Ep. 134 Sharing personal content #askanna

sharing personal content

In today’s podcast, Anna looks at sharing personal content and what ‘personal’ branding really looks like.

If you have a question that you’d like Anna to answer on the podcast, then email podcast@onestepoutside.com to be included in the #askanna series.

You may feel some resistance to the idea of getting ‘personal’ with your personal brand and the content you’re putting out there – but the good news is that you get to decide where you draw the line between what’s okay to share, and what’s not.

If you’d like a sounding board and a guide to help you craft a confident, compelling and authentic brand, then book a call to see how I can help: www.onestepoutside.com/call

*Resources mentioned during the episode*

Join the One Step Outside the 9 to 5 Business Incubator – This is your roadmap to transitioning from a corporate job into setting up a meaningful business that will bring you more freedom, flexibility and fulfilment outside of the corporate 9 to 5. www.onestepoutside.com/9to5

Level up with The Outsiders Business Accelerator – This is a mastermind for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners who want to create a long-term sustainable brand and business. www.onestepoutside.com/accelerate

Book a call – If you’d like a sounding board and a guide to help you craft a confident, compelling and authentic brand, then book a call to see how I can help: www.onestepoutside.com/call



Sharing personal content


Hello there. Welcome back to the Reimagining Success podcast. My name is Anna Lundberg, and we’re talking personal branding. And today we have an Ask Anna for you. So every month, I’m answering a question that’s come from one of my clients or somebody in my Facebook group, or hopefully one of you listeners as well. So of course, remember, you can ask me anything, podcast@onestepoutside.com, or of course you can message me on your favourite social media channel, where you’re hopefully already following me. Instagram, Facebook, wherever we’re connected and let me know what question you’d like me to answer. So this month, it’s a really important one. It’s come up quite a bit recently and it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot for myself and for my clients, and from a philosophical perspective as well. So the question is okay, when it comes to personal branding and being on social media and marketing and all these things, how personal is personal?

So the background of course here is that we talk about, and you must’ve heard us talk about this. And I say us as in the whole industry, I suppose. Certainly, I’ve talked about it and it’s something I believe is important, but we talk about being authentic. And that’s part of the reason why I love having my own business and brand that I can show up authentically. I can be myself. I can be my whole authentic self in personal life, professional life. I can show up on video and be a bit jokey and be myself without pressure to perform, to in fact, be representing someone else’s brand because I’m me, I’m myself. I’m the only one who’ll be harmed if I do something wrong. So that takes a bit of the pressure off, but also means that what is wrong, while it’s me, who gets to decide that, and it’s really freeing and empowering and wonderful from a selfish perspective. But why else is it important?

Well, being authentic in your branding is a way in which you can overcome a barrier.

Now I’m talking here about being a business owner, but I still think it applies as we’ve been talking the last couple of weeks. When you’re internal in a company or as an employee, as a senior executive, director, manager. Having that personal brand can really help to overcome a barrier between you and your orders, by the way, especially when we’re working virtually these days, right? And not necessarily able to meet in person as much. It can create a stronger sense of attachment, community and it can actually bring your audience with you on a journey. So as a business owner, if you start… In fact, a lot of people will want to wait and only share the shiny perfect, “Look at my product, look at my service, it’s ready. Everybody joined my group programme today.”

But by that point, as I’ve said many times as well, it’s too late. We need to be building our audience before that and then you might say, “Well, I’ve got nothing to show yet. I don’t have that product yet” but that’s what’s so exciting. You can start sharing before you have the product. People love that, right? So that’s a great way to bring people on your journey. If it’s a product, “Hey, I’m choosing between this wrapper and that wrapper, this logo, that logo, what do you think about this new packaging we’re working on? I’ve just unboxed this, this is what you’re going to get. These are the new cards.” The whatever it is, right? The patterns, “This is the new planner I’m working on.” You can take people on that journey and they’ll grow with you and they will be ready then, to want to work with you once they see the fantastic thing that you’re producing, because they will have followed along.

