creative women

5 Things You Can Do Today To Build an Epic Personal Brand

By Stacey Murray

Once upon a time, personal branding was reserved as one of the many‘first world problems’ of celebrities, public figures, the rich and the famous… well, at least it used to be a consideration exclusively for those in the public eye. The concept of personal branding is hardly a new one, however in this age of social and online media, virtually anyone with an internet connection can access and utilize countless platforms to be seen, heard and searched.

So how in the heck do you even begin to distinguish and position yourself favourably in a very noisy and crowded online sea of people and info?  Simply by creating and leveraging your powerful personal brand, you savvy thing!

Personal branding is your reputation; how others perceive you. It is how you project your message and your image which assists others to form an impression of you. It is what you’re associated with and what you are known for. It also helps to manage misinformation. In its simplest form, it involves presenting yourself the way you would with your own company brand.

All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You. – Tom Peters in Fast Company

Crafting your personal brand is emerging as a digital age necessity. Going on a date? A job interview maybe? Networking or going to a business meeting?
You’ll probably be Googled and checked out on any number of social media sites, And don’t go pretending like you haven’t done your share of online stalking of other people too! Let’s honest - what have you found about others online that has shaped your impression of them? 

In a previous life I was a recruiter. Long, long gone were the days a firm handshake and taking someone at their word is enough to get a job. The checks I undertook were ex-tens-ive. No joke, they were something you’d expect of Homeland Security. This very much included Google searching and social media checks. It was my job to interrogate assess a candidate’s fit to the position and the company.

What could I possibly find that could potentially impact a candidate’s consideration for a job? Try mug shots and news reports, semi + fully nude photographs, racist / sexist / homophobic content, evidence of wild weekends including drink skolling / drug taking / unconscious photos. I’ve even caught out lies and inconsistencies on CVs and info told to me in interviews! You name it. I’ve seen it. And if I can find it, so can everyone else. Of course if that is the image you are trying to project – though it physically pains me to say: go for it! But for the rest of you trying to establish some sort of credibility, authority, professional and authentic image, it’s time to get serious about creating an epic personal brand.

Perhaps you’ve heard of Oprah Winfrey? Kim Kardashian-West? Sir Richard Branson? Martha Stewart? Coco Chanel? Warren Buffett? Ellen Degeneres? Walt Disney? Of course you have! What comes to mind when you hear each of their names? Those are the attributes that help comprise their personal brand.

Many of today’s most identifiable, enduring, affluent brands are the personal hallmarks of identities and entrepreneurs who have built their reputation and wealth with their great hair faces, personality and expertise at the forefront of their brand. Love them or hate them, they have emerged as popular or respected authorities and experts, influencers, thought leaders and innovators in their fields.

Even individuals need to develop a brand for themselves …. Whatever your area of expertise, you can take steps to make people think of YOU when they think of your field – Accelepoint Webzine

Good news: you don’t need a herd of PR + branding experts to manage ‘your brand’ (though these tips are designed to help you look like you do!). You’re probably in some way already doing it without realizing it.

Building a brand need not be headache inducing or terrifying exercise! Let’s begin with 5 steps you can start from today (with bonus actions you can tackle further down the track). Remember, above all else, be creative, be real, be consistent, be you.

1.      Get To Know Yourself

NOW: Create a mission statement outlining who your audience is and what you want to achieve. What do you want to be known for? What do you believe in? What are your strengths (and weaknesses)? What makes you different, distinguishable from other people? Write this down. Use your natural tone and your voice as you would in person. You don’t want to sound like two different people online and in real life!

2.      Digital Audit

NOW: Update your online/social media profiles | Clean up unfavourable posts/content | Ensure your email address is professional.

LATER: Write a bio | Consistent branding across all platforms | Professional photography | Own domain name | Create a portfolio | Testimonials.

3.      Create Value

NOW: Begin regularly posting, commenting and sharing valuable content | Join relevant communities or groups | Participate in online forums + chats.

LATER: Blog | Write articles | Create communities | Offer your knowledge freely | Collaborate.

4.      Get Personal

NOW: Be on the lookout for potential networking opportunities + speaking engagements (and seize those that are a good fit!),

LATER: Teach classes / workshops | Business cards | Volunteer your skills and expertise to a worthy cause or group | Project work | Become a mentor.

