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, in case you're wondering if it's too late, the answer is no! Even if you've already got some branding out there, it's never too late to do this exercise and keep refining how you come across to your ideal clients.
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) stand out from everyone else.
With your chosen values at the heart of your decisions, you will be able to:
Set the correct (and consistent) voice & tone for all your offerings, products, services, packages, events, etc
Better 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 (and dare I say excited?) about your image, and best of all it will be easy to stick with because it comes from you
In the long run, correctly identifying your values will help guide you in numerous ways. It will remove a lot 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. Simple.
Take a moment to think about that -- a life where you face little to no struggle in making business decisions -- because your core values give you more clarity and, because you identify with them strongly, they should remain your reliable and unwavering benchmarks.
This values-based container inside which to decide things truly helps everyone, especially those who struggle to take decisive action quickly and confidently.
So, will you give it a try?
Finding Your Unique Personal Brand Values
How to take action on this:
The goal is simple enough: choose your top 3 values from the list.
<!-- Begin Mailchimp Signup Form -->
<link href="//cdn-images.mailchimp.com/embedcode/classic-10_7.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css">
/* Add your own Mailchimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block.
We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */
<form action="https://zenshmen.us9.list-manage.com/subscribe/post?u=a24354c4b49f382d77f2bd52a&id=e8b15291fc" method="post" id="mc-embedded-subscribe-form" name="mc-embedded-subscribe-form" class="validate" target="_blank" novalidate>
<div class="indicates-required"><span class="asterisk">*</span> indicates required</div>
<label for="mce-FNAME">First Name <span class="asterisk">*</span>
<input type="text" value="" name="FNAME" class="required" id="mce-FNAME">
<label for="mce-EMAIL">Email Address <span class="asterisk">*</span>
<input type="email" value="" name="EMAIL" class="required email" id="mce-EMAIL">
<div id="mce-responses" class="clear">
<div class="response" id="mce-error-response" style="display:none"></div>
<div class="response" id="mce-success-response" style="display:none"></div>
</div> <!-- real people should not fill this in and expect good things - do not remove this or risk form bot signups-->
<div style="position: absolute; left: -5000px;" aria-hidden="true"><input type="text" name="b_a24354c4b49f382d77f2bd52a_e8b15291fc" tabindex="-1" value=""></div>
<div class="clear"><input type="submit" value="Subscribe" name="subscribe" id="mc-embedded-subscribe" class="button"></div>
Start by printing out this free worksheet
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.
Some Do's and Don'ts Before You Start:
Remember, really tune in and trust your gut on this exercise. Try to do this without many other distractions going on.
Consider allowing some time for this to gel within you, especially if you’re just starting out with your business. Your favorites -- the ones that “just feel right” -- might not become apparent right away. Just put it aside and come back to it tomorrow.
A close friend or supportive partner can be a wonderful sounding board for this exercise
There's only one!
Do not pick “the values you think you should have”! By their very nature, these values will be inauthentic to you and therefore impossible to work with in any meaningful or consistent way. If they don't come from you, you'll struggle to communicate your ideas in a voice that's unlike your own. So, forget what others are doing out there! This is all about you :)
The personal brand that you’re building is an extension of yourself; it’s a professional version of you that you’re presenting outwardly.
It may be helpful to think of these values as a mix between how you genuinely see yourself, and how you wish to be perceived in order to move your business forward.
Extra Tips On How to Reveal Your Personal Brand Values
You've printed out the free worksheet. You got started... and maybe you're thinking 99 is a heck of a lot of options!
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 additional filters. Ask yourself:
Filter Question 1:
"Would I be pleased/would it be a ‘win’ if someone said this about me/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/utilize my services?"
This framing should eliminate values/concepts that seem nice... but are not specific enough to why or how you do what you do so well.
Then, pass your remaining selections through the next filter.
Filter Question 2:
"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. Still not there yet? Try this final filter:
Filter Question 3:
"How do I wish for my loved ones to see me? How do I want to be remembered?"
If you'd be pleased that these 3 things could 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 brand-building exercises that I've tried myself, have found value in, and have helped my clients with. You don't have any time to waste and neither do I! So yes, in case you're wondering, I've run my own personal brand through this exercise too!
Curious about which 10 words jumped out at me?
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. Those concepts stuck out for me and I just identified with them in a kind of matter-of-fact way. By that, I mean that it was either a "yup that's me!" or a "that's nice, but not really me" reaction as I paused to consider each one.
My top three brand values are: creative, exceptional & 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 when I see it, both in myself and in 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!