Personal Brand FAQs

Here are the questions or concerns we sometimes hear from people who want to start working on their personal brand, and some responses to help you feel informed when making your choice.

We always welcome a chat if you have further questions or wish to discuss your particular situation – contact us here.

Enquiring for your organisation or team? Check out our Business Clients FAQs.

Is personal branding really authentic? I don’t want to pretend to be someone or something I’m not.

To be honest, the term ‘personal branding’ isn’t a great one. It sounds fake, like a label or a made-up story. It’s more helpful to think of personal branding to be like a great business brand – if we communicate with impact about ourselves and our work, it helps highlight how we can truly bring value to others.

Good personal branding is not about a one-size-fits-all formula, or creating a ‘rockstar’ brand, or making you look like something you’re not. It’s about identifying and highlighting your best self, in the context of your professional goals. It’s about confidently positioning yourself in a way that differentiates you, resonates with your audience and, while possibly pushing you to be clearer about the value you bring, still feels 100% authentic to who you are.

I want to work on my personal brand, but I don’t want to sound too conceited/self-promotional.

We’ve all seen social media posts that feel inauthentic, salesy or conceited. The fake-happy, #grateful posts that are really just thinly-veiled bragging. (You might like this article on the dangers of the ‘pretend personal’!)

Our experience is that the people who are most concerned about appearing too self-promotional are the ones who are in no danger of doing so. If anything, these people usually need a bit of a push to point out their achievements and abilities in contexts where it’s essential to do so.

As in the popular TED Talk by Adam Galinksy, we are always dealing with the double-bind: If you talk about yourself, you may appear unlikeable / If you don’t talk about yourself, you will go unnoticed. There are ways to talk confidently about your work without bragging or pushing your agenda – it’s about learning the skills and language that you need in order to do this well.

Do I need to have clarity on my goals/personal brand to start working with you?

Absolutely not! In fact, most people don’t have much clarity when they start – it’s usually what they’re hoping to gain.

While a few clients come to us with a very clear picture of what they want to create in their business or career, and perhaps even some points they want to highlight in their personal brand… many others are not clear just yet. Many are at a career crossroads, exploring a couple of options or needing a change, but not sure what this will look like. Others are seeking a way to clarify their brand to link together different interests, experience or achievements that seem unconnected. Still others are curious about how they can build a personal brand either aligned to, or separate from, their business or day-job.

Because our process in personal branding always starts with a deep exploration of who you are, what makes you tick, and where your strengths and impact lie, clients find that personal branding is a process of self-discovery, leading to much more clarity, a sense of purpose, and eventually, a way to confidently express who they are in work.

Prices seem to vary between competitors. What should I expect to pay for personal branding and what is included?

Personal branding prices vary greatly – and so do the areas of specialisation and the level of expertise! You might be paying anywhere from $300 to $10,000, depending on the provider and the inclusions.

Some personal branding providers focus on media engagement, others on personal grooming and styling, others on public speaking and presentation skills. These are all aspects of personal branding but they do not address personal branding at its core.

If your personal brand provider does not have a proven system for addressing the foundations of a strong personal brand – your key messages explaining why you are different and the value you bring through your work – and providing you with a personalised, strategic plan for communicating that to achieve specific goals – you are probably just skimming the surface. If you do not first spend time clarifying your brand goals and messaging, just as you would in a business, your results will be far less effective.

For the reasons above, there are very few personal branding providers we would recommend. The ones we like have a long track record of success and a specific method (though different from ours) for going deep to find out who you are. If you don’t like our business-like approach, we may be able to recommend others who do it differently but very well.

If you choose to work with someone who addresses just one aspect, such as presenting skills or what to wear, you will get some useful help that may make a big difference to your confidence. If you want a more strategic, all-encompassing approach to communicating your personal brand, then we might be a great choice for you.

