“This post was inspired and sponsored by Domain.ME, the provider of the personal domains that end in .ME. As a company, they aim to promote thought leadership to the tech world. All thoughts and opinions are my own.”
When I stumbled into blogging six years ago, never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be a “brand.” Brands are for things like toothpaste and shampoo bottles not something a woman with a computer and a dream becomes “right”?!? Blogging and having an online hub has literally changed my life, but there have been a lot of ups and downs on this wild and crazy trip that is blogging.
When I first started blogging, it truly happened because I was lazy. Yup, being lazy helped me become an online brand. (Well, at least made the first step anyway) My total purpose of starting my own blog was because I didn’t want to type a bajillion Facebook personal messages.
At the time my husband was unemployed, and I had to learn how to coupon like a mad woman. If there was a deal to find, I was the woman that could find it. Gradually, after time, I started sharing my deals on Facebook. My family and friends were flabbergasted and wanted to know exactly how I was getting 1 million bottles of shampoo for free. After about the 20th series of Facebook private messages, I figured there had to be a better way to do this! Thus my first blog, Crunchy Frugalista, was born.
It only took me about two months before I realized that I could create a personal blog, that not only helped my friends and family, but also earned money. With my husband laid off, and our wallet collecting dust, I was thrilled that I had figured out a way to build a personal brand that earned dollar bills. To this day, I still remember being thrilled that my little online blog had earned enough to pay for the $5 hosting fee I paid each month. After month two, my brand was officially profitable.
Through the course of the last six years, I’ve learned a lot of amazing tips on how to build a great personal brand, and I’ve also learned a lot of things not to do. Even though I made a TON of mistakes, I would never go back and change them. All you can do is learn from them. Lucky enough for you, I”m going to share some of the biggest mistakes and biggest triumphs that I’ve learned during my journey becoming an online brand.
Top 6 Things To Do When Building a Personal Brand
1.Be Yourself: This is the number one thing that is a must. BE YOURSELF. That’s not just a self help mantra, it’s true in business as well. Choose how much of yourself to share, and stick with that. If you are a vegetarian, don’t try to pretend you eat meat. If you hate fashion, don’t try and act like you are a fashion blogger. As your brand grows, eventually people will meet you in person, and you want to be that “brand” personified. Figure out who you are as a brand, and stick with it. The ONE thing in this world no one can do better than you, is to be you!
2.Learn from those Before You, But Don’t Copy: There’s a fine line between learning from the pros that have come before you, and trying to copy what others are doing. This was probably one of the biggest things I struggled with when I was first developing my own personal brand. I would see website styles, photo styles, or personal styles working so well for some big bloggers and try to do it myself. In the end, all I would end up is frustrated because it wasn’t working for me. Once I realized, that I had to put ME into the work and just follow the work habits of the pros my blog (and my brand) really started to take off.
3. Network, network, network: Reaching out to others in blogging, is hands down the number one reason why my brand is a success. It really helped me learn who I was as a brand and a blogger, and at the same time built some amazing personal and business relationships. The key to successful networking isn’t thinking about what you can get from someone, but genuinely taking an interest in others and their work. I’ve met so many amazing people through this process, and it’s probably one of my favorite things to do.
4.Dare to Be Different: This kind of follows up to number one, but takes it a little bit deeper. Dare to be different. Ask yourself what makes your unique? THAT is what is going to set you apart from everyone else. If you’re a crazy cat lady, be a crazy cat lady. If you are a stay at home mom frazzled from life and child rearing, share that you are frazzled. If you are a singleton that loves being single, share that with the world. Figure out what you can offer the world, and how you do it differently and write about that. In a sea of personal blogs, this is what is going to set you apart and really give your brand some “teeth.”
5.Don’t be Swayed by Money: This one is REALLY hard, especially as you get to be a bigger brand, BUT don’t let money sway who you work with. If you are a dog owner, but a cat brand is throwing money at you don’t just take it because you can find a cat person. Working with other companies that you would work with for free (but don’t do that either), or that cause you to fist pump in the air, is how you can do collaborations that remain authentic to your personal brand. Otherwise, it waters down who you are and what your brand stands for. This is one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made over the years as a brand. It’s taken a few years for me to realize that the bucks on the front end, are not worth muddling my message later on!
6.Develop Your Brand Look: This last tip is a little bit techy, but super important. Develop your brand look. What the heck does that mean? It means when you start to develop what you want on your website, pick a font, pick colors, or pick a logo that you love and share it everywhere! When people see those colors, fonts, or logos they will know it is you! That’s when you know that your personal branding is really going in the right direction. Branding isn’t all about colors and logos but it’s definitely the icing on the cake that pulls are your hard work together so that people know it’s YOU!
Domain.ME is a great place that allows anyone online to create a personal identity online in a fun, safe environment. They are helping Ash Sears become an online brand, and pulling all of my work together into one gorgeous online hub! If you want to have a fun space to call your own, make sure to check out all the great Domain.ME locations available!