5.      Learn, learn, learn!

NOW: Monitor for feedback | Handle criticism and rejection graciously | Keep up to date with what’s going on in your profession/industry.

LATER: Plan | Be a student of your craft/profession and keep learning + developing | Engage a mentor, influencer, expert in your field.

Building an authentic personal reputation is much like building a business or career: it is a marathon, not a sprint.

Creating a brand that is truly genuine and authentic to who you really are is as liberating and exciting as it can be daunting. Don’t be intimidated by putting yourself out there. People connect with people, so be real, be vulnerable, be human! Knowing who you are, living the values you espouse, presenting your image in its truest form is what attracts the sincerest personal connections, draws dream opportunities from ideal employers, and invites loyal clients, customers and colleagues to you.

To embrace who you are is to champion your (epic) personal brand.

I’d love to hear your thoughts – what fears or barriers are holding you back from building an effective personal brand?  

Stacey Murray is the founder, and Chief Partner in Crime at Her Signature Life. She believes we all deserve to make a living doing what we truly love.

During the day Stacey answers to Master T, her one year old boss. By night, she talks incessantly, teaches passionately and writes crazily to support other creatively skilled + professionally trained mothers striving to build meaningful businesses and careers. Also a chaos tamer in training, keen traveller, Game of Thrones tragic, and aspiring cider taster. Say hi on Twitter or Pinterest!

Bloguettes x Blog Society Interview

I first met Lorena Garcia & Sakura Considine, the founders of Bloguettes, online via Instagram (the power of social media right?) and then again, in person at Alt Summit in January 2015. I was immediately taken by their energy and passion - which absolutely radiates from each of them. They are true #girlbosses in every sense of the word, teaming up in a dream collaboration, to form one of the fastest growing blogging resources and source of blogging events around.

I'm dying to head to the US to attend one of their upcoming events but in the meantime the next best thing was being able to chat to both ladies and bring some of their insight and advice straight to my tribe. Keep these ladies on your radar - they are going BIG places!

Tell us a little bit about your backgrounds and where the idea for Bloguettes came from?
L: I grew up in Mexico, but went to grad school in Arizona. At that time, I was convinced I was going to move back to Mexico and become an investment banker. But to my own surprise, I decided to stay in Arizona. The investment banking industry isn’t very big here, so I decided to become an entrepreneur. I started fashion and news site with two friends that soon became the Refinery29 of Mexico. During this time, I fell in love with the Internet and its possibilities. Bloguettes was born out of Sakura and I’s desire to help people brand their company online. We wanted to create a company that was fun, creative, and a great place to connect with people—and that’s exactly what we did!

S: I found my passion in graphic design, photography, and the Internet at the age of twelve. In middle school, I taught myself basic HTML to design & build custom MySpace pages for my friends. I completely fell in love with the blogging & marketing world and later attended Arizona State University majoring in Business Marketing & Japanese. I co-founded The Sorority Secrets with two other friends and after I met Lorena, we founded Bloguettes in 2013. We’ve been growing like crazy ever since!

What is the top struggle you see most bloggers experiencing? 
The struggle that we see most bloggers experiencing is being able to keep up. A lot of people think a blog is the easiest thing in the world and don't realize how much work it takes. They quit or don't do it consistently, which definitely decreases their chances of success.

What fellow #girlboss inspires you at the moment?
L: I really love Tory Burch. Her business and her story are amazing and inspirational! Also, Sakura my business partner inspires me every day!

S: Lorena does! I think she does such an amazing job juggling everything she does and she is always positive and optimistic. She’s expecting her first child right now and she’s doing such an amazing job throughout her pregnancy while keeping up her girlboss-ness and not losing a bit of momentum. I’m really proud of her!

Our biggest biz moment/milestone was....
When we started hiring people and when we finished our very first workshop! Also, moving to our new office was a game-changer!

Behind the scenes of running Bloguettes looks like...
L: Much more hectic than what you see on our Instagram haha! As a small business, we have to do a little bit of everything. As we grow, we encounter new things every day that we have never done before and we have to figure them out!

S: Tons of meetings! We have five different departments (creative, marketing, events, editorial, and video) and each one of our departments work really closely with one another so we are in meetings all day, every day working on upcoming projects & events!

The social media and blogging worlds are changing...what does the future of blogging look like to you girls?
Blogging is only going to continue to grow. Social influencers are going to keep getting bigger and stronger as they will be of importance to brands. As with any other industry, it will continue to evolve and whoever is able to create the most original, creative, beautiful work is always going to stand out. We also think video will start to play a huge part in the industry!