Our one-to-one strategy packages start at AUD$2800 + GST.  This is because all the one-to-one work is with our Director, Julissa Shrewsbury, who also works on large projects with organisations along with delivering multiple speaking engagements. With the limited bookings available for one-to-one clients, Julissa chooses to work in a personal, in-depth and tailored way, which takes considerable time for background work and client support. Julissa is a personal brand author and speaker with many years’ experience working with hundreds of clients across industries and career levels. She has been sought after by the likes of the Australian Financial Review for her opinion on personal branding for professional people and companies, and has worked with clients around Australia and overseas.

With NWC’s most requested 1-1 strategy packages with Julissa, you can expect to pay around AUD$2990-5990 + GST for a package of multiple sessions, delivered in-person or via Zoom, ending up with clarity on your personal brand and deliverables such as a Personal Brand Profile, a LinkedIn Refresh and positioned bio, or a full Personal Brand Network-Building and Communications Plan.

All of Julissa’s one-to-one work is personally tailored with specific strategies to suit your particular goals and target audience. There is ‘homework’ for you to complete and extra support provided around the sessions.

You can find out more about what is included in the packages at the Developing Brand You page, and our additional support options working with our team on our Personal Marketing Support Services page.

Finally, a warning about pricing of personal brand services – if you are serious about your personal brand goals, do not choose a provider who is charging less than $1000 for a tailored service working one-to-one with you. They are likely lacking any real expertise in this space and may provide flawed advice because they don’t really understand the landscape. Just because they use words like ‘leadership branding’ doesn’t necessarily mean they know what leaders require in the contexts they work in!

At best, a low price will get you a ‘Band-Aid fix’ rather than an in-depth solution. A quality service costs more than this because it is tailored, strategic and in-depth, hopefully working with an expert who has a huge amount of valuable knowledge and insights to share. If you are on a really tight budget, consider purchasing a reputable online course or book and starting with some DIY work until you can consult an expert, rather than waste your money on a cheap consultant and then have to ‘re-do’ the work later (many new enquiries come to us with this story, which is sad to see).

Can I just do my own ‘personal branding’ to save money?

We can certainly recommend some great tools to get you started working on your personal brand yourself if your budget is really tight. This is a great place to start if you are just beginning to explore your personal brand and learn about the topic. 

If you are looking for a clear strategy to define and communicate your personal brand to achieve specific outcomes, you are best off working with an expert on a tailored program. Although we offer some great courses, usually our clients choose to work with us one-to-one to get those kinds of results.

If you want to start on your own, check out our products including some fun and revealing downloadable exercises, on-demand courses and, of course, Julissa’s book, The Powerful Personal Brand, which offers a step-by-step guide for structuring your personal brand. You can also join our mailing list to receive the ‘Do you know your personal brand?’ quiz and ongoing monthly resources.

Can you just do a quick LinkedIn profile?

We sometimes get asked, ‘Can you just do a quick LinkedIn profile/refresh for me?’ and unfortunately, the answer is no. Paying for a quick LinkedIn profile fix is highly unlikely to achieve your goals, because making up some words and filling out a few CV details doesn’t make you stand out and attract interest on LinkedIn.

Because of the importance of first clarifying your goals, your audience, and your messaging to appeal to that audience – demonstrating your unique value proposition – we only ever start with our Personal Brand Profiling process. For a LinkedIn Refresh with us, you can expect to complete two sessions, the first being the Profiling and the second the LinkedIn Refresh, informed by the clarified brand messages we want to deliver.

Beware of any provider offering a quick LinkedIn profile! If they are talking to you about your career but the questions they ask and the subsequent messaging they produce feel general and surface-level, you’re not really getting much value. General or vague language, and jargon for the sake of jargon, have no impact and don’t differentiate you – they could be talking about anyone!

What’s the difference between getting your LinkedIn profile done through a career consultant and working with a personal brand consultant?

