Building Your [Audacious] Personal Brand

In this episode, Hazel and Michelle talk about personal branding.

Building a personal brand is a strategic process that involves shaping and promoting a unique identity that sets you apart from others. In today’s highly competitive and interconnected world, establishing a strong personal brand is essential for personal and professional success.

Consistency across various platforms is crucial. Whether it’s your LinkedIn profile, personal blog, or social media accounts, maintain a cohesive image and message. Consistency builds recognition and trust among your audience. Use a consistent tone, visual elements, and messaging to reinforce your personal brand.

Content creation is a powerful tool for building a personal brand. Share your expertise, insights, and experiences through blog posts, videos, or social media. This not only showcases your knowledge but also positions you as an authority in your field. Engage with your audience by responding to comments and fostering a community around your brand.

Networking plays a pivotal role in personal branding. Attend industry events, connect with professionals in your field, and actively participate in online communities. Building strong relationships can open doors to opportunities and enhance your brand’s visibility.

Your online presence is a significant aspect of personal branding. Craft a professional and compelling online persona. Ensure your profiles are up-to-date, showcase your achievements, and align with your brand message. Regularly curate and update your online presence to reflect your evolving skills and accomplishments.

Building a personal brand is an ongoing process that requires self-awareness, consistency, content creation, networking, a strong online presence, and a commitment to continuous learning. By investing time and effort into developing your personal brand, you can differentiate yourself, create opportunities, and leave a lasting impression on those you encounter personally and professionally.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:07] Speaker A: Welcome to Audacity Marketing with Hazel Quimpo and Michelle Frechette. On this podcast, we’ll challenge you to think differently and break free of the same old strategies. We’ll push you out of your comfort zone and encourage you to think outside the box. So take notes, make bold decisions, and be audacious.

[00:00:33] Speaker B: Happy Thursday, Hazel.

[00:00:35] Speaker C: Happy Thursday, Michelle. Are you ready to be audacious?

[00:00:39] Speaker B: I think I was born audacious. Actually, you know what? I wasn’t born audacious. I was the shiest kid. Which may surprise you. Maybe not. I don’t know. I was a terrified human being until probably middle school, high school, which I think is, like, when a lot of us come into what happened.

[00:00:56] Speaker C: Is that when your purple hair grew in?

[00:00:58] Speaker B: I wish. Right. So I ran for student council because I didn’t know that it was a popularity thing. Right. And I thought, like, oh, I’m an organized person. I will run for student council secretary. And so I just thought of it that way. And I ran for student council, and I was obliterated.

I was, like, at 14 years old.

[00:01:20] Speaker C: Humiliated by the oh, I have a similar story, Michelle.

[00:01:24] Speaker B: But it ripped the Band Aid off. Right. And so when I started in high school, I was the band kid, I was the drama kid, I was the choir nerd. I was that person. I was in the English classes were my favorite. And if we read a play out loud, I acted it. Not just read it, that kind of thing. I was that nerdy kid.

But doing plays and dramas and things like that really allowed me to kind of put myself out there with somebody else’s words, somebody else’s costumes, until I could figure out how to do that with my own words and my own dress. And so that’s kind of I love.

[00:02:00] Speaker C: That you discovered that so young. And I think one of the things that this ties into is our topic today, personal branding. Because a lot of what I heard there was like, oh, my God, I’m hearing the hero origin story of early Michelle’s personal brand of being. The sort of like you’re like a hub of people connecting. I feel like, is that a negative thing? Sounds positive. I hope that sounds positive.

[00:02:24] Speaker B: That’s my goal in life, is to connect people. Absolutely.

[00:02:28] Speaker C: And it’s so cool that you did that so young. But yeah, personal branding is our topic today.

[00:02:33] Speaker B: Absolutely.

[00:02:34] Speaker C: Well, I guess diving into that, michelle, would you say that your personal how do you define your personal?

