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8 Aug

How to build a strong personal brand that helps secure the bag

Written by Tiwalola

Image by @chey_maya

Picture this…

You’ve reached a point in your life where opportunities are coming to you in abundance. You don’t stress because you’re getting called and PAID to work with your favourite brands or on your dream projects. It’s like everything you visualised for yourself and your future happens with ease. 

This is what’s possible when you build a strong personal brand. 

When people know who you are, know what you stand for and see the results you can deliver, opportunities start coming your way. In 2017, no one really knew who I was but by 2021 my name, Tiwalola, had become synonymous with confidence building for women. So much so that I haven’t had to send one outbound email looking for work since 2020 and I signed a 2 Book deal with HarperCollins, the 2nd largest publisher in the world! As Beyoncé says – I’m in my bag, ah! 

So, what exactly is a personal brand? 

Everyone has a story, whether you like it or not you’ve got a reputation for something. They say your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. In a world where everyone has an opinion of who you are and what you are capable of doing, getting strategic about your narrative is a form of powerful resistance and a way to also embrace your Main Character Energy. 

Think of it as your ability to show and communicate the results you can and have achieved at scale. If you’re achieving excellent results but no one knows about it, you don’t have a strong personal brand or a reputation for delivering value. Scale doesn’t need to be a million people. This is not about being famous, it’s about making sure the right people, however many they are, know who you are and what you’re capable of doing. 

That said, a personal brand isn’t just for entrepreneurs or influencers. If you’re on the career ladder, having a reputation at work for delivering value increases your visibility and chances of getting a promotion. Having positive connections with people also means your name is top of mind and you get chosen more often for new opportunities. In a competitive world, your personal brand is a big differentiating factor. 

If you’re new to this, here’s 3 steps on how to figure out your personal brand: 

Step 1

Wake up. Become aware and begin to articulate your top skills, strengths, passions and core beliefs. This is what I call in my book, Confident and Killing It, your Power Circle. You can’t build a personal brand if you don’t even know who you are. So wakey wakey, it’s time to stop sleeping on your greatness and embrace that magic within you. A personal brand isn’t about becoming someone else. You’re already good enough. Keep it authentic, simple and make sure the expectations you set are met in real life. 

Step 2

Get strategic. Think of what you want to be known for and then start positioning yourself as an expert in your field. Don’t let imposter syndrome make you feel like a fraud. Pick a few topics a week and talk openly about them across your social media. For example, where you stand on an industry challenge, life lessons that can benefit others, client testimonials, things that inspire you, news related to your industry. 

Step 3

Be consistent. You can’t just do something once and expect people to associate you with it. I had spent 3 years building a portfolio and working on my reputation before opportunities to work with brands like Google, UN Women, The Sunday Times, Deloitte, Spotify, Oatly, Glamour and Meta started coming to me. When you sow seeds consistently, you will see results. Period. 

So there you have it, creating and owning your narrative allows you to amplify your purpose and stay memorable. Stories are a powerful way to connect with people because they move us to do something after hearing it. When you hear a good story you share it, it’s contagious. Owning your personal story opens many doors for you to impact the world in a positive way and secure the bag to live your best *soft* life. 

There is no award for being the world’s best kept secret so if you know you’re THAT girl, then it’s time to start showing up as her.