If you are working with a career coach or a recruitment agency that is delivering excellent preparation and training, your LinkedIn work will come from the foundational work they do, resulting in strong profile. The difference between this and our work is that we focus on ‘branding’, looking at your profile through a brand and marketing lens to identify what is needed to get the desired audience engagement and make you stand apart from your ‘competitors’.

Make sure you read our FAQ on why you shouldn’t purchase a ‘quick LinkedIn profile’ from anyone!

How much time will it take to do the personal branding work?

We usually offer packages with specific outcomes, rather than ongoing coaching in personal branding. Depending on the option you choose, developing your personal brand with us typically takes 1-4 sessions of 90 minutes each, plus some homework. Most people choose a package of 3 sessions which provides a complete strategic communications plan for your personal brand.

Some clients choose to add on one or two coaching sessions around a particular area, such as confidence in networking, sales conversations or presentation skills. Some choose ongoing implementation support following their personal brand strategy sessions, through quick monthly check-ins to make sure they are staying on track with their communications and networking. We also assist in building your thought leadership online through LinkedIn/website content management services.  Find out things our clients typically want support in here.

What is required to build a leadership brand?

Most of our individual clients fall into the category of ‘leadership brands’ – they are business owners, C-Suite executives and Non-Executive Directors, and they may also be developing speaking, consulting or mentoring roles. Typically, they have achieved a variety of milestones in their careers and have to juggle many roles. They also tend to be passionate about leading change in one or more areas of interest and expertise, and may also be navigating a transition period in their careers.

Leaders have specific requirements when it comes to developing their personal brands, and need to work with consultants who are experienced in these requirements. A leadership brand is not simply about appearing confident and looking the part – it goes well beyond these basics to consider elements such as market positioning, target audiences, exit strategy, competing objectives and core purpose.

This article outlines typical challenges and solutions to developing a leadership brand.

Is this personal branding work too personal/too in-depth for my needs?

Occasionally, someone enquiring with us is surprised and scared off by the fact that our process is quite personal. From the first phone call, Julissa might ask you questions about what you really want to achieve and what you most love to do! It is personal, because it’s your personal brand, and to really mean anything it has to get to the core of what matters to you in your work.

If you have a PR challenge or a specific campaign, we may not be the best choice if you simply want to address that issue in a siloed way. Our approach is about getting the fundamental brand messaging clear and creating a plan so you can communicate and build your reputation over time. If you don’t want us to ask questions about who you really are, you might prefer not to work with us!

When someone says, ‘I don’t have time to do this right now’, it usually means they didn’t realise the process isn’t just a one-hour session to ‘fix’ their LinkedIn profile. Our method goes into more depth because we aim to get you real, targeted results. Having said that, our clients are typically extremely busy people so our services are focused on getting a lot done in 1-3 short sessions, rather than ongoing coaching.

Will personal branding help me get my next ideal job?

Taking a personal brand approach to your job search is much more pro-active than only responding to online job ads or only working with a recruiter. Your competitors are likely using a combination of these types of activities too, as people are much more hands-on in shaping their careers nowadays.

Working on your personal brand will give you clarity and confidence in how you communicate your strengths and the value you bring to those who work with you. This helps you differentiate yourself online, attract interest and perform well in interview. If you complete a personal brand communication and networking strategy with us, you will also have a clear plan of how to reach out to important contacts and meet new people who can open doors for you.

Doing the work described above gives you the best chance of success in landing your ideal job, assuming you have the basic qualifications the role requires.

Will personal branding bring me more business?

No matter what you are selling, people do business with people. If your prospect sees you (visibility), connects with you (resonates with your brand and offering), and trusts you (likes what you have to say and feels you understand them), they are much more likely to work with you. It’s not enough to hide behind the business brand. You are the face of the brand and who people want to hear from; therefore your personal brand is an important consideration in growing your business.

If you have a team, fostering their professional confidence to communicate effectively about their work will likely achieve a lot in how the brand is perceived through them, and ultimately bring you more business.

