The short answer is there was a gap between what I said I did and what I actually did; the services sited on my website didn’t marry up with my recent projects and clients.
How I was communicating who I was and what I did wasn’t right anymore. But while I knew it wasn’t right, in order for me to move on I had to figure out what was right. And so began my personal brand discovery process all over again.
When I first started my business, I chose to define myself as a personal brand coach and as part of that I developed a personal brand development methodology. Within this is a discovery process. I believe we don’t create a personal brand, but instead we discover it; we don’t create who we are, we figure it out. So, for me I had to return to where I’d started.
My discovery process involves exploring various aspects of yourself and these are the things that make you, you. These are the things that drive you, and that define you. It’s all those things that you’ve done and revisiting the things you WANT to do. But importantly it’s figuring out what things inspire and energise you. So for me I had to revisit my previous personal brand discovery work, but also add to the mix everything I’d done over the last 4 years.
The aha moment for me came when I asked myself these questions:
- What have I really enjoyed doing?
- Who have I really enjoyed working with?
- Where do I feel that I have added value or made a real difference or impact?
The answers to these questions helped me to separate out the distracting elements of what I’d been doing; the wheat from the chaff. Let me explain. There are certain projects and clients that I’ve been involved with over the last few years where I know I’ve done a good job, because I had been doing things that I know I’m good. But, I wasn’t really passionate about them and I wasn’t energised while doing it. Sure, I knew I’d done well (because the client had said so), but something was missing for me. I realised that there was other stuff I’d been doing that got me totally into the flow and excited me beyond measure and it was THIS I needed to be doing more of. Conclusion: I needed to drop the other stuff.
Another thing that I had observed is that because I gain much of my work through word of mouth and networking, I’d become involved in work that wasn’t on the list of things that I said I did, i.e. on my website or my LinkedIn profile but instead included things that came out of conversation or from what other people thought I’d be good at (probably based on their experience!). As a result I was being asked to get involved in projects that would tap into a whole range of my past experiences and not just the personal branding bit. But I’d not been selling that aspect of myself. I thought I needed to have a niche and that my niche was personal branding. WRONG! Well no, I wasn’t wrong. Choosing my niche back then was very useful to me and it worked. For a while. It helped me to build my business, but now it was evolving, I was evolving. And personal branding is now too restrictive for me. Personal branding is ONE of the ways that I work with people but it’s not the ONLY way. And as such I no longer want to define myself by it.
And so this is why I had to re-brand.