Welcome to the very first episode of The Personal Branding Project! Before we get stuck into the “how” of personal branding, I thought it was important to lay some foundations about what personal branding really is (beyond the obvious), why it’s not just for celebrities and influencers, and how it has the power to change not just your career or business, but your life as a whole.
As someone who has worked in all sorts of jobs from musical theatre to real estate, and went from being an employee to a freelancer to a business owner, I’ve experienced what a personal brand (or lack thereof) can do for your career. I’ve also spent years learning about personal branding the slow and hard way and now I’ve figured it out, I’m here to give you some short-cuts.
I really hope you enjoy the episode and start to get excited about how you can start getting more intentional with your own personal brand so you can do what I’ve done and create a life around getting paid to do the things you love!
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READ THE TRANSCRIPT
You’re listening to episode one, the life-changing magic of personal branding. Today we’re going to talk all about what a personal brand really is. Some examples of real-life, personal brands that are doing it right and why you need to know about personal branding and get intentional about it. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, side hustler, freelance artist, employee, or any other kind of professional.
Welcome to the personal branding project. I’m your host Kat Elizabeth an actor and personal branding coach who is obsessed with helping creative entrepreneurs like you feel personal brands that change your life from attracting bigger opportunities, more joy and freedom in your life, and the ability to get paid to do the things that you love most. Each week. I’m bringing you inspiration, practical advice, and occasional dose of tough love so you can stop dreaming and start doing what it takes to make those dreams a reality.
Well, hello and welcome to the very first episode. Oh my goodness. I’m having all the fields, although most of them are erring on the side of terror and fear and resistance. You know, all those lovely things that pop up when you know that you’re supposed to do something but you’ve never done it before and it’s just scary. I wanted to let you know this because I have a lot of people that tell me that I seem to have it all together and I’m always just like doing the things and you know, make it look so easy. And I’m here to tell you that it’s not any time that you put something new out there, something that you created and you put your heart and soul into it is terrifying. It’s a vulnerable experience. And I mean, any of my Brene Brown fans out there, you’ll know what I mean when I say tomorrow I am probably going to have a massive vulnerability hangover.
But the fact is that every time that we do something that does scare us, that you know, does get us one step closer to living our dream lives. We grow and we learn and we evolve and up-level. And so doing these things that, you know, give us all those fields, it just absolutely crucial. So however you found me today, I just wanted to, firstly, thank you so much for allowing me into your ears. I’m really honoured that you’re here giving me a chance to help you build your personal brand and I’m making a commitment right now that I am going to give you absolutely everything I can. The resources, the advice, the inspiration, the motivation, the tough love, you know, the occasional kick up the butt. And what I wanted to do today was really just start at the very beginning in the words of Maria Von Trapp and lay some really important foundations so that moving forward, you know what I’m talking about.
You already know why that you know the things that we’re discussing are so important and hopefully we’ll get the juices flowing so you can start thinking about ways that building your own personal brand could potentially change your life. Just wanting to explain firstly why I decided to even launch a podcast when I do already have a YouTube channel and I do Facebook lives where I talk about all these things. And I guess it’s because what I’ve noticed is that firstly our attention spans are really different when we’re watching video. We’re quite impatient. We want you to get straight to the point and often we’re looking for a quick fix and there’s definitely a time and place for quick fixes, you know, for the superficial stuff. How can you make your Instagram feed look prettier? How can you make your videos more clickable? You know, all those kinds of things.
But I’m here to tell you that it’s not enough. I’m sorry. And this is the tough love part of the conversation, but I was doing a lot of the things right for a long time, but I had a massive disconnect between what I was doing on the surface. So you know, for instance, an Instagram feed versus what was going on in the inside. So I wasn’t owning my story, I didn’t know what I was trying to even achieve. I had massive confidence issues and constant imposter syndrome and all of that. And it was once I finally started sorting out all the crazy stories that were going on in my head that doing all of the pretty stuff, the small superficial stuff started to work a lot better. So this podcast is for those of you who are prepared to do the deep work, who are prepared to admit that a personal brand is nothing if you don’t know who you are and you’re not committed to trying to become your best self every single day.
