Having a personal-branded business doesn’t mean you can just do whatever the hell you want with it. I mean, you can, since it’s your business and whatever. But if you want to, you know, make money, you shouldn’t. Here are some things you should most def avoid:
1. Flaunting Your Lack of Confidence
Wait, what? Unconfident people don’t flaunt anything, do they? Well, sure, maybe not overtly. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t obvious. Any time you qualify yourself or hold yourself back from saying what you really want to say, you’ll either come across as unconfident or bland. Not good, either way.
If you don’t believe in yourself, why the hell should anyone else?
2. Shitty Website Design
This is a business, isn’t it? If you can’t figure out how to make your website look good on your own, either because you lack the skill or you simply don’t have the eye for it, get outside help. Take this seriously. Invest in your business. You don’t have to hire a professional and splash out thousands on a slick, personalised design, but at the very least you could throw down $100 for a premium WordPress theme.
3. Shitty Profile Pic
A shitty profile pic will make you look a) like you don’t know what you’re doing, b) unprofessional, and possibly even c) untrustworthy.
A few things to bear in mind:
- Dress well. You don’t have to throw on a suit though if that’s not your thing – just look at my photos throughout this site. You just have to look like you didn’t crawl out of your bed, really. Or a swamp.
- No sunglasses. Show us your eyes, you shady bastard.
- Good lighting. Natural light on your face (not behind you) is best. For the love of Christ, don’t use your camera’s flash.
- Consider what’s in the background. We don’t want to see your laundry, your unopened mail or any other clutter. If nothing else, at least use a plain wall in the background or something.
4. Shitty Logo
Sensing a theme? As a writer, I am obviously all about top-notch copy. If your words aren’t right, you’ve got no chance, no matter how beautiful your website, profile pic, logo, or any other visual element of your brand. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay to have shitty visual components. So yeah, make sure you have a good logo. Simple, clear, good fonts. Hire someone else to do it if design’s not your speciality or Photoshop makes your brain implode.
5. Bad Grammar Every God-Damn Where
If you suck at writing, hire a copywriter. Or an editor or proofreader. But ideally a writer. Typos and bad grammar make you look like an idiot, and nobody wants to hire an idiot.
6. Being Inconsistent
You can take this in multiple ways. For instance, your brand should be cohesive. Your copy, design, photos, services, products, blog posts, and whatever else, should all work in alignment.
But also, do what you say you’re going to do, and be consistent with everything you do in your business. People trust people who do what they say they’re going to do, and who do what’s expected of them. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever change your mind, but just don’t be a flake.
7. Using Cliches and Other Bullshit
UGH, THE WORST. If you want to come off as untrustworthy or like you’re just copying everyone else because you don’t know what else to do, go ahead with the cliches and other bullshit. Jargon is great for filling the spaces where you feel like you should be saying something worthwhile but can’t think of anything.
But if you want people to grow to trust, like and want to buy from you, how about just speaking openly and honestly?
8. Being Totally Unclear About What You Do
As I said, creating a personal brand doesn’t mean you can just do whatever you want with your business and make a stack of cash from it. It’d be nice if that were the case, but it isn’t. Even if YOU are the reason people stick around, there needs to be something specific they come to you for in the first place.
9. Hiding Who You Are
Being mysterious is all well and good when you’re the sexy stranger propped up on the end of the bar. In business, it’s just dumb. Running a personal brand absolutely requires trust. People must trust you, and that’s hard to accomplish if they have no idea who you really are. Tell us your name, show us your face, and give us a glimpse into your personality. Puh-LEASE.