Should You Create a Personal or Business Brand?

Chiquita banana-unsplash-Personal-or-Business-Brand

Part of what I do as a business owner is to teach live tech help calls where writers and other small business creatives can learn how to use the software they need to run their businesses better online. One question that always comes up involves whether to create a personal or business brand.


The members of my very first tech help group - I call them my “guinea pig” group - have transformed from writers trying to monetize their hobby to CEO’s who are planning and launching their small businesses.


I love seeing all the progress they’ve made with their businesses now that technology is less of an obstacle to moving forward.


In the process of teaching business owners about the technology they need to write, get seen, and get paid, I also answer questions on techniques for branding, email list building, SEO basics, developing their messaging, building an online presence, identifying their audience, and more.


One of the first steps a business owner has to take when building a business is to build a website. The first step to building a website is to buy a domain name. In order to help with buying a domain though, we first have to talk about branding.


To do that, we talk about the differences between personal and business brands.
Deciding between a personal or business brand for your writing business or startup, is one of the early decisions you’ll want to make. If you buy a domain without committing to one or the other of these, you may end up having to redo your website or even buy a new domain name at some point.


You can’t always make the decision between personal and business branding when you first get started, but knowing the difference between the two can help you with choosing your domain name. Sometimes when you begin to think about your writing as a business, you may decide you need to have more than one brand or more than one domain, and that’s okay, too.

Creating a Personal Brand


A personal brand is just what it sounds like: It’s a brand built around you as a person. The way I explain it to people is that if the service you are offering or the business you are building would not exist in the same way if you sold it to someone else, then you want a personal brand.


For most writers, authors, and freelancers, a personal brand is going to be the best choice. If you want people to recognize your name and your face, then a personal brand is going to be a good route to go.


Authors and writers generally want to be known by their name, or at least their pen name.
If you decide on a personal brand, you’ll want to choose a domain that is yourname.com or some variation. It can sometimes be difficult to get your exact first and last name, especially if your name is common. If you can’t get your first and last name, then the next best option for a personal brand is to get a version of your name as your domain. You can do your first name, middle initial and last name. Or, try your middle name with your last name, a nickname with your last name, etc.


My first and last name wasn’t available. Neither was my nickname with my last name. I ended up with my nickname (Meg), my last name, and the word writes. If I had to make this choice again, I might use the word writer instead of writes, simply because writer is a better keyword.


When you build a personal brand, it will most likely reflect your personality and values. You’ll choose colors, fonts, and other elements, such as your photo or caricature likeness, and other images that will tell your audience who you are, what you do, and why you do what you do.

Creating a Business Brand


Part of our group time over the last several weeks has been used to share the progress each business owner has made with developing their website, landing page, and other marketing messaging.

We have a couple of people in the group who are developing a business brand. It’s so great to see how their writing businesses have evolved over time as they’ve learned more about branding, developing their messages, and using technology.
Your business brand should also reflect its personality.


Is your business formal or informal? Serious or fun? Are your services educational, entertaining, or something else? Answering these questions will help you market your business to the right audience and hone your messaging.


Consider SEO


Search engine optimization (SEO) is also critical when developing your brand. Having a keyword in your domain is also a good idea for optimizing SEO to help drive traffic to your website.


So if you are developing a personal brand and you write about health, for example, you might do your first name, last name, and add the words health writer or nutrition writer (more targeted). For a business brand, you might include words like wellness, fitness, or even just health in your business name.


If you’re ready to take your writing or other creative work from hobby to business, think about whether it would work best as a personal or business brand. Ask yourself whether or not you can ever imagine selling your successful business?


Think about how you want your business to be known in the world. Those who prefer to be behind the scenes rather than in the public eye might prefer a business brand.


Personal brands might be better suited for writers, musicians, and for those who want to be known as the face of their business, or for those who provide personal services such as coaching.


A Personal and Business Brand


For myself, I began with a personal brand, using a version of my name, as a freelance writer and consultant. It made sense then as I was primarily doing freelance writing, with a byline.
People who might buy my services need to know that I’m a real person. Using my name and photo in my branding, and honing my messaging around my personal values and interests, helps my clients know and trust me as a writer.


As my business is evolving, I’m also developing a business brand as Freelance Filter. For Freelance Filter, the focus is on helping small business owners learn to use the technology they need to do their own business better online. Freelance Filter provides helpful tutorials, software reviews and comparisons, and tech help services.


I can have other writers or staff involved in providing Freelance Filter services as long as I oversee the work to make sure it accurately reflects my brand values. Freelance Filter is a business brand that could someday be run by or sold to someone else if the opportunity arises.


There’s not really a right way or wrong way to brand your business.


Branding can even vary for different people who offer similar services. The important thing to do when branding is to make a conscious decision about which way to brand your business.


It will likely evolve and change over time. Richard Brandson, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates are examples of people who have both personal and business brands.


Once you make the decision between personal and business branding, you’ll find it’s much easier to make decisions about choosing a domain, designing your website and other marketing messaging, creating service offerings, and embarking on future endeavors.

