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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

How to create a personal brand as a serial entrepreneur

Seven tips to help you showcase all of your ventures

Many entrepreneurs juggle more than one business at a time. Getty Images
Many entrepreneurs juggle more than one business at a time. Getty Images

We live in a time where the words ‘serial entrepreneur’ are used by many, especially millennials.

It's a term I use myself because there’s no better way to describe an entrepreneur managing different businesses and constantly on the lookout to start new ventures.

I run a creative consultancy, I’m the co-founder of a publication, I write and I also plan to relaunch my fashion business soon.

Many Gulf millennials are multi-talented, managing different entities at the same time. An Emirati acquaintance of mine is an interior designer and also a fashion designer and home accessories product designer. Another runs a department store, while also working as a fashion consultant on the side. A relative works as an engineer by day while managing a production company at night.

While this all shows great initiative, we have all faced issues when it comes to personal branding. So, how do you brand yourself to ensure your clients are not confused about what you actually do.

Step one: build your personal brand

If your business is all about what you can offer, then invest in your personal brand. When customers buy your service, they are buying it because of you. You are the product basically. Take time to work on your biography, which should highlight what you want to be known for.

Step two: post it online

The first thing potential clients will do before meeting you is to Google you as the founder of the business. Therefore, it's a wise move to have a website preferably with a domain in your name. Your website should include your biography, recent publications if any, a contact form, upcoming events and a page dedicated to the businesses you run.

Step three: have a presence on social media

Many acquaintances hate being on social media, but they still engage for the sake of their businesses. You don’t have to feature on every channel, but make sure you appear on those relevant to your business and target audience. If you already have a personal account, I recommend starting a separate account for your business - one that would contain the information you want to share with your clients.

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Read more from Manar Al Hinai:

When to call it quits: it's harder than you think

How to unblock a mental block

Step out of your comfort zone: it's the best thing for your business

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Step four: post on topics you want to be known for

Once you have a presence on a variety of social media platforms, share snippets on the topics you want to be an authority on. For instance, if you have a knack for writing and you are a marketing consultant, then post your thoughts on the industry, such as your opinion on X impacting Z and so forth. Eventually, you will become a thought leader in your field. Don’t be afraid to share secrets of the trade. The more you share and are open and honest with your clients, the more loyal they will become and the more willing they will be to refer you to clients.

Step five: give your personal brand an identity and a strategy

While it may seem pretty straightforward, the personal branding process is the same as developing a business’s identity and branding strategy. Think about what you want to be known for, what passions you want to share with your clients as well as what you believe in, your tone, your message and what you want to achieve with your business.

Step six: network and give back to the community

Attend industry events and network with like-minded individuals. Make sure to always have a business card in hand, and ensure it contains all your contact details. Another tip is to support causes you believe in. For instance, you could support an orphanage, or the education for young girls or, perhaps, build a vocational school.

Step seven: avoid imitation

While entrepreneur X may be your biggest role model, make sure your personal brand does not resemble theirs too much. Find your authentic voice, the topics that interest you and your own passions and then share those with the world. It may be hard in the beginning and you may not know how to start, but you will get the hang of it. While you can always read up on how others achieved success, be wary of unknowingly sounding like them. I’ve seen many fall into that trap especially on social media, so stay true to yourself and your own identity.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer, who manages her creative consultancy in Abu Dhabi