Is a Personal Brand Right for Your Creative Business?

Just like copy-and-paste business advice, a lot of marketing tips floating around might not feel quite right for your creative business. 

While personal branding is trendy, and social media pressure makes it seem like there’s only one “right” way to market and brand your business, the truth is, your marketing and branding strategy can (and I’d argue should) be as unique and creative as your own work and your business!

Maybe you’ve thought about growing a personal brand but hesitate because you’re introverted, worried about plagiarism if you share too much, or simply value your privacy. These are valid concerns, but they don’t necessarily mean a personal brand isn’t for you. However, even with possible workarounds, a personal brand might not actually fit your needs.

It’s a big decision that many creative entrepreneurs wrestle with.

The key is to explore your options, weigh the pros and cons, actively seek solutions, and take aligned action.

As a business coach for creatives, I often talk with my clients and audience about the pros and cons of personal branding. 

But is personal branding the only way to go?

Definitely not!

There are numerous marketing strategies out there, and while building a strong personal brand is popular, it’s not the only choice. It’s more like a spectrum with many different approaches.

The real question is:

Does personal branding match your style, values, and your creative work?

That’s why this week, we’re diving deep into personal branding so you can figure out if it’s the right move for you and your creative business.

What Is a Personal Brand?

A personal brand is all about showcasing your personality, values, and skills to gain genuine trust and respect from your audience. When you embrace it, a personal brand helps you stand out from others in your industry. There may be a million other designers, artists, or writers [INSERT YOUR TITLE HERE] who do similar work, but no one will EVER do it quite the way you do

For creatives, this is an opportunity to make your work even more special by highlighting what makes your process, inspiration, and outcomes so unique

Unlike other forms of branding, the personal brand allows you to add that personal touch and connect with your ideal audience on a deeper level.

Types of Personal Brands

There’s a whole range of personal brand styles, from super private to totally open. Each one has its own way of balancing your personal self with your public image.

Some personal brands keep things mysterious, like artists Banksy and Marshmello (although we now know who Marshmello really is!). Even celebrities sometimes use stage names or personas to keep their private lives, well, private. This lets them decide how much they want to share with the world.

Then there’s the new trend of faceless brands, which might get big in 2024. They’re kind of mysterious and aesthetic, but they risk losing that personal touch and trust that comes with showing your face.

And at the other end of the spectrum, we’ve got stars (who, let’s be honest, are personal brands in and of themselves) like the Kardashians, who spill everything, even the details of their breakfast! They’re completely open about their lives, for better or worse.

But you don’t have to go to extremes. Many personal brands find a middle ground, sharing some stuff but keeping other parts of their lives off-limits.

The Human Touch in Branding

In today’s world, even big businesses and corporations do better when they make their brands more personal.

And it’s nothing new!

This kind of branding and marketing comes in all shapes and sizes; think, spokespeople, and even mascots or characters like “Jake from Statefarm.”

There’s a reason why even large corporations are leaning towards more personalized branding strategies. 

People prefer doing business with other people, not faceless entities (despite what these new “faceless” social media accounts may preach). Personal branding humanizes your brand, making it more relatable, memorable, and ultimately trustworthy.

I repeat – personal brands are not a requirement. 

But it is prevalent because it is a strategy that can be super impactful and lends itself well to the creative journey and the process of building a business doing the work you love.  

The Ups and Downs of Personal Branding

Having a strong brand, whether it’s a personal one that’s closely tied to who you are or a more general business brand, is crucial for your business. Without one, it’s tough to make your mark and build something lasting. 

Your brand is like your business identity—it’s how people recognize and relate to you, and it’s how you showcase yourself, your work, and your unique creative process.

As you think about whether a personal brand is right for you, consider both the good and the not-so-good sides of it.

The Benefits of a Personal Brand

Lean Into What Makes You Unique

One of the best things about personal branding is that it lets you show off what makes you different. As a creative entrepreneur, your perspective and creative vision are what set you apart. With a personal brand, you can share your thoughts, insights, and experiences in a way that really connects with your audience.

Whether you’re posting on social media, writing blog posts, or making videos, your personal brand gives you a platform to showcase your expertise while building a loyal following.

Plus, if you are a solopreneur this can be a pretty natural process. No need to hide behind “us” language to help you feel more legit. Lean into the fact that you are both the brains and the brawn that makes it all happen!

Tap Into Your Creativity

A personal brand is also a great outlet to let your creativity shine. It’s a space where you can be yourself and share your story. Whether you’re an artist, designer, or writer, your personal brand lets you share your passion, inspiration, and journey with your audience. 

People are drawn to real stories, and by weaving your personal experiences into your brand, you can build a stronger connection with your followers.

Build Trust

In the world of business, trust is everything. A solid personal brand can bolster your reputation and establish you as an expert in your field. By consistently delivering high-quality work, sharing valuable content, and engaging authentically with your audience, you can become a trusted authority in your niche

Clients and collaborators are more likely to choose to work with someone they know, like, and trust, and a personal brand often feels warmer and more familiar than a more corporate branding strategy.

For instance, let’s take one of my clients as an example. She uses her blog to share the story behind her artwork. She talks about what inspired her, how the artwork changed over time, and the new ideas it sparked. 

