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4 Steps to Building a Stellar Personal Brand Answering four simple questions will draw the blueprints for a powerful personal.

By Marsha Hunt Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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As an entrepreneur, you want to build a personal brand that shines—and sparkles. And pops. In essence, you want to be seen. You see other brands with loyal followings, and you wonder how you can get there, too. You know your message or product is unique. You just want to get your message out there... To stand out from the crowd. You've done the work, put in the hours, and yet the following just isn't there yet. It can be frustrating. But I'm here to tell you it isn't the end of the road.

I can say from experience that building a brand takes time -- and patience. But it is possible. This is why I've put together four simple questions to ask yourself as you build a personal brand that shines.

1. Who are you? Authenticity matters.

This tip may as well be called The Idiot's Guide to Being Yourself. But, seriously…the word authenticity is thrown around a lot, and yet in this case it's appropriate. Authenticity matters. Your brand is you. Read that sentence again. Try imitating someone else's brand and you'll likely fail. Find out what is unique about YOUR personal brand and put that out into the world. The world will respond to your unique position and voice. Speaking of voice…

Related: 8 Tips for Building Your Personal Brand in 2017

2. What's your voice? Raising the volume.

Your voice matters. It needs to be consistent and focused on inspiration. Gone are the days of marketing through pain; here are the days of marketing through inspirational messaging. Engagement with your audience is everything.

However, if you're not a natural born writer or you don't have the bandwidth, it's crucial to get support with expanding your influence and your voice.

Ashley Stahl, Founder of Cake Publishing, for instance, helps entrepreneurs take their voice -- and personal brand -- to the next level by providing ghostwriters and copywriters to create blog posts, speeches, email sequences, and more that converts their audience into customers. Working with others who fundamentally understand your messaging is an important part of building a successful brand.

Related: 8 Reasons a Powerful Personal Brand Will Make You Successful

3. Can you be trusted? Position yourself as a trusted source.

Why should your followers trust you? Are you an authority on your subject? It's time you become one. Learn everything you can about your chosen product or service. Who are your competitors? What products is your audience currently reviewing? Read the reviews, and learn from what's missing.

If your followers are going to follow you, they need to trust you first. So become an expert in your field -- which means you become an expert on your customer's dreams, hopes and pains. This deep knowing and understanding allows you to become the go-to voice for your niche. This might mean late-nights spent researching. It might mean finding a mentor and gleaning everything you can from them. Whatever you do, promise yourself that you'll never stop learning. As they say, knowledge is power. In the end, it will pay off.

Related: 5 Steps to Build Your Personal Brand

4. Who are your friends? The power of community.

As an entrepreneur and brand-builder, you want to think in terms of community. Spreading your message, and rallying your friends or customers to do so, will only help build a successful and lasting brand.

So find your community. (In case it's not clear, yes I'm suggesting you step outside and contact people in the real world). But of course you don't ever want to forget about the power of online tools. Social media is obviously one of the most powerful tools for building a brand. Are you active online? Are you using your voice and your authentic self in a purposeful way on all your various social media platforms? How about your website? If you don't have your community yet, go out and find it. Start today.

This could mean starting your own Facebook group and providing free value to potential leads. It could also mean establishing a twitter account that adds extraordinary value and growing a following to engage potential customers.

Of course, this is just the beginning. As I mentioned, building a brand takes time. And yes, it also takes effort. But following these steps can only help you on your journey to building your own personal brand. Your brand should be about who you are what you have to give to the world. So do your research, be yourself, and put it out into the world. The world just might respond.

Marsha Hunt

Growth Marketing Expert

Marsha Hunt is a Growth Marketing Expert business advisor and speaker with specialism in international marketing.

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