The most critical question to ask yourself before you start building a personal brand… Is Personal Branding Right for Me?

Personal branding is not for everybody. The work and focus required to truly achieve a good personal brand cannot be fully appreciated unless you truly do answer this question.

So before you consider spending time crafting and creating the personal brand that defines you, your product or service, ask yourself this critical question.

How do you know if personal branding is right for you?

To answer this overall question there are other questions that you must answer.

Do I want to be a leader?

One of the main goals and benefits of creating your own brand is to emphasize your leadership and notable qualities. People are naturally wired to follow leaders. Your market is going to follow someone so it might as well be you.

Before you answer this question, realize that being a leader is often times a challenge. As a leader you will be held to higher standards, you will be placed on a pedestal, and as a leader you must always be a head of the pack.

Leaders make it look easy, but very seldom do you see the blood, sweat, and tears the leader put in to get there.

Michael Jordan one of the most renowned basketball players of all time. You see his performances at games but were you there when night after night in his local neighborhood basketball court he was shooting hoop after hoop well past the sunset?

If you don’t have the mindset or stamina for the rigors that it takes to be a leader in your field you should simply not attempt a personal brand. The reason is simple, anything you try to accomplish will be sub-par and you will never accomplish the results you are seeking.

More important, no matter what type of field or industry, if you aren’t a leader all the work and strategy to creating a personal brand will be pointless.

If you can’t be a leader no brand building will be effective.

Are You Always Authentic?

This is a big and often overlooked question. When you enter the market place in a big way as you will when forming a personal brand certain items become out of your control.

You will lose control of what is said and portrayed about you Sure you can respond to all conversations, in fact this is one of the most effective ways to build a brand. Just be cautioned when you put yourself out there you have to realize that you lose a tremendous amount of control.

Sure you can craft your messages but the world today is much more transparent than it used to be. If you are not true to who you are the real you will always come out sooner or later.

So ask yourself right now if you are true and authentic to your values, skills, goals, and passions?

If the answer is no or if in any way you are hiding some true intentions please be warned these will be known.

So it is critical that you be completely authentic in whatever you do.

Can I be an Expert in my field?

This is an easy question to answer, because you are in one of two spots. Either you are currently seen as an expert in your field or you are not.

If you are seen as an expert most likely you are already on some path of leadership and you have differentiated your views and opinions.

If you aren’t seen as an expert in your field don’t be concerned, this is exactly what personal branding can help you accomplish.

These days when done correctly it is easier than ever to go from literal unknown to expert, so don’t fret if you aren’t quite seen as an expert yet.

A point of caution, just as being authentic is critical, being an expert cannot be faked. Your target market, and especially the other leaders in your field will see right through you if you don’t have the creditably to back up your expert status.

Can I be different than other leaders?

Being unique in your field is huge. One of the biggest mistakes made by the majority of people embarking on personal branding is what I call ‘leader cloning’.

Leader cloning is essentially when someone in a given market literally parrots or rides the coattails of a leader in their field. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery except when you are the one doing the imitation.

Leader cloning is easy to spot. Most likely each and every message from the CLONE follows the actions or views of a given leader in a field. Frequently this simply is not an overt attempt by the person. Usually this person highly respects this leader or is following this leader.

They forget that instead of constantly following the direction of this person they need to be charting their own waters.

Another common reason this occurs is when building a personal brand there is only so much space for leaders in media, blogs, podcasts, and social media. So a new person parrots or dovetail off thought leader messages or great insights thinking they will benefit from this attention. Remember your market will always know the original source.

So ask yourself a few questions:

  • How can you be different?
  • How can you advance your given field?
  • How can you give back, what do you see lacking?

Doing this will add value to your given market or field and will gain the respect of your peers.

Answer these for questions and you will know if personal branding right for you.

These are critical to have an effective personal brand that makes a difference and accomplishes what a true personal brand should. Until you can say…

  • Yes, I want and am able to be a leader.
  • Yes, I am authentic in everything I do.
  • Yes, I can be an expert in my field.
  • Yes, I am different than other leaders in my space.

Keep going to the drawing board until you can say the above with complete confidence.

These questions don’t stop at the creation of your brand, these are great check up questions to ask yourself every so often as you build your brand awareness.

You should be asking yourself am I being a leader, being authentic, seen as an expert, and am I different than the other leaders in my field?

Leave a comment below with your questions or your best tips on the above questions.