Her followers love reading her blog because it helps them connect better with her art. They enjoy understanding the story and journey behind each beautiful painting. 

This not only adds meaning to her work but also keeps her audience interested and wanting more! As a result, it drives sales both now and in the long run!

The Risks of a Personal Brand

While personal branding offers numerous benefits, it’s essential to consider whether it aligns with your business goals and values. 

Some creatives may prefer to keep their personal and professional lives separate, while others may feel uncomfortable with self-promotion. Additionally, maintaining a consistent personal brand requires dedication and transparency, which can be challenging amidst the demands of running a creative business.

Navigating the Gray Areas

As a creative, your work is often an extension of yourself, blurring the boundaries between your personal and professional identities. It’s natural to feel compelled to embrace personal branding, but where do you draw the line? Where does your creativity end and your business begin? 

Only you can answer these questions.

You have the power to shape a personal brand that aligns with your values, privacy preferences, and desired level of visibility. You can decide what aspects of your life and work to share, where to share them, and how you want to present yourself. 

However, it’s worth acknowledging that the decision is complicated by the fact that you’ve chosen to monetize your passion, skill, and talent.

Overcoming Personal Branding Worries

Creative business owners often face unique challenges when they start to build their personal brand. Two of the biggest concerns I hear from my clients are how to develop a personal brand if they’re introverted and how to avoid others stealing their work or ideas.

Building a Personal Brand as an Introvert

Many introverts feel uncomfortable with the idea of being active on social media or directly engaging with an online audience. They prefer to let their creative work speak for itself and as a result they tend to hide behind their work. 

That beind said, there are ways to navigate this challenge. 

You don’t have to be everywhere or do everything. If you’re not comfortable on camera, consider writing or podcasting instead. It’s important to find what feels right for you. You could also schedule specific times (rhythms) to be more extroverted, like batch recording videos once a week, to avoid feeling overwhelmed or like you have to be “on” all the time. 

Protecting Your Creative Work

It’s natural to worry about sharing too much of your creative process for fear of it being copied. 

While plagiarism is a real concern, there are steps you can take to safeguard your work. Instead of showing everything from start to finish, share snippets or highlights. You don’t have to show everything. You can stratetgically share parts of the process while intentionally leaving out any information you want to keep private. 

Remember, even if someone tries to replicate your techniques, they’ll never capture your unique magic or inspiration. Sharing what inspires you can also help set you apart. 

While you can’t completely prevent others from copying your work, focusing on what makes your creations special, and being strategic about what you share and why can help mitigate this risk. 

Crafting Your Unique Personal Brand

If you’re thinking about starting your own personal brand as a creative business owner, take some time to think about what you want it to be like. The good news is, personal branding isn’t the same for everyone. 

You get to decide how you want your brand to look and feel, based on what matters most to you—like your values, how much privacy you want, and what makes you comfortable. Whether you want to share everything, or keep things more mysterious like Banksy, it’s totally up to you. 

Understand that whatever you choose will come with its own unique set of pros and cons. As long as the benefits outweigh the challenges or sacrifices, you’re on the right track!

Set Boundaries

When it comes to your personal brand, you’re in charge. You get to choose what you want to share with the world and what you’d rather keep to yourself and then stick to it. 

Sure, there might be trends on social media that suggest you should do certain things—like dancing on reels—but being true to yourself is what really matters. So, take a beat, do a pulse check, and don’t be afraid to go against the grain if it doesn’t feel right for you.

Protect Your People

Personal branding isn’t just about you—it’s about your relationships, your family, and your values too. Deciding whether to include your loved ones in your brand story requires careful thought and respect for their privacy and independence.

For instance, I’m pretty open about my life and what my family gets up to. I share stories about our weekends, time at the beach, and how being an entrepreneur intersects with family life. 

I do this because I think my job and personal life are balanced thanks to my creative business. As a business coach for creatives, I want to show my audience and clients what’s possible when you build a strong foundation for your creative work.

But when I first started out in business, my husband and I had a serious talk. We had to decide what we were comfortable sharing and what we wanted to keep private. For us, it was a no-brainer to shield our kids’ privacy. That’s why you won’t see their faces on Instagram, and I never use their names in my posts.

Safety First

When building your personal brand, it’s important to think about safety, not just privacy. Many entrepreneurs – myself included – are cautious about disclosing exact locations, especially in real-time. I often share about events or spaces after they’ve occurred and try to avoid revealing information that could pinpoint the exact location of my home or my children’s schools. 

I’m extra cautious when my kids are with me.

Of course, there are times when sharing my location is appropriate, such as for events or meetups. 

Ultimately, you have the autonomy to set boundaries that protect you, your brand, and your loved ones.

Your Personal Brand, Your Journey

At the end of the day, there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to personal branding. Your personal brand should reflect who you are and what you stand for, evolving alongside your personal and professional journey. 

Give yourself permission to set boundaries, experiment, and redefine your brand as needed. In the world of creativity and business, there’s no single path to success—just the freedom to make your own choices and chart your own course.

If you want help growing your personal brand, I can help you establish and set healthy boundaries, create rhythms that won’t wear you out, and make sure your brand aligns with your creative work and business goals. Click here to book a 90-minute Clarity Call – your marketing plans will thank you!


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