Curious about developing your personal brand? I interviewed the best-selling author of Amazon’s #1 book on personal branding titled ‘Personal Branding For Brits’.
Read on to learn what you should know about your personal brand, the importance of having a niche and why women should always ask for more.
The Personal Brand Expert
When it comes to personal branding, Jennifer Holloway knows her stuff. She spent 15 years in corporate PR and media, before she launched her own company in 2008.
She now delivers personal branding workshops and seminars, one-to-one coaching, to FTSE 100 clients across the UK and Europe, including Santander, Vodafone, HSBC, Boots and Tesco.
Three Things You Should Know About Your Personal Brand
Jennifer shared three things you should know about your personal brand.
Watch: Video review of Personal Branding For Brits
Most people think personal branding is about promoting yourself. It’s a part of it but you can’t promote yourself unless you know what you’re promoting.
Define Your Personal Brand
Start by spending time defining what your personal brand is, what you’re trying to sell and who you want to sell to.
Once you know that, you’ll make better decisions about everything from which platform you should be on and what messaging to use.
If your personal brand is more serious then you won’t post cat pictures online. If you’re a fun brand then cat pictures would be acceptable.
Accept Not Everyone Will Like Your Personal Brand
Not everyone will buy into your brand, even million dollar brands have people that don’t like them and they invest a lot of money into their brand.
Don’t spend time worrying about it. Ask yourself if you love everybody in the world. You probably don’t, so why would everybody love you?
People who get your personal brand will love it and those who don’t won’t and that’s okay.
Adapt Your Personal Brand
You can flex your brand depending on the situation while staying true to who you are.
When people are different from you, you need to dial your brand down to match them and get them to dial up to match with you.
Just think ‘What’s the nearest we can go towards each other while still being ourselves?’
The Journey to Personal Branding
Jennifer began her career in London. She was headhunted for a PR role in Yorkshire where she now lives.
“Initially I wanted to be a fashion designer but I changed my mind and went with graphic design.”
After a year of studying, Jennifer didn’t feel like she was learning and decided to leave College. Her mother didn’t try to stop her.
Years later when she asked her why, her mother said:
“Because I know what you’re like. Once you’ve made up your mind about something you just do it.”
After quitting College, Jennifer began her job hunt.
“I sat with the yellow pages and I phoned all the design agencies. I found someone who needed an assistant and he hired me.
Working with him made me realise I was more creative with words than graphics.”
Jennifer decided to pursue a career in PR.
“In PR you were on call 24/7. Even on holiday, I would be called. A lot of journalists were great but some of them weren’t.
One of them said to me that he made it his goal to try and make a PR person cry at least once. I loved working in PR but eventually it wore me out.”
From PR To Personal Branding
Jennifer needed a career change so she trained as an executive coach and started to practice.
Although she was good at it, being an executive coach didn’t resonate with Jennifer. She felt she was ignoring her years of experience in PR and communications.
Jennifer decided to niche and focus on coaching people to define and communicate their personal brand. She would use her PR experience to turn the brand into a story.
“Once I niched, it made a world of difference. I met a woman many years ago and I asked her what she does.
She said ‘I’m a fairy godmother for women over 40.’
I asked her what that meant. She said ‘I help women over 40 who are single and looking for a relationship find the confidence to do it.’
That stayed with me and years later I met a friend who knew someone who needed exactly that and I referred her.
In business, always niche. Niche so that people can put you in a box and hand you to someone when they need to.”
Jennifer started coaching clients on their personal brand in 2008. It was hard as it was during the recession but she knew that she was on the right road.
In 2008, the subject of personal branding was not as popular as it is now. Jennifer knew it would become popular and people would realise why it was important.
Eventually her persistence paid off.
“I usually work only 4 days a week, I earn three times what I was earning when I worked in PR and I get to choose who I work with.”
More importantly, Jennifer is happy with her career.
Always Ask For More
“I think women sometimes put obstacles in our own way. It’s in the way that we speak, saying things like ‘I know this is a stupid question but…’. We also don’t think to ask for more sometimes.”
Years ago Jennifer was working in London and got headhunted for a great job. She took the role and years later there was a new starter.
She found out her new colleague was getting paid £7000 more than her so she confronted her manager and asked why she wasn’t paid more.
“He said to me ‘Well you didn’t ask, they did.’ I learned from that experience and since then I have always asked for more.”
Years later she was interviewing for a contract and her interviewer questioned her daily rate. He felt that it was too high.
“I told him ‘I’m worth it.’ and it worked. He paid me what I asked. Women should always ask for more because what’s the worst that could happen?
They’ll say no and then it’s up to you to decide whether you’ll accept it or not. Look at Saidah Ahmed, she found out she wasn’t being paid equally and she took on the BBC.
Always stand up for yourself. Women should have a level playing field.”
Would you like to develop your personal brand? Connect with Jennifer on LinkedIn. Be sure to send her a personalised message when you send the invitation.