Authenticity

Craft Your Personal Brand by Embracing Your Weirdness

Showing who you really are will lead to a deeper connection with your customers.
Craft Your Personal Brand by Embracing Your Weirdness
Image credit: Kevin Mazur | Getty Images
Guest Writer
Founder at Gemma Went Ltd
7 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Many of us are taught early in life that fitting in will keep us safe. While being unremarkable might keep us below the firing line in the schoolyard, it doesn't usually lead to happiness or success.

Related: Stop Trying to Pretend That You're Perfect

Think for a second about entrepreneurs or brands that stand out. If I ask you to list the brands that come to mind, you won't name me-too businesses or copycat artists.

You'll think of Lady Gaga, Russell Brand, Serena Williams, Apple, Tesla or Netflix.

Why? Because they're different, sometimes confrontational, often disruptive and always true to themselves. They live their values and fly their flags proudly. They do well because they connect deeply with people who "get" their vibe.

Showing who you really are and bringing your personal brand of "youness" to your business, whether you're pitching a corporate client or an individual, will connect you with your dream clients, skyrocket your sales conversions and help you love your work even more. Here's how to get there:

Trust yourself.

There are an awful lot of one-size-fits-all frameworks and six-figure blueprints out there promising to be the magic bullet for your business. None of them consider the true point of difference: you.

Remember: People choose to work with people, so be wholly, unapologetically yourself all the time. In Daring Greatly, author Brené Brown quotes middle school children who explain that: "Belonging is being accepted for you. Fitting in is being accepted for being like everyone else."

Don't try to fit in. Instead, in being yourself you'll can find the places that you -- and your offering -- belong. Take your humor into boardrooms, tattoos into churches and love of iguanas to lunch meetings. The benefits of doing so far outweigh the risks.

Your task: Take some time to get clear on your essence. Write down things you've done since childhood, music you love -- everything that lights you up. Then commit to bringing each of those into your client interactions. Start small, but be consistent: The more you're truly yourself, the faster your dream clients will want to work with you.

Related: Why Authenticity Is the Key Ingredient for Career Success

Bulletproof your knowing.

Mindset and self-belief are everything. If you're shaky on your self-belief or unclear what your priorities are, people will feel it. Worse, you'll lack the confidence and the tenacity you need to step more boldly into the world to increase your visibility.

You've got to show up, over and over, to give your clients something to fall in love with.

I often hear that entrepreneurship is the biggest personal development journey you'll ever grow on. That's proven true for me and for the hundreds of entrepreneurs I've worked with. Parenting is the only other experience that comes close to shining as much light on your self-doubts, limiting beliefs and mindset blocks.

But, the best way out is through. Instead of pushing your feelings down and pretending they aren't there, get your brave on and start digging within.

Your task: Design a daily mindset ritual that creates time and space for you to get to know yourself and solidify what you believe in. Test different modalities until you find those that work for you. My essentials include journaling, Emotional Freedom Technique (try Brad Yates' tapping scripts), meditation and time outside.

When something comes up, get curious: Why does it feel uncomfortable? When have you felt this feeling before? What happened? Do you have a story around it? Is it still applicable today? What story can you replace it with?

Related: How to Harness the Power of Authenticity and a 'Relationship Funnel' to Explode Your Brand

Stand out in the sea of same.

In this month's Vogue cover article about Lady Gaga, Lukas Nelson says: "I tend to gravitate toward rockers who were kind and stood for change and the right to be who you are -- to be a freak and be proud of it. And I think a lot of people have turned to Gaga in that realm -- as a sort of beacon of hope: I can do whatever I want. She invented herself."

Lady Gaga has figured it out: in entrepreneurship (and in life) the magic happens when you don't conform. Being yourself in all your glory and weirdness is where no one else can touch you. People will resonate with you or they won't. When they do, your connection will be much faster, deeper and last longer than it would with clients who don't really get your vibe.

Your task: get clear on what sets you apart from the competition by exploring these four areas (inspired by Russell Brunson's Expert Secrets):

Your backstory

This is your superhero origin story; it's what enables your customers to see themselves in you. If you can connect this backstory with the problem you solve for your clients, even better.

Example: When I started my business, I was a jobless single mother to a newborn, living in my friend's spare bedroom. This shows my people that I know how to create success on a budget and in limited time and that they could do the same.

Related: Honest Vulnerability Is a Better Personal Brand Than Pretending Life Is Perfect

Your flaws

People are craving imperfection in a sea of curated social media feeds. They want connection with real, flawed humans. Showing up vulnerably allows the right people to connect with you immediately from the heart.

Example: Not too long ago, I had terrible visibility fears. I had crippling stage fright and avoided the spotlight. When my clients hear about my struggle and see how much I now love connecting live and via my podcast, it encourages them to try new things.

Your opinion

True leaders are not afraid to plant their flag and get vocal about what matters. This earns respect and, while it might be a little polarizing, it's effective. You want to attract clients who are desperate to work with you and who value your perspective.

Example: I love banging on about integrity, and more specifically the lack of integrity I see in the business coaching space. I see so many entrepreneurs left in the lurch by "experts" who make promises they can't keep. My clients hear me and know what to expect.

Your storylines

These are the little anecdotes from your history that you weave into your communications. They're the snippets that make your content compelling and have the power to start some truly great conversations.

Example: I often talk about my journey from being homeless and pregnant to now living in my dream home, thanks to the success I've created with my business. Female entrepreneurs, particularly mothers, resonate with my struggle-to-success story.

There's a lot of noise out there in the social media space. But, make the most of all the platforms available by letting people see the real you. The braver you are in stepping forward in your wonderful weirdness, the more rewards you'll reap personally and for your business.

Your uniqueness will make your business stand out. Because of it, people will want to work with you and nobody else. Above all, you'll feel a whole new level of love for your business as it grows and reflects your values more every day. And that's important too.

More from Entrepreneur

Grow Your Business at Entrepreneur LIVE! Join us on Nov. 16 in Brooklyn, NY, to learn from legends like Danica Patrick and Maria Sharapova, pitch our editors, meet with investors, and potentially walk away with funding!
Register here

One-on-one online sessions with our experts can help you start a business, grow your business, build your brand, fundraise and more.
Book Your Session

In as little as seven months, the Entrepreneur Authors program will turn your ideas and expertise into a professionally presented book.
Apply Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.