So remember I wrote this?
And I said I had more to say about authenticity in solo branding?
Yep. This is that.
It’s a little different from the usual PJP fare – it’s step-driven and positively dizzying in scope. It’s a concrete plan, divided into four phases over one week.
It requires you to take action.
(Yes, a productivity blog wants you to DO SOMETHING. How avant garde!)
So let’s get cracking. Let’s get authentic. LET’S DO THIS!
Phase One: Get Input From Others
Day One: Rock out of the gate by identifying ten people to target:
- Three should know you well, and for a longish time
- Two should be relatively new or casual acquaintances
- Two should have some familiarity with your business or what you do
The rest can be a mix, but aim for a wide variety of types of people – different socio-economic brackets, different contexts for your relationships with these folks, different ages, etc.
Copy and paste this into an email to each of them:
Hi there. It’s me. I’m doing some branding homework for my business because some crazy lady in pajamas told me to. (It seemed like a good idea at the time.) What I would like to get from you: ten adjectives that describe me, in your view. Please be kind but truthful. There may be beer involved for you if you can get these to me in 48 hours. You have complete friendship immunity for your ten words – I won’t ever hold them against you. Thank you for your support!
(Feel free to modify that, or offer other beverages or enticements of your choice.)
The idea is to keep it short, breezy, and fun.
Click send. The clock’s ticking now, so …
Phase Two: Get Real With Yourself
Set aside a whole day for this part, if you can. If you can’t, then break it into two-hour chunks over the first three days.
Arm yourself with a notebook, some easy-writing pens, and your beverage of choice. Turn off the phone and the TV.
And start writing down the answers to these prompts + questions:
- Write your timeline. Brief, bulleted. Trace the evolution of this thing you do, or want to do, for money. How’d you get started? When? Who introduced you to it? Just a timeline – not the full narrative. (That comes later, mwahaha.)
- Go read this piece from Ash Ambirge.
- Go outside and take a walk for 20 minutes. (If that’s not do-able, then get up and dance around the house. Or dance in your chair. Whatever. Do something physical and different, while the concept of business personality flits about in your brain.)
- Choose your three words. Pick the three words that describe the personality of your business. Not you. Your business. And yes, only three. And at least three. So – exactly three. Write them down.
- Get critical. What don’t you do well? What are you not? For instance: I? Am not a Type-A. I don’t do “busy” well. Limit it to ten things – the ten biggest, if you will.
- Get adorable. What do you do well? What are you like (that you are happy about)? Again: the ten biggest.
- Take another break and physically move, for at least 15 minutes.
- Write your story. Go back over your timeline, review your three words and your strengths + weaknesses, and draft your marketing story. Why you do what you do. Why you’re so awesome at it. What makes you special in that thing’s context.
Phase Three: Analyze and SYNTHESIZE, Baby
By this time, you should have received your 100 words (10 words x 10 friends). Now, it’s time to put it all together.
- Make a list of each word you encounter.
- Tally up how many times you see each word.
- Reorder them in order of “most often used” to “least often used.”
Pick up the ordered list. Read it carefully, slowly, noting how you feel when you “try on” these words, mentally.
Which ones feel good, empowering, exciting? Circle those.
Which ones feel not-so-nice, or meh? Strike those out.
The next day, with that ordered list in hand, review your story from two days ago. Highlight or circle in a different color of ink the places in the story where the circled words either appear, or could appear with a little editing.
Phase Four: Create Your “New” Authentic Story
Take the whole shooting match out to the park, or the porch, or your local coffee shop. Seriously, change location if you can. It’s good to get out of the house, for one thing, and also, you don’t want to be a hermit, plus there’s a special creative energy that comes from shifting environments which you can take advantage of.
Now, rewrite your story. Tell YOUR story. The story you WANT to tell. The one that empowers you. The one that feels true and authentic, but in a refined, polished, highly focused kind of way.
There’s your brand, and your marketing story.
Go forth and conquer.