[00:02:41] Speaker B: I say I tell people that it doesn’t matter to me if three or four generations down the road, nobody knows who I was. Like, if my name doesn’t carry forward, that doesn’t matter. Have I influenced people to be kinder? Have I influenced people to be more open minded? And have I influenced people to embrace others that aren’t like themselves? If that influence lives on beyond me, then I can die a happy woman someday. Right. And so I think of my personal brand as connecting people to accomplish those things.

[00:03:14] Speaker C: I love hearing that. And it sounds like you’re really in tune with your core values, which I guess goes in hand with personal branding. We do a little show before the show to talk about what we’re going to talk about. Core values didn’t come up, but now I’m realizing core values is a big part of that.

[00:03:30] Speaker B: I think that’s true. Yeah, for sure.

[00:03:33] Speaker C: I think that some interesting ways for people. We did core values in my family come alive. I know, but it’s really helpful, especially we’re not a religious family, right. So I was looking for kind of something to our family to glom onto.

[00:03:49] Speaker B: What’s the glue?

[00:03:50] Speaker C: Yeah, because we don’t like Ten Commandments. It just doesn’t speak to us. It’s not for us.

And I think personal branding have a similar thing as you have your sort of mantras. You just rattle them off so well, I want to get to that level because I don’t think I have them. But, man, as we’re going into the new Year, as people are inventing themselves on social media, I feel like core values are a really good stability to that.

[00:04:14] Speaker B: Yeah, I think you’re right.

[00:04:16] Speaker C: How did you come across yours?

[00:04:19] Speaker B: I think what it was to me is how I want people to treat me.

I grew up in church, and it was like the do unto others as you would have them do unto you and that whole thing. And so I’ve always tried to live in a kind manner. Now, that’s not to say I haven’t been a bitch, because I have. It’s not to say I didn’t get into fights with my brothers growing up, because certainly I did. Right. And it’s not to say I love every single person, because there are some real idiots out there that I cannot embrace, but that is to say that people as a whole, I try to put out kindness so that I get kindness in return. And I was talking to somebody, I can’t remember what podcast it was now that I was doing the other day that I was, like, swearing in the podcast. I’m like, people be surprised. It was ours, I think, or something. Right. And somebody commented on it.

Somebody commented on it. They’re like, oh, my God, I’ve never heard Michelle swear. And I’m like, that’s because that’s not what I put out publicly, but that still is who I am, and that is an authentic part of myself. And it’s not that I try to hide it, but it’s that in most cases, it’s just not appropriate. And so I don’t do that. Right. But I don’t know, I think sometimes it’s hard to determine what your core value is, because when we’re younger, it’s like we haven’t discovered ourselves, to use.

[00:05:34] Speaker C: Some of those new aging terms.

[00:05:36] Speaker B: But it’s true. Like, I want to know who I am. And who I am means I have to try a lot of things, and I have to experiment with a lot of things and with a lot of my own personality and what parts come out and who do I share, how do I share myself with those kinds of things? And I think that you grow into who you are. I don’t think you ever stop growing into who you are, by the way, but I think that you grow into who you are over time, and for some people, it happens earlier, and for some people, it takes a little while to get there.

[00:06:03] Speaker C: That’s so insightful. I like it. I wanted to catch on to something that you said there about when it’s appropriate or not. And I think that’s really interesting with personal branding, because when we’re talking right now, social media is sort of becoming decentralized as opposed to, like, there was just one place and your personal brand kind of meant Twitter or it meant Instagram, and it didn’t really mean much. Yeah. Now it’s something that definitely takes a little more work and more intentionality, I would say, because of the channels being so split, you need to decide how you’re going to kind of style yourself. But as we go into this, I want to give one huge flag of advice, which is, if you’re miserable doing personal branding, your personal brand is not right. And I know this from experience because I’ve done this and I’ve tried to do it so many times, and I’m like, this is terrible. I hate it. And every time it’s because I’m not being authentic to myself. And I promise you, if you absolutely hate personal branding, and I’m not talking about like, oh, I post again today, I’m not talking about being annoyed by that, but if you have that hatred that I’ve had, you’re doing it wrong.

