How can people benefit from a connection with you?

What were you paid for? What do you love to do? Which of your skills are on demand? Did you experience a powerful transformation? Can your story help someone?
Finding your personal brand purpose is important. We don’t really have business Ikigai, it’s usually personal, yet we can define it for our personal brand.

The Japanese concept of IKIGAI is trendy in marketing.

It allows you to find your purpose and understand where to move forward in your career or personal brand.

Brands are leaders; they know where they are going and curate a journey for their tribe. A personal brand is also a responsibility. We lead people in the direction we’ve chosen; we know what we want to achieve. We must know ourselves, face inner demons and acknowledge our light and dark sides.

IKIGAI allows defining “the reason to get up in the morning”.

That means knowing four things and where they overlap

  • What you love
  • What you’re good at
  • What you’ve paid for
  • What the world needs

These four overlaps to create another four areas.

  • Passion
  • Profession
  • Mission
  • Vocation

Finding you IKIGAI means seeing where these four areas crossed.

You can create a list of ideas by asking yourself these questions and finding the overlaps. For example:

  • What will I enjoy doing for free? 
  • What do I love doing in my free time? 
  • What are my hobbies? 
  • What did I love doing in my childhood and now?
  • Do I have some skills? 
  • For what skills do I get the most compliments? 
  • What do people think I do the best? 
  • What am I known for from the skills or knowledge perspective?
  • Which of my skills is on-demand in the world?
  • What can I learn to make the world a better place?
  • What skills and qualifications can I get to get my dream job?
  • What jobs or positions inspire me?
  • What was I paid for?
  • What I was paid for and enjoyed doing it?
  • What was I paid for but hated doing it?
  • What job can I do to enjoy my life the most?

As you answer these questions, you will see the overlaps. 

To me, it was easy. I have always enjoyed design, art, psychology, photography, video and branding. I’ve turned all of these skills into business or profession. The problem was that I couldn’t find why the world needed these skills. Creativity is a way to express yourself. But the word required food, water, shelter, and relationships. Creativity is not necessary — it’s optional. Therefore it took me some time to find my brand purpose. Eventually, I realised what my brand brings to the table. I analysed my clients’ results and saw the common denominator — confidence. So I help women entrepreneurs to find themselves, brand themselves and show up confidently. And I’m sure the world needs more confident women to shine their talents and show an example to the new generation. 

In my personal branding program, I have a few tools that help to define your Why, your Ikigai, your Vision, and your Values. We have one to one calls for each topic, many video lessons and workbooks—all to build your story and create content that speaks to your customers’ hearts. So let me know if you like to join this program. The places are limited!

15 Powerful steps to start your personal brand mastery

1. Define why you need a personal brand!

2. To build your Personal Brand, you need to know your values!

3. When you build your personal brand, decide what you want to be known for?

4. Find your story. Build your personal brand with storytelling.

5. To build your personal brand, you need to define your purpose.

Star Wars Hildebrandt – 1977

NOT EVERY STORY WORKS!!!

The transformational story is not always the most dramatic one. But it resonates with your clients and builds an emotional bridge between you and your audience. Create to win people’s hearts, not pockets.

One of the most significant sagas of twenty centuries, “Star Wars”, was heavily impacted by Joseph Campbell’s monomyth theory, described in “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”, first published in 1949. Joseph Campbell studied mythologies and fairy tales worldwide and created “The Hero’s Journey” narrative cycle. 

After the success of George Lucas’s film, “The Hero’s Journey” has become a primary guide for many filmmakers, storytellers, authors and marketers. 

The idea is simple: your brand story has to resonate with your customer’s story!

Your readers and potential customers want the same thing you wanted and have the same fear, pain and desire to overcome. So they can relate to your story, and your experience makes them feel something.

Your brand story must be relatable, not dramatic!

