By Lara Geadah, Founder & CEO of Cameo
Launching a startup is no walk in the park. At the onset, founders often face countless rejections – usually because they do not have a solid portfolio or strong enough brand name to compete in the market. It takes time, effort, a powerful network, and a great deal of luck to make it in this competitive space, but that journey can be facilitated [by] the power of your personal brand.
Once leveraged correctly, your personal brand can help attract your ideal client and facilitate growth in your business. When I first launched Cameo, I used my personal brand as a tool to get my foot in the door and work with my dream clients by following the below steps.
Re-assess your personal brand as it stands
The first step any startup founder looking to leverage their personal brand should take is to audit and revamp their personal brand to reflect what they’d like to be known for.
Start by googling yourself and asking yourself if the person presented is someone your ideal client would want to work with. If not, then you will need to either clean up your current pages or create a separate page for your business persona – and set your personal pages to private.
Your startup launch is a new phase in your career, presenting new goals and aspirations, and your personal brand must be updated to reflect your new mission – not only so you can attract your dream client but also so you can present yourself in the most authentic way possible.
Find your “why” and championed it like there’s no tomorrow
Why did you decide to launch your business? What is the “why” behind your brand? Being able to define it clearly and champion it will be a significant milestone for your startup’s growth.
For myself, it is to help brands and people re-imagine their possibilities and unlock their full potential by understanding their core business and promoting it in a fresh, targeted, and authentic way. My USP? A zero-fluff approach.
Once you’ve defined and clearly articulated your “why” (identifying your USP is always a plus, especially in a highly competitive industry), you’re ready to amplify it in the media. At the end of the day, if you don’t talk about your business, who will? Most startup founders shy away from using their personal pages to highlight their products and services, and that is the biggest mistake any founder can make.
Share your story with the world! People do business with people, not products. We naturally enjoy getting to know the people behind the brand and what talents they bring to the table, so do not keep it strictly business and always leave room for personal stories about what motivated you to embark on your business journey.
Build a personal branding strategy and execute it
Which platforms will you be leveraging to present yourself and your business? What kind of content will you put out? How often will you post? These are all questions you will want to ask yourself before you get active on social media.
My content strategy explores different content avenues on different platforms, with LinkedIn celebrating my company’s achievements and milestones, and Instagram focused on my everyday life – with my daily work behind the scenes taking part in that.
Beyond your socials, explore contributing to publications with thought-leadership articles around the topics your business specializes in. This is a great way to give back to the community while positioning yourself as a specialist in your industry.
Don’t forget to also consider network outreach and how this will be harnessed through your personal pages. What kinds of profiles will you connect with on LinkedIn? What are the relationships you hope to build on the platform? These are key factors to consider when building your personal branding strategy.
At the early stages of launching your startup, your business and personal brand will be significantly interlinked – as people will turn to your personal accomplishments and identity to assess if you are the right partner to work with. Especially at the onset of your business, it is crucial that you’re positioning yourself as an expert in your field as you will be the most valuable extension to your business.