Personal Brand, Professional Opportunities
Why I'm invested in tying my identity to my name
A few years ago, I bought a scarf at a chic store called Axara.
I’d been admiring it for a good five minutes when a salesman in his early twenties popped up beside me to applaud my choice. Then he flung the scarf around his neck and strutted to the cash. I followed him like a runway procession.
When I handed him my credit card, he examined it and read my name aloud with the most dramatic flair.
I laughed as he—still wearing my scarf—went on about how “important” and “powerful” my name sounded. All the while, he was waving my card around as he used his hands for emphasis.
I thanked him for his endorsement and promised him I would do my name justice. After that, he went on to share that he was binging the show Dynasty with his grandmother, and they had conflicting opinions about certain characters.
I was still laughing when I left the store.
Now, years later, I wish I had the guy’s contact information to share the update I’m about to share with you.
I broke a promise to myself yesterday, but it was for the best so I’m glad I did.
I’d imposed a moratorium on taking courses since I should be spending 100% of my time working on courses and promoting my business. But things changed when I got accepted into Quebec’s Self-Employment Program last week.
Now that I’m being coached on how to allocate a marketing budget, it’s time to think about marketing activities. So far I’ve relied on word-of-mouth referrals to generate new clients but that’s not going to cut it in the long run. I need to get radical.
This is where lifting my temporary ban on courses comes in.
Starting With Twitter
I joined Rob Lennon’s Zero to 10K Twitter Accelerator.
Here’s why: I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Twitter since I created my first account in 2020, deleted it, and came back a few months later to try it again. I don’t know many people on the platform and the cookie-cutter advice for how to maximize its value hasn’t cut it for me (no pun intended).
But I know I could unlock huge professional opportunities if I managed to build my personal brand on Twitter. So I can’t give up. But I have given up trying to go it alone.
The reasons I picked Rob as a teacher are no-brainers:
He amassed 10K followers in 41 days
He did so by writing authentically and adding value to conversations
He promotes men and women while many big accounts strictly promote men
I knew the course would be awesome. Sure enough, a friend who’s also taking the course texted me fifteen minutes into yesterday’s kickoff saying, “I’m pumped. This is going to be worth every penny.”
Below is a screenshot of my profile revamp based on tips from the session. Hit reply with any feedback you have. I’d love to know what I could do to further improve it.
I used Canva to create the banner photo and signed up for a free trial of Photoshop to replace the background in my headshot (note to self: cancel my subscription by Friday).
My question to you is, how could you enhance your social media profile to have it work harder at promoting how awesome you are?
Why Build a Personal Brand?
Polina is a great example of someone who’s built a personal brand by “tying her identity to her name”. In the short video below, she explains that doing so trumps tying your identity to a single job or other title that can be taken away from you.
I was inspired by Polina’s story. Long before she planned to write a book, she left a high profile position at Fortune Magazine to launch a solopreneur writing venture, called The Profile. By tying her identity to her name, she’s grown her following to 126K on Twitter alone. And she was approached by a publisher to write the book I mentioned earlier.
I’d seen the video above a few months back, but I was reminded of it a few weeks ago, when someone asked me why I would leave a company as well known as Ubisoft—particularly as I was working at the HQ—to start something of my own.
“Why take the risk when you had that security?”
But I explained to them that “job security” is often a false sense of security. Economies change, layoffs can happen unexpectedly, and a wide variety of other factors can contribute to you having—or wanting—to leave a job.
Starting my own venture and building my personal brand feels less risky to me in the long run.
Thank you to all of you who replied with congratulatory messages about my being accepted into Quebec’s Self-Employment Program last week. I appreciate you. Many of you inspire me every day and I’m grateful to count you in my corner.
Today, I popped into the Services Québec government offices to sign my contract for the program. The Director was laughing when he told me I set a record for the fastest admission to the program. He said he can’t remember any other instance where he didn’t have to follow up on missing documents as he gestured to the stack I’d submitted.
“It was all here, and neatly arranged. You made my job easy! And I could tell by our exchanges over the phone you have the drive to be a successful entrepreneur.”
I laughed too as he turned his monitor toward me to show me his notes in my file as proof he had “good instincts” from our initial conversation.
The Director told me he was passionate about teaching, which came as no surprise based on the kindness and generosity he’s shown me. He went on to say he was excited about my venture’s new spin on online teaching and that the team would support me in making it a success.
As I strolled out of the retro mall where the Services Québec offices are tucked away, I felt excited too.
I wish I could tell the sales guy from Axara about my big plans for “Alexandra Allen.”
I guarantee he would applaud me—and probably sass me for taking so long.
That’s all for today. Thank you for reading.
If you enjoyed this week’s edition, please like, comment, or share this post with friends. It would help me tremendously in expanding my reach.
Wishing you a wonder-full week,
P.S. As you probably guessed, the reason I remember my Axara shopping experience so vividly is because of how funny it was. I’ve written about this before but humour boosts retention. So don’t be afraid to crack some jokes when you’re teaching. Students will remember those moments vividly.