Here are the three rules of a good story:

  • Speak from your scars, not from the open wounds! As a storyteller, you must deliver some wisdom, not the pain. A documentary story that happens here and now is usually different from a powerful transformational brand story. 
  • Pain, Fear, and Gain are three elements your reader will relate to. Talk to your audience, listen to them, and know their pain, what they are looking for, and their biggest fear. Know what they feel. Now, choose one of your stories that can be relevant in this case.
  • A journey from pain to gain what your prospects are looking for! They are not buying your actual story; they are buying the feeling that they can make it. You become a guide for your clients because you’ve been in their shoes and know where to go!

Your transformational idea will form many stories that you’ll share across different mediums. This idea will be your personal brand story. It will signal your prospects that you are their guide, the one they have been looking for for a very long time.

Storytelling marketing strategy is one of the soft selling methods. It helps your brand to thrive without direct sales calls but through authentic connections with the right audience.

In my Personal Brand Program, my clients tell me their stories, then we work with their client profiles, and then together, we build powerful selling stories. So if you like to know about the “Find Your Brilliance” program, let’s chat on LinkedIn.


15 Powerful steps to start your personal brand mastery

1. Define why you need a personal brand!

2. To build your Personal Brand, you need to know your values!

3. When you build your personal brand, decide what you want to be known for?

4. Find your story. Build your personal brand with storytelling.

5. To build your personal brand, you need to define your purpose.

One day someone tells a friend that they know you, and you are excellent at ………………….. (feel the blank). The clarity of this message is where you start. You can add flavours later!

When I decided to build a learning platform and advertising agency, I experimented with the company name. I’ve been repeating my optional business names loudly, recording them, and listening to them back. I knew I’d be known for it. It took me one and a half years to finalise BrandYourDream

Approach to a personal brand is different from a business brand

People need to connect and memorise your name, personality, story, skills, values, and vision with your personal brand. Building it requires discipline and a holistic approach to the content and experience you deliver to your audience.

You need to be known for specific skills, knowledge, and service for business purposes. When people are looking for a particular solution, your name has to pop up in their memory or come from a recommendation. 

More importantly, it would be best if you felt confident with this personal brand definition. But, more than that, you need to be inspired. So, say it loudly: “I’m ………………….. (add what you want to be known for)” or “She is amazing ………………….. (add what you want to be known for)” How does it feel to be known for it?

Your mindset is important!

If the definition feels small, rethink it. If “what you want to be known for” is “too big”, try to figure out why it feels too much for you. Work on your confidence and try it again. The idea of your brand has to be clear and fit like a glove. It would be best to feel proud and excited about this identification as you will work with it for many years.

If you are ready to build your personal brand, discover yourself, structure your story and create content that resonates with your prospects, let’s chat on LinkedIn. You can check details about the Personal Brand program Find Your Brilliance here and see if it’s the right fit for you. We will set the discovery call after chat on LinkedIn if it is. If not, networking is always a good idea. Win-win :)


15 Powerful steps to start your personal brand mastery

1. Define why you need a personal brand!

2. To build your Personal Brand, you need to know your values!

3. When you build your personal brand, decide what you want to be known for?

4. Find your story. Build your personal brand with storytelling.

5. To build your personal brand, you need to define your purpose.

The critical element of your Personal Brand is to stand for your values. Your values will define your actions and content. Your values will guide you to walk your talk and be authentic. Your values will help you build boundaries and a work ethic which will tell more than words.

Once you define your values, you will know what you will do and what you will reject. When you fully accept your values, you build your boundaries, and you no longer try to please everybody or work with everyone. You will instantly know how to “Hold your ground”.

Your values are closely related to maturity and self-respect. You become more disciplined when you respect your boundaries, path, and body. This self-respect and discipline allow you to become a natural leader. This quality magnetises your audience to you.

Discovering your Values

It would be best if you had other instruments to filter out people who will never benefit from working with you as you start attracting your people. The following posts will describe tools that will help you refine your message.

And if you like to build your personal brand and are ready to take a leap, check my Personal Branding Program and let’s chat.


15 Powerful steps to start your personal brand mastery

1. Define why you need a personal brand!

2. To build your Personal Brand, you need to know your values!

3. When you build your personal brand, decide what you want to be known for?

4. Find your story. Build your personal brand with storytelling.

5. To build your personal brand, you need to define your purpose.

Building a personal brand is a lifelong journey. It’s the most flexible brand as it’s changing along with you. Your Personal Brand is a code of ethics that defines your actions, words, and legacy.

