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How to Use Your Personal Brand to Attract Dream Clients (and Repel Nightmare Ones) Weeding out the wrong clients is just as important as drawing in the right ones. Luckily, when you show up authentically, your personal brand will do both for you.

By Rosie Parsons

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

At first, the thought of actively discouraging some clients from doing business with you might be downright terrifying. However, let me put it into perspective by asking you one question.

If you're spending an hour networking in a room full of professionals, would you rather be surrounded by 200 people, half of whom make you want to roll your eyes and find excuses to leave, or 100 like-minded individuals who fill you with energy?

Your business is a huge part of your life, so it makes way more sense to spend those working hours with clients who are a joy to collaborate with rather than those who don't match your vibe or focus. If you're repelling them right from the start, you also won't have to waste additional time disqualifying them later on (after endless emails or discovery calls).

Plus, trying to appeal to everyone actually makes you bland and unforgettable. If you want to be remembered by the right bunch, you've got to become memorable in "their" eyes.

Here's how you can achieve all this in one go through your personal brand.

Related: The 7-Step Guide To Finding the Right Clients and Avoiding the Ones Who Waste Your Time

Understand what you want to be known for (and talk about it)

When you create a strong personal brand, your name and face will pop into your audience's minds as soon as they think of your type of services or even some specific topics.

For that to happen, you first need to identify what you wish to be associated with, from key values to concepts:

  • Choose your brand words and use them to guide your marketing. How do you want people to feel when they think about you? Do some brainstorming. Then, ask your friends and some previous clients you enjoyed working with: What words come to mind when they think of your brand? If they match, great. If they don't, you'll know what you still need to work on. For example, one of my brand words is "playful," so I've created some GIFs of me being goofy in my photography studio. They'll probably put off the more uptight and serious prospects, but they'll attract the type of fun women I enjoy working with
  • Decide what you want to be well known for. This can involve the angle or twist that you've added to your services, some values or different topics. Then start talking about it, especially on social media. For instance, I want to be remembered for the importance of showing up as you really are, being bold and visible in your business, and standing out with colorful brand photos — so that's exactly why I never shut up about those things.

Related: This Is Why It's So Important to Articulate Your Brand Values

Dare to show up as your authentic self

To 88% of consumers, authenticity is key when choosing what brands to support. However, social media and the entrepreneurial world are saturated with people regurgitating the same old posts and statements.

You have a massive advantage over all of your competitors: None of them are "you." Embrace this instead of trying to blend in.

When you share your quirks, passions and sense of humor, you finally create meaningful connections with your dream clients. Same when expressing your own opinions, even — or especially — if they're divisive, as long as you do so respectfully.

How many times have you refrained from posting something because you thought "some people won't like this?" Sure, some prospects won't agree with you, but guess what? They aren't your people. Those who do will appreciate and remember you for it.

Related: 6 Positive Changes That Come When You Start Showing Authenticity in Your Business

Use color theory and graphic design strategically

If someone describes their brand as "peaceful and tranquil" but uses bright red backgrounds and a cluttered all-capital typeface, would you still associate them with those words? I doubt it.

That's why it's important to reinforce your brand words and values through your graphic elements.

I consider myself to be quite creative and quirky. However, when I used to shoot weddings, I opted for classic bridal colors and graphics. No wonder I kept attracting the most traditional brides and eventually found my old job incredibly uninspiring.

So, unless you're one yourself, I recommend investing in a professional graphic designer to:

  • Harness color theory (a.k.a. different hues have different meanings)
  • Actually represent your brand visually through the right aesthetic

Related: What Colors Should You Use For Your Personal Brand? (and Why It Matters)

Showcase your personality in your brand photos

Some authentic personal brand photos will help you form a connection with the right prospects and, once again, discourage the wrong ones from getting in touch:

  • Wear outfits that are quintessentially you. While you might want to take it up a notch to really make an impact, your audience shouldn't be confused if they were to bump into you in real life
  • Include your brand colors.
  • Choose locations that align with your values. Some informal and friendly photos in a coffee shop convey a completely different vibe than some taken in a stylish office that oozes authority.

For example, I now show up with a bold palette, bright pictures and the clothes my clients see me wearing when I take their photos. This repels professionals looking for plain corporate-style headshots, but it allows me to work with lively women who are interested in personality-filled shoots.

Related: 3 Ways to Use Images to Elevate Your Business

Pop up where your audience is lurking

Another way to attract your dream audience is to show up where they're at. From podcasts to blogs and magazines, send personalized pitches and request to be featured. Then, use that opportunity to talk about what you want to be known for.

They don't necessarily have to be business publications, as long as they allow you to reinforce your values. Not sure where to start? You can always ask some of your favorite clients.

Doing all this regularly will translate into a strong personal brand — the kind of brand that your dream audience will find impossible to ignore.

So, instead of being vanilla, dare to be your own, unique flavor. Yes, some people won't like it. The right ones, though? They'll absolutely adore you for it.

Rosie Parsons

Personal Brand Photographer

Rosie Parsons is an award-winning personal branding photographer for ambitious businesswomen. She specialises in bold, colourful and authentic pictures that make her clients impossible to miss and forget. She can be found at http://rosieparsonsphotography.com

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