The same if you’re producing a service, right. Sharing, “Hey, I’m working on this logo here.” In my case the other day, I just shared a couple of insights on Instagram stories from our Business Accelerator Mastermind from the night before. And I think that’s a great way to give people an insight into what would it be like to work with you, right? So it’s not necessarily having only those sorts of shiny promotional, “Hey, this is the service” and so on, but actually sharing a bit about your own experience of what it’s like, and your personal stories and so on of all of this has been quite tough this month because we have some issues with things getting stuck in the Suez Canal or whatever it might be.

So from a selfish perspective, it feels amazing to be able to be yourself, to not have to be someone else and it’s a great way to avoid imposter syndrome, actually. By being yourself, by sharing your stories, nobody can disagree. If you say, this is my experience, that’s very valid.

That’s your truth, as they say these days. So people can’t then attack you or disagree with you because you’re just sharing your perspective. And I think that’s really, again, liberating rather than coming out and saying, “This is the ultimate truth.” So I’m rooting my stories, my advice, anything that I’m sharing. Reading social media and so on, in my own experiences and achievements. And that makes, I think really strong and it makes me more confident that this is valuable because it’s true. It’s what I’ve seen with myself, it’s what I’ve seen with clients and so on.

And it can really help you turn your personal journey into your unique selling point, right, your USP. Often, especially within sorts of coaching, also consulting, but in particular, I think with coaching. I’ve gone a particular journey and I now help you go on that same journey. Of course, it won’t be the same journey, but in broad brush strokes. I was in a corporate job and I’ve managed to build this business sustainably, that gives me more freedom, flexibility and fulfilment, for example. So being able to use my personal journey again, gives me credibility, else may not feel so much like an imposter, and it gives me a unique twist because I have this unique background of this particular corporate marketing career with a digital expertise. Maybe throw in a sprinkle of my Swedish background and the fact that I travelled here and I did this, that and the other, right?

All those stories or not all stories in fact, but many stories from my personal and professional experience can be super relevant and can really help me to engage with my audience. So those are some of the reasons why it can be so powerful. Really overcoming that barrier between you and your audience, and people buy from people. It sounds like some pithy quote that people put on social media, but it’s true. The personal brand, the person behind the business. The mission, what they care about and why they’ve started the business, is a big reason why people buy these days and to understand and engage with that. And funny enough, in a mastermind that I’m part of just the other day, we had somebody ask that question and we were talking about how personal we need to get as well there. And we were talking about the power of knowing. I don’t know your favourite celebrity’s kids’ names.

I don’t think I do know people’s kids’ names actually. But perhaps that’s because I don’t engage so much with that kind of celebrity, but knowing… Think about the people you’re engaging with on social and Instagram. And it’s true that if I think about the people who only post, how to, and “Hey, this is my product, and this is how you do this, that, the other” is kind of interesting and I might take note of it, but I wouldn’t necessarily, and I definitely wouldn’t build a relationship with that person.

I wouldn’t feel warm and engaged and like I knew that person and I’d feel immediately like I wanted to trust and work with that person. If you’ve engaged with someone, even on something really silly. I’ve shared before, maybe that, I did a few stories and I had these ugly seventies cupboards behind me in my videos.

And I got so many people commenting on that, and bantering back and forth on that topic, which has become some ongoing piece in my stories. In fact, luckily now we’ve painted those cupboards, so hopefully it won’t be such a big part of my Instagram stories. But something as trivial as that, or your love of dogs, or your choice of dessert one day. Whatever you wanted to share is a great way to personalise, to demystify your persona so that you’re not just this scary, impressive, anonymous entity that people see and can’t touch.

Now, having settled that, does this mean that you have to share everything? Maybe you don’t, unlike me, feel comfortable with having that authenticity. Maybe you feel actually, “You know what, these are private things for me, my relationships, my personal feelings and thoughts, that’s very separate to my business and I don’t want to share those things.”

And you know what, you don’t have to, and in fact, I’d say you shouldn’t. When I say that I’m being authentic and showing up as my whole self, a hundred percent when I’m in client calls as a coach, when I’m leading my groups, when I’m here talking to you, as I’m sure you can hear, I share a lot and some people might feel, “Oh my goodness, she shares so much, that’s too much.” Other people might feel that I don’t share enough and certainly there are things that I don’t share and that I don’t feel are relevant and it’s not in any way hiding or lying about anything. It’s just that as a person, helping with a particular problem with you wanting to define success, to get clear on your vision, to overcome your fears, to develop this business, your brand and so on, there are certain stories.

