In the last post, I talked about journaling. Some people journal through writing, others use voice recording. Still others take photographs, put together collages, or “pin” pictures together on Pinterest.
I prefer writing by hand. I hope you will find a method that allows you to check in with yourself routinely and easily. Once realizations about what you like and value start to reveal themselves, it becomes a lot easier to make decisions. After all, it’s hard to stay stuck when you know what is important to you!
How do you create your brand?
These are some of the most frequently asked questions from newer entrepreneurs. In my experience, the most successful branding decisions come when you know who you are. I don’t know what kind of business you want to create – only you do. Put your stories and feelings down on paper, because that’s where the answers will be.
Many clients and colleagues tell me that ImageCube feels different from other similar businesses. This is intentional. From the beginning, I wanted it to be different. If I saw something I didn’t like, I chose not to incorporate it, period, no matter what ‘everyone else’ was doing.
Let me give you two examples.
Example #1: How I named my business
When I was starting out, I really hated all the negativity and the judgment that I saw from “style experts” on the shows like What Not to Wear. I made an intentional decision to depart from that model of ‘image consulting’. In fact, I talked about my reaction to that show in the previous blog post. My intention, instead, was to shape my business in a way that honors people’s stories and values their individual experiences.
The name of my business, ImageCube, came from the same intention. I wanted to create a safe and trustworthy space where my clients could have a multidimensional experience (hence, ‘cube’).
Because of my commitment to go beyond the surface, I invested time and money into understanding personalities and psychology. That decision has really paid off, because clients now tell me that they really feel as though working with me goes beyond mere appearance. It is incredibly rewarding to get the feedback that my clients feel better about who they are and feel more confident navigating different aspects of life. This was the goal from the beginning!
Example #2: How I found my people
From journaling, I also realized early on that one of my most important values was to give.
Soon after arriving in Indianapolis for my corporate job, I joined the Board of the Museum of Contemporary Art so I could give back to my community. Being in this environment also allowed me to be around other people who liked to give! Little did I know at that point I would eventually start my image consulting business, and that my very first clients would come from these relationships!
Due to my reputation and experience on the board, I quickly received referrals from fellow board members. This story is an example of how knowing your own values and living up to them can lead you to network with much more clarity and efficacy.
The importance of self-awareness
Ask yourself these questions:
- How do you feel in this moment? Why?
- What is it about your personality, who you are, and your past life experiences that is making you feel that way?
- What about when you were going through a difficult time?
- How did you act when you experienced a serious setback?
When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re going to encounter a lot of big questions and a lot of adversity.
Know thyself is more than a cliché. It’s a bedrock to withstand the barrage of questions all entrepreneurs must encounter and answer constantly.
If you have a regular practice of pausing to reflect so that you can maintain a sense of clarity about your identity and values, you will not only be able to make branding decisions with ease.