The definition of the brand is simple.

  • Your brand is an image in your audience’s mind.
  • Your clients build it based on their own experience with you, your product or services.
  • Other people’s testimonials will impact them.
  • But the fundamental idea is the information that your brand shares via various media channels online and offline.

The difference between a business brand and a personal brand is tremendous.

When the audience builds relationships with the established brand personality, it’s a stable connection to a clear definition. On the other hand, when your audience builds relationships with you, they deal with a constantly changing and evolving nature. Therefore your personal branding journey is a path to self-awareness and self-responsibility.

Your Personal Brand doesn’t mean restriction, but it requires discipline!

Many believe that a well-defined brand will be restrictive, so they choose not to label or frame anything. However, people will build relationships with you anyway. To minimise the harm and benefit from these relationships, you may use the help of structure and strategy. You don’t need to restrict yourself but rather create a flexible system to deliver a clear message to your audience.
When people know who you are, what you do, and why and how they benefit from working with you, they can make decisions quickly.


In the next chapter, we will talk about values. And if you want to build your personal brand, you may like to know more about my Personal Branding program, Find Your Brilliance.


15 Powerful steps to start your personal brand mastery

1. Define why you need a personal brand!

2. To build your Personal Brand, you need to know your values!

3. When you build your personal brand, decide what you want to be known for?

4. Find your story. Build your personal brand with storytelling.

5. To build your personal brand, you need to define your purpose.

Improve your brand style, learn visual storytelling tricks that are used by film directors!

Another important skill for creative professionals, designers, art directors, creative directors, advertising experts, photographers, videographers, film directors, is the ability to spot the style. If you want to stand out, build up a brand that shows you differently, you can practice this skill too!

When you know styles in fashion, art, design, when you can spot them, you are, basically, learning a new language. Style is a language where each element is a letter and the overall outlook is the sentence. The brand is created from such sentences and your clients read the book that is you or your business. Their imagination does the work, they do build relationships with your brand subconsciously.

Let’s dive into the Brand style exercise!

  1. Just like in the previous post about visual storytelling & hunting colour, you are going to set your goals first. In case of style, I’d suggest looking for inspiration on Pinterest or museums or any other place that has a decent collection dedicated to a specific style.
    I’m collecting interesting images regularly in the secret boards on my Pinterest.
  2. Find the spot. Here is the trick. This process in the photo and video industry often called the recce of the location. When you know what you want to achieve you are trying to find or sometimes build a location for the case. In this case, I was looking for the old European building and just by accident saw the car that just sealed the deal.
  3. Plan your post-production ahead. When you know what you plan to achieve you will use equipment that will minimise your postproduction time and will serve for the occasion.
    When the final result is matching your initial idea it feels great :)

Bonus step for advanced creators! If you love photography but mostly look at your photos in digital format, start printing. When you will see your photos printed on A3 or A2 paper size you will instantly know what to improve. It will lead you to better equipment and smarter choices.

This process will teach you to spot the style online and offline. It will improve your photo skills and give you a lot of photo material for your social media content. A few selfies in the process is a good idea as well!

Colour inspiration for visual storytelling. Colour red.

There are many ways how you can stimulate your creativity simply using your smartphone. One of them is idea or concept hunting.

In this exercise, you are learning to focus and tell your brand story on social media without words. If you work with the premium segment and the audience that prefer a luxury experience, this exercise may give you a few interesting insights on visual storytelling.

You may say: “I’ll delegate this part, I don’t want to do it”, and then this post is not for you. But if you are eager to unleash your creative dragon for personal development and because you are adventurous and curious…let’s play!

Here is how you can improve your creative thinking and stretch your visual storytelling muscles.