In the last couple of weeks, I shared a few experiences from my corporate journey of building my brand internally and not doing so effectively. I share, of course, struggles I’ve had with building my business where the pendulum swung, that I was having a lot of fun at one point but not earning a lot of money and then what I did to overcome that. All the things I talk about, in fact, I very much rooted in my own experience, my own, and more and more, of course, the many clients I’ve worked with. So I’m being authentic, I’m showing up and I’m sharing personal stories but the personal stories I share aren’t just for the sake of saying, “Hey, by the way I did this at the weekend, I might do that randomly.” But ideally, I’d be looking for some angle that’s very relevant to the business that I run and to something that is a lesson, perhaps for us all who are trying to do this, right.

So it doesn’t mean, please understand this. It doesn’t mean you have to show up and share a picture. This used to be Instagram, right. Share a picture of your breakfast every morning, selfies all the time. You don’t have to share your relationship struggles with your partner, how tired you are now because of your young kids, or I don’t know, your body image feelings or any other vulnerabilities or the bullying you experienced as a child. We’re not talking here about having a public therapy session. I think it’s important to recognise that. And I say this a little bit jokingly, but in fact I’m deadly serious. It’s so important to protect ourselves. The more public we become, the more visible and the more vocal we are, I suppose, the more likely it is that people will notice, of course.

And unfortunately, there are those infamous trolls out there. I’ve been lucky, knock on wood, not to have too much of this so far, but I’m sure as I become more vocal and more out there and more visible, there will be more people who perhaps disagree with me and more people who say, “Oh, you’re so XYZ or I don’t like this, or I can’t believe you’re doing that, or I don’t like your cupboards.” Or whatever it might be. And I think it’s really important that we have those boundaries of knowing, “You know what, some things are sacred to me, and I won’t share that.”

And in fact, if you think about the big name people, and if you’ve been in the industry like I have now for a while, and in thee industry, I say. But in this kind of coaching world, the online expert, influencer, personal branding type of arena, there are certain big names out there that you see again and again. It’s actually quite a sort of tight knit, especially in America, in a circle of people who all seem to know each other and so on.

And they seem to have this very larger than life personality and they do these videos and they come across of course, incredibly well, and they seem incredibly authentic. And I think it’s important to realise that, yes, they’re wonderful and you may love them and you may not like them. That’s part of the beauty of this, I suppose, a personal brand that there is an audience that loves that person. And there is an audience that doesn’t and that’s why some of us work with some people and some of us work with other people. However, it’s important to realise, especially these big name, celebrity sort of brands are just that, they’re brands.

They might be and we present ourselves as a personal brand, as a unique person but they’re not. They’ve got a whole team of people behind them. They are now a company there and I’m certain not at this level, so I say they, rather than we and I. But let’s say they are, Anna Lundberg Limited in a way, right. That is the entity. There’s a whole organisation, I’m sure. Brand marketing people, videographers, editors and designers, and so on, who are doing research, who are tapping into audience insights to understanding, and understand exactly what resonates with the audience. Who is that audience, what’s the messaging, what’s the person they want to see. And again, I don’t think they’re pretending to be someone they’re not, they’re just choosing aspects of their preexisting personality to portray those aspects, right? So it’s taking your best bits in a way.

And also potentially, if you want to, some of your not so best bits, which are really important, I think to share, as long as you’re doing that in a controlled, in a safe environment, as it were. It’s not you being raw about in the moment, sharing your difficult struggle. However, it might be with hindsight sharing or a few years ago when I was going through my divorce and then you can share an insight. Or I actually, my illness fled up a few months ago, and this is how I dealt with that. Or I was really struggling with my business during corona because there was this, obviously economic situation and I had to pivot and so on. So I think if you are going to be very honest and open, I think having a little bit of perspective on it, is always going to be powerful to you. Then distance yourself a little bit. You are protected from it by time. You’re no longer really in that moment and you can there share an important insight in a controlled, safe environment again.

So the key to remember is, it’s completely up to you what you do and don’t share.

