Dear FAM, I'm struggling to get the confidence to start building my personal brand. I know this is kind of ridiculous, but I'm a new entrepreneur and things change rapidly—what if I move in a different direction a year from now? The audience that I built over the next year wouldn't be right for me. As of this moment, I haven't validated my new product and don't want to put myself out there and gain attention if nobody values what I'm doing. I know that I might be putting the cart before the horse since I need to validate my offer, but I feel stuck getting into the trenches of social media and speaking since I don't have the confidence that what I do is actually valuable. How can I get past this hurdle? Sincerely, Anonymous Newbie
Dear Anonymous Newbie,
Boyyyyy, I feel you on this one. I avoided building a personal brand. For years. Back when I started my agency, I quickly learned that I could get clients without having a big, famous Instagram account, so I never invested in social media. Plus, I don’t have the kind of brain that thinks, “hey, I should share this moment with the world!”—so, you know, it was pretty easy to avoid it. But enough about me.
Your intuition is technically correct in feeling that you shouldn’t pigeon-hole yourself into an identity you might abandon a year into the future. It’s easy to think of other things you could do with your time that would have a bigger payoff in the near future. Networking, building products, learning useful new skills, the list goes on.
But here’s something else to keep in mind: you’re going to need to do it eventually. And when that moment comes, the moment when you realize you’ve found your groove and it’s time to start tweeting, posting, and Redditing your way to famedom, you’ll kick yourself for not starting sooner.
There’s nothing much more disheartening than seeing a big fat ZERO in your followers section when you create a new social media profile or start a new mailing list. The trick is to get past that hurdle as early as possible so that, when the time comes to kick things into high gear, you’re already ahead of the curve.
And here’s the best part: the stuff you post about today can be completely different from the stuff you post in the future. You’re a human being! Human beings evolve. As long as you’re creating interesting content that puts a smile on your face, then you’re “doing” personal branding right. You can switch up what you’re working on a hundred times. As long as you remain YOU in your public persona, your followers will stick around for the journey. It’s doesn’t matter whether you attract the ideal customers for a product you have yet to think of. What matters is that you’re putting in the work.
So stay humble, stay consistent, and put yourself out there! You’ll be glad you did once things start to take off.