lealea's blogblog

because it's nice to say it twice

23 Comments // Filed in Branding / Business / Design

The Art of Self-Branding: Part Three

Me, Branded

Update: Read Part One | Part Two | Resources

Creating brands for others is already a difficult exercise, but self-branding is often an exercise in torture. The process forces you to look at yourself, your personality, and your skillset with harsh eyes. In translating those truths into descriptive copy, you’ll have to walk a fine line between confidence and arrogance, cleverness and insincerity, and appearing knowledgeable without being condescending to your audience.

With the Art of Self-Branding series of posts, I’ve striven to shine some light onto how to evaluate your own brand. The first part dealt mostly with self-discovery and research, urging you to pretend to have amnesia. The second part dealt with what you can do with the information you gathered.

Now, in the end, it all boils down to this:


None of the exercises, insights, articles, or business self-help tomes, will help you unless you’re honest with yourself and about yourself.

Why build a brand at all? Simply put, it’s because you’re creating a relationship with someone you don’t know yet — and in order to make it successful, honesty must be at the forefront.

It’s easier to design your personal brand as who you would like to be versus who you really are. It sounds so obvious, but the truth is that a lot of people lack the self-reflection to actually follow through on this. They will always second-guess themselves out of fear of judgement or rejection, which is incidentally also why most PowerPoint presentations are long but say nothing.

The fact is, you must risk exposure when you brand yourself. A lot of people can’t, or won’t, take that risk — but I encourage everyone to at least try.

I mean, it’s worked for me. :-)

The Worksheet

But wait — this third part isn’t just a tough love seminar. Now that you’ve read all the article parts, success depends upon you actually getting started and doing something concrete. This always starts with putting ideas, words and goals onto paper, so I’ve created The Art of Self-Branding Worksheet to help people kick things off.

The worksheet is divided into two parts:

  • An adjective-personality association game, a helpful definition of branding to keep your efforts focused, and the “amnesiac” questions.
  • Listing companies, slogans, and other things that you associate with your personality and yourself as well as listing the steps you need to go through to work out your branding.

I’ve also included some final tips that emerged from the comments of the original post as well as a box where you can “tape a picture of your favourite outfit” as a visual inspiration and reminder.

This worksheet is not supposed to be super-comprehensive — you should read the series more thoroughly so you don’t miss anything — but it’s should to help you kick-start the brand-storming process and give you a handy take-home guide to remind you of what directions you can pursue.

I want to thank everyone who has read and supported this series. If you have any suggestions on how to improve the worksheet, what more needs to be added or clarified, please let me know.

Some further resources

23 blabs to The Art of Self-Branding: Part Three

Add something to the conversation!

Picture of Mat

Name Mat

Date Jan 30
07:56 PM

Did the tattooing part hurt?

“…appearing knowledgeable without condescending to your audience.”

I don’t want to defame the guy here, but remind me on IM later, and I’ll send you a link to a desinger’s site that’s totally pompous (Not someone in the web-standards community).

Picture of Lea

Name Lea

Date Jan 30
08:09 PM

It’s a temporary tattoo, Mat, so no worries. Though, i have been getting weird looks lately…

Picture of david b

Name david b

Date Jan 31
12:04 AM

wow that was a very informative article. i needed that especialy , because i am about to attempt that very thing. I have been faily busy here on word of mouth, but no i feel that to grow my company i have to take what i have been doing for others for the past 7 years, and apply it to myself. thats for this article Lealea.

by the way, do you pronounce you name “lee ‘a’ lee ‘uh’”

Picture of Lea

Name Lea

Date Jan 31
12:33 AM

David, it’s more like “Lay-ah” or however Han Solo calls his woman. :-) All the vowels in my name are short. And thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you find this useful.

Fantastic Series, very well written. Took me a while to find but I’m glad that I did. Nice work!

Picture of Katie

Name Katie

Date Jan 31
12:59 PM

Lea! Thanks for the last three branding articles! They’re very helpful, considering that I’m about to start working on my site!

Picture of josh

Name josh

Date Feb 01
09:44 PM

crazy goodness, lea. now i have to go redesign my website. SH!T.

Excellent work Lea! It’s a heck of a thing for you to go through this whole three part series and then offer up a worksheet. Props to you for all the work.

I have to agree with Part Three, be honest. I mean, what’s more honest than my own self brand, Patrick Haney, not a sausage?

I’d have a heck of a time convincing people that I WAS a sausage, that’s for sure.

Picture of Noah

Name Noah

Date Feb 04
05:51 PM

Thanks for writing this series. I’ve really enjoyed it, and now am quite inspired to do some self-branding for myself (something I’ve put off too much).

Picture of Basia

Name Basia

Date Feb 16
04:39 PM

But where is your beautifull PINK ??? Have you given it up?

Picture of Lea

Name Lea

Date Feb 16
05:43 PM

Basia, perhaps you have disabled styles because this entire site is still as pink as ever.

Picture of Basia

Name Basia

Date Feb 17
02:00 PM

It seems it is my screen calibration? At home it is standard red, at work it is pink as should be. OK, I was worried :-))
Anyhow, it was nice to read throught the series.
Best greetings

Just wrote a comment about trust, honesty and transparency on Jason Lyne’s post where he talks about the Art of Self-Branding.

I like that your comment heading is ‘Speak Up!’. That is what we’re using for MontRED your corner – “Speak Up! Decide for yourself. Speak Up! Define Your Corner”.

Picture of matthew

Name matthew

Date Jan 05
04:50 PM

I stumbled across your article and it was exactly what I needed. Great thing you did here.

Picture of jonny

Name jonny

Date Jan 10
08:57 AM

this is great

Wow. This is a very useful and informative article. You definitely not only know your stuff, you know how to illustrate your point well. Great work.


Very well written and concise in thinking with clarity and warmth. Thank you, fantastic!

Picture of Bjarne

Name Bjarne

Date Dec 02
09:52 AM

Very interesting read. Thank you.

Picture of David

Name David

Date Jan 29
09:38 AM

Lea! I’m ready to worship you!
Really, where did you learn that stuff?
Thanks so much

Picture of Dave S

Name Dave S

Date Feb 04
12:33 PM

Excellent series of articles. Nice work. But I am confused about one sentence. ‘They will always second guess themselves out of fear or judgement or rejection . . .’. I thought I understood what you meant there but I don’t see how that relates to the powerpoints. I agree that most say nothing but I always thought it was because most people are just poorly organized, etc. What do you mean here? Thanks.

Picture of Lea

Name Lea

Date Feb 04
02:41 PM

Hi Dave, it just means that people fill presentations with extraneous points because it’s what they think people want to hear or spreading their presentation thin to appeal to as many audiences as possible, as opposed to getting to the essence of their point.

Hi Lea, I’m a web developer getting ready to start developing my own website and identity, so I’ve been looking around for design inspiration and your site is one of my favorite. I’ve read some of your blogs and found them very interesting and insightful, and this one I think will be particularly useful. Thanks! And keep it up :)

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