So look, if you’re looking for a really quick fix on how to build your brand, this is probably not the podcast for you and you can maybe go back to YouTube and watch them on my tutorials if you want. But we are going to go deep here and I’m really excited about this and I hope you are too. So enough laying the foundations about this podcast. Let’s talk about the foundations of personal branding. So I feel like there is a lot of talk about personal branding these days. It’s kind of become a bit of a buzz concept. But the fact is personal brands have been around for a very, very, very long time. These days you probably associate personal brands with celebrities and influences, you know, people in high places. And while yes, their personal brands might be way more visible than ours. The fact is we all have personal brands because at the core a personal brand is no different than any brand.
It’s really about how your audience, how your clients, how customers or potential customers see you, how they perceive you. That is something that we all have because we’ve all been perceived by someone before. But really I think you’ll hear it not just because you want to improve the perception that people have of you, but you also want to get seen by more people. And so even though the actual technical definition of personal branding and branding in general is one thing, let’s be honest, a personal brand is nothing. If no one knows you exist. You know, I love the saying, you can’t sell a secret. So you’re here to not only get intentional about how people are perceiving you what they’re, what they’re able to get from, you know, stumbling across your Instagram or your YouTube or seeing a photo of you or reading something that you wrote.
But we also want to make sure we start amplifying your message and getting you found by more people. Because when that happens, that’s when opportunities start rolling in. It’s when we can stop competing on price so much and have people just want to work with us because they love us, they respect us, and they just want the opportunity to actually work with us, you know, as opposed to putting us in a lineup of, you know, 10 maybe five other people who do the same kind of thing and just going, okay, well what does this person off of versus this person? How much is this package versus this package? You know, a really incredible personal brand allows people to just not even blink when they see the price. Or maybe they can’t afford you right now, but they go, you know why I’m prepared to wait.
I’m going to save and you know, until I can afford your package because I don’t want to work with that other person even though they’re cheaper because I know you’re the person for me. So I guess this is where personal branding can change your life, but I also want to talk about something else that’s super powerful with personal branding and it’s the fact that also as humans we can be a little bit fickle. We can get bored. The fact is we grow, we change, we evolve. Whether you, whether you like it or not, whether you have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset, the fact is change is inevitable and that means that the thing that you set yourself up to do when you were young, like let’s say you had a dream career and you went and studied it at university, you got your degree, you got your first job, climb the ladder.
At some stage there is a really good chance that you’re going to decide that you don’t want to do that anymore. It’s normal and there’s nothing wrong with that. But where people can get stuck is that if you’ve only done that one thing and you’re only known for working for that one company for your whole life, when you go to get another job or start a business or do something completely differently, people are like, hold on. What? This doesn’t make any sense like and how do you have the right experience and you know it all comes down to that, that you know a qualification on your wall. The experience on your CV and where personal branding can come in is that in time you’re kind of building yourself this platform that allows you to pivot. People are starting to follow you for you. You’re building that know, like and trust factor so that when the time comes, if the time comes that you want to do something different, you’ve got all this evidence of the fact that yes you are actually qualified.
That it does make sense that you’re doing this thing. People aren’t going to just be looking at, you know, proof on your resume or on your, you know, degree to see that you can do this thing because you’ve already done all the work to show them. And that’s coming to play for me because I, if you know my career background, it’s all over the shop. At least it used to feel that way and it might’ve used to look that way to people on the outside until I figured out my brand story, I guess if you want to call it that way. So my background is in musical theater originally. So that was how I sort of got started, you know, aside from a few years of retail, which every Aussie kid grows up doing. So then I worked at movie world and then I’d gone into musical theater and I ended up having this quarter life crisis where everything fell apart.
Like I’m only giving you the cliff notes version right now. And I got into real estate and then I got into marketing and I wrote and produced a show. And it just, and I’d also, I should mention I’ve been a personal trainer. I’d been a dance teacher, I’d been a makeup artist, I’d done all the things and it looked like I just had some sort of ADHD, honestly, like people like, wow, she cannot keep a job. And then I became a copywriter, which is something that actually stuck for a really long time. Like technically I’ve been a copywriter for five years and a year ago got into online course creation. And my first course was a makeup course, which, you know, it made sense to me ’cause I was like, well I used to be a makeup artist and it made sense to some people. But I saw that there was still a bit of confusion because I wasn’t really being clear on why I was doing all these different things.