[00:07:13] Speaker B: Yeah, I agree with that 100%. And I look back, somebody’s like, what was your first tweet? And my first tweet was, I’m in my office. Literally. That’s what it said.

Who am I to the rest of the world?

Before social media, we were just whoever we interacted with face to face or on the phone. But now we’re everywhere all the time, and our words represent us wherever we are. And I’m like, I was fucking boring.

[00:07:40] Speaker C: Yes. So I guess with that said, what do you recommend for people for going back and cleaning up social media from the past? Is it something that, I don’t know, do we live in a post censorship world or is it still worth cleaning up some stuff? What are your thoughts on that?

[00:07:56] Speaker B: I think it depends on what your goals are. So when I was a college recruiter, I was looking and this is maybe ten, it was like 15 years ago, I was looking into a recruiting, and Facebook existed, right? So we would look at people’s Facebook accounts, and if they were party animals publicly, but then like this prim and proper, it’s not that you can’t be those things, but how are you portraying yourself for the rest of the world?

Did I drink in college? Yep. Right. But it was before social media, so you don’t see any red solo cups in my social media. But what I was advising people at the time was, if you are applying to colleges, make sure you go through those posts. Make sure you go through those images that you’ve put out there of yourself and make sure that it is representative of who you were then. But is it representative of who you want to be when they say, like, dress for the job you want? Right. Not the job you have kind of thing, dress your social media for the job you want as well. Go back and look through those things. You can be your authentic self, but perhaps you don’t need to put the entire thing on display.

My bedroom is lovely, but don’t open the closet door, kind of thing.

[00:09:06] Speaker C: Right, exactly.

[00:09:07] Speaker B: You can keep things in certain places. Like, there’s a closet behind me. This is my craft closet, by the way. Don’t open the craft closet, by the way. It is just like the land where crafts go to die. But anyway, you want to think about that. So do you have to sterilize your social media? No. But should you at least look back over things with an outside eye and a critical eye of yourself on, is this who I want people to look at when they’re looking to hire me, when they’re looking to interact with me? Is this the person that I want people to see? Not that I can’t be that person or haven’t been that person, but perhaps that’s not helping me get to the direction where I want to go.

[00:09:47] Speaker C: I like that a lot. That’s really insightful. I think so. And I think one of the things that to kind of go into that a little further about helping define a personal brand less about cleaning it up is picking a lane in a lane. Doesn’t have to be, oh, I talk about tennis balls only, but maybe think about a method you do or a style. And I suspect yours early on, you discovered, like, WordPress community is like, a great I think personal branding. What I’m getting at is the ultimate goal is you want to be like, oh, Michelle, she online talks about WordPress and community and the formula on Twitter back in the day for this was always like, in your profile, put like, Hi, I’m Hazel. I work here. I do this. I tweet about the three things you tweet about. And I think if you pick those three things, even in your head is really helpful.

And I know everybody listening, that is anyone like me is going to be like, well, I don’t need a niche because I don’t need one, because everybody said I need a niche. But I promise you, you do.

[00:10:54] Speaker B: You really do. Think about it as a bell curve. I think we’ve talked about bell curves before, right? Think about your niche as the bell curve. So who you are on social media should be that middle section of that bell curve. It’s not that you can’t be in the outlier sometimes. I posted something silly today about the fact that I used to have two jobs when I was in college. I worked for an engineering company where I typed the word churn a lot, and I worked for a church where I typed the word church a lot. And guess what happened?

Muscle memory. I screwed those two words up all the time between those two. And I would have to go, this is back in the day of word perfect. So I would have to go through and search for those things. Right. So it’s not that you can’t talk about who you are in the outliers, too, but you don’t live in the outliers. You live in that middle section of that bell curve.

[00:11:40] Speaker C: Yeah, absolutely. And I think I wouldn’t even say the sooner you do, but I would recommend experimenting with that because the beautiful thing about personal branding and the Internet in general is that memories are relatively short.