What ‘famous’ personal brands have you worked with?

Sorry to disappoint you, but our work focuses on professional people, not stars! We work with business or career objectives, mostly in professional services, and the only social media platform we work with directly is LinkedIn. If you want to be InstaFamous, we can’t help!

We can certainly provide examples of successful professional clients who have worked with us, where they have given us permission to share their names. You can also check out lots of testimonials throughout our website as well as LinkedIn recommendations on Julissa’s profile.

I have several steps I need to take (e.g. writing content, refreshing social media pages, creating a website). Where does the personal brand work fit and how should I prioritise?

Any communication piece representing your personal brand, such as your website, social media posts… even a colour palette and logo design, should come from clearly defined brand messages – so personal brand work should come before this. Personal branding involves planning your goals, target audience and key messages about who you are and what you do; it may also involve strategic planning about how you can best communicate these messages using different media or tactics. Once that’s clear, your decisions about individual pieces like a website, photos, video or social media will be easy to make.

It’s really common to see people jump in and create things like social profile banners and business cards first, because this is such a fun and creative process. But in our experience, most people who start here end up re-doing it all once they are clearer on their brand.

I have more than one professional role. How will this be tackled in shaping my personal brand?

Many of the enquiries we get are about finding one clear focus to a personal brand when there may be more than one professional role or business interest. Sometimes these roles are very different, but even when they are, we usually find there is a link between them. This link will have more to do with the person’s passions and strengths than what they actually do… and this is a great place from which to build a personal brand. Our approach to unifying different roles is to find the common thread and build the theme around that, so that people see who you are and what you do from that perspective. 

In some cases where there is more than one professional role, the client doesn’t actually want to focus on all of them. In this situation, we work to highlight the role that is significant in shaping their future career or business goals. Whatever the case, we always start with what it is you are trying to achieve, and help you make decisions about your brand communication from there.

How do I navigate roadblocks to communicating my personal brand (e.g. conflict of interest, unable to announce changes yet, having to word sensitive information carefully)? If I have to wait a while before I can launch my personal brand, what can I do in the meantime?

While it will depend on the situation, launching the ‘new you’ may take some careful consideration of how your audience will receive it. Perhaps you need to wait until it is widely known that you are moving to a new role or a position in a new company, or you have to wait a certain amount of time before launching your own business. Maybe you have to think about how you will word your announcement of changes, or how you’ll structure your business or career plans to work around non-competes, ensure you aren’t making false claims, or simply to avoid burning bridges. Perhaps you are worried about how people will perceive the change you are planning to make.

While no-one can make these decisions for you, we can help through discussion of your situation to help you make those decisions confidently. In some cases, you may need to seek your own legal or other specialist advice.

While you are waiting to make your announcements, there is much personal brand planning work that you can get underway in the background, so that you will present a clear and cohesive message when you are ready to launch. For example, you can build your personal brand profile on paper to identify your goals, audience and message; you can put together your brand communication plan, and perhaps start creating content, website drafts, a new bio and even a photo shoot! When you are ready to make the move, you’ll already have all the materials you need and you can just hit ‘go’.

For a basic plan to guide your preparation before launching your personal brand, check out our article, ‘Countdown to launch: Planning behind the scenes for your personal brand’.

I’m returning to work after a break and I feel under-confident that I’ll still be seen as relevant. How do I overcome this?

This is a common sentiment when someone is returning to work or looking for a new role after some time off. We have clients who have come from time off due to parental leave, care for a sick or elderly family member, a period without work or time off to travel. We often find that people who are stepping back into a professional space struggle with a drop in confidence, usually around feeling they are ‘out of the loop’ or may have missed opportunities.

You may wish to check out our article on building a confident personal brand when returning to work, for some techniques that may assist in making a smooth transition and achieving your goals faster.

Do you offer personal brand and networking techniques to suit introverts?

