your goals. Your why is what gets you up at 5 a.m to continue working when you’d rather be sleeping. Your why is what motivates you to keep going even when you may have experienced a difficult setback that has you wondering if you should just give up. Your why is your driving force.

For some people their why is their family and their desire to provide them with a better life. For others, it’s the desire to help their community through their work. There is no wrong why but in order to keep accomplish your goals you must know your why and internalize it so that giving up on your goals is never an option.

If you’re struggling to come up with your why try watching Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk, Start With Why-How Great Leaders Inspire Action. He walks you through the importance of having a why and how it will lay the groundwork for all your future success.

Please Note: If you’re already someone who has a business or if you already have an idea for your personal brand, you can skip ahead to part 4.


PART 2 - FINDING THE RIGHT IDEA

Now that you know why you want to build your personal brand, it’s crucial you find the right idea. When developing your personal brand you must find your niche. With personal branding, your niche is who you are and who you market to. Overtime, your niche will become your customers, fans, and followers.

When working to find your idea for your personal brand there are a variety of helpful resources ready to help get you started:

9 Steps to Validate a Business in 30 Days with Less Than $500 by Ryan Robison is an article with a  guide to validating your business idea. He walks you through the different steps necessary to take when trying to figure out whether or not your idea can be successful.

If you’re looking to learn more, John Lee Dumas provides a helpful free one-hour course that will take you through a variety of exercises aimed at finding your one big idea.

If you have the extra time, we recommend reading Pat Flynn’s book Will It Fly?. Flynn provides a helpful guide to testing your business ideas so that when you’re ready to go to market, you’re sure to be a success.


PART 3 - CHOOSING A NAME, BUYING DOMAIN AND SIGNING UP FOR SOCIAL ACCOUNTS, LOGO DESIGN, EMAIL ADDRESS, BUSINESS CARDS

When you’ve found your idea, you’re now ready to start talking to people about your business and publishing content. However, to do this, there are a number of basic tasks you’ll need to accomplish before your business can start to materialize. Below is a useful checklist of items you must complete in order to start building your personal brand:

1. Choose a name for your business or brand: Don’t let the task of picking out a name for your business or brand overwhelm you. When choosing a name, you’ll get a lot of mixed feedback as you ask friends, family, and test audiences.  When picking out a brand name the most important thing that matters is whether you like it, you’re ready to put in the work to build your brand, and of course, whether or not the brand name is available. A useful tool for checking if your idea is available is Namechk. Additionally, if somewhere down the road you decide you don’t like your brand name, you can always change it.

2. Buy a domain: Now that you’ve picked out the name of your business (and made sure it’s available) you are ready to buy your domain. Although there are a number of sites offering domain names, Namecheap will ensure the best bang for your buck. Many sites offer a cheap first year price but than charge extremely high renewal rates. Namecheap has reasonable pricing and outstanding customer service.

3. Create a business email address: Sending emails from a gmail account, hotmail account, yahoo account, or any of the other number of email providers, looks unprofessional. With your new domain name, it’s time to open a business email address. G Suite provides plans that start at as low as $5 a month and can be set up in just a few minutes. Check out our video walkthrough of How to Set up a Business Email with Google’s G Suite.

4. Design your logo: Designing an appealing logo is crucial when developing your personal brand. Your logo is what your audience will continually associate you with and your logo will appear across a number of platforms--your website, emails, business cards, social media accounts, products, etc. When designing a logo there are options for a variety of different price points:

  • Canva offers a free logo tool that allows you to design a custom logo.

  • Logojoy is another service for creating logos and is a bit more advanced than Canva. It uses AI to instantly create your logo for a fee of  $60

  • 99designs pairs you with a graphic designer to help you work on perfecting the right logo for your business. There packages start from $299 and up.

5. Get business cards - To be taken seriously in a professional environment, you need a business card. If you’re in meetings with potential investors, trying to make sales, or simply just networking, you need a way for people to personally contact you. Moo.com offers a variety of printed products, with business cards being one of their most popular. Their site allows you to choose from a selection of templates or upload a completed design. They offer a variety of paper types and give free shipping to first time users.  

