So you’re ready to launch your own business. Congratulations! You’ve put so much work into this baby and you’re finally ready to share it with the world. But wait—What exactly are you willing to share?
Many entrepreneurs (especially solo entrepreneurs) brand their business on themselves. Their name is the brand, their face is the logo, their personal experience, training, and insight are what it’s all about. This might make sense for some—Like personal trainers, holistic nutritionists, life coaches, or other individual practitioners. Personal branding gives your business a memorable, unique look and feel, you add personality (and humanity) to what you're selling, and your endeavor truly starts to feel like your “baby.”
But, branding YOU as your business comes with some complications.
Three Things to Consider Before Centering Your Business's Branding Around Yourself
1. Scaling your business.
If you hope to scale your business by bringing on more people and offerings beyond what you yourself can provide, customers might only want to work with you and not your affiliates. At least at the beginning, it can be challenging for new employees to build trust with your loyal followers. Additionally, new hires might outgrow being part of an umbrella organization and venture off to start their own personal brand. You may be able to foster a better team relationship in a company that isn’t named after/famous for one person. Be sure to work your team members into your social strategy/branding as soon as your sure they're a good fit for your company and in for the long term.
2. Setting boundaries.
Work/life balance can become murky when you literally are your brand. When do your work hours end if you never stop being you? The line between what’s your professional and what’s your personal life can get confusing. For example, negative comments or online reviews might feel like a personal attack rather than a critique of something external to you. Additionally, people will associate you with your brand. So, if something goes wrong with the business, that may come across as a direct reflection of your values, beliefs, and behaviors even if that is not true.
3. Selling your company.
Picture yourself finally ready to retire (you know, a few years down the road). Your company is killing it and, while it’s time for you to take a well-deserved break, you want your legacy to carry on. Selling your company will inevitably feel like you’re losing a part of yourself. But if your name and image are attached to your brand, that feeling will be overwhelming. Even if you sell your company for millions of dollars, the idea of having your identity “owned” by someone else is a risk you need to consider carefully.
Branding is complex no matter which way you cut it. Defining YOU as your brand has its pros and cons. Before you make this decision, research some brands you admire (both with personal branding and more general branding) to better understand the potential benefits and challenges of each.
What Do We Recommend?
When your company is just starting out and you're in a growth and reach phase on social media, having a face paired with your content is ESSENTIAL. People get on social media to connect with other people. They don't get on social media to watch thinly veiled commercials.
Start by centering your branding around you, and as your business grows - you can start pulling the spotlight off of you and onto your products, services, and other team members. This is the strategy we used for our growth at Media A La Carte. In fact, a picture of our CEO was our profile picture until we broke 10K followers on Instagram - only then did we change it to just our business logo. Sephora is already big, so don't use their branding as an excuse not to show your face. People don't want to follow a business; they want to follow a PERSON. If you're looking to grow, share more of YOU to kickstart the acceleration.