Updated: 3 days ago
When you’re starting out developing your personal brand for your online business, it’s so easy to be pulled in a million directions and overwhelmed by all the decisions to be made.
However, when you take the time to build your personal brand and your online business goals around your values early on, it enables you to get your footing on a rock-solid foundation that feels true to you, and a lot less like copying some BS that someone else out there is selling. And yes, it's never too late to do this exercise!
What kind of values are we talking about here? Isn't it obvious that we all want to provide things like “quality work” or “honesty”? Well, one would hope so! But beyond that, your core values might be quite different from someone else’s, and the particular combination you choose could be completely unique to you.
Your core values are an essential component of your personal brand because they’re part of what makes you (and what you offer) different from everybody else.
With your chosen values at the core of your decisions, you will:
Set the correct (and consistent) tone for all your offerings, products, services, packages, events, etc
Inform your marketing decisions, from colors and font choice to imagery, copywriting and selling style
Facilitate your business growth and scaling decisions, giving you clarity of purpose and vision
Feel good about your image, and it will be easy to stick with because it comes from you
In the long run, correctly identifying your values will help guide you. It will remove a ton of uncertainty from your business life. Why?
Because when a new idea or opportunity comes along and you’re struggling to decide what to do, arriving at the answer becomes much simpler: does it fit with your values, or not?
There is no grey area. It either aligns with your core values, or it doesn’t.
Take a moment to think about that -- a life where you face little-to-no-struggle in making decisions -- because your core values give you clarity of purpose, and are such reliable and unwavering benchmarks.
These parameters, this container inside which to decide things, truly helps everyone -- but especially those who struggle with taking decisive action quickly and confidently.
So, will you give it a try?
Finding Your Unique Personal Brand Values
How to take action on this:
Choose your top 3 values from the list below. Start by printing out this free worksheet and read through it, circling 10 values or concepts as you go, ones that really resonate with you. Then, of those 10, whittle it down to 5. Finally, pull your 3 favorites. That's it!
Note: For some, this exercise will feel easy. For others, it's super difficult! If this task seems impossible, I've got you! There are some more helpful tips further below.
Important Things to Remember Before You Start:
Remember, really tune in and trust your gut on this exercise. Do not pick “the values you think you should have” because, by their very nature, these values will be inauthentic to you and therefore impossible to live and work with in a meaningful or consistent way.
Consider allowing some time for this to gel within you, especially if you’re just starting out. Your favorites -- the ones that “just feel right” -- might not become apparent right away. Just put it aside and come back to it tomorrow.
The personal brand that you’re building is an extension of yourself; it’s a professional version of you that you’re presenting outwardly. So it may be helpful to think of these words as a mix between how you genuinely see yourself and how you wish to be perceived in order to move your business forward.
Some Extra Tips On How to Find Your Personal Brand Values
If you circled dozens of words on your first pass and are feeling like you’ll never make it down to 10 (let alone 3), don’t despair! I have some extra bits of advice for you:
Go through your circled words again and pass them through these filters:
"Would I be pleased/would it be a ‘win’ if someone said this about me and my business in a conversation when I wasn’t in the room? In other words, would it serve to convince that other person to hire me?"
This framing should eliminate a bunch of values/concepts that seem nice but are not specific enough to why or how you do what you do so well.
"Which of these attributes/qualities/values do I genuinely aspire to be or live out each day?"
Your selection should now be quite a bit smaller and more specific.
"How do I wish for my loved ones to see me? How do I want to be remembered?"
If you'd be pleased for these 3 values to be said about you at your funeral, you're pretty much there my friend!
Running Myself Through This Exercise
Just a heads-up, I only recommend self-reflective and business-building exercises that I've tried myself and have found value in. You don't have any time to waste and neither do I! So yes, if you're wondering, I've run my own personal brand through this exercise too!
Curious about which ten words I first picked? They are: bright, creative, empowering, exceptional, friendly, fun, heart-centered, inspiring, positive, and well-read.
I went with my gut and didn’t overthink it. They stuck out for me and I just identified with these concepts in a kind of matter-of-fact way.
My final three are: creative, exceptional and empowering.
I apply my creativity to everything I do, drawing upon a wide range of experiences, information, and inspiration to put things into the world in creative and meaningful ways. I connect the dots between ideas in my unique way. I think outside the box and come up with a fresh twist on things. These are key components of creativity!
I strive for exceptional results, and hold myself/my work to a high standard (just OK doesn’t quite cut it for me!). I'm not without my mistakes, and I struggle with perfectionism as much as the next person, but I do recognize and appreciate good work in myself and others!
And finally, my goal is to spread messages and examples of empowerment, not only because I have a daughter to raise, but I also have myself to continually raise. How can I model confidence for her if I’m not confident in myself? How can I show her and others not to get walked all over if I continually allow it for myself?
And there you have it. These three values are very dear to me, and the standard I try to uphold consistently in the coaching work I do, the marketing messages I put out, the client experiences I create, and what I teach. Of course the idea is to aim for all three, but I don’t beat myself up about it.
Values are meant to act as a guide, not as unforgiving rules. As long as you genuinely try to be authentic and do your best to uphold what you hold true, you’re doing A-OK, and I applaud you!