Have you been thinking about becoming a personal brand? Are you worried about how transitioning into a personal brand website might impact your business?
Creating a personal brand website is something that a lot of our web design clients have come to us for over the years. And we’ve noticed that business owners with more ‘traditional’ types of business (like freelancers or service-based entrepreneurs) can worry about this transition.
So in this post, we cover some of the benefits and risks of having a personal brand and share 7 tips to help you when transitioning into a personal brand website.
What are the benefits of transitioning to a personal brand?
A personal brand helps you become more memorable
Building a personal brand (and a website to go with it) is really powerful because it helps you stand out.
So many businesses out there still hide behind a logo. And if you’re brave enough to show up as the person behind your business, you give yourself a better chance of getting noticed.
When you think about it, we’re built to connect with people – it’s what we do as human beings!
And as consumers, when we land on a personal brand website (which is more approachable and personable), we immediately feel we can build rapport with someone. It’s easier to create a deeper connection with a person than it is to connect with a business as an entity.
A personal brand helps you establish yourself as an expert
Let’s say, as an example, that you’re looking to move from done-for-you services into coaching and consulting. If that’s the case, having a personal brand can help people see you in a new light – as an expert in your field.
Clients will start to perceive you as being ‘in demand’ and ‘exclusive’. And of course, with that, comes the ability to charge higher fees!
A personal brand allows you to change direction without losing your audience
Unless you change industry completely, being a personal brand means your name is attached to your business. It follows you wherever you go.
So if you want to slightly change direction, all the contacts you’ve made, and everything you’ve built up through your content marketing, for example, follows you. Your audience knows who you are – you have a reputation.
What are the risks associated with transitioning to a personal brand?
As a personal brand business owner, your business becomes synonym with your name. And that’s great for many reasons (some of which we covered above).
But there are also some risks.
You might lose some of your audience
If you’re planning on changing your business name (or business model) completely and without warning your clients, you might cause confusion and a lack of trust with your audience.
And that never ends well.
When you think about it, if someone’s been Googling your business name for years, and now all of a sudden it disappears from the face of the internet with no warning or notice, it might raise a red flag with some of your audience.
But that’s only going to happen if you don’t tell them in advance and are secretive about your move!
In reality, most people (be it your existing or prospective customers) won’t mind if you are becoming more of an expert, putting your face on your website, and offering different types of services. They just care if you don’t tell them!
You might lose credibility with big, corporate clients
A lot of service-based business owners worry about losing credibility with their prospective clients, especially if they work with bigger companies.
- Will they think I’m too small to work with them?
- Will they think I can no longer offer the services I’ve been offering them?
These are valid questions to have. But transitioning to a personal brand doesn’t mean you’re going to lose credibility with bigger clients.
As long as you manage this correctly and give them the confidence and the evidence they need to believe that you can still handle the work and provide value, they’re not going to worry about what you call yourself.
You’re still the same person who’s been doing all the work!
You might confuse people if you change your domain name
If you’ve been using your business name as your domain name for years, and now you’re switching to using your own name, people are bound to get confused.
We talk more about domain names in our blog post: How to Choose a Domain Name for your Personal Brand Website. But there are definitely measures you can put in place for this too (see point 5 below).
You might struggle to sell your business
If you’re a personal brand, selling your business can be harder. So if you started your business with a view of selling it in the future, becoming a personal brand might not be the right move for you.
However, for most of our clients, their business is their own. If you’re not planning to sell your business on down the line (even though you never know what opportunities life might bring!), transitioning to a personal brand can make a lot of sense.
So how do you manage the transition to a personal brand?
All in all, the benefits of transitioning to a personal brand far outweigh the downsides. If you already have a business behind you and a steady stream of customers, becoming a personal brand can only benefit you.
But you’re right in wanting to think carefully and strategically about how you’re going to manage the transition and minimise the risks we mentioned above!
The good news is that it’s nothing a bit of planning and careful communication can’t fix!
So here are our top tips for you.
1. Tell your audience
We touched on this earlier. Not telling your clients about the move hoping they won’t notice is not a good strategy!
The key is to be open and upfront about your transition and the reasons behind changing your services.
You might feel nervous about doing it, but your audience will understand – they might even be interested and intrigued by the new direction you’re taking!
In fact, people tend to appreciate the thought process that goes behind making important business decisions. Some of them might be business owners themselves, and you might be giving them food for thought, which they’ll definitely appreciate!
And don’t be surprised if you get some new enquiries as a result!