[00:11:54] Speaker B: Unless you get into a scandal, in which case they will pull every single thing you’ve ever done.

[00:11:58] Speaker C: Oh, unfortunately, memories are short until so just say try not to get canceled.

[00:12:05] Speaker B: Exactly.

[00:12:06] Speaker C: Or follow our previous advice and clean up your socials regularly.

[00:12:09] Speaker B: Yeah.

Well, let me ask you a question. Do you think personal branding is only important if you’re looking for a job in freelancing, or do you think the personal brand kind of goes with you wherever you are? How would you approach that?

[00:12:22] Speaker C: Yeah, I think it’s very important from wherever you from, you as a human. And the reason I think that’s important is because we see layoffs, especially in the tech world, constantly these days. I know several people have been laid off twice in the past three years, which is like, why wouldn’t you just be a freelancer? But even if you’re not, point is everybody’s looking for a job all the time. And if your goal in personal branding is to ultimately get a job or make money, that’s not uncommon. It’s my most common goal. Otherwise, I think you’re kind of just like satisfying and fun to feel smart and whatever. Like, it’s embarrassing to say that out loud, but I think it is. People like it. It’s satisfying to feel a good post. But I think the ultimate goal is for money one way or another, right? Whether it’s a job, whether it’s for freelancing. And honestly, my personal brand, when I do it well, the number one thing it does is it brings all my old relationships out of the woodwork because of that it doesn’t matter if I was with a job or if I was freelancing, but because I continue on, the threads pick up from wherever they originally started. And I think a lot of personal branding, a lot of marketing is just being present and participating.

[00:13:36] Speaker B: Absolutely. I think it does apply everywhere, like you said. I think it applies in your personal life a bit. Too right. So as you’re helping, like you said, I like to connect people in order to be able to be that connector, that hub or whatever you want to call it, I have to bring that with me wherever I am. And what’s really interesting to me is I look back over posts and things like back in the day of Facebook, before I was on, I mean, I had a Twitter account and I posted stupid things like I’m in the office.

But I look back at it and I have done events where I’ve invited people from different parts of my life to come to a show with me or to go out to dinner. And now those people are friends with each other outside of my friendship with them. And so you can make connections with people from different parts of your life if you are your personal brand with that core value wherever you tend to be.

[00:14:24] Speaker C: You never know stories like that. Too absolutely. And I think anybody who’s done personal branding, the knock on effect of just relationships being so much longer and consistent in your life is kind of magical in a way.

[00:14:37] Speaker B: True. And don’t you think that if you stick to those core values and you stick to your personal brand, you’re less likely to have scandals and things like that happen? Too because you are authentic wherever you.

[00:14:47] Speaker C: Are and then people have your back as well. And I think on that note, one thing I will add is like, well, what do you do first to build a personal brand? And I think the things you do is obviously I think those core values are important. In the write up for this episode, I’ll share some of our Chat GPT prompts to help you develop your own core values.

[00:15:06] Speaker B: You’re the queen of Chat GPT, by the way.

[00:15:08] Speaker C: It is fun, I think, figuring out your core values and then number two, as soon as possible, and I’m going to assume you have social media if you’re listening to this and care about personal branding, number two is set up a newsletter somewhere, I don’t care where. Start a way to collect emails even if you’re not sending a newsletter yet, because this is the oldest rule in content marketing. I think it was one of the oldest content marketing books I read in the early two thousand s, and it still follows today, which is to grow a content following and specifically an email list that is authentic and valuable. You can sell them anything. And I know that sounds gross and disgusting, but it’s actually true. I have people that have followed me from business to business and like every new venture, whether I was doing music festivals for kids or selling WordPress plugins, I promise you I talked to the same people on both of those because of my email list that I’ve grown.

[00:16:01] Speaker B: I agree. And you just made me think of something too. Like, okay, I don’t have a newsletter, right? But I have other things that I do that I put out there for people.