Yes, it is important to be personal, to be authentic, to share more of yourself, I suppose, than just the robotic sort of, “This is the product, this is the service” and so on. However, that doesn’t mean you have to share everything. It’s completely up to you where you draw that line, and I encourage you to draw that line, to be clear. What I’ve done, and I’ll be very transparent over this now, in terms of my content creation process. When I talk now about personal branding for the next two months, what I’ve done actually is I’ve looked ahead. These are the topics I want to cover, these are the questions I’ve had, and these are some of the stories I’ve sat down and brainstorm.

Some of the stories from my corporate career, from my entrepreneurial experience, coaching and so on, personal and professional. That’s I want to share, that are relevant and that will support the message that I’m putting out there. I’m obviously filtering things out that aren’t relevant, that are too personal, that don’t tell a story I want to tell. So then this context, I’m really looking at my experiences, my stories through the filter of; okay, developing, cultivating building this effective brand platform and the difficulties I’ve had maybe, the things I’ve done wrong, the lessons I’ve learned and the things of course that I advise you to do, and that can really help you build that brand. So really important for you to remember what you see is a curated brand.

It’s a persona. It is hopefully authentic, and I want you to be authentic too, when you go out there, but it’s curated. You’re putting yourself through a filter. There is a distinction between Anna Lundberg, the complete nuanced human being, I suppose, in every aspect of my life and the Anna Lundberg, who happens to be leading One Step Outside and coaching people and helping them find fulfilment outside the nine to five. And yes, I’m very open and honest and so on, but I’m sure, I’d like to think there are lots of things I’m still keeping from you and keeping, and that are personal, that are sacred, that aren’t necessarily being plastered across social media and so on. So it’s quite an interesting topic, I hope you agree. It’s certainly very nuanced than something to reflect on and I encourage you to do just that. When you see other people sharing, think about, okay, how does that story that they’re sharing support their mission and the business that they’re building?

Would you be comfortable sharing like that or is that a step too far? Would you actually be more honest than they have been? Again, thinking about how can I put a bit of distance, how can I protect myself. Maybe through time, don’t share something as it’s happening but rather reflect back on previous stories, and I think then you have a lot more to bring as well. And think about the stories that you want to tell, that will support the overall narrative of the business you’re building, of the opportunities you’re wanting to open up for yourself, of the future career path that you’re trying to follow, that you’re hoping to follow. So really great question, how personal do I have to get? Do I have to share everything? No, definitely not. You don’t have to be completely raw and vulnerable. And in fact, I encourage you to set boundaries to protect yourself however, it is really powerful and important to connect with your audience.

So find the balance that makes you feel comfortable, that actually you enjoy as well, because you’re going to be doing a lot of this sharing on social media and putting yourself out there. So make sure that you feel comfortable, you feel good about it, and you enjoy and feel right about sharing what you’re sharing. So again, thanks for the question. If you want to ask a question on the Ask Anna segment of this podcast, you can email me as ever at podcast@onestepoutside.com or you can contact me on Instagram, Facebook, wherever you’re following me, LinkedIn and so on. Thanks so much for listening and I’ll see you back here next week. Bye for now.

If you’re ready to start to reimagine what success could look like for you, here are some of the ways in which Anna can support you:

Get private mentoring for your business – Partnering with a business coach can help you see those blind spots and get both external accountability and expert guidance to take your business to where you want it to be. www.onestepoutside.com/freeconsultation

Get private career coaching – Individual coaching is fully tailored to your specific goals and desires so we can create the programme that works best for you, with the support that you need to move forwards. www.onestepoutside.com/claritycall

Grab a copy of Leaving the Corporate 9 to 5 – After interviewing 50 people who have left the corporate 9 to 5 to forge their own path, Anna has collected their stories in a book that will inspire you with the possibilities that are out there and reassure you that you’re not alone in looking for an alternative. www.leavingthecorporate9to5.com

Join the One Step Outside the 9 to 5 Business Incubator – This is your roadmap to transitioning from a corporate job into setting up a meaningful business that will bring you more freedom, flexibility and fulfilment outside of the corporate 9 to 5. www.onestepoutside.com/9to5

Level up with The Outsiders Business Accelerator – This is a mastermind for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners who want to create a long-term sustainable brand and business. www.onestepoutside.com/accelerate


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