in the past few years, more than once, i have been accused of having my shit together.
and honestly, especially when i am trying to decide whether or not my unicorn onesie can go into my parents’ dryer, that seems fucking insane to me.
but alas, here we are.
so i’d like to pass on a few little nuggets of wisdom for ways to give your shit the illusion of cohesion if you don’t know where to start.
i’d like to cover a few topics, but today i want to look at the easiest and most obvious way to make it look like you have your shit together. how to brand yourself.
if you’ve ever heard of the internet, you’ve probably heard at least something about personal branding, social media marketing, and the like. for some reason, this piece of the puzzle can feel really overwhelming, or even skeezy and gross. but honestly, it’s not only affordable (i mean downright cheap if you know where to look), but it’s also a simple and creative way to share what you’re about with the people you meet.
and let’s just get this out of the way: i am not. at all. an expert in any part of this shit-togethering field. and all the better, because if i can do it, so can you. so while i have myriad other tips on arranging your shit in a together-looking sort of way, i want to tackle this first because it seems to stop so many people before they even get started.
let’s get cracking then, shall we?
pre-requisite: do something. and know what it is.
right, so this might seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. it’s kind of important that you do something. it is usually something that can be monetized, like offering a product or a service. but it can also be something you do for free, an unpaid side hustle. maybe you review indie films. maybe you sell used panties to japanese businessmen. (respect.) maybe you chronicle your home remedies. maybe you’re a dating coach. all well and good. but do something.
and yes, you can do more than one thing. even if they don’t seem like they go together.
once you’ve got your thing, or things, that you do, you’re ready.
step one: give your thing(s) a name.
and allow me to again state the obvious: you probably already have a name! the one that you were given at birth! (or if you’re like me, the one that you altered slightly in your early 20s and have kept from there.) there are certainly both pluses and minuses to using your own name. i’ll share a few with you, but if you want to delve more deeply, i trust that if you’re here you can also use google.
some pros for using your own name:
- if you travel a lot, or if you do a few different things that aren’t totally related, your name is not something that’s linked to a specific genre or location.
- it can foster trust because the people who want to work with you or consume your media feel like there’s a “face” to what you offer.
- if your offerings change, it’s not as important that you “rebrand” because…well, you’re still you!
- this one might be a bit sentimental, but using your name for your offerings, kind of like having a child, builds a legacy.
some cons for using your own name:
- the name itself doesn’t give potential clients or customers an idea of what you do, as it is not linked to a specific genre or location.
- once you have any reputation at all, you will be inextricably linked to your products or your services. and like, when you’re standing in line at a cafe, you might not want that all the time.
- obviously your actual name comes into play. if people can’t spell or pronounce it, or if it’s too common, it’s harder for people to find you.
- there’s a lot less distance between yourself and your work, which is already a struggle a lot of people have.
if you decide against using your name from birth, you will then, of course, have to make up a new one. you can also throw a wrench into this whole binary and do what i’ve done. we are here, at raedohar.com, but my yoga offerings are umbrellaed under all saints yoga & healing. so my web address can stay the same, but i can always rebrand the yoga offerings to reflect my community.
alright. once you’ve got a name…
step two: put the name of your thing(s) out there.
just get a website.
when i ran home yoga saigon, i got emails every week from aspiring teachers hoping that i would hire them. (i still get those emails, too, even though i’m no longer there.) usually it went something like this:
i feel like i don’t have to tell you that i didn’t hire any of those people.
if you don’t take your shit seriously, neither do i. neither does anyone.
so it doesn’t matter if you want to learn how to build a website. to be fair, it’s the best solution if you have more time than you have money. but you can also use things like wix, weebly, or squarespace, which offer drag-and-drop functions. either way. please give a fuck about what you have to offer and put at least some basic information about it on the internet.
step three: make it pretty.
so building a website touches on this already. but in addition to a website, there are a few other quick things you can do…like getting a logo. if you have friends who are graphic designers, they might be able to design something for you. but you can also use etsy or fiverr to find designers within your budget, or even to buy and modify pre-made logos. you can also use taylor brands or similar sites that allow you to customize a logo for yourself.
then you can put your name, your logo, and your website on a little piece of paper. these are called business cards.
step infinity: be excellent.
so i wrote this because i don’t want people to be deterred from sharing what they have to offer. because it really takes the bare minimum to give the impression that your shit is well organized. because it doesn’t have to be some expensive, complicated process. it can be simple. it can be fun. and it can be something that you do slowly, piece by piece.
but i also meet so many people who are so lost in what it is to “build their brand” that they sacrifice either their integrity, the quality of their offerings, or both.
if you spend all your time engaging on social media and none of your time learning and bettering yourself, you’ve lost the point. if it’s all just become about having and holding onto a platform, but none of it is about the value and validity of what you have to share…what was it really for? just one more person ejaculating their opinions into the void.
but basically. to summarize:
have a thing you do.
put it on a website.
make it pretty.
and continue investing time and energy in being good at the thing you do.
and magically, your shit starts to look pretty well in order. throw another ten years at it, and people start calling you an expert. that’s all it is.
and if you want to quit, if you want to offer something else later, if you want to change your logo or your website or your fucking face, it’s fine. none of this is permanent. and mastery at anything holds the essential tools to the mastery of everything. none of it will go to waste.
yoga teachers, if this speaks to you, and you want to learn more about developing your voice and your offerings, as well as deepening your practice and expanding your knowledge, please consider signing up for hustle & flow: the yoga teacher mentorship.