The Ultimate Guide to Personal Branding: 10 Steps to Rebrand Your Career
Updated: Oct 19, 2021
You’re constantly building your personal brand, every single day. But to build a strong brand, you must face and accept transition at some point in your life. It can happen at any stage and area.
What if your career needs a total makeover—a rebranding of your professional image, products, or services? Can you imagine the workload awaiting you?
Before you freak out, let me tell you rebranding is totally okay and even necessary. It might be challenging at first, but if you design and execute it with a sharp eye, it becomes the game changer for your business and brand.
Worry not! I’ll walk you through each step to reinvent yourself and promote your new image.
It happened to me.
I’m a fiction writer; however, I needed to get a job without sacrificing what I love to do. Although I was relentlessly learning and upgrading my writing skills by joining writing communities, such as Scribophile, taking a Creative Writing Specialization, reading more books, among other tasks every writer should consider, I wasn’t putting together all the pieces of the puzzle.
Until the calling knocked on my door, and I had to push past my comfort zone and make the change in my career… and life.
Quitting my passion for writing and dedicate my time to something else wasn’t an option—at least, not for me. All I needed was a tweak to what I was already doing. I would still be writing, but for a different market.
With every skill I had, I dove with my heart and mind into the freelance content and copywriting.
I realized I needed to reset my message and mission, revamp my website, and specialize in a specific niche. Yet, if I wanted to uplevel my career and manage it as a business owner, I had to reset my mindset.
Before diving into the steps I followed to rebrand my career, let’s understand what personal branding is.
What is Personal Branding?
Personal branding is what you stand for. It encompasses your belief system and what you follow by heart.
Copywriter and content strategist Aaron Orendorff defines it as follows: “Personal branding is the story people tell about you when you’re not in the room.” Isn’t he right?
I’ve always thought that reinventing your business and professional image is part of your personal branding. The former can’t exist apart from your personal life since it helps you discover what is important to you.
Still, the beliefs which define you change over time. As you mature and progress in life, so do your values and motivations.
Acquiring more knowledge and upgrading your skills demand a rebranding, even if you’re still in the same niche or marketplace.
So think about it. Why are you rebranding?
Perhaps, the economy environment is going through some disruption or the competition has become wild, and you need to shift the awareness around your business to stay relevant in your marketplace.
Whatever reason you have for rebranding, make sure you’re setting things right this time.
Rebranding, step by step
1. Recalculate Your Destination
What is your purpose with this whole rebranding idea?
Introspection is key in this new phase of your career. When you face change and have to make new decisions to remain afloat, you must take a break from your game to think about where you are and want to go.
Answering the following questions might be helpful to redirect your vision:
Are you shifting careers? If so, what new marketplace are you entering?
Are you adding any new offers or a new product line into your business?
Are you trying to reinforce or save your reputation after some issues with social media or the market?
How do you ponder your differences between your old image and the new one? What made you shine in the past, and what were your weaknesses?
What past mistakes are you planning to avert?
Where do you intend to go after reimaging your brand and reinventing your business strategy? What are your new goals? (Make your goals S.M.A.R.T.; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely)
What are the new VALUES you want others to know you or your business for?
Wait. We need to talk about values…
2. Reset Your Values
Your values are the core of your belief system and your voice.
To know what your values and ideals are, you need to determine what you are the most fond of in life and work.
Think about the three most powerful words that define you. For example, I define myself as reliable, honest, and perseverant.
Once you understand your inner values and how your personality is organized, you’ll know
Who your audience is
How you’ll express yourself
How to ensure your professional image matches your values
What your boundaries are
What your core skills are, and how they can serve others
What your audience will expect from a relationship with you
You might have had an unclear set of values before, or they weren’t aligned with who you really are.
When you rebrand, you understand that your values are the lamp which lights up your path to success.
3. Define Your Target Audience
What niche or marketplace does your business best fit in? Remember, what you offer isn’t for everyone.
Think about who you want to serve. It’s not enough knowing only your prospects’ demographic backgrounds (gender, location, job, marital status, etc.). You must research where they are, what things they like and follow, what their pain points are.
Be as specific as you can. The more you narrow your market and target an explicit audience, the more relevant your brand will be.
You’ll build trust with true followers who care about your services and products. AND you will offer the solutions they are looking for.
Show expertise and authority to strengthen this trust by being
Then, your fans (followers + customers) will rest assure that they can rely on you.
4. Retell Your Story
Developing your narrative is an essential step after defining your values, goals, and audience and before promoting your brand and marketing your business.
You might have had a story if you already have a brand; however, you need to make it stronger when you rebrand. Why? Because you need to save your reputation and capture new attention.
You need to make it more authentic and relatable to your audience.
Everyone’s unique, hence originality won’t be an issue when telling your story. Instead, you’ll be helping or guiding someone.
The following steps will ensure a good story development:
Reintroduce yourself. A brief description of your background and why you chose what you currently do.
Be vulnerable. Open yourself up and explore with your audience that time when you decided to rebrand your business. Make sure to contrast where you were with where you’re going from now on. Vulnerability brings people together.
Tell them your purpose and how you can help them solve their problems.
Let them know your core values.
Prove your worth with testimonials, credentials, achievements, etc.