And I’d never really talked about my background, you know, in that much detail. Like I feel like I was filtering a lot of the story. Like I would be like, okay, well, right now I’m focusing on acting, so therefore my story should just be about acting. I’m going to hide my secret identity as a copywriter from everybody else. I was using two separate names, like I was using my legal name for my copywriting work and I was using my middle name for my acting like, and I honestly had two separate identities thinking that this is what I needed to do. Turns out life gets a lot easier when you’re not trying to hide things from people and instead you own your entire story and you just frame it in a way that makes sense to people. It actually increases your credibility as long as you’re doing the things that you’re supposed to be doing.
Obviously, if you’re in a career where you know you’re not loving your life, you know it’s not a career you even want to be in, then that’s kind of irrelevant. But let’s say that you’re trying to build this personal brand to allow you to get paid to do the things you love. Well, it’s a lot easier when you just own your story and you tell the story honestly and use your story to kind of feel the power of what you do and fuel your credibility. So I want to give you one other example as well ’cause I don’t want this to be all about me but I want to talk about my mum. So she’s a real estate agent and she has been doing it for about 12 years. She’s amazing at what she does. The business model is pretty much based on referrals, which already says something like she’s not relying on advertising or door knocking or you know, cold calling.
Like people just talk about her a lot and that gets her most of her business. So that’s already one big tick in the personal branding box, if you want to call it that. But the thing that I also want to really paint a picture around is that she has worked at a whole bunch of different real estate agencies throughout her career. It’s, it’s kind of normal. When you’re an agent you tend to every, you know, every couple of years you probably hope to a new location and that’s normal. But what happens for a lot of agents is that when they leave one agency, a lot of the time people won’t follow them to another agency because they have some sort of attachment to this particular real estate agency. Like for some reason they think that one’s the best and so they’d just rather work with someone who happens to be working there.
What happened with my mum though is that people actually knew her for her name. She was just, I’m not going to say her name just for privacy sake, but she was known as you know, “first name, last name, real estate agent” and what happened is as she was changing these agencies, we started to notice that no one even blinked when she changed. Like she, she wasn’t having it damage her career in any way and her clients would follow her from one agency to another agency. And you know, because thankfully she kept the same phone number, you know, people would just keep calling and sometimes they’d even have, you know, the marketing materials that she’d given them five years ago from a different agency and they just kept it in their top drawer knowing that one day they would work with her and eventually again, thankfully, ’cause it was the same phone number they got in touch and they were like, “I know it’s been five years, but we always knew that you were the agent that we needed to work with and we’re ready now.”
And this is crazy because it’s kind of breaking the rules of you know, of real estate where normally it is quite fickle and it’s whoever’s there in front of them in that moment. And whoever’s working at the flashiest agency. That’s never actually mattered for my mum. And now she’s actually opened up her own agency. And the cool thing is that at the core of it is her personal brand. And then she’s using her business brand to kind of just amplify everything that she represents, which is amazing. So you know, I want to paint these pictures to show that sometimes I think for us, me mortals, having a personal brand is actually more important than when you’re a celebrity because we’re building things from scratch and money is an issue and we don’t have crazy advertising budgets and the press chasing us to announce our latest things.
We need to do the work, we need to actually be proactive and build our brand and start telling our story ’til it gets to the point where other people start telling it for us. ‘Cause that is, that’s the sweet spot when you get to sit back. Pat Flynn, if you don’t follow him, you really should. He talks and his latest book, it’s called Superfans and how it really, if you can build up that that audience of, you know, whether it’s a hundred or a thousand people who just spread the word for you, that is when your business starts to sort of almost sustain itself in some ways. And I think it’s the same thing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a business, if it’s your personal brand, like whether you’re a freelancer, you know, if, if people start talking about you for you, oh – that’s when your life starts to get a lot easier.
And so that is why we’re here. I am here to help you get intentional about your personal brand so that you’re setting yourself up for life. It’s kind of this insurance policy for yourself so that if one day you did want to change careers or pivot or launch a new thing, you’re not actually pushing mud up hill. You’re not starting from scratch because you’ve already built this platform for yourself. I should mention that. You know, I only got intentional about my personal brand about two years ago when I read Gary Vaynerchuks book, Crushing It! Because he talked about the power of building your own platform, a platform for your own voice, not just relying on the company that you’re working for to give you that platform. And he’s a perfect example of someone who started doing one thing. I mean he did. He had a wine review channel on YouTube and now he’s like this media mogul, you know, he’s got this incredible advertising agency or media agency that is doing huge things and he’s working with all these people and he’s got so much influence, but he started from nothing like he just worked for his parents wine company.