  • Step 1.
    Choose the idea. In this case, I was looking for the representation of the red colour. It was inspired by the building of the red University and as it’s an interesting statement colour I started my hunt.
  • Step 2.
    Focus on one idea. I know it can be tempting to do all ideas at one go. (In fact, you will be able to do it when you will be a pro). Yet, if you want to achieve the result dedicate yourself to one idea. Colour is a good vibrant and clear idea to hunt, I’ll share more ideas in the upcoming posts and more colours too.
  • Step 3.
    Add additional parameter. In my case, I wanted to have perspective, and retro (I used this in the postproduction but kept it in mind before the shoot)

How this can help you with your brand?

  • You will learn how to focus on consistent colour expression in your posts.
  • You will learn how to look around like artists do. Look for inspiration and a creative source for your story.
  • Practice composition, visual storytelling, be playful with your social media content

The method of idea hunting is often used in film, design and photo schools. It can help you to show up on video as well because now you will add the meaning to the colour in your frame and tell the story with visual non-verbal elements.

P.S. If you feel that you need to get some camera confidence and go live like a super pro, reduce your visibility fears, improve your visual storytelling and learn how to enjoy your video, check the Visibility Gym

An effective brand is successful. A Successful brand is profitable. The Brand has many aspects and visual pillars that play the role of the wrap around the brand core. If the wrapping is empty, your brand will fail. If the core of your brand has a powerful “Why”, it understands its audience, it leads and walks its talk, also, the visual wrapping works as an invitation to your ideal clients.

So what are these 4 pillars?

What is the secret of a good design? Why are photos taken by you don’t work for your design as much, as you would like it? Why is the text that you dictate to your secretary may not be so interesting to your client?

Design is created by designers, photos are shot by photographers and the copy is written by copywriters. Yes, I’m the Captain-obvious now. When the client trusts these professionals that results in fantastic brochures, digital designs, photography, videos and it raises your company to a new level of communication. So delegate what you can’t do and focus on what you love to do. You can’t delegate only public speaking and video speaking in person, the rest doesn’t need to be a burden on your shoulders.

Design.

Let’s start with the brand design. Your design is not just images and text. Effective design is a successful implementation of the idea. The professional layout uses the elegant readable font, an interesting thematic collection of images and other design elements, styles for copy, footers and headers, informative charts and tables. A professional designer will also help you to choose unique professional photos for your project.

Photography is a unique tool.

Professional photography raises your design to another level, the light effectively emphasizes the advantages of your product, the mood communicates the quality of your brand and the dramatic colour schemes entices the buyer to a potential “purchase decision”. Photography is not just a camera and a photographer, this is the result of the usage of complex equipment, expert skills and sophisticated post-production. It’s beneficial if you can invest in a professional photographer!

Copywriting.

No matter how beautiful pictures are your brochure, it’s of no use if it doesn’t convince your client to read your brochure and buy your product or service. An interesting design does not go to the trash-bin or scrolled off. Professional copywriters speak to your customers from their heart; it causes your clients to believe in you. Headlines retain the attention of your customer and they like to re-read the text again and again. A good text is always written for your customers and creates a strong association with the positive qualities of your product and brand in their minds. The interesting text encourages your client to read your next brochure and want to know more about you.

Video.

Now video plays a powerful role for your brand, helping to connect people globally. If you work in a local business you can use video to build trust and attract people to your store. Yet, when you work for a global audience video become a necessary tool. Also, if you are an expert and you feel that presenting on video scares you, I can help you to overcome this fear. The truth is you can’t delegate your presentation in person on stage or video. And as this medium is a big part of your brand you need to learn a few ideas on how to build an emotional connection with your customers. I’ve created the “Visibility Gym” for experts and entrepreneurs who want to improve their relationships with video in 10 days. So if you are curious, check “Visibility Gym”!

So delegate as much as you can. Employ a team of professionals on board or hire an agency who help you with design and brand strategy.

P.S. You can’t delegate your own performance on stage and video. That’s why you need to learn this skill. It takes time and practice so start today! Join “Visibility Gym” to improve your videos!

P.P.S. This article was first created and published in 2009. This is an updated version of the article.

Appreciation, attention, validation — You are looking for it ever since you were born. It’s good to be loved, respected, seen. So why some people are desperately looking for external validation and denying themselves the right to make decisions?

