Personal Brands & Fabricated Authenticity

It wasn’t that long ago I was writing about personal brands. Embarrassing as that might be to admit, I will admit it. My gearhead friends gave me a generous amount of shit for it, too.

I deserved it.
But I like to think my heart was in the right place.

You see, about 10 years ago, the web was full of online communities. Millions of people were interacting with each other around their interests. It was engagement on a global scale. And it was almost always done from behind pseudonyms—behind screen names.

I saw the internet as a clean slate. A fresh start for anyone who wanted to leverage their expertise into a new, improved reputation. The internet was a brave new world. You can do that sort of thing where nobody knows anything about you.

You might say the idea of personal branding lead me to discover work life parallel. After all, what’s a brand if not a reputation? And what’s a reputation, if not what you do (and how you do it)?

Just a thought.

Back to Personas 2: Know Thyself

While I’m still working on the longer form piece explaining the difference between work life parallel and work life balance, I thought I’d spend a couple minutes working through the persona thing.

For anyone in the audience not familiar with the term, personas are highly detailed—yet generic—descriptions of customers. You basically take demographic info and layer a story on top to better put yourself in your customer’s shoes. It will make sense in a minute.

PS: Ken, Joshua, Adam, Robert… We’ll be talking about this soon.

Thinking back to the who can I help and how questions from the other day, I think it’s best to base my first persona (you can have multiple) on myself. So, in the interest of keeping this one simple and short, here’s a rough draft of my own persona, prior to achieving work life parallel.

“I hate that my life revolves around paying bills. I wish I didn’t have to choose between the job that pays the bills the job that matters. I want to spend my days doing fun stuff that interests me—like writing, and playing with cars, and adventures with friends. Why can’t I do those things for a living?”

See how that could be anyone—but not EVERYone? Now imagine you’re that person. Replace “writing, playing with cars, and adventures with friends” with whatever YOU wish you could do for a living.

Then imagine I tell you, “You can. Here’s how.”

#5ks

Back to Personas

It’s so easy to lose focus and chase shiny new ideas. I need to get back to the basics.

Who can I actually help?
Why am I qualified to help?
How can I actually help them?

Is it by publishing these little updates?
Is it by writing a book about my journey?
Is it by building some kind of program?

Head’s up. I’m going to be thinking through some marketing-type topics for a while.