But I spent Thanksgiving weekend alone, which is not like, don’t have pity on me. I had just all these wild thoughts, and I acted on one of them. Right. And I’ve always wanted to be a singing telegram. I’ve always thought it would be so much fun to show up somebody’s office, a bunch of balloons dressed as a banana and sing whatever to them, right? Well, I’m beyond the point where I can just go to people’s offices and.

[00:16:34] Speaker C: Be a local dress as banana.

[00:16:36] Speaker B: Right. But the whole idea of Cameo got me really thinking about the fact that I could do that electronically. And so I just tweeted out over the weekend, like something like, if I was going to be a singing telegram, do you think there’s a desire for this at all in the WordPress space? And somebody said, how much would you charge for that? I’m like, out of the $30. And then they replied with an image of my buy me a coffee with $30. And they said, if I push this button, will you do a Christmas song for me? I’m like, Heck yeah. And from that, as you go to Meet Michelle online now, there’s a button where you can order a singing telegram and pay $30, and I will do a singing telegram, send it to you electronically.

[00:17:15] Speaker C: I mean, I’m pretty sure only fans could be for.

[00:17:23] Speaker B: I didn’t want Cameo taking a portion of it. I’m not going to be an only fans girl because I think that brings an entire layer of what’s not my personal brand. But even if I just do one or two ever in my life, I got to say I was a singing telegram, and that’s still part of who I am.

[00:17:40] Speaker C: And then to take that example further, if in the future you’re like, you know what? Screw tech. I’m going to start a singing telegram company. You know what? You have a list of people that are going to be interested because they believe in you authentically and what you can do.

[00:17:52] Speaker B: Yeah. So it was fun, right. And that’s just part of the whole thing. And if you try something and you don’t like it, you’re allowed to sunset it. You’re allowed to say, I’m not doing that anymore because that didn’t serve me well, or I fulfilled a dream and I want to move on to other things without it being like, oh, well, she said this or she said that because you are living authentically, you’re allowed to move on and do new things.

[00:18:14] Speaker C: I love that that permission is so important in personal branding.

[00:18:17] Speaker B: It is.

[00:18:18] Speaker C: Well, that’s all I had for today on personal branding. Michelle, do you have any final thoughts on your think?

[00:18:24] Speaker B: I want people to really think about it. Look at their socials. Look at your BIOS and your socials, for sure. I am a Twitter girl. I know it’s a dumpster fire. I know that I’m going to go down kicking and screaming because that’s where I’ve got my following. You are amazing with LinkedIn. I want to just give you my login and let you put my make my bio for me on LinkedIn. But wherever you live socially, like whatever is right for your brand, take a look at it. Take a look at it critically. Think about the COVID images. Think about the did you just snap a selfie with your phone or did you get some professional headshots done? How do you want to portray yourself? What do you want people to see? What is your personal brand that way? Like, I paid a lot of money last year to have professional headshots and hair and makeup done because I really wanted those to look good and not like, oh, I just took a selfie or my daughter snapped a picture of me kind of thing. Not that those can’t be. If that’s who you are, then by all means use it. But look at your social media. If you’re somebody who uses emojis in every text message, put some emojis in there because that’s who you are.

[00:19:28] Speaker C: Invest some time into it.

[00:19:29] Speaker B: Invest some time and use every single character you’re allowed to use. So whether it’s 280 characters or 1000 characters, write it. Talk about who you are. That is your best opportunity. Your bio is who you are and who you want people to see. So spend some time on it.

[00:19:44] Speaker C: Smart. And then we’ll be doing some more episodes as we lead into the new year with new year planning and all kinds of good stuff to stay audacious.

[00:19:52] Speaker B: Yep, it’s going to be fun. Thanks, Hazel.

[00:19:55] Speaker C: All right. Thanks, Michelle. We’ll see you next time.

[00:19:56] Speaker B: Bye.

[00:19:58] Speaker A: This has been Michelle Frechette and Hazel Quimpo with Audacity Marketing. Dare to be different and dominate your market with Audacity.