By Sherri McLendon
Stepping into our expertise often means we embrace the challenges and rewards of a “public” life, whether we’re crafting our personal brand, speaking before our peers or crafting video.
Women nurturing change often wish to offer solutions to others’ problems. We think, “If I could just get the word out, I could really help others in a meaningful way with my gifts.” Often, we prefer to leave that up to someone else so we can simply live our brilliance. But along with that desire comes the very real challenges and rewards of a life publicly lived.
In this third decade of the internet age, we cling to our illusions of privacy. Nonetheless, we’ve now let the genie out of the bottle, and that wish, to be known for our gifts, lies before us within our grasp. Perhaps we try to hire someone to represent us so we don’t have to deal with it. Maybe we think word of mouth alone will create a network which sustains us. We could feel overwhelmed with the scope of what we don’t know, and forget to focus on how much we have to offer. Whatever the case, many of us must overcome resistance to the idea of a public life so that we can enjoy its rewards in our private life: richer quality; more freedom; ability to create sustainability for the collective; increased income; better clients; and a mission with a message. Frankly, we can help more people.
In this second decade of the 21st century, we live in a New Age of transparency, in which who we are proves as important, if not more important, than what we know. That means in order to grow our business and step fully into our expert status we need to embrace the challenges and rewards of a public life in alignment with our inner core values. Today, the range of possibilities for consciously crafting our “public” lives includes a wide range of options, from personal branding, speaking before peers, or crafting videos to share our heart’s work.
What is Personal Branding?
A legacy from Napoleon Hill’s landmark 1937 work, Think and Grow Rich, personal branding is building a professional persona and reputation based on your uniqueness and individuality within a larger community of support.
Regrettably, common definitions prove uninspiring. One such is Wikipedia’s, defining one’s personal brand as an “outside-in” process. The entry for personal brand suggests “a description of the process whereby people and their careers are marked as brands… the self-branding concept suggests… success comes from self-packaging.” This definition marks a definitive shift toward an increased emphasis on one’s appearance, wardrobe, and manner as a “package” for your knowledge and products.
For the first time in “herstory,” it is desirable to create an external reality which completely aligns with our internal ethos or core values. In fact, to create a personal brand with integrity, it’s important our exterior reality be specifically aligned with our internal priorities and values. When we’re in alignment, we attract our ideal clients, employers, and community of support much more readily, and we’re able to stay in integrity in matters of money and business.
What about Public Speaking?
Anytime you speak to people to share information, entertain, or influence thinking, you’re a public speaker. If you’re building a business, any opportunity to get in front of people and offer them something valuable which has relevance to them can create meaningful connections which can be nurtured to increase your client base.
Fear of getting up in front of others is a big challenge for many women who are nurturing their own abilities, so taking the leap of faith to present an aspect of their work in public is a pretty big deal. We’re not certain what we will do if our presentation turns out to be terrible. Difficult audience members can be a factor for concern, and heaven forbid anyone ask a question we cannot answer! Plus, choosing a topic and preparing a presentation takes time and attention we may not feel we have.
A well-prepared and paced presentation to the right audience can offer increased business in the form of highly engaged new client possibilities, exposure for your business, increased visibility for your personal brand, and networking.
What about shooting a video?
Video as a hands-on marketing tool has only been accessible to entrepreneurs for about a decade, but in terms of return on investment, it remains hands-down the best way to build a public audience for your personal work. Bootstrappers with the right equipment, such as a flip camera or a laptop with a webcam, can produce an inexpensive video themselves.
In addition to getting over the shyness related to engaging with people using a new medium, knowing what you want to accomplish is a challenge when it comes to video. It’s better to create several short videos, each with its own objective and content, than to create one that tries way too hard and accomplishes little. Video, as a form of social media, also has its own Fair Use guidelines. Plus, you’ll need to decide about equipment, use of a videographer, or editing software, and you’ll need to upload your video to multiple places online to maximize its ability to be shared.
Videos have been known to convert as many as 60-80 percent of viewers directly into customers. An antidote to public speaking, anyone anywhere can today gain more visibility with their fresh, original content. You can absolutely attract new clients just by being yourself.
Stepping into our expertise often means we embrace the challenges and rewards of a “public” life, whether we’re speaking before our peers or crafting video. If you have a higher calling, and a gift to bring the world, I offer you the carefully constructed possibility of a public life which enhances your private life, creating the connections and resources you need to create the change you wish to see in the world. I hope you’ll accept the challenges – and reap the rewards.
Check out wncwoman.com for a Web Exclusive listing of online resources on Personal Branding, Public Speaking and Video.
Sherri L. McLendon, MA, OM is a conscious business strategist, coach, and writer in Asheville, NC. She owns and operates Professional Moneta International, specializing in helping exceptional entrepreneurs with a higher calling accelerate their money-making communication strategies and deepen their mindfulness practices in business so they can help more people, grow personally and professionally, and improve their sense of value and worth. Her clients need the expertise and support necessary create the change they want to be in the world and close the gap between their unlimited growth potential and their current limitations.