Your tip for handling fear, envy or comparison is...
L: We ALL experience fear. If not, we would not be human so I think my biggest advice is to be brave and think. I think fear is positive because it keeps you motivated to do bigger and better things. For envy, wasting your time envying other people will just distract you from bettering yourself. Always be happy for the success of other people and only be concerned with what you do, not what others do. 

S: It’s so easy to get caught up and compare yourself to others, but don’t. Use it as motivation & research!

You host cool workshops all over the US, can you tell us a little about them?
Our workshops are not just meant to teach our attendees everything about branding their business and maximizing their potential online. We also strive to motivate and inspire our students in order to give them the confidence they need to keep doing whatever they are working on. Whether it’s a blog or a small business, the workshop is designed to help!

Wishlist travel destination...
The Maldives, Bora Bora, Australia, and Paris—just to name a few!

Top 3 blogs we HAVE to read daily are...
1.      Bloguettes…duh! It gives amazing & helpful tips for entrepreneurs like us!
2.      Barefoot Blonde – We love her style and how much she lets her readers in. Seeing her mix everyday motherhood & style on her blog is so fun!
3.      Margo & Me –She has such a distinct feminine style and does a great job of showcasing her personality through her blog. We had her as a guest at our LA workshop last year!

Our business motto is... 
To empower the entrepreneurial age!

Best piece of advice to give to a new biz check would be...
Be passionate about what you do. If you love what you do, you’ll do everything and anything to keep going because your business is more than just a project—it’s your dream!

This year we're most excited about...
The launch of our new website! We’ve been working on it for over a year and we are thrilled to see it up and running. This website will really help us achieve many things that has been on our to-do list for 2016! We’re also super excited for our second InstaCamp event on May 21st in Palm Springs!

Ready to learn how to market your biz like a boss? Our Digital Bravery Ecourse is open for enrolment now!

Creative Collaboration: Playing The Win-Win Game

By K.M. Tremills

As a storyteller, I always assumed I had to go it alone.

Whether I was writing, pitching, or taking meetings, I bought into the solo artist myth. Our do-it-yourself culture reinforces that to earn something — to be worthy of your success — you have to scale the mountain without help.

No oxygen. No sherpas. No one to throw you a rope when you’re hanging off a cliff.

But here’s the thing.

Collaborating with other folks is FUN. Oh my god, yes!

As I dangled from yet another creative precipice, and wondered how the heck I was going to get myself out of this latest terrifying scenario, I noticed that there were folks who knew how to scale rock-faces WAY better than I did. In fact, they wanted to show me HOW to scale the cliff. And they had the ropes, shoes, and carabiners ready to go.

What, exactly, am I referring to with this rock-climbing metaphor? Graphic design. Marketing. Event Planning. Copyediting. Sales savvy. Any skillset you’ve been led to believe you must master and do all on your own. I promise that there is another person who is not only far better at it that you, but who LIVES to do it!

This is what I call the blessing of the Win-Win scenario.

To paraphrase Gay Hendricks, from his game-changing book, The Big Leap, we all have a genius zone. Not our comfort zone. Or excellence zone. But our genius zone. That Einstein-level, time warp you enter when creating from your true passion and brilliance.

Time disappears. Creation flows. And magic happens.

Every person on this planet has a genius zone. And if I pretend that I am any good at graphic design (which I am not), I am robbing another person of expressing her genius! I discovered that if I accept that I suck at design and choose instead to empower a person who is brilliant with graphics, I step into the virtuous, time warp of creative collaboration.

Even more exciting, is how fast someone in her zone completes tasks I put off for weeks.

One of my genius zones is writing and storytelling. I have honed my craft for years and adore the process of telling stories. So when I choose to write, I am fast! If I focus, I can create a short story in one day. I finish that day feeling tired, but deeply satisfied.

When I struggle to complete a task that I am far from good at, it takes hours, weeks, or even months. Partly due to procrastination. And partly thanks to that old belief that I have to do everything alone. Plus, I am learning while doing, which slows every action down tenfold.

No more! What a beautiful world we make together by empowering each other to live in our genius zones. All while building our businesses faster and easier.

So how do you get started with collaborating creatively?

