How do solopreneurs develop their personal brand? They take lessons from as many sources as they can, even if it means looking outside of their own industry.

Businesses rely on branding to instil customer trust and loyalty. They often have a marketing team that ensures each campaign delivers the right message. This is because customers associate quality with the products and services offered.

But, speakers like you are a little different. You don’t have a tangible product nor can you rely on the marketing department. At least, the average speaker can’t…

What you can build up, though, is your personal brand. 

Your personal brand is your calling card to the outside world. It tells potential clients who you are and what you stand for. And if you’re really good, your name alone evokes trustworthiness and quality.

However, many speakers make the same mistake. They think that they can only learn valuable brand-building lessons from fellow speakers.

The truth is that anybody who has a strong brand has valuable lessons to teach.

Take Carol Tice, for example.

Tice made a living as a business journalist, but her personal brand made her the go-to expert on freelance writing. Read on if you want to discover how she expanded her business by building her personal brand. 

Who Is Carol Tice?

It seems like there wasn’t a time when Carol Tice wasn’t writing. She started her career editing an alternative paper, and she also tried her hand at radio at a Los Angeles station.

But she made her mark as a business writer.

Tice spent close to seven years as a staff writer for a Seattle-based business publication. She also had the honour of interviewing many business luminaries, like Nordstrom and Bezos.

What makes her stand out from other freelance writers on the market?

Her personal brand!

There’s no one quite like Carol Tice, and she capitalises on it.

She’s at the top of her game and can command premium prices for her writing. But the thing that makes Tice stand out is her personable ability to teach others how to succeed at writing.

Many writers struggle to pay the bills. If you’re not employed as a staff writer, you have to hustle for clients yourself. And it seems like there are very little resources out there for someone who’s just starting out.

But that’s where Tice comes in!

Her main website gives help to struggling writers or those who are only considering it. The website, Make a Living Writing, features a stylised version of herself doing what she knows – writing on a computer.

She also has a separate website that she uses as a portfolio. This is where potential clients can check out her work.

Her personal branding journey doesn’t stop there.

Tice has a full library of books and ebooks that share her expertise. Most of them are freelance writer-related books like:

  • Freelance Business Bootcamp
  • Insights, Tips & Techniques for Freelance Writers
  • How to Be a Well-Paid Freelance Blogger

She also has a collection of books geared towards small business owners. Her titles include topics like crowdfunding and starting a business with limited funds.

You can also find Tice’s work on major websites. In fact, she’s a regular contributor for Entrepreneur and has also published work for Forbes and Delta Sky.

Prolific writing isn’t the way to create a personal brand, and Tice knows that. So, she takes that extra step to make her brand stand out.

She uses the same headshot across her different websites and social media accounts. When you see her, you definitely recognise that it’s her.

Tice’s message is also very consistent in her copy. It focuses on her skills and provides proof of the ways she can help writers. She knows the ups and downs of the freelance writing industry and positions herself as an expert resource that others can turn to.

The Tips

Building a personal brand is essential for any speaker to grow their business. You can also elevate your business potential with these personal branding tips from Carol Tice:

Tip #1 – Maintain an Easily Accessible Portfolio of Your Work

Uploading your work to different social media platforms is a great way to market it. But sometimes potential clients just want to see one portfolio of your work. Make it easy for them to see an archive of your latest and greatest with an easily accessible online portfolio.

Carol Tice is a prolific writer and it’s probably simple to do a quick online search to see examples of her work. But, why make prospective clients jump through all those extra steps? Having a convenient place to showcase her best writing just makes sense. 

Take a page from this expert freelance writer. Buy your name URL even if you don’t intend on using it as your main website. Locking it down prevents others from taking it, and it’s always available in case you want to use it in the future.

Tice uses her own self-titled URL as her portfolio website for easier searchability. But you can always use your brand name if you prefer. 

Just make sure that there’s some semblance of unity in your branding. It’s fine to choose a business name, but make sure it’s also your URL and appears on your home page. 

Most influencers choose to use their real name for personal brand building. But there are other options if you want to partner with other speakers.

Tip #2 – Inspire Yourself and Others with Community Work

It’s easy for Carol Tice to sit on top of her mountain of freelance writing wisdom. After all, she’s earned it. But instead of remaining aloof, she gets involved with the community.

Her writers’ community, The Den, provides training for writers by writers. Among other things, writers can improve their skills or simply network with each other using the forum.

Speakers can also create unique communities to share ideas and inspire each other. Use community work as a network of support for other influencers in the industry. Or design an intimate venue where speakers can talk shop in relative safety.

Tip #3 – Keep the Visual Elements Simple and Memorable

Why does simple branding work best?

People make associations in their minds. Linking you to a simple visual makes you more memorable.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with some of your branding elements. Humorous or whimsical elements are also very memorable. And you don’t have to go all out on the visuals to achieve it.

Branding logos aside, as a freelancer you still need to market you. So, make sure that you include a nice photo of yourself. You want to look businesslike yet approachable to inspire confidence in your presentation skills.

Tip #4 – Understand Your Unique Selling Proposition

Do you know what makes you stand out from other speakers in the industry? 

It’s your unique selling proposition or USP!

Ideally, you’ll do this as the first step when building your business and personal brand. That means you need to figure out what makes you unique – preferably before you go shopping for a URL.

For some people, their USP might be their area of knowledge, experience, or unique perspective in a specific industry. A physical location may also be a part of your USP if you want to target local clientele.

Carol Tice understands the ups and downs of trying to make it as a freelance writer. So, her USP is as a fellow writer and mentor for others in the industry.

If you’re at a loss, write out a list of your strengths. Having more than one niche may be a great selling point for potential clients, but you’ll have to decide for yourself if having both or picking one is the most effective in drawing in clients.

Tip #5 – Make Sure Your Brand Fits You

That cute, whimsical branding icon may work for some speakers, but maybe not for you. 

There are a lot of great branding ideas out there. It’s okay to get inspiration from what others use for their personal brands.

Just make sure that the brand you choose fits you and what you want to accomplish. Your branding concept stays with you for a very long time. Make sure that it doesn’t make you cringe when you look at it. 

Carol Tice chose a simple branding visual – herself. On her main website is a caricature of a woman at a computer. And she has a simple, yet professional headshot of her own image.

It’s great if you can think of a brand concept that makes you stand out. But you also want it to stand the test of time. 

Envision seeing this same brand five years from now. Are you still happy with what you see? If you are, you’re probably on the right track.

Selling an Authentic You in Personal Branding

One of the key essentials in personal branding success is to incorporate you into it. It’s not about catchy phrasing or stimulating visuals. At least, that’s not what attracts potential clients to your door.

They want to see you in your personal brand. 

Carol Tice is a writer. She has years of experience under her belt, and she knows what it’s like to struggle as a freelance writer. Even more, she wants to help and mentor those writers in her community.

You don’t have to follow her exact footsteps. But you do need to figure out what makes you so unique and run with it. There’s nothing worse than a speaker who tries to fit into a brand mould that doesn’t fit.

Are you hungry for more personal branding tips for your speaker business? Contact Speakers Institute for more information:

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