6. Sign up for social media accounts-  In today’s digital age, signing up for social media is an important step in establishing legitimacy to your brand. The first thing that many people do when checking out a company is investigate their social media profiles. If you’re new to social media and don’t really know where to start, try checking out Moz’s A Beginner's Guide to Social Media. Here they will walk you through the importance of social media, social media best practices, and guide you through the different platforms.


PART 4 - BUILDING WEBSITE WITH SQUARESPACE

Building a useful website that will attract your desired audience is essential to building and growing your brand. Your website allows you to be unique and stand out. While all social media platforms have the same layout, your website gives you the opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competition. Your website should provide your audience information about your brand as well as with useful content that makes them want to keep returning.

Squarespace is an extremely useful platform that provides software for building and hosting your website. It offers a drag and drop feature for pre-made templates that allow you to create your website without needing in-depth knowledge of HTML. It’s often cited as one of the most user-friendly softwares available for creating websites and offers a variety of different packages sure to suit almost any price point.

Wix and Weebly are two more popular drag and drop website builders. These companies both offer free website building plans, and while they are not our favorite for building websites, if you’re on a tight budget these could serve as a reasonable option. Wix offers over 510 templates to choose from and has 7 different pricing plans to choose from. Weebly has a smaller library of templates with a little over 50 available but does have more in-house features available than Wix. Both websites allow for customization and are useful tools for beginners.

Wordpress is another software that allows for creating websites. While WordPress can be a useful tool to help you get started on your website, it’s most commonly associated with blogs. WordPress is an extremely popular website building tool powering 30% of the world’s websites. However, it’s not as beginner friendly as the other softwares mentioned above. Wordpress may cost less on a monthly basis than the previous options, but if have a limited experience building websites,, you may need to hire a designer or developer to develop your initial website or when you want to make changes.


PART 5 - DESIGN BASICS

Humans are visual creatures. In order to have a successful brand or business you must have one that is visually appealing. Not everyone is a designer, and that’s ok. However, mastering the design basics--or knowing where to find someone who already has--is essential when creating your brand.

If you’d like to work on design yourself, Canva is a great tool to use. It is a graphic design tool website that uses a drag and drop feature that allows you to create designs for both online and print work. It’s easy to navigate,  easy platforms, free, paid one not necessary for beginners, all the dimensions you need, good templates,

If working on design work yourself doesn’t seem feasible, platforms such as Fiverr and Upwork, are perfect when searching for a little help with graphic design. These platforms allow you to put in the type of project you are looking for as well as your price point and will provide you with a large list of freelancers able to help you. These sites are best used for one-off projects as you will have minimal contact with your designer.

Additionally, Design Pickle is another useful platform when you have graphic design needs. Design Pickle pairs you with your designer and charges you a flat monthly rate for unlimited access to them. We recommend Design Pickle for when you have many ongoing projects and would like a designer on stand by. Design Pickle is also great because as you work with your designer over time you will develop a much more personal relationship with your designer.


PART 6 - SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY

In the age of social media, developing a powerful social media strategy is essential when hoping to grow your brand. If you want people to find your brand, talk about your brand, and see your content, you MUST be on social media. Additionally, social media allows you to interact with your audience on a more personal level and provides a sense of trust with your followers and customers.

To develop an effective social media plan you should curate your content so that it matches your vision for your brand. Will you be posting funny memes, artistic photos, or selfies? The content you post all depends on the aesthetic you are after for your brand.

Once you’ve decided on look and type of content you will be posting, it’s crucial you are consistent. Consistent content is key when building your brand. You don’t want to leave your audience wondering when they will hear from them so posting on a schedule is an important part of your social media strategy. If you’re on multiple social media platforms, sometimes remembering to post frequently throughout the different platforms can become a hassle. Software such as SproutSocial, Buffer, and Hootsuite are useful tools when looking to manage your different social media accounts. They allow you to schedule posts, provide suggestions with optimal posting times, post to social media for you.

If you’re still not convinced of the powers of social media, check out the article 9 Ways to Use Social Media to Build Your Personal Brand from Forbes.


PART 7 - VIDEO

Creating videos is one of the most powerful ways you can promote your personal brand. Videos give your audience a more personal look at the person behind the brand by allowing your unique personality to shine through. Studies have also shown that videos perform much better than their written counterparts when it comes to captivating their audience. Viewers retain 95% of information when watching videos while only 10% of people retain written messages. If you’re looking to captivate and connect with your audience, video content is key. We’ve created a YouTube video series to walk you through why you should be creating videos, what type of content you should be creating, and how to research video ideas. We also offer a free eBook with tips on how to grow your YouTube Channel.