First, ask yourself what tasks you’ve been putting off. If these skills are not your expertise, make a list of people who either excel at them or might know someone who does.

Next, reach out to those people. Creative collaboration begins the moment you make a request. Even if asking for assistance feels scary or difficult, take the first step by believing you are worthy of partnership and support. Then make the request.

Finally, be clear about what you need and what you are willing to exchange. The currency of collaboration can be money, time, services, products, expertise, and more. Remember that you have as much to offer a creative partner as she has to offer you.

Once you discover the liberation and exhilaration of creative collaboration, I promise you will leap with joy off the Do It Alone cliff into the wide-open Win-Win skies!

K.M. Tremills is a lover of myth and story. She delves deep into the realm of the human spirit in two distinct series, The Great Lands and Fated, as well as her Fiction Vixen collections, Fabled and Three Short Tales of Red. When not creating fantastical worlds, she gives strategic counsel to creative entrepreneurs. Her latest offering is a course in Creative Breakthroughs: Smashing through Blocks to uncover the courage in your heart. Kate has contributed to Elle Canada, Moving Pictures, and ScreenTalk and is a member of the Writers Guild of Canada. Find out more at www.kmtremills.com and connect with Kate at Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook.

Ready to learn how to market your biz like a boss? Our Digital Bravery Ecourse is open for enrolment now!

It’s ok NOT to invite people on your journey

By Monica Miller

In a recent blog post, I wrote about what lessons I’ve learned from working part time as I manage my own business. Today, I am going to tell you yet another lesson I have learned while I am on this daunting journey of self-discovery and growth by working part time:

I have learned that it is ok to leave people behind as you’re on your journey.

It’s ok NOT to invite people on your journey with you.

A lot of people were not MEANT to be on your journey.

Don’t feel bad when you leave them behind.

You might be wondering what prompted me to think about such a thing. Let me tell you a little story about me and my journey thus far:

You see, for over a year, I was spoiled by not working a part time job and I was able to focus on my business. My husband and I were blessed that I could do this for a year before I had to break down and get a job.

During this time, I networked heavily. I was surrounded by entrepreneurs and professionals ALL THE TIME. I loved it! These people had great vibes, good energy and completely understood me. Every time I went networking, I came home refreshed, revitalized, and energized!

When I began looking for a job, which by the way (and no judging here!) was in the restaurant business as a hostess. I chose this particular position because I knew it was an easy hire and I had been a hostess before when I was in college. I also chose a restaurant that is only open for breakfast and lunch; so no nights for me. Which is something I wanted because I still networked and had obligations at night that I couldn’t give up.

The first month was very rough for me and the reason why it was so difficult for me was because I realized that these people were NOT professionals! And that made me so mad! I would get so upset because these adults were not acting professionally, they were controlling, and most of all, they didn’t care (neither did management)!

Since I had been spoiled with professionalism and people who were constantly expanding themselves, I found myself realizing that most of these people were wanting to stay servers and not go out and further themselves. For me, that was a horrible experience! How could anyone not want to get out of this place and gain a better life?!

So what changed within me? Because you know my external surroundings were not going to change!

The biggest change was the realization that not everyone is invited to partake in my journey.

It’s not that I’m being mean or snobby, but I’m a high achiever who wants to screw any job and do what I want when I want; I want to be my own boss and I want WAY more than two weeks of vacation per year!

Once I came to the realization, my whole attitude changed. I still don’t like working part-time, but I know it’s a seasonal position and it’s what I need to build my empire for this time of my life.

Realizing that my journey and their journey is in two different lanes is completely OK with me now. I can’t invite everyone on my journey because not everyone has the same dream as me. Maybe their dream is to make ends meet by serving. That’s okay. My dream isn’t that and that’s ok too.

I am going to make this statement right now because I have found this true in my life: You may not be able to invite your family or close friends with you either. Your family may not understand the time and energy it takes to build an empire. Your best friend may be horrified that you work 60+ hours a week just to maintain afloat. It’s okay. Be okay with that.

I know it’s tough to not invite your family or even best friend on your journey, but it doesn’t mean they will always be like that. Perhaps one day they will understand and be part of your journey.

Next time you feel bogged down by people who don’t understand you, then remember that not everyone is invited on your journey and that is 100% ok and guilt free. Not everyone was cut out to be an entrepreneur (if it was easy, everyone would be doing it, right?).

So who do you invite on your journey?

