Can I be real with you for a second? I’m feeling excited for how far I’ve come. When I first started my branding business, I made so many mistakes. I focused on all the wrong things, ignored the impact of personal stories, and tried to be like everyone else. Of course, 5 years later, I still make mistakes and I am still learning.
Finding the fire and confidence to start sharing my experience navigating through life as a person of color, has been one of the biggest a-ha moments of my entrepreneurial journey. And to keep it real, it is definitely one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made with my brand. Here are reasons why sharing your story (even the nitty gritty parts) is essential to building your brand.
I know you’ve heard the saying, “Seek first to understand not be understood.” And, yes, this is totally true. But that’s not the whole story.
With the current racial climate, I realized some things about myself. For most of my life, I’ve been a part of a lot of predominantly white groups and communities. And most of the time, I’ve tried not just to fit in, but not to stand out in any way. This made me play small, stay quiet, and not make any waves. The thing is, I was also not showing the people that I want to serve that I know exactly what it’s like to be a wallflower, to do what everyone else thinks is right, and to second guess the things you want to share and create.
As business owners, it’s our job to truly understand our ideal customer, their hopes, their dreams, their struggles. But it’s also our job to put ourselves out there and show our potential customers that were here and ready to be hired. We need to communicate to our audience that we totally know where they’re coming from, what they’re going through, and how to help get the results they desire. You do this by sharing your story, sharing your own transformation, and addressing obstacles with your own unique perspective.
Many business owners think that they can hire someone to do their branding and be done. Unfortunately that’s not the case.
My first experiment with entrepreneurship started when I was 25 year-old newlywed. Back then, my worldview was quite simple: Just find a path that looks like it works and when you hit an obstacle that means that you need a new path.
I thought The key to being an entrepreneur was looking like one.
I thought branding was mostly about looks and that the in-depth questionnaires just gave me ideas for words to put on their website (again just to look like a legit entrepreneur).
Now that I’m older and a little more grown-up, I have a completely different perspective. I realized that I’m personally drawn to business owners who have a sense of humor, who are great storytellers, and who love to drink wine and be silly.
I now know that some of the most important aspects of someone’s brand are the personality quirks, the stories, and the obsessions that make them human.
Over the past couple weeks, I’ve had the realization that my experience of being underestimated, undervalued, and misjudged is a story that needs to be told. There are people out there who can learn from it, resonate with it, and be inspired by it. The hard stories are just as important to highlight as the fun ones.
So here’s the tea:
You were ever-growing and ever-changing. Your perspective shifts with each experience, your impact grows with each skill you master; your priorities change with each life stage you enter. Your brand is not static. Your brand evolves with you and that story needs to be told every step of the way.
Here’s something a little embarrassing: if you interviewed five of my closest friends and asked them what I’ve shared with them about being black, they’d be at a loss for words. It wouldn’t be because they aren’t good friends, it’s because I just didn’t talk about it much.
Just like most people I like to focus on the positive things, the things that make me feel good. I hate growing on the negative things, because they make me feel frustrated and sometimes a little helpless.
But over the last couple weeks I’ve slowly started sharing what it’s like from my personal perspective as a black woman.
And you know what? My relationships with my friends are a little bit closer. My self-confidence has skyrocketed. My audience engages with my content way more often and people I’ve never interacted with are thanking me for sharing with them.
Standing for something draws a line in the sand. It shows your potential customers the kind of person you are, the values you have, and the kind of world you want to see in the future. It makes people decide if they’re in or out and you only want to work with clients who stand with you anyway.
So there you have it, sharing uncomfortable stories from my experience helped me realize how important sharing our story and drawing a line in the sand is for creating a brand that makes an impact. And if you want to start sharing your stories and feel like you just don’t have the courage to start, I would love to invite you into my Brand Building Mompreneur Facebook group. It’s totally FREE and features prompts, community, and encouragement to help you share your story, own what makes you special, and get paid for your expertise. Join the Facebook Community here.
This ultimate roadmap will help you gain clarity on your one in a million brand even if you have no idea how to make everything fit under one umbrella.