So You Want to BYOB? Top Things You Should Consider
Thou Shall Walketh Like Thou Talketh.
Upon hearing the word brand, it is easy to point out companies such as Nike, adidas, Starbucks, and more that you are cognizant of for several reasons: you regularly interact with the brand, you identify with their motto or values, you like their products, or even to go as to simply put it's all you know. When it comes to who you are, can you do the same? Whether a full-time entrepreneur, Corporate America Thuggin, or currently trying to master both, whatever you represent is a walking talking reflection of who you are i.e. your personal brand. It is what sets you apart from others, and more so what people know you for. Everyone has one but only you choose how you approach it, and more importantly how and more importantly why you build it.
Over the course of two days Build Your Own Brand Society a.k.a. BYOB brought together entrepreneurs, side hustlers, creatives and more from across the country for a retreat at the Omni Shoreham in Washington D.C. Attendees worked among their peers to tackle topics over a series of workshops, panels, and guided sessions around everything from creating content to mastering mental and emotional health. We also backed it up like it was 1999 at the after party but that is neither here nor there.
Since you are here..let's make Time for some real talk....
This was a hot topic over and as a family, we need to discuss it. *cues Baller Alert horns* Being an entrepreneur is hard. Being in Corporate America is hard. Being both is hard af but guess what... it's all doable. Too many times people will decide what level of respect they should give you based on what you say when asked: "So what do you do for work?" There have been countless tweets and IG posts shaming people for working "the man" or deciding to struggle for years before making it they have done something wrong. As a people, we are wildly talented, but can not continue to force our paths on other people. I'll say what some people won't: THIS SH*T IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. If you didn't hear me in the back, read one more time.
Brittany... didn't you just say everyone has a brand? Yes, but note I did say how and more importantly why you choose to build a brand (blog or business) are questions that that are hella real and hella important. BYOB addressed both to help its attendees decipher and develop their paths. There are a few things that were chest punch worthy (I got karate chopped a few times) but also put a lot in perspective:
- All "influencers" aren't influential. Credibility matters. If given a platform, what are you going to actually use it for? (this can be a whole topic by itself. We can fight but I said what I said.)
- Just because you create content doesn't mean it is good content. (I've been guilty of putting out something just to get it out then going back like girl...)
- There are people that will do what you do half as good, or maybe even less, but will get the recognition for because you lack consistency and aren't willing to put the work in (there went the karate chop). We see bloggers with no blog, content creators with no content, and the list goes on and on. I have been guilty of being chin-checked by the thief of comparison by selfishly wondering why I am not advancing as fast or as far as I think I should or as quickly as other people when I do as good of if not better work than them. I could be in this by myself, but if you feel me let the church say amen: also to be honest, some of y'all could think that about me *__*
So when I say it isn't for everyone, it's not to discourage anyone or say that it's not possible but the harsh truth we all get faced with is that it isn't for anyone that isn't willing to do themselves the just cause to put the work in. The table is large enough for us to sit at, but you still have be bring something to it and I'm not talking about potato salad with raisins, something of actual quality. It's a process just like everything else. People want the clout, the title, the glory but what about the stress, the lows, the anxiety? That is what this weekend was about: the work. What are you willing to do to build your own brand?
Before you BYOB, business, YouTube channel, blog, Instagram, etc. consider these key points from the weekend as you make your plan: (take a deeeeeeeppp breath and get comfortable because there were A LOT of topics talked about)
- Content is king, but consistency rules it.
- Your brand/content should not be that different from who you are/what you do. Brand yourself in something that you love that you already do on the daily. It shouldn't go against the grain of who you are. (Personal view... with or without your blog/social media you should still be doing what you talk about. If social media went away, would your life go to as well? )
- Ask yourself, do you deserve to even have a following? 5K, 10K, 15K +. What makes you worthy of even having an audience? Are you that valuable.
- Newsletters add personal touches to your audience. If you are taking up space in their inbox, make sure it's worth it.
- When you think of a content strategy, think of what you can be most consistent with. Be Chipotle! People should know what they get with your brand. (I love Chipotle by the way so winner winner chicken dinner for this analogy.
- Remember your why. You will get a lot of feedback, both good and bad. Make sure you are applying that knowledge to your brand specifically.
MENTAL STABILITY AND EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
- The process is real. In order to go through it, you have to take care of your self.
- Acknowledge and address when things are wrong
- You can not pour from an empty cup. I've tried and you know...it just shall not work.
- Everything going on around you, with or without words, affects you every day.
- Having Emotional Intelligence is learning who are you are from the inside out. Learn yourself and accept who you are. Being aware of who you are is also making you aware of how you react to things. Everyone is looking and watching you. As soon as you pop off you are not a professional anymore (GUILLLTTTTYYYYY)
- Stay away from energy vampires.
PITCH PERFECT: YOUR ELEVATOR AND BUSINESS PITCH ARE MAJOR KEYS
- If you have a startup be able to answer questions for investors. They want metrics that back up what you're saying
- If you say you don't have competition, you haven't done your research.
- A good pitch about your company can be said in under one minute. If it is a longer pitch, focus on the person and the problem
- If you get in a room and pitching a business, project, or plan in a room full of people that don't look like you, (hey Corp America kids) get in there and be intentional; show your worth. Do right and kill everything.
#SWIPEUP: HACKING SOCIAL MEDIA
- Build a family community. Create an ecosystem, not a following. Create your brand identity to be inclusive instead of exclusive; you will be successful. Make sure that you are giving back.
- Be consistent, answer people, live stream. Do these three things.
- Know your audience. You should be able to say who your dream client is specifically. Your content will flow easily if you are specific.
- Understand that each of your followers is different. Have different levels of engagement.
- Ensure that your brand online is as strong as it is offline by working harder on yourself than you do on your brand. When you work on self the brand will grow organically.
- Understanding your goal determines your action. What do you want people to leave your page feeling, understanding, thinking?
- Quit thinking about the numbers and focus on the brand. It's about what you are pouring into people.
*Breathes out deeply*
For a lot of us this weekend was a reminder of how much we have done, but how much we can do. Motivation to build ourselves into better people before trying to build better brands. Whatever your goal is, make sure your building blocks are in order so that it will last.
To watch the sessions from the weekend or register for the 2019 retreat, visit BYOB Society.