Nourish your relationships with other authoritative brands in your niche. According to etiquette expert and coach Anna Bey, your network is part of your networth. I can’t agree more with her!
Connect with your audience through emotions and storytelling. Stories are powerful; they’re the emotional bridge between you and your audience.
Let others tell your story. Can you see how this step relates with steps (e) and (f)? Networking is key, my friends.
Keep in mind to add your personality into your story by using words and expressions you usually use.
But please, be conscious when using too much swearing, particularly in your writing. Many times, it can be seen as unprofessional.
When your fans connect with your story, they’ll follow you devotedly. They’ll even purchase your products and ask for your advice.
In the end, “customers buy parts of our stories, not just our products,” SEO and marketing guru Neil Patel assures.
5. Seek Inspiration in a Successful Example
Follow experts in your niche, people who achieved what you want to achieve.
Engage with them.
Learn from them.
Ask them about their expertise, whether by DMing them or commenting in their posts.
Talk. To. Them.
It’s like finding a mentor.
My first mentors were people I never met but had some kind of engagement through social media until I found my personal guides. I can say I have a few of them, and I can’t stress enough how much they’ve inspired and helped me level up!
When you define your values and goals, you’ll easily find a mentor since you have a clearer mental picture of how that person should be.
6. Write and Memorize Your Elevator Pitch
Your pitch or hook defines who you are in one sentence. It must reflect
Your strength or best skill
Who you serve
What makes you different from your competitors
One of your values at least
This will be your—oral and written—presentation card. It must be
Brief (25 words max.)
Specific (your skill and exact niche/marketplace)
For example, mine is:
I’m a creative content writer, and I help wellness, motivational, and productivity entrepreneurs boost their websites and blogs through storytelling and well-researched, SEO-friendly content.
Nonetheless, I’m aware this pitch might change over time because I’ll upgrade my skills and get more expertise in this and/or other niches. So, I keep myself open for change and improvement.
7. Embrace Networking
Although I mentioned this step briefly in previous sections, it deserves its own spot.
Networking is PARAMOUNT.
Connecting with peers, followers, influencers, and experts in your niche brings great value into your business and online presence.
As you show your expertise while also delivering value to others, you send a clear message that your brand has solid foundations.
Engage with your audience above all. Humans like to connect with each other. They want to feel your honest interest when they ask you something, as long as it is within your specialization boundaries. Get to know their pain points and offer solutions.
Ask peers for recommendations or endorsements. Having an online community you can rely on is relieving and encouraging.
Connect with your competitors. Form a bond with those who are open and understand that there’s plenty for everyone. Be friendly and share knowledge. You’ll see how useful these connections can be.
Surround yourself with people who inspire and motivate you. Influencers and experts who understand your vision are always open to helping others who are willing to put in the hard work. Share with them your insights and why you’re good at what you do. You’ll be amazed at seeing how many people are waiting to meet their next mentee and open the doors of their network for them.
During this process, you should be working on the next step…
8. Build and Grow Your Online Presence
You have your values and goals.
You have your story and pitch to tell.
You know your audience and engage with them in social media and forums.
You have your set of skills shining brightly.
You should be building your website—or revamping it, posting regularly in your blog and social platform(s), and growing your portfolio.
Determine how you want your new image and brand to look like. Choose the right color palette and spread your message across your marketplace, website, and digital platforms. Make sure they all match and relate.
When building your online presence, CONSISTENCY is king.
You must keep promoting your brand and reminding your audience of your business, and so the algorithms.
Get out there and be loud and clear about your brand.
Spice it up with your voice and with the particular tone for each social platform and type of audience.
9. Live Your Brand
Your brand should be part of your personal life.
Why? Because it’s connected to your personality and values; it’s unique and original.
According to Tim Salau, “Your personal brand should be with you wherever you go. It is and authentic manifestation of who you are and what you believe in.”
Especially if you’re rebranding, you want to avoid previous mistakes and recreate your new image with honesty and transparency.
Both worlds, your real life and digital presence, must be in agreement and balance. This is the best way to protect your reputation.
10. Leave Your Legacy for Others to Follow
As Goldie Chan says, “Personal branding is a lifelong project that evolves and changes constantly.”
Think of branding as a way to make a positive impact in your community or marketplace. It requires you to be a role model for others to depend on.
Rebranding is a more compromising process.
Every time you rebrand, your professional and personal brand shifts to make place to the new values and skills you’ve acquired.
What’s the message you want to leave behind?
What do you want others to know you for?
What’s the example you want to set for others to follow?
If you look closely, you’ll realize that rebranding holds much responsibility towards yourself, your family, community, and followers or customers. So think twice how you’re going to rebrand for the sake of your business and personal life.
Building your brand helps set yourself apart from those who do the same work in the same niche. Rebranding, instead, offers a different perception about your brand, purpose, and why you made the change, which can be empowering and inspiring to others.
See how you fit in the bigger picture. What you do for others will tell a lot about your brand.
Therefore, personal branding and rebranding require:
Commitment and reliability
Self-awareness and introspection
Courage to face and accept change
Motivation and empowerment (for yourself and others)
Curiosity and love for learning
Emotional intelligence and maturity
It seems a lot, but investing in yourself and nurturing your humanity towards others will guide you in the right path.
After all, personal and professional branding and rebranding are about connection, communication, and compassion.