External validation starts with family.

Love and respect start from the family. Healthy societies show love for kids by giving them appreciation. Along with critique, such children receive compliments for what was done right. Their teachers and parent believe in them and they often tell them about it. More than that they encourage them to think big and start something, like a lemonade stand or YouTube channel.

Yet in many countries, appreciation is almost prohibited. It’s often shown as a sign of weakness.
Perhaps you know how it feels when everyone from parents to teachers and bosses, are trying to improve your skills by pointing to your mistakes. Generations of people from such countries feel unloved, underappreciated, neglected. They only know how to criticize and are afraid of appreciation. At the same time, they are desperately looking for someone to validate their skills and rarely trust their judgment. They work much harder than others and often become high achievers, except they never enjoy results.

Working with many experts from post-Soviet countries, I’ve noticed how self-criticism doesn’t allow them to achieve the rewards, they deserve. Those under-loved are often suffering from depression and the inability to love. They often can’t identify their true self. They are subconsciously looking for external validation and are enabled to give love because no one ever taught them how.

On the other hand, people who feel confident, supported, loved become successful faster. They believe in their potential. They know that their work will be appreciated and they expect to be rewarded for the job they do. If they don’t receive the reward or it’s not enough, they start looking for better opportunities. They get better jobs because they know their value and are more satisfied with their position and salary. They are requesting promotion confidently and moving faster on the career ladder.

Does seeking external validation affects business?

When underappreciated people become entrepreneurs, they tend to hide. They refuse to show up consistently and sabotage their visibility. They are avoiding leadership and feel uncomfortable in a decision making position. They are always overwhelmed, tired as they are working more than others. As they don’t believe in themselves, they are often reducing their prices and do a lot of work for free.

It’s a very broad picture, each situation will have a lot of additional factors, such as personality type, the level of expertise, circumstances. Yet, confident active individuals who believe in themselves will attract more clients in business and become more popular by showing up and connecting with people.

And if you recognized yourself, you can change it! You need to know that you deserve love, appreciation and rewards for your job! There are many ways to do it, from mindfulness to affirmations and exercises to professional therapy.

P.S. This post is rather a food for thought concerning the necessity of love and acceptance from society and family. Because people who were loved as kids and teenagers can love back, able to open their hearts and trust.

But what these underappreciated people can do to improve their situation? They can start with self-love and appreciation. Yet, more importantly with the tremendous self-discipline, that stops from falling into negative self-talk and by keeping themselves in the high vibration and good mood consciously. Easy to say? Yes. But it’s the cure and it works long-term, even if sometimes it can be bitter.

We are often hiding without realizing it. We may think that we are just tired of the crowd. Or we tell ourselves the story about our introverted nature or spiritual journey. You may have your excuse.

When you are hiding there is little or no chance to build a personal brand. And in the modern world where people are checked on Social Media before they are hired, you may minimize your chances for a better job or a prospective client.

And don’t take me wrong, I know the struggle is real especially for introverts. Especially for people with the trauma. So let’s talk about it…

If you are hiding, there is something inside you that you are afraid to reveal. And even the smallest idea can make us blame ourselves, judge ourselves, we are afraid of abandonment, rejection, we are feeling guilty or angry or… If you are hiding there is something you are afraid of inside. Often it’s our own shadow.

And though this darkness may seem unacceptable, you true friends will accept it. The people who are truly love you will still love you (knowing you are not an angel with the fluffy pink wings). If you have a real depth of feelings, pain, trauma, depression, those who overcome it will get you without words and will not allow you to drown.

If you are afraid to show up and be true to yourself you are rejecting your power. When you are real your light shines differently. No, not everyone will jump in love with you. Yes, many will turn their back on you.

But…..

The real friends will stay, the real relationships will form, and you will no longer be afraid of the darkness, you will be the beckon of light.

Don’t be afraid to show up. Your story, your example, your personal brand may become an inspiration for those who struggle. And you will help more people to release their pain, to become brave and empowered.

Eve Voyevoda
Business & Brand Creator

21.10.2020