Lessons From An Amateur: How to Systematize Your Brand

personal branding strategist photographs the business you want t
We could entitle this “lessons learned from an amateur” and just as easily title it “Britney is not a music buff” and they’d both be accurate. No, an audiophile I am not. I’ll never be the person you turn to when looking for music because I don’t listen to emerging stations, sifting through the crap. I also am not the person who hears a line of a song and can instantly tell you the title. Or the singer. In fact, I might know all the lyrics and still not know the name or singer.

So it may come as some surprise that this post is going to be about music and the average person. Because the average person is the common denominator and most likely, some segment of the average person is your target market. Your best client, your niche.

creator of the badass brand for women entrepreneurs ready to shiJanuary is a time for moving on from reflection into planning, then moving from plans to action. My January theme is Systems for Success. As a brand strategist, that means systematizing your passions, your values and your branding. As a marketing photographer, that means knowing what image you want to present to the world and then showing it. Both sides require reflection, planning and action.

Back to music. At the gym this past week I inserted my ear buds and like many regular gym attendees, tried to ignore the mass influx of amateurs who have sudden health goals. I applaud them, even if they won’t stick with it. While I applaud them, I also begrudgingly realize it takes me longer to get through my routine as I sometimes wait for a machine. And so I forego the podcasts I usually listen to and go back to music.

Why? Music invokes passion. It sets a beat. It gives me something to look forward to.

And that’s the heart of this article. Sometimes a set of phrases burst forth with feeling so large, so exuberant you can’t help but feel the pop of energy. That passion from the artist’s pen contains so much. The melody it pairs with, a second layer of verve.

I don’t have to be an audiophile to enjoy this, to feel the wave of emotion and translate that into whatever I’m doing at the moment. I can be an amateur and recognize the genius.

This is what comes from systematizing your brand, your image.

When you know who you are, what you stand for, and how you help your clients… this is the beginning of systematizing your brand. This is the beginning of a system for success.

I spoke with an old client yesterday. She’s looking for more direction in her business, not wanting to feel like she’s always scrambling at the last minute. She wants to feel like all the little projects she’s doing matter and learn how to prioritize them. Knowing what she and her business stand for is the first step. Filtering each new project or commitment through that one overarching theme is next. And then showing those results will come naturally.

creator of the badass brand for women entrepreneurs ready to shiShe’s also feeling a lot of resistance to one specific project, and we talked about that. I believe she’s nearing the end of it and worried it won’t be as successful as she hopes, and delaying the project so there’s no chance of failure. I see this so often with my clients!

One of the songs that popped up at the gym yesterday? “I Lived” by One Republic. (And yes, I had to look up the artist. Again.)

“Hope when you take that jump / You don’t feel the fall.”

When it comes to systematizing your brand (and your passion) you’ll come to the point where you have to make the jump. It can be scary and at the same time, exhilarating. There comes a time when you have to leap from one system to the next. When all the things you’ve done before have to fade away to allow for something new. That’s upleveling.

When you push out that project you’re resisting, you open yourself to judgment and criticism, yes. And you also open yourself to cheer, to the accolades of a job well done. You allow the amateurs all around you to glimpse the expert side of it, and to help them uplevel as well.

And for those I’ve worked with I can truly say, I “hope if everybody runs, you choose to stay.” Pushing through this resistance is what cements your brand to your business, you your decisions to your brand. It’s when you can own who you are and what you stand for without doubt.

While this would make an excellent intro podcast for this month, I’ll spare you that. In addition to never knowing the artist of a song, I’m rather tone deaf. I’ll belt out a tune in the car and my son, even at the ripe old age of three, would ask me to stop singing.

So I’ll close with this: are you in your business? Are you living it?

Or are you just floating through, till the next thing comes along?

Me? I’ve lived.

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