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How Building Your Personal Brand Can Backfire – And What You Can Do About It


When you think of a personal brand, what do you think of? For many people, when they think of a personal brand, they think that you need to be a celebrity or an influencer. You would think of someone in the limelight, someone with a lot of followers, or someone with a lot of recognition in their community. But, that's not always the case. Everyone has a personal brand, whether you know 10 people or 10,000. Your personal brand is how people usually know and recognize you, and how they affiliate you with certain things, ideologies and viewpoints.


Think about your first sports coach. For me, her personal brand was someone who is a go-getter. She was fierce, tough, strong, and absolutely took no-nonsense. If I thought of a show, I would think of her as a Helga Pataki in Hey Arnold. Always going against the grain and doing her own thing. She marched to the beat of her own drum and is confident in that.


Now, think of your favorite artist. You might associate certain shows, catchphrases, people, and movements with them. So basically what I'm trying to say is, that everyone has a personal brand. But we've been seeing now more than ever, is that more people are capitalizing on it. They're not only just using their personal brands to help them network, but they're using it to get brand deals, they're using it to enter rooms that they never thought they would be in, and they're using it to get their reach much farther than just their local town. But, with all of this, there is a responsibility.


That sounds so cliché. But, what I'm saying is when you have a personal brand you have to be more cognizant of how you're perceived and what you're doing and why. For example, I knew someone who worked in the healthcare space and they loved their job and they were fabulous at it. But they were also trying to build their own line following so they went over to Tik-Tok. Their Tik-Tok videos encompassed real-life scenarios and patients that they saw at their health care facility every day. While they didn't use names or specifically use details that could correlate to the person, they did use scenarios that were completely realistic and could be considered to be referencing someone that they've treated. Some of her co-workers caught wind of her social media platform and we're a bit uncomfortable with the contents. They felt that it was too closely related to real scenarios that they saw on their patients every single day and they thought that there was a conflict there.


Another instance that I can think of is one influencer who built their brand on being a first-generation American. Their entire brand was centered around being from an immigrant household and helping those back in their home country. But, what they didn't tell people was that they actually were not first-generation American and their family was born and raised in America. Many people felt as if they had been lied to and the trust that they had originally had with this influencer meant little to nothing at the end of the day.


So what tips can I give you when it comes to building your personal brand?


  1. For one I would say be authentic. If you know that you really are not into holistic health then don't try to perceive yourself as such. Just be yourself. You're going to resonate with someone, and just because you think what you're into might not be trendy at the moment it will be better for you in the long run. People will like you for you as long as you show up as your authentic self.

  2. It's okay to use your discretion. Not everything has to be shared. We get it, in this culture, we feel that everything needs to be documented, tweeted, shared, and put out for the world to see. But, it's okay to leave some things for yourself. Going off of point 1, we always encourage you to be your authentic self but maybe you don't want to share every single detail about your life. Let's say you're in a transition period where you want to quit your job and move out of the country. You don't necessarily need to blast that out on social media before anything is set in stone. It's okay to keep some things to yourself and make your move silently. It will help your overall brand in the end because once you come to a concrete decision you'll be able to share that news and you won't seem wishy-washy.

So, those are the tips that we have when it comes to building your personal brand. Does anyone else have something to share with our readers in the comments? Let us know!




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