I had the pleasure of presenting at the Leadership Her Way II conference in one of my favorite cities, Washington, DC. Her are a few key insights from my presentation on to the myths that have probably been causing you to feel confused and overwhelmed when building a personal brand for additional income or for entrepreneurial success.
1. Myth: You need a business to create a life you love.
Entrepreneurship has become a trend and being a business owner just seems like the cool thing to do. What I have realized is that many are starting businesses because they want to change their circumstances – not because they have a mission and purpose to fulfill in this world. Most women are fed up, because they are underemployed in stagnant inflexible work environments. Others are simply looking for a way to live out their passions and build multiple streams of income. This is all good, well and fine, but aspiring entrepreneurs need to analyze their motives for going into business.
Truth: You can be entrepreneurial without an LLC.
According to the Harvard Business Review, women are starting businesses twice as quickly as men, about 1,288 per day. However, most women struggle to replace their corporate salaries and 88% remain sole proprietorship, non-employer firms. What that means is, that although women are starting businesses at a fast pace, many of them aren’t succeeding.
Starting a business isn’t the only way to take control of your career and calendar. Business dynamics are changing, and more companies are hiring remote/contract workers understanding that the 9-5 lifestyle is highly unpopular. It is possible to be a successful freelancer and consultant with a flexible schedule without enduring the stress of an LLC. In order to do so, you can start attracting opportunities by managing and expanding your personal brand and digital identity.
2. Myth: You need the right credentials to be an expert.
Have you heard of Malala? Imagine if she censored herself because she considered herself too young and her story insignificant. We wouldn’t have the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner. Our personal brand is a combination of our personality, values, skill sets, and the value we create for others. It is all about who we are, what we do and how others perceive us through those in-person and digital interactions.
Truth: Everyone has a story that needs to be heard and greatness to own.
Our insecurities around self-promotion, our credentials and contributions will disappear, when we understand that the stakes for us to succeed as a sisterhood are so high that we are almost forced to tell our story for the sake of being a resource to someone else. We have an important story that needs to be told and heard. The unique combination of your personal and professional experience, your skills and accomplishments already make you an expert. You need to package your expertise in a way that is marketable to others who need it.
3. Myth: The 40-hour work week doesn’t exist if you want to be successful
In the last few years we have been conditioned to glorify busy, as though being busy is an indication of our work ethic or productivity. Consistently pulling all-nighters and overstretching yourself does not make you a better entrepreneur, it makes you a negligent one.
Truth: You can do whatever the hell you want if you’ve proven you’re valuable
The kind of life that we want won’t be given to us. We have to take it. Demand it. We need to become very clear that we don’t get what we deserve, we get what we negotiate and what we define for ourselves. Marie Forleo is one of my favorite entrepreneurs, because she has created a 6-figure business by her own rules. She has proven her value to the market and launches her signature program, B-School, once a year at a premium price point. She isn’t constantly in launch mode, offering multiple offerings to keep the lights on. She has identified her area of expertise and sticks to her niche.
We need to learn to work smarter, not harder, to avoid getting burned out, which 86% of usually do. By creating a personal brand and clearly communicating our value to others, we will be able to work less, do more and build a life that we love and are proud of.
The Leadership Her Way event was beyond amazing, and I encourage you to brown the hashtag on Twitter for the rest of the gems myself and my fellow speakers dropped. I shared the stage with girl bosses like Emilie Aries of Bossed Up, Rhonesha Byng of Her Agenda, Tonya Rapley of My Fab Finance and Raevyn Jones founder of the Fire Your Boss Academy. Can you imagine my excitement to dropping knowledge with women who not only inspire me, but are my friends? Check out the rest of my presentation below.