Having worked with clients in a variety of roles and stages in their careers, in a wide range of industries… we have worked with many different types of people, and a great many identify as introverts.

When people we work with say they are introverts, they are usually telling us that they hate networking, don’t like posting on social media, are petrified of public speaking and definitely do not want to do videos! They might prefer one-on-one conversations over being in a crowded room, or they may wish to quietly get on with their work rather than build a personal brand on LinkedIn, for example. They may also say that they know they have to meet new people and ‘sell’, but they don’t feel aligned with the types of tactics they see or are encouraged to employ.

It is never a good idea to ‘force’ yourself or your team to talk to people, sell, network or communicate in any one particular way. It’s not about letting you off the hook – there are some things you might need to get better at in order to do well in your role, and going outside of your comfort zone is a good thing, because it’s the only way to grow. However, walking into a huge cocktail event to network with strangers, or getting on stage to present to an audience, will do no good to you or your company if you do not feel confident. Confidence comes from being prepared with a plan that feels value-aligned and authentic to you, even if a little outside of your comfort zone… and practising some useful techniques and skills that will help the communication to flow.

The plan and the techniques can be learned! Furthermore, there are specific types of activities that work better for introverts, such as sticking to times of the day when your energy is high, or choosing specific groups or activities that will help you network and communicate without the crowd or ‘performance’ feel. For more tips, check out the article on Networking for Introverts.

I’m not sure I want to be more ‘visible’! How do I build a personal brand if I don’t want to be all over the Internet?

If you feel embarrassed by attention, less than confident in putting your ideas out there, or unsure about what it takes to manage an online presence… building a personal brand online can seem not only daunting, but undesirable!

Most of us don’t want to appear conceited or self-promotional. The flip-side is, if you don’t make an effort to create a visible personal brand, you may go unnoticed. In this day and age, the reality is that people will Google you before contacting you – even if they’ve been introduced or referred. If your brand is not clear and visible, you won’t be able to build sufficient trust to get the person to pick up the phone or send you an email. And if your competition has more visibility than you, they are likely to get the call instead! For more on this, check out the article Get over your fear of self promotion… or be invisible!

We often feel overwhelmed by the number of communication channels out there and don’t want to add to our workloads. It’s not about being across all social media platforms! Having a narrow focus that increases your visibility to the right audience in one or two spaces is all that most people need. This is why it’s so important to have a strategic plan around what your message is, to whom, and where to best communicate that in order to be seen and heard by them.

Being on LinkedIn will take up too much time. If I am more active on LinkedIn, will people start hassling me?

Yes, if you are more active on LinkedIn, you will be more visible, and more people may hassle you. But also, more people will reach out to you for the right reasons!

If you want to expand your networks and reach people with your brand, you need to be out there talking to them… and have them talk to you. But there are ways you can manage this so you are not bombarded with messages straight into your email inbox, regularly solicited with unwanted coffee invitations or spammed constantly. Update your LinkedIn privacy and notification settings, schedule specific times of day to attend to social media and set yourself some boundaries about who you’ll connect with.

I’m not good at writing / public speaking / running webinars / talking to the media / doing videos. Are these essential?

When you’re starting out building your brand, it’s easy to believe that you have to do all the social media platforms and take advantage of all the marketing tools and opportunities out there. With so many choices, this is becoming increasingly impossible… and as any seasoned brand-builder will tell you, trying to do everything becomes a big waste of time and other resources.

The key to great brand-building is to have a very clear strategy. That means getting your goals, target audiences and value messaging very clear from the start, and then creating a simple plan that makes sense for those foundations. Whenever you make a decision about a communication tool or tactic, you should be asking yourself, ‘Is this the best fit for my goals, audience and messages?’

Writing, videos, public speaking, running webinars and talking to media can be very effective tools if done strategically and done well. If you want to try all of these but are new to them, you are best off choosing one and mastering that before moving to the next. All of these communication tools take time to learn to do well… so this circles back to my first point – be sure it’s the best strategy for you before making the commitment. The best strategy does not mean doing it because it’s ‘nice to have’, or ‘everyone else is doing it’ or ‘I was told to do it’… it’s the best because it is the one you feel you can execute well to achieve your goals.