It’s Time for You!

woman arms outstretched, it's time for you

I’m so glad you’re here.

There comes a time in every woman’s life when we realize there’s more to life than what we’re doing. For me that time first happened in 2003. As a single mom, it became clear there was more to life than working and taking care of my children. A friend reminded me to “make time for you.”

I started freelancing, but without guidance and purpose, I floundered over and over again. I was more than capable but it was hard to know what to do and when.

I searched the Internet without much luck. I did some freelancing but didn’t gain much traction. When you don’t have a destination fixed firmly in mind, even a map isn’t much help at all.

My guess is that you are capable but looking for purpose and direction.

It’s possible you’ve spent the majority of your adult life doing what everyone else thought was best for you.

Maybe you’re recently widowed or divorced, perhaps your kids are getting older and you have more free time. Or maybe your kids are grown and you’ve recently retired from your 9 to 5 job.

Regardless of the reason, you find yourself with more time on your hands and/or a desire to do something meaningful with your life for the next couple decades.

It could be you know what you need to do, you have a dream in mind, but the technology you need to learn is overwhelming.

Or maybe you just can’t figure out where to start.

Over the last year, I’ve been coaching other writers and small business owners about how to first identify their destination, then create their map for getting there, and navigate rough waters along the way.

If this sounds like you, I can help. For those who are interested in freelance writing or need to learn the technology to do their business better online, visit Freelance Filter.

How to Identify Your Purpose

identify your purpose

What to do when you feel like there’s more to life than what you’ve got.

Do you ever feel like there’s got to be something more to life than what you’ve got now? Like maybe you need to identify your your purpose in life?

I’ve so been there.

For me, the time that stands out was right after my third child was born. It seemed life was just passing me by. I was just going through the motions of work, sleep, and single parenting without any real plan. Each day was a lot like the next. I had no true purpose.

Continue reading “How to Identify Your Purpose”

The World of Self-Publishing and Why Authors Must Understand the Basics

Plus the two things you must get right when you self-publish.


I just had a conversation recently with a client about self-publishing. I’ll admit I’m not a book marketer. I’m not a self-publishing expert. But I’m a working writer who studied the self-publishing industry extensively when I wanted to self-publish my own novel.

In fact, at one point I wanted to be a book marketer and help other authors get their books seen by the right readers.

That is, until I researched self-publishing and learned how many things can tank book sales, if you don’t get it right from the start.

During my research over several years, I learned a lot about the self publishing industry. I also studied related topics so when I did self-publish, I would know what questions to ask to choose the best service.

In the process I learned a lot about what not to do when self-publishing.

The two things you must get right.

You absolutely cannot afford to get the genre of your novel wrong. There are very specific elements to many genres and sub-genres. If you get this wrong, people who love your genre of book won’t find it, which can mean low sales, if any.

Those who find your book in the wrong category, may hate it. If they are looking for cozy mystery and you give them horror, for example. At the least they will feel dissatisfied or deceived, which can result in bad reviews.

Your book cover is your only chance in most cases at a first impression on potential readers. I know that every genre and sometimes sub genre of book also has standard design elements for the cover. When it come to font, style of drawing, even color combinations, you have to get these elements right if you want to attract fans of your genre.

Get the design of your book cover wrong and you make a bad first impression.

Readers won’t even see your perfect blurb, your amazing hook, or that engaging first chapter because they never click on your cover.

Know what service your expert can and cannot offer.

Because technology has made the process of self publishing so much easier, many, many people have begun designing book covers, and offering self-publishing services, or book marketing services.

Not everyone is trying to run a scam. Some folks are simply trying to earn a living doing book cover design, something they’ve discovered they’re good at. They have that eye for visual design and produce great looking covers.

Others are trying to make money using their skill in technology to convert a manuscript in Word into an e-book in Kindle, Mobi, or some other format. The conversion of a manuscript into this format can be a frustrating thing to learn, so many authors would rather just pay someone to do it for them. Many of those offering design services are highly experienced in their craft.

Technical skill and publishing industry knowledge don’t always align.

But someone who is phenomenal with book design might not have the knowledge about the importance of those genre elements of cover design. They may give you exactly the book cover design you want, without realizing it’s the wrong design for your genre and will tank your sales. So it’s up to you, as the author, to know what the design elements are right for your genre and make sure they are in your cover design.

If you are considering self publishing a book, whether fiction or nonfiction, make sure you do your homework first. It’s your responsibility to know about genre, cover design, and the actual publishing process. It’s perfectly fine to pay someone else to do the tasks you don’t want to master. But the more you know, the better questions you can ask when you are vetting those experts.

For solid information on cover design, marketing, and the self publishing process, I turned to YouTube and found Derek Murphy of CreativIndie. I’m not affiliated with him in any way, I just feel he knows a lot about the industry, has experience, and is sincere in trying to provide the best information about self publishing he can.

If you’re going to self-publish, give your book a fair shot by making sure you choose the right experts for each part of the process.


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