Now before you go putting heaps of pressure on yourself to go, Oh my goodness, I need to do this now. I need to know all of the things, I need all the answers, you need to keep in mind that just like we are always evolving, that means our personal brand is always evolving too and so it’s a constant work in progress. It’s going to be messy. You’re not going to just get it right the first time and something that’s right for you now won’t necessarily be right for you in a few years. But I think what I’m trying to drill in now is that if you at least start getting intentional, if you start going, okay, where can I be spreading my message? Like what do I actually represent? What are the, you know, the changes that I want to make in the world. How do I want to help people in some way?
Then you can start doing the work now and it’s just gonna… You know, it’s going to start flowing in time and yes, it can change as you change and it’s going to get better and more polished. You know, we always start off fairly rough around the edges and that’s totally fine. But I’m telling you right now, putting something out there that’s rough and imperfect that exists, it has the power to change your life. Waiting until something is perfect and keeping it a secret, you know, indefinitely that will never change your life. So I mean, as a recovering perfectionist, I’m, I’m not preaching from my soapbox. I have spent a lot of years wasting time when I could’ve been putting more out into the world. But I’m hoping that you’ll learn from my own mistakes and know that sometimes it’s better to just hit go, you know, because we will never feel ready.
We’re never going to have all the answers. But what’s crazy is that when you do start to put it out there, the answers start coming back. So you will get better at the things that you wanting to do. You know, you have to make some really crappy videos before you start creating great videos and you know, you might do some really awkward, you know, posts on Instagram before you start getting feedback from your audience. You’re like, Oh, this is what they actually want to hear. And all of that is totally fine. People forgive you for that, but you know the connections that you can can build the relationships that start to build from doing this, that is kind of the fuel that you need to keep going. Whereas if you try and just kind of do it all behind the scenes quietly, don’t tell anyone about it and just wait ’til it’s launch day.
I mean it doesn’t work like that. There is no such thing as a launch day for your personal brand. Just like do what you’re doing and start getting more deliberate with it and start being a little bit braver and thinking, okay, where am I hiding? Where can I be more visible? Where can I just put my hand up and volunteer for something like maybe I should just create a video or that where I teach something that I know you might not even know what you want to teach yet, but the fact is we all have a unique story. We all have unique skill sets and we know more about certain things than other people do just because we’ve lived them. So start there, start with what you know and don’t worry. In the next episode I am going to be talking about the actual framework that I’ve been creating, the personal branding so that you get a little bit more of a roadmap.
As I’ve mentioned, there is no perfect formula. There is no like “follow this step by step by step by step and you’re going to end up there”. But if we put some structure in place it makes it easier for you to set goals, to create content calendars, to know how to communicate, all of those kinds of things are in the framework that I’m developing and I call it the five CS of personal branding. But anyways, in the next episode I am going to teach you the framework so that we take this sort of foundational stuff to the next level. But in the meantime I really, I hope this just at least got the juices flowing and you started to get a little bit more context about what a personal brand is and what it really means because it’s certainly more than just how people perceive you and some one final little nugget want to leave you with is that like we actually have all the control over how people perceive us, but usually we kind of, it’s like a mirror.
However we perceive ourselves is often how other people are going to perceive us. And this is where sometimes we have to do that in a work and we have to push through a little bit of discomfort because if you are feeling unworthy and small and not sure of your story, then we are actually projecting that out to the world and it’s going to mean that other people are not really sure that they want to work with us. They’re a bit confused about what we do and it starts with you. So this is what I mean about personal branding being an inside job. So start thinking a little bit about how am I perceiving myself right now and how could that be affecting how other people perceive me. If you liked this episode and learned something, I would be eternally grateful if you would leave it a review wherever you’re listening to it and take a screenshot of it and share it on social media.
You can find me at @iamkatelizabeth, pretty much anywhere and I will definitely re-share it. Thanks again for listening. See you next time!
Kat is an actor and personal branding coach as well as the host of The Personal Branding Project Podcast and her self-titled YouTube channel. She started her career off by playing Marilyn at Warner Bros Movie World, went on to perform in the original Australian casts of Jersey Boys & Hairspray and eventually found herself writing/producing her own work before becoming a self-employed copywriter and marketing strategist. She now offers 1:1 Coaching and Online Courses for entrepreneurs, freelancers + multi-passionate creatives.