We all have our story to tell.
Each of us has traveled many long and hard roads to get where we are today, and our experiences have shaped and changed us.
Our personal brand is a reflection of each adventure, misstep, triumph, and heartache.
Discovering and building your personal brand is a journey. One that will never truly end until you reach your final destination.
It’s one journey that can be difficult to pack for, often has delays is full of inspiration and ultimately defines the person you become in the process.
Recently, I was invited by friend and client, Sherry Martz, to present at Bloggy Conference about Being the CEO of You : Building Your Personal Professional Brand. . . it was an honor to learn more from those amazing women that I feel like I was able to share.
This adventure inspired me to share the story of my journey of building my personal brand.
Often you don’t realize that building your personal brand is the foundation for all other endeavors you undertake. Regardless of the businesses you own, sell, work for or with, you will always be YOU.
Your personal brand is a beacon. For your family, friends, clients and especially yourself.
Though I have been interviewed numerous times and often am asked to speak on personal branding, I never considered sharing what inspired my brand and style . . . that is until I met international award winning photographer, Stacey Van Berkel.
Stacey and I met thanks to WithIt in the Spring of 2012. I was instantly smitten with her kind and generous spirit.
It was an honor for her to be one of my sponsors to Bloggy Conference. Discovering her talent for telling a story with one photograph was a true gift that I am determined to share. When you spend some time looking through her portfolio, you begin to see the ease in which she captures a moment and transforms it into a web of details.
The idea of telling my personal brand story evolved over a cup of coffee/tea and a trip to downtown Greensboro’s Old Southern Railway Depot.
Stacey encouraged me to share what has shaped the woman I have become so that I could help other women on the same journey, of building a personal brand, tell their story.
So here is a taste of what inspired me . . .
My Father was a WWII vet. Though he rarely spoke of his experience, his depression era values still resonate with me today.
I am a lover of reclaimed objects, a die hard DIYer and am constantly torn between my blue jeans and boots and my high heels and dresses.
I believe every woman should have a place where she can prepare herself both mentally and physically for the day. Often that place is in the compact that is passed down from generation to generation and wrapped in a hand-stitched handkerchief.
My love of the fashion and makeup from the 40’s and 50’s comes from my Father’s love of watching old black and white movies.
As a young woman, I was in awe of the manner and dress in which the women carried themselves. I still watch old movies at the end of a long day or as I work on my DIY projects not just for entertainment, mind you, but for inspiration.
Over the years I have purchased furniture and clothing that represents my generational style. Some of my favorite antiques and vintage finds have come from thrift shops like Goodwill and PTA – but the best have come from family and friends.
For me, the 40’s and 50’s were a magical era where women wore gloves and hats and always had a hankie. Where their hair was rarely out of place, and they never left the house without their pearls on.
The women of the silver screen had dresses and gowns that celebrated natural feminine curves. I love each hat and glove. To this day, I swear I will have my closet full of quality, vintage inspired, hand sewn clothing even if I have to sew them all myself! Though I will still leave the finer details to Victoria’s Secret.
These women are all beautiful to me, but the one who stands out is Grace Kelly. Her classic style is timeless and one that continues to inspire me today.
It’s not unusual to incorporate what has shaped us into our personal brand.
We all look to outside influences for inspiration, but it is our thoughts and actions that truly shape the person we become.
Thinking of yourself as a brand is often difficult, but when you consider of all the stops along the way that make up ‘Brand YOU’ you begin to see the potential of telling your story.
Your brand is made up of a thousand thoughts that you wrangle into a cohesive story about who you are. Years ago, these thoughts would be kept in handwritten journals . . . today we have social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Being active on social sites is wonderful but regardless of where we have been or where we are going, we all need a place to call home. With your personal brand, it’s your website. It’s a place where we can keep the ‘journals’ of your adventures.
If you haven’t already – buy your domain name. This means YOURNAME.COM or YOURFULLNAME.COM or both. Even if you’re not quite ready to launch your personal brand buying your domain name is the first stop on the journey of building brand YOU. (Don’t forget – If you have children, buy their domain names as well. It is an investment in their future.)
Think of your personal website as a destination for everyone you encounter. It’s where you can share your passions, talents and your journey as your grow into your authentic self.
The one question I get asked the most when it comes to personal branding is “where do I start?” . . . well, the journey of building brand YOU begins with the commitment to share your story.
Are you ready?
Special thanks to:
Stacey – thank you for being so thoughtful and for encouraging and helping me share my story, your talent is breathtaking.
Maria – you are amazing, and I look forward to getting to know you better!
Jim – we are grateful to you and your staff at Southern Rail for your generous hospitality.
To the kind folks at the Greensboro Depot – thank you for your kind words and patience.
Who has inspired you on your personal branding journey?
Are you creating a consistent brand experience? (business card, website/blog, personal style)