Additionally, Hubspot’s Ultimate Guide to Video Marketing is a useful tool if you’re looking for an in-depth dive into the basics and importance of video marketing.


PART 8 BLOG / WRITTEN CONTENT

Creating a blog is a great way to provide your audience with useful information. When you create a blog, you can provide your readers with relevant content that keeps them coming back to your site. A blog may contain updates on your business or give your audience useful tips and advice. When you create appealing blog content, it gives your audience reasons to click through to your website and learn more about what you have to offer. Blogs also instill a sense of trust within your audience. As you continue producing useful content, they will begin to see you as a trustworthy source of information and will truly appreciate all you are offering them.

If you’re ready to give copywriting a shot and have the time to maintain your written work, try checking out Quicksprout’s Guide to Copywriting or Copy Blogger’s article Copywriting 101. They teach you how to write more effective copy that will engage your audience.  

If writing isn’t your forte or if you simply don’t have time to maintain a blog, hiring a copywriter may be a good idea. Copywriters will be able to take your ideas and produce written content that stays on brand. There are a variety of platforms including Scripted, Upwork, and Fiverr that allow you to search for freelancers for your projects.


PART 9 - EMAIL

Although many people view email as an outdated form of communication, it’s actually one of the best weapons you have when it comes to growing your personal brand. Emails are an effective way of getting your message across. With the ever changing algorithms of social media, it’s hard to ensure your message is being seen. However, with email, you have the control and when you send that message you will find comfort knowing that it has landed directly in their inbox.

When looking for effective service providers, we recommend Convertkit, it’s designed with you in mind.

You can also checkout Mailchimp which has a free plan to get started, as well as AWeber which is also a popular option.

If you’re wanting some more information on the benefits of emails and how to build your lists, check out our YouTube series on email marketing.

One of the most effective ways of growing your email list is by offering freebies on your landing page to entice customers to give you their email address in exchange for something of value you’re giving away for free (ebook, webinar, free course, etc.).  If you want to make sure you have an optimal landing page, sites such as Leadpages and Instapage provide software that allows you to quickly create effective landing pages without needing know any HTML. If you’re not quite sure what is a landing page or why you’d want to use one check out our video here.

After collecting emails it’s important to effectively use email to convert new leads into paying customers. Check out these tips from Optinmonster on Creating an Effective Autoresponders Series.


PART 10 - HOW TO MAKE MONEY WITH THIS EFFORT

If you’re going to be spending so much time and effort on your personal brand, you may as well be making money from it. With personal branding, there are a variety of ways to earn income from your brand. Below is a list of of ways you could be making money from your personal brand. The list starts with the easiest ways to make money that require the least amount of work and progress to the most work required with the highest return on investment.  

  • New job: A personal brand could help you land yourself a new job. As you begin to distinguish yourself in your field and continually showcase your unique experiences, future employers will take notice.

  • Placing advertisements on your content: With Google Adsense you can monetize your blog by placing banners on your website. Additionally, if you have a YouTube channel that has more than 1,000 subscribers and over 4,000 hours watched of your content you can apply to be able to show ads on your content. However, it’s important to remember that to make a decent income with ads, you need to have millions of website visitors or website views.

  • Affiliate links: On your website or in your videos you can provide affiliate links to your customers. These affiliate links lead to extra income if your audience decides to make purchases based off of your recommendations. If you’re interested in affiliate marketing, check out our video, What is Affiliate Marketing?

  • Sponsored content: Once you grow your following you can also begin to grow your income through sponsored content. While many people think that sponsorships happen only when companies reach out to them, you can make the active decision to pitch your personal brand. Sites like Famebit allow influencers and companies to collaborate together. You can search out listings from companies asking for people with specific audiences and then respond back with why you think you could be a good fit.

  • Offering a product or service: This will require the most work but can also lead to the biggest return on investment. The more traditional way of making money, offering a product (either digital or physical) that can be sold to your audience is sure to make you some extra income once you develop a loyal audience. Additionally, if you’re offering a service you can charge for (freelancer, agency, consultant, coach, etc.) you’ll be able to generate money off of your ideas.