For as long as I can remember, there’s been a constant feeling inside me that I can only best describe as a pilot light of weirdness. This “pilot light of weirdness” could also be called your personal brand.
My pilot light comes in the form of my unwillingness to let the boundaries set by other people stop me from doing things differently. Your pilot light might be your creativity, the way you write, how you see the world, something unique that sets you apart.
It’s time you started to embrace your own inner pilot light and stop letting other people hold you back.
We Control Our Personal Brands, Not Other People
As I’ve grown older I’ve learned that people and society try to snuff out our pilot lights. People have experienced things in their lives that have caused them harm, stress, or anguish. Due to their own experiences, they project these feelings on anyone within reach.
Often times, people don’t even realize they’re projecting their fears on others. But at the same time, they don’t have the self-awareness to take a step back and realize people need to experience things for themselves.
The fears and hesitations of other people shouldn’t hold you back.
Once I came to this realization about my inner pilot light and decided I no longer wanted the fears and hesitations of other people to hold me back, I started actually adding fuel to my pilot light, effectively creating a roaring blaze of weirdness. Little by little I started giving myself permission to chase my big ideas and in ways that felt 100% authentic to me.
I didn’t know it a few years ago, but I was starting to build my personal brand.
This continually-added “fuel” (read: chasing my big ideas and ignoring the fear of others) has led to some of my most successful moves in business. At the same time, I’ve been able to create a name for myself and stand out from people in the same entrepreneurial space. Projects like IWearYourShirt, BuyMyLastName, SponsorMyBook, and BuyMyFuture, are all examples of turning my pilot light way up and embracing who I am and what I stand for.
But let’s dive a little deeper. When I say “fuel,” what exactly do I mean?
Let’s look at the example of my personal brand and my book, Creativity For Sale
When I made the decision I was going to write a book about my entrepreneurial journey in 2013, I did what any well-intentioned future author would do: I looked at the landscape I was about to play in.
The first step in that process was searching the word “entrepreneurship” in Amazon’s books section. I discovered there were over 50,000+ results.
I was immediately hit with the pilot light dimming question: “What do I possibly have to say about entrepreneurship that 50,000+ other authors haven’t already said???”
But the key word there is “I.”
- I have unique experiences
- I have my own personal views and opinions
- I have my own style of writing (and storytelling)
You may not be a writer, but I guarantee that have your own unique experiences and personal views/stories that are different from everyone else. These specific things are your fuel!
I didn’t learn to embrace these things on my own when writing my book. Luckily I had a super awesome book authoring coach named Lizzie who helped me realize this. Had I not had her in my corner, I probably would have let imposter syndrome take over and it’s likely that I wouldn’t have written the most authentic and personal book that I could have.
During that writing process, Lizzie kept telling me to put more “me” into my writing. She kept pushing me to focus on how I would tell a story and how I would handle a situation or issue (that I was writing about). Those notes of encouragement from Lizzie were fuel on my inner fire.
Creativity For Sale (my first book) has been never been a “best selling book,” but those types of labels don’t matter to me.
I care more that I get an email or two per week from people who’ve read my book and how much of an impact it’s made on their lives. How much they’ve appreciated my unique outlook and the way that I write. And if numbers matter to you dear reader of this article, I’ve sold over 15,000 copies of my tiny self-published book. Not too shabby, eh?
Out of 50,000+ books on Amazon, I was able to stand out from all of them for a large number of readers because of who I am and embracing my unique personal brand.
You’re probably not going to create something that’s never been created before
This is OKAY! In fact, creating a product or service that’s already been created shows there’s a market for it. It’s much easier to build a successful business when a market already exists for your product.
Almost everyone knows that Google wasn’t the first search engine created. But because the founders of Google had their own stories, technical skills, and personal views, they’ve been able to build one of the most profitable companies in the world (leaving every search engine in the dust, even Dogpile!).
Whether you’re writing a book, creating an online course, building a SaaS app, doing coaching/mentoring, are a realtor, marketing consultant, public speaker, or building the next great search engine, there is a clear path to success:
Put as much YOU into your product as possible. No one can compete with you on that.
Here are a few questions you can answer that will help your personal brand stand out from a crowded landscape:
- What do you stand for? What are your core values?
- What are you not willing to sacrifice for your customers?
- What is quirky or weird about you?
- What life stories can you share that people can latch onto and relate with?
- What do people tell you is different about you?
Those items are your fuel for your pilot light. They are the things that will make up your unique personal brand. And trust me, they are also the same things that will help you make more money if you embrace and share them.
Everyone can compete with you on features.
Everyone can compete with you with knowledge.
No one can compete with you on your personal experiences, stories, and unique outlooks.
Start putting more YOU into what you do and stop letting the fears and hesitations of other people dim your pilot light of weirdness.