Building your Personal Brand

In a world brimming with unique individuals and endless possibilities, the importance of standing out and making a lasting impression has never been greater. Welcome to the exploration of a transformative journey – one that delves into the heart of personal branding. This is not just about an elevator pitch; it’s about understanding and shaping the essence of who you are, how you’re perceived, and the value you offer the world. Crafting your distinct persona – an art known as personal branding – includes identifying your strengths, style and storytelling.

We are thrilled to present an interview with an individual who has accumulated more than 15,000 hours dedicated to personal branding and career development. Hilani Ellis, the visionary behind Exceptional Admins, headquartered in Denver, Colorado (USA), graciously shares her distinctive insights on the growing significance of personal branding within the administrative profession and its pivotal role in shaping one’s future.

Is a personal brand your reputation?

In short, a personal brand is about accuracy and differentiation (proactive). Reputation is about track record (defence).

Why should you build your personal brand?

Building your personal brand is not just a choice; it’s a strategic investment in your own success. In a world characterised by connectivity and competition, a well-crafted personal brand becomes your unique voice amidst the noise. It’s your opportunity to define who you are, what you stand for, and how you can contribute meaningfully. A strong personal brand not only bolsters your professional reputation but also sets you apart, opening doors to new opportunities, deeper connections, and enhanced credibility. It invites you to curate the narrative around your expertise and values, fostering trust and authenticity in every interaction. In essence, building your personal brand is a proactive step towards shaping your own narrative and propelling your career forward with purpose and impact.

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Share with us how you conceptualised the three pillars for building one’s personal brand: Strengths, Style and Storytelling.

Certainly, the development of these pillars was grounded in the understanding that a successful personal brand is multifaceted, encompassing both internal attributes and external representation. The Strengths pillar centres on leveraging one’s unique talents and skills as the cornerstone of their brand. The Style pillar reflects the presence that one convey’s. Lastly, the Storytelling pillar recognises the power of narratives in creating connections by sharing personal experiences, achievements, and the journey that led to where one stands today. Collectively, these pillars serve as a holistic framework to encourage

individuals to craft their authentic and compelling personal brand to resonate with their audience and align with their aspirations.

What’s the hardest part about building one’s personal brand?

That’s a fantastic question. I really put a lot of thought into this framework. With my extensive experiences, I’ve had the chance to connect with professionals who live and breathe this field every day. What struck me most from these conversations is how many struggle with “talking about themselves.” A lot of professionals think that building a personal brand means you have to put yourself out there, almost like giving a big presentation to a massive crowd. And if you don’t have a starting point, it’s totally natural to think this is what the journey looks like. I find great joy in flipping this idea around. Building one’s personal brand is within your control and is dictated by you. The three pillars offer the launch pad into deeper thinking on who you are, what value you offer the world and ultimately, what do you want your legacy to be.

What’s an essential element needed when embarking on a personal brand-building journey?

There’s a lot to dive into here, but in simple terms, it all comes down to mindset. Many professionals aspire to change how they’re perceived. You often hear them say, “I wish to be seen as a strategic business partner, not just an assistant.” Many say this, but avoid capitalizing on the opportunity to create a shift in perception. If the professional is not expressing their strengths, showcasing their style, and weaving in personal stories, they are not setting themselves apart from others who share the same job title. It’s important to add here many become tired at the thought of adding one more job to their already full lives. I hear and feel this often during my interactions. Tied to mindset is also patience and grace. In the end, by putting even 50% effort into building one’s personal brand, the professional will experience a pleasant shift in a variety of areas.

What’s your greatest aspiration for someone who embraces the positive challenge of starting this journey?

Above all, my utmost hope for anyone embracing the exciting challenge of embarking on a personal branding-building journey is to witness them unfold into their fullest potential. I envision individuals discovering the power within their unique strengths, expressing their authentic style, and weaving their personal narratives into their brand. Through this transformative journey, my desire is to see them not only amplify their professional impact but also radiate a newfound confidence that attracts opportunities aligned with their aspirations.