Set Yourself Apart: Creating A Personal Brand When You’re Running A Business

This blog post is being brought to you by Visa Small Business

“You’re She Takes on the World!”

That’s a common greeting I hear from people at conferences and events I attend. Natalie MacNeil has become somewhat synonymous with the She Takes on the World brand, and I am constantly examining where my personal brand and business brand overlap and where the two brands should be more distinguished.

This is a common dilemma for solo entrepreneurs, who make up the majority of small business owners.

I believe business owners should inject their own personalities and personal brand attributes into their businesses. Your personality and your story can really set you apart – after all, you’re the only YOU on this planet.

You’re one in 7 billion, baby! (Click to tweet!)

I was visiting a vegan cafe during a recent adventure in Europe and it was one of my favorite food experiences, mostly because of the owners. They incorporated their love of old records, vintage furniture, and board games into the theme. They also recreated secret family recipes, which were originally meat-based, into delicious vegan dishes. They infused their personalities into the brand of their business to create a truly unique experience that I don’t often find in other restaurants.

When your own personality is woven into your bigger picture business tapestry, I think you connect with it on a deeper level, and that’s a huge advantage.

Going back to She Takes on the World, I am head-over-heels in love with what I’m creating with my team. I know it’s a solid brand that has a lot of momentum behind it, and it’s not so much about me but about all the energy that comes from my team and the entire She Takes on the World community.

As the brand takes on a life of its own, I’m realizing I have interests and other project ideas that don’t necessarily fit. She Takes on the World is where my main focus will stay, but now more than ever I see the need to distinguish my personal brand from the business brand.

For example, I have been taking meditation and meridian energy therapy training for the last two years. Part of what I’m learning can be incorporated into She Takes on the World, while other parts don’t really feel like a seamless fit and will be things I develop under my personal brand, which I will launch a new website for later this year.

Here are my top tips for navigating the complexities that come with having your personal life and business life mashed into one.

  • Keep your audience in-the-know and have an open dialogue about the direction you’re going in. This will help them to stay involved with key decisions that may affect the relationship you’ve built with them.
  • Create a Venn diagram of your personal brand and business brand. This will help you to see where there is a clear overlap and where there are differences. When I’m planning my projects for the coming year, I create a Venn diagram so that I can have a visual representation of how I am separate from my business.
  • Check in on your priorities. My business brand is my priority, and sometimes that means projects that are a better fit for my personal brand will get put aside to maintain that focus on She Takes on the World.
  • Build a team who can help you with your business. You don’t need to abandon the projects you feel passionate about, but delegate your business responsibilities to free up YOUR time to work on your personal projects. Just because you’ve baked your personality into the DNA of your business, it doesn’t mean you can’t hire and empower others to run it for you.

Now it’s your turn: What are your challenges when creating a personal brand that’s separate from your business brand? How do you manage both? I’d love to hear from you in a comment below.

 

Disclaimer: I am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Visit http://facebook.com/visasmallbiz to take a look at the reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, the Page will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner’s success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa’s small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit http://visa.com/business.

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5 thoughts on “Set Yourself Apart: Creating A Personal Brand When You’re Running A Business

  1. I had a (former?) good friend rail on me via email for posting something that she didn’t like on my personal Facebook page. She said “You’re building a brand and you need to think about these things!” Really, of course, what she meant was “I don’t like what you posted so I’m going to make it about your business!” as I only have personal friends on my Facebook page. Right now, my personal brand and business brand are really tight-knit in these beginning phases of my business, but I certainly see myself branching out in a few years, and I expect it won’t fit with The Off-Road Millennial brand. But that’s what I love about solopreneurship: I am my brand, for better or worse.

    1. Absolutely, and it is a good thing to create some distinction between the business brand and personal brand so it’s great to hear you are already thinking about that.

  2. I am currently looking at starting up a second business and am unsure if I should attach my name to the business in the sense of using my initials or first & last name as part of my new business venture’s name. On one hand I feel it would be great as it would be directly associated to me as I will be starting up this venture solo (for now), but on the other hand I am not sure if I should choose a more neutral name? (the new business will be in the Digital PR direction where my first business is Social Media Marketing). Help?! 🙂

    1. Hi Michelle! There are a lot of different factors to consider. Sometimes it’s great to just use your name so you can keep the same company even if you change directions and launch different products, or expand into different industries. Sometimes people pick a business name that is very specific, and then find themselves having to change it because they don’t want to continue with the venture that the name was meant for.

      If you want to build a business much larger than just you, and perhaps even sell it one day, then it’s better to leave your name out of it. It all depends on your goals, and many factors need to be considered here 🙂

      Here’s a post about business names that I did with one of my mentors, Carol Leaman:

      http://www.shetakesontheworld.com/2014/02/change-your-business-name-up-your-business-game-an-interview-with-carol-leaman/

      All the best!

  3. I haven’t been separating business and personal brands because my business is based on my personal lifestyle. After reading this and thinking about it more, yes, I definitely need to separate them. That’s a relief. I can keep somethings not everyone needs to know about me out of the business rather than alter what I do because of the business. Thank you for making that clear!

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