Now more than ever, establishing your personal brand is critical to your business. It doesn't matter whether your goal is to make more money or to make a difference (or both): if you aren't avidly working on your personal brand, you are losing out. But for women in business owners, branding ourselves is especially important. That's because many of us aren't standing in our value nearly enough. We back down, settle, or give in far too much. And that leads to making far less than we should, not asking for the sale enough, doubting ourselves, and playing the comparison game in our minds. And this does nothing to set an example for the next woman. It just keeps the cycle going. It's an ugly epidemic. And we can do something about it.
In my own work as a brand strategist, I have seen firsthand how women don't see their own value nearly enough--and how much their bank accounts show it. It's heart-breaking. Nathalie Gregg, author of "Leading in Stilettos," agrees. She believes that women can be strong and powerful in business without needing to "quiet our voices or lose our femininity" in the process. She has seen far too many women being afraid to get visible in the entrepreneurial realm and she believes it doesn't have to be that way if we focus on how to brand ourselves well. Through her work as a Speaker, Personal Branding and Leadership Consultant for Women, Nathalie shares that the way women have been socialized impacts their views on visibility and the way others see them.
Nathalie shares that now is the time for women in business to find their voice as far as what is their message and how to communicate to their ideal clients because "we are all getting so many messages on social media and you'll get lost in all of the noise." She believes that branding is the best way to stand out in a crowded market place."
Nathalie makes an interesting point in that women are just socialized so much more differently than men and this shapes the way we and the world sees us. She states, "It impacts our mindset. All of those things we've been told impacts us so much. We've been told we can't compete and that we're just girls." How many of us have heard that we are "pretty" as children more than we ever heard "you're smart," "you're strong" or "you're a leader."
So how can we build up our brands (and our sense of worth) as women entrepreneurs? Here are a few tips from Nathalie:
• Start by deciding how you want to be remembered. As a Writer? communicator? problem solver?
• Make a decision to identify your ideal clients. When you work with your most ideal clients, it brings out the best in your, they get the best results, and you establish your brand strongly. Who are the people who really make you excited to work with them?
• Go out and build a strategic network. Network with people with whom you can build strategic alliances. But also, don't forget to network with potential ideal customers. Clients have to hear you and really understand what you offer and networking often helps you get comfortable with standing in your value.
• Know your goals and objectives and the results you want to get out of branding yourself. Is it to get publicity? To become the go-to expert in your niche? To make more money? You have to clear on what you want your brand to do for you.
• How would someone know their brand isn't working? You won't be getting enough business or expanding your business will seem like a very slow process.
Clearly, women should master their personal brands. And the good news is that we can and it doesn't have to be difficult. It is a matter of making a commitment to the process and knowing that it can only help you become more self-aware and powerful. We empower ourselves and all the women in our lives to embrace our value when we first decide to be a living example of that. Here's to all of us making more impact and more money with confidence!