So always be transparent and explain what you’re doing.
We use our blog content to do this. And whenever we’ve made changes in our business in the past, we’ve taken to our blog to let our audience know exactly why, how, and when.
We did this when we stopped selling SEO (Why We Stopped Selling SEO), and we did it more recently when we decided to increase our web design prices (Why We’re Increasing Our Web Design Prices).
2. If possible, don’t discontinue all your services at once
Moving to a consulting or speaking-on-stage model, for example, might mean you no longer offer some of your done-for-you services.
And that’s fine, but if you have existing clients on a retainer, you’re going to have to let them know and manage the situation! So you either continue to offer the service (but only to existing clients) or get ready to have some difficult conversations with them!
It’s generally easier to slowly build your new services up and phase the old ones out gradually, rather than completely switching overnight. This makes it more convenient for your existing clients but also helps you to protect your income.
Take us, for example. Although we are a personal brand business, we very much stand behind Jammy Digital as our agency. And as an agency, we used to offer SEO services, which we no longer sell. When we discontinued our SEO service, we decided to continue to provide it to our existing clients.
So if you’re making changes to your website, instead of completely scrapping your existing one and starting from scratch, think about where you can make room for your new services.
If you want to become a speaker, add a new page to your website, rather than getting rid of everything you’ve ever had in one go.
3. Be proud of your experience
So you’ve been helping clients in your industry for 10 years?
Great. Own it. Be proud of where you come from and use it to your advantage.
Show your new ideal customers how you help them.
When you transition into a personal brand, don’t be afraid of talking about your past experience.
- Tell people that you’ve been helping companies do exactly what you’re now coaching or consulting about for x years.
- Tell them that you have a proven track record of doing this thing. And that’s why you know how to get them results!
Of course, this only applies if you’re transitioning within the same industry or niche.
If you’re changing business entirely and going from banking to health and fitness, then you’ll probably have to build a brand new audience.
4. Use your website to communicate the changes to your audience
Use your website in the same way you’d speak to someone over the phone.
You might need to tweak the wording here, but what you want to communicate is something along the lines of:
“Hi, Mr. Customer. Up until now we’ve been offering services to help you with X. But now we’re also offering Y. And I just wanted to make you aware we are having a change around with our website.”
It’s this simple.
And if you’re concerned about the impact this might have on your existing and prospective clients, then have a real conversation with them. If you have a few key clients that are the bread and butter of your business, pick up the phone and speak to them!
Show them how your transition benefits them, ask them for their feedback or opinion. After all, they’re not going to stop working with you just because you’re establishing yourself as more of an expert!
So listen to their worries and objections (if any), and reassure them. Then use that content for your website – let it do the talking for you. You’ll see how this can work wonders in building trust with your visitors.
5. If you’re switching domains, redirect your traffic
If you change your domain name when transitioning into a personal brand website, speak to your web designer or your SEO company to make sure that if somebody types in your old website, it redirects to your new personal brand website.
This is important because you don’t want to lose any traffic. And also, you don’t want your customers to reach a dead end when they’re looking for you online!
6. Show images of yourself
We’ve got news for you.
If you are becoming a personal brand business owner, you’re going to have to show images of yourself on your website!
Up until now, you might not have done that. And that’s fine. But a big part of becoming a personal brand is people knowing what you look like! So show us your face, please!
And this still applies even if you have a team of people behind you – be it permanent staff or a team of freelancers, because people connect with people. And don’t worry – people don’t mind that you have a crew behind you, as long as you’re prepared to stand up tall as the captain of the ship (or the expert and the authority in your field).
Showing your prospective clients what you look like helps you build trust and authority. Because consumers want to know that there are real people behind a business – it makes it more trustworthy and easier to connect to. And if you want to find out more about how that works, head over to our blog post The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Personal Brand Website.
7. Show your personality
Having a clear tone of voice is harder to do when you’re a corporate business. But when you transition into a personal brand, that’s when you can start to be yourself and have fun by showing your personality within your business.
And the beauty of it is that people start to get to know who you are and what you’re like!
Stepping out as the person behind the business, allows you to connect with your audience a lot more. You get to publish content you may have not published before and to write it all in the first person too!
As a personal brand business owner, you get to put your own unique stamp, spin, and personality onto your content. And if you want to learn more about this, head over to our blog post, How to Master Your Tone of Voice.
Have you made the leap to a personal brand?
Or are you thinking about it? We’d love to know your thoughts. Just comment below!
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