I won't lie, it would make me happy if my own name is associated with 'success' and 'entrepreneurship'. The only thing is, I'm stuck in the realm between wanting fame and not being able to deal with the attention. Ha!
If you decide to go with personal branding, it means that you've judged that it's the best route for you and your business. Even if you can also apply business branding in the future, you will need to commit to personal branding for a few years.
Let's tackle the cons that I mentioned in the last email.
Con #1: Any attacks from ill-wishers will be personal and malicious.
With personal branding, you're going to be putting your face and name out there, which makes you extremely vulnerable.
There will be people who will adore you for who you are, and people who will despise you for who you are. They'll use whatever detail you make public against you, even if it's IRRELEVANT.
It can be pretty shocking to get your first 'hater', but remember this: Those haters are not in your target market anyway. They can't relate to you and they may never will.
They don't like your (personal) brand. So what? They don't know how hard you've been working for your own goals behind the scenes. They only see that you're 'lucky' and that you 'don't deserve your luck'.
Haters don't really know who you are because they're not seeing you in 3D. It's your brand image that they're attacking.
So you must be able to shrug off those attacks because even if the hate is personal to them, it's business to you.
Con #2 : You can only start selling products after you have a substantial number of followers.
You've been investing all this time and money into personal branding and you'd like to see some returns. You want to start selling.
But not all your followers will be customers. Likes for your photo doesn't guarantee sales. You don't want to spend time and money in developing a product, only to realize later that it's not the right time / thing.
What you can do is be consistent with your branding and constantly 'test' your ideas on your audience. You have access to people who are listening to you and are willing to interact with you. This is GOLD.
Ask for your followers' opinions. Listen to their responses. Have them confide in you about their problems. Find common patterns.
Once you spot a pattern, your product should be a natural answer to it. If they've been telling you that it's hard for them to get a nice pair of pants for work, then why not design one? Be the one to solve their problems.
If you've been branding yourself consistently, then what YOU want to sell will also be what YOUR FOLLOWERS want to buy. The stars will align.
Con #3: The pressure to keep up appearances or be 'perfect' online can be overwhelming.
If you're an introvert whose energy must be replenished by being alone, having to be 'on' all the time can feel like an exhausting nightmare. Even if you're not an introvert, public scrutiny can be intense.
You may start feeling the pressure to do the right thing for your brand image and things just doesn't become fun anymore.
Having to sneak around to do what you want? Doesn't sound very enticing. But what you can do is to keep in mind that you are cultivating a personal brand for business purposes.
Think of it as a job. You can switch your personal brand on and off like a light switch.
Establish boundaries from the start. Have a consistent schedule to develop and publish content, and then relax when you don't have to work.
When you're being strategic with your content, there's no need to be 'on' all the time.
Want to show stuff that doesn't fit with your brand image? Make another private account and invite friends and family. Let loose and be yourself.
The bottom line is this: Just because it's called personal branding, doesn't mean that you should make it 100% personal.
All business owners, even those that choose business branding, must be able to take a step back. Take a bird's eye view of everything. You are not your business.