Personal brand = the freelancer’s parachute

Many thanks to journalist Lenny Ann Low, for recounting a recent experience that reinforced her decision to create a strong personal brand website:

Jumping into the great unknown as a freelancer, after years in a salaried position within a big company, is a startlingly good way to understand your personal brand. 

The first step is realising you have one. This was a revelation to me. During a job interview at a company, a large, reputable one I admire, my questioners indicated their interest in attaching the successful applicant’s name to work they produced for public consumption. This would not be anonymous copy. If I was selected, my identity would help theirs and the products they sold.

I was deeply flattered at this idea. This brand wanted my brand. It was something of a validation, even if I didn’t get the job. I also realised, in a matter of minutes, that I felt deeply protective about such an amalgamation. It clarified my confidence in having a name, or identity, that represented a desired product. Wow! But, did I want my brand to represent this product? Well, no. Not because the company was lesser. I still wanted to work for them. I just wanted my brand to remain distinct.

It highlighted how much I wanted to steer my brand in directions I felt particularly excited about. To keep it under my control and design, for now. And that I had the clout to do so.

I already had a web site, designed and expertly realised with Jude Love at Love Communications, so I had been educated in the ways of evolving a personal brand. 

Not everyone is a natural at understanding their personal “package”. It feels egotistical to sum yourself up like a fast car or a marvellous holiday experience, especially after working within, and for, a bigger brand or company for a long time. 

Creating a web site gave me the confidence to conceive my “brand” and understand its potential, its values and future possibilities. It’s an empowering exercise. Without it I would have been far less aware of what I can, and hope to, achieve.

Lenny Ann Low, journalist