This does not mean you are off the hook! You do need to master at least one type of communication platform to get your voice heard, even if it’s a steep learning curve and out of your comfort zone. Exploring tools to stay informed, and regularly working to improve your communication skills, are still important in building your personal brand. We assist our clients with building proficiency in aspects of personal brand communication such as public speaking, leading meetings and sales conversations, presenting on video or writing articles.

If you are planning to outsource communication, do this with caution. It’s great to find experts to do the things you are not good at and to allow you to focus on what you do excel in. It’s not great to blindly handball your personal brand communication to someone else. To be truly on-brand, authentic and connected with your audience, your thought leadership and interactions must be your own.  Many of our clients get monthly help from our team for content planning and ideas, editing, publishing and accountability… but we do not simply ‘make up’ the content for them without any input from them, and we don’t create content for anyone whose brand strategy we haven’t worked with, because we won’t write in a one-size-fits-all way.

What is the first step in working with you on my personal brand?

The first step of course is to get in touch with us to tell us about your needs. Julissa always starts with a scheduled 15-minute Zoom or phone call to chat with you about what you want to achieve with your personal brand. We will discuss what the strengths and areas of need currently are around your brand clarity and visibility, or if you are starting from scratch, what is required to get you where you want to go.

Once we know we are a good fit to work together, we will go through some of your options in working with us and find the best fit for you and your goals. We will then send you information on what your package will include.

Once you come on board, the next step is to schedule your personal brand development sessions and provide you with some pre-session ‘homework’ in the form of reflection questions to get you started thinking about your personal brand. At the same time, we do some homework at our end, to research around your brand and start generating some ideas to share with you.

What can I expect from the personal branding process with you?

Your 1-to-1 sessions with Julissa, delivered in-person or via Zoom, will be structured and comprehensive, but at the same time, will have flexibility to address needs as they come up. Our clients know they can call or email at any time during the project when they need support or have a question implementing strategies we’ve put in place with them. It will feel like a partnership and a journey towards clear outcomes.

The 1-to-1 sessions will feel like a facilitated discussion, exploring ideas and working through time-tested frameworks to arrive at clear personal brand value messaging, strategy and communication plans. In addition, there is a teaching or coaching element to the sessions, where Julissa will support you in particular areas of personal brand communication that you might need help with, such as posting on LinkedIn, structuring keynote speeches, or planning what you will do and say during networking and BD situations. The teaching is both woven into standard sessions and detailed out in optional additional support sessions, depending on need.

Transparent and regular communication is fundamentally important to us in the way we work with clients. You will feel you are connected in, clear on the process, and supported in an individual way throughout the project – if you ask any of our clients, we are confident that this is what they’ll say about their experience.

When you finish up a project with us, there are always options to continue to be supported, such as through further training, assistance in developing content, or keeping you on track with your goals through regular check-ins. You’ll also be added to our client mailing list to hear of upcoming presentations and webinars, and to receive monthly resources and tips, if you wish.

Some great places to start:

Book a phone chat with Julissa

The best place to start is to contact us to book a 15-minute phone chat with Julissa. She will ask you what you hope to gain from personal branding, where you’re at now and where you’d like to be. She’ll also give you a few starting points to get you on your way, and answer any questions you have about working with her.

Dip your toes in with some great personal brand resources

Julissa’s book is a popular choice for DIY’ers as well as those who want an understanding of how we structure a personal brand strategy. It includes a complete set of exercises and planning points to help you get clear on your personal brand.

If you want something quick and easy to access, make sure you explore the videos and articles on the detail of personal branding on Julissa’s blog.

All our services are available in-person and online. To find out more, contact us to schedule a chat with Julissa.