You invite the people who have the same vision as you; you select the few individuals who are in your life who says, “I can see you doing that” or “You will make it! Keep going!” I would also encourage you to select the people who have the same mindset as you; if you’re an entrepreneur, then select entrepreneurs to be welcomed on your journey. These people will be your light in your darkness and your traction when you’re stuck in mud. That’s who you want on your journey. Invite other empire makers who want to see you succeed in building yours.

As we walk into a brand new year, who can you select today to be welcomed on your journey? How can you show them that you have officially invited them to board the Go-Getter Train? The Bigger-Than-Life-Dreams Train? It’s going to depart one day and they will either be on it or not; how can you let them know you want them on board, ready to rock and roll with you?

Monica Miller is a Book Writing Coach and Writer who helps women transform lives one word at a time through book writing and story sharing. She has been writing professionally for more than eight years and has one published book with two more in the making. Monica loves helping women find their confidence to adopt and write their books as they go through their writing journey. She believes that no writer should be left alone while on their journey so she comes along side them to get their book from their heads and onto paper quicker and easier! Monica enjoys spending time with her husband, Nathan, and their two dogs, Casey and Bella. She also loves hugging her cat, Sassy, and enjoys coloring, tanning beside a body of water and traveling.

Lessons Learned as a Magazine Editor

By Marlene Srdic

When people think of magazine editors, The Devil Wears Prada comes to mind. Fashion shows, swanky events, free gifts, Champagne lunches and the designers—oh my! So. Many. Designers.

While I may or may not have a crazy beauty stash (check) had wine over my last lunch date (guilty!) and rubbed elbows with a few designers (Louboutin, Llhuillier and more!), that’s not every day life. Today, I spent an inordinate amount of time obsessing over the best title for a story I’m currently editing. Not styling a photoshoot, not getting a midday blowout for an event later this evening. Just me in my home office with a cup of tea and this not-quite-right title glaring at my screen. And, to be quite honest, that’s how most days are around here.

Yes, life running a glossy isn’t always so glossy. But for me, it’s still fun, even when it can’t be filtered through a gorgeous Instagram lens. Here are a few life and business lessons I’ve learned from running a magazine:

The Juggle is Real

If you’ve got a solid attention to detail and can manage multiple projects without a problem, managing a magazine may be for you. Or, it may just make you want to tear your hair out! Between coming up with story ideas and managing freelancers to sending out contracts, editing features, writing stories and taking PR meetings, there is an insane amount of juggling involved.

Just like any business, it’s key to have some solid systems in place—and to know when to just say “no”. Since I also run my own copywriting business and blog (yes, I promise I sleep!) being organized is absolutely essential. I use a Day Designer Mini to plan my days, 17 Hats to deal with quoting and client invoices and HelloSign for sending out contracts to my writers. These make my life SO much easier, and oh-so-happy. Once you see a few patterns in your business, it’s easy to see where a few systems will streamline and simplify, so you can have time to live your own life!

Backup Plans are Essential

In the publishing world, there’s always some last-minute fire to put out. That’s just the nature of the beast when so much is dependent upon several connections down the chain. Whether it’s a contact that’s suddenly vanished, a photo that doesn’t come in or a story that needs to be killed because it’s suddenly a real life issue (true story), something always seems to happen when you’re up against deadline.

Now, I expect it and always keep my cool. This is where it’s key to have that really dependable freelancer in your back pocket who can jump right in and help save the day. This might mean the occasional late-night/weekend hours but hey, a print deadline is a print deadline! And that’s something you never miss.

People Will Disappoint You

I’ve had writers pitch me fabulous story ideas, only never to be heard from again. Or writers with amazing credentials and horrible product delivery. Some brand reps promise quality photos only to send in what looks like something my toddler took, and some people just can’t take the criticism. When you’re working with so many independent contractors, people are bound to disappoint you at some point or another. It’s important to deliver what you promise, always be professional and always make a good impression. Because no, I don’t forget, and many others don’t either.

Marlene Srdic is the Editor in Chief of Life Refined, a private-label luxury lifestyle publication. She is also the owner of Glitz & Grammar where she creates stylish copy for stylish brands and helps female entrepreneurs with their blogging and editing needs. When she’s not whipping copy into shape she’s typically found drinking Champagne on an outdoor patio, shoe shopping or spending time with her husband and their adorable toddler son. You can connect with Marlene on her fashion blog, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook