As a personal branding coach and photographer, I get the amazing pleasure of working with inspiring female entrepreneurs in different industries all over the world.
In growing my own businesses and coaching others through the develoment of their personal brand, the same ten dangrous mistakes keep coming up again and again for female entrepreneurs like you.
If you want to effectively build a personal brand that grows your business, then your clients need to see you as an authority that can solve the problem that they have.
If you’re making any of these mistakes, it may be why you’re struggling to gain traction, attract customers, and grow your income to meet your business goals.
The top ten mistakes female entrepreneurs make when building personal brands
1. Not defining what you want to be known for
Many of the clients I talk to say they want to be successful in their business because they want to make money. And this is a fabulous goal! You can and should make money in your business.
However, if we don’t first get incredibly clear about the specific things you want to be known for, your revenue growth will be stifled at every turn.
When I ask what it is specifically that my clients want to be known for, many will list core admirable values. They want to be known for their “integrity” or for being a “nice person.”
While there’s nothing wrong with having integrity or being nice, these cannot be all you want to be known for. Being nice and operating your business with integrity? Those should be givens!
Instead, consider what you want people in your audience to associate with you.
Are you a realtor in Miami?
Your audience should know that you sell luxury homes in Miami!
Do you specialize in boutique consulting?
Your audience should know that you are the go-to when they need expert consulting for their boutique clothing shop.
In addition to knowing what you offer in your business, your followers should also get to know your “quirks.” Your brand quirks are the humanizing details that set you apart from others in your industry and help you relate to your followers.
There may be hundreds of other luxury realtors in Miami, but you might be the only one who is obsessed with drinking kombucha all day, every day!
My followers know I’ll always show up live wearing big (we’re talking bright and can’t-miss-them BIG) earrings. Viewers frequently compliment me on my earrings, and will even send me screenshots of fabulous earrings they find online. While it has nothing to do with my business or what I sell, my earring “quirk” helps forge a connection between me and my followers.
Fix this next: Write down what you want to be known for, and include both quirks that will humanize you to your audience as well as your core elements of business.
2. Not getting clear on your message
What do I mean by your message? Your message is all the content you create and share for your business.
That Instagram or Facebook post? Your latest reel or blog post? All pieces of your message!
Your core message must be repeated continually to become recognizable to your audience. And this core message should include two critical pieces:
- Who you are
- What you do and who you do it for
I’m Ati Grinspun! I’m a branding coach and photographer who serves women who are the face of their businesses.
Fix this next: Write down your clear message, including who you are, what you do, and who you do it for. Then practice saying this in front of the mirror until it feels natural.
3. Not showing your face
I know sometimes it can feel oh so easy to hide behind cute graphics when sharing on social media. The reality is that no other content builds connection with your ideal clients like showing your face.
Showing your face will create momentum in your personal brand, whether in video or photographs.
How often do you need to show your face? About one-third (or 33%) of the time. Applied to your Instagram feed, this means that one out of every 3 of your grid posts should show your gorgeous face.
If you want to become known as an authority to your audience, you need to stop hiding behind cute quotes and pretty graphics. Strategic personal branding begins with showing up, and that means showing your face.
Fix this next: Take a look at your Instagram feed and count how often you show your face in your posts. If your beautiful face isn’t making an appearance about one-third of the time, it’s time to smile and show your face to your people.
4. Copying other online business owners
There’s nothing wrong with being inspired by other accounts or brands, but at some point, it’s time to close Pinterest and stop comparison-scrolling.
Once you get clear on the specific desires and fears that motivate your ideal clients and learn to speak to those desires and fears, your content will gain incredible momentum. And that kind of momentum cannot be achieved if you’re copying the brand, messaging, or the vibe of others in your industry.
Every time you prepare to share a new piece of content, ask yourself: “How could I make this more me?”
It could be a quick tweak to show your personality or a subtle change to your wording. As you grow your personal brand you will practice becoming more and more authentic.
Give yourself permission to be you. Your audience will take note!
Fix this next: Before your next posting to social media, read over your caption. Does the caption sound like something you would say if you were talking in person to a friend? If not, change it to sound like you.
5. Lacking consistency
People buy from those they know, like, and trust, which means we need to create familiarity with our audiences. This comfortable familiarity comes from showing up on social media regularly and often.
The best thing I can hear when I get on a call with a new client is: “I feel like I already know you!”
Why would someone I’ve never spoken with say this? Because they’ve seen me share on social media so often and so authentically that they’re already familiar with the way that I talk. They know my personality, my quirks, and what I’m passionate about.
This familiarity turns Discovery Calls into smooth (actually fun!) endeavors.
Showing up consistently looks different for everyone. Whether you commit to posting every day, or three times a week, or two times a week, the magic is in picking a frequency you can stick to. That means picking a frequency that works for you! Once you pick your rhythm, commit to it.
Fix this next: Decide how often you want to post, and on which social media channels. Pick a reasonable goal that you can stick to. (If you’ve never posted before, forcing yourself to post every day will only end in burnout!)
6. Focusing on quantity versus quality
The more engaged your audience members are, the more Instagram (and other social media platforms) will share your content with new best-fit followers. Don’t fall into the vanity trap of playing follow-for-follow and never buy followers.
Sharing to an audience that never likes your posts, leaves comments, or messages you? Social media algorithms can measure this lack of engagement and will penalize your account by sharing your new content with less and less people.
Instead of focusing on how many followers you have (or don’t have), focus on engaging with followers who are excited about you and your message.
Fix this next: Stop comparing your follower account to others. Instead, track your audience engagement (likes, comments, saves, shares, and messages) to inform new content strategies and opportunities for growth.
7. Only showing up to sell
When you grow your personal brand, you have the opportunity to make a real difference in the world. You have the opportunity to stand for a cause.
Are you passionate about a specific charity or organization? Share about it!
Do you feel more people need to know about something (even if it’s not what you are selling?) Share it!
Constricting your content to only sales (“Hey, I have this great offer or service, sign up here!”) dehumanizes you in the eyes of your audience. Don’t be afraid to share more about your life, your passions, and the other parts of your business.
True authority is grown by educating your people, by providing value, and by showing up as your authentic self.
Fix this next: Jump on your stories to share something from the behind-the-scenes of your day-to-day business operations, or to talk about something you’re passionate about.
8. Not engaging with followers
You’re busy. I get it! You have a busy business to run.
But posting and ghosting? It may be killing your chance of connecting with new clients.
Imagine arriving at an in-person networking event and introducing yourself to someone. Only instead of waiting to hear their reply or continuing the conversation, you awkwardly turn around and walk away before they have a chance to say anything.
Talk about rude!
When you post to Instagram or Facebook and then immediately close your phone or walk away from the computer without engaging with your audience, you’re making the same mistake.
Remember, social media is not going to work for you unless you work for it.
Fix this next: Next time you post to your chosen social media platform, set aside 15 minutes to stay on the site. During this time, reply to any comments on your post. Return the favor of likes by checking out and engaging with the posts of anyone who likes your post.
9. Using only one social media channel to reach new clients
As a beginner business owner, there is power in mastering content creation for a single platform. But don’t make the mistake of forgetting to repurpose each piece of content to other platforms as well. With the myriad of cross-posting tools available today, you can easily make one piece of content do double (or triple!) the work for you by reposting to other platforms.
Remember that most of your ideal clients have a single favorite social media platform. Many business owners make the mistake of only posting to one social media channel, whether that be Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, or others.
The problem with this is that the entrepreneur is not showing up in front of any of their potential clients who prefer a different platform.
Fix this next: Get in front of all the people in your audience by taking your last post and reposting it to at least one additional social media platform.
10. Lacking confidence
People buy from those that show up as a confident authority. Your ideal clients are not looking to buy from someone with the perfect hair, perfect voice, or perfect [insert superficial characteristic that holds you back from sharing your stuff!]
Your people are looking for someone who can lead them to the solution they are seeking. When you show up consistently and authentically as the one who can offer that solution, your audience will take note.
Don’t let fear of criticism or failure hold you back from sharing your expertise on social media. Even if you are not the world’s greatest expert in your chosen industry, you certainly know more than your ideal client and have value to share with them.
Fix this next: Share a video post explaining the top 3 (or 4 or 5!) things your ideal client should know about your area of expertise. What common mistakes are your followers making that you could help them correct? Shoulders back, head high, you got this, girl!
Are you making any of these common entrepreneur mistakes in your business?
Send me a DM and let me know which one most resonated with you!