Personal branding, whether you like the term or not, is something every web worker should consider. Don’t look at it as marketing or packaging yourself, but more as being true to yourself. Micheal Port’s book, “Book Yourself Solid” makes that distinction very well, while the Food Network demonstrates exactly how to make it work for you and your business.
Michael Port’s concept of personal branding starts with his belief that, “When you work with clients you love, you’ll truly enjoy the work you’re doing; you’ll love every minute of it. And when you love every minute of the work you do, you’ll do your best work, which is essential to [booking] yourself solid. Second, because you are your clients; they are an expression and an extension of you.”
The cornerstone of his philosophy is that “the greatest strategy for personal and business development on the planet is bold self-expression,” and many successful personal brands have used this very strategy to rise to the top.
The Food Network is filled with great examples of personal branding success stories using the “bold self-expression” strategy, and while the brands are very unique, they all attract their individual audiences by being exactly one thing — themselves.
Take three of the popular Food Network personal brands: Rachel Ray, Paula Deen and Emeril Lagasse. They each have individual flare and have used that individuality to create tremendous personal success.
It doesn’t matter if you like their individual personalities. In fact, the people who dislike them are probably as relevant to their branding efforts as their loyal fans. They boldly demonstrate who they are, like it or not, and that’s exactly what makes them successful.
As Michael Port says in his book, “In order to create a respected personal brand, you must be fully self-expressed. You can’t hide behind the shingle that you’ve hung over your door and you can’t water yourself down in any way, shape, or form.” That’s an important quality of the personalities at the Food Network; none of them are watered down. They’re bold, they’re in your face, and they’re successful.
But how do you mimic their efforts and create your own successful personal brand? That’s the easy part. Figure out who you are and who you aspire to be. Then figure out the conditions that must be met in order to always be representing that brand. Only work with clients who meet those conditions and are best suited to work with you. Never water yourself down. Never live outside of integrity. Be true to yourself — always. It’s the surest way to guarantee that you only work with ideal clients, meaning better service, better results, greater client satisfaction, and in the long run, a truly successful business.
How do you make sure that you only work with the most ideal clients for you? What methods do you use for interviewing and screening clients before taking on their work or projects?