With the rise of portfolio careers the issues of ‘what are you?’ and ‘how do you promote yourself when you do different things?’ come up frequently. And it can be a challenging process defining your brand and presenting it to the world.
Recently I’ve been helping one client, Sarah, disentangle all the strands of her activities spinning out from three websites, two blogs, three Facebook accounts and a LinkedIn page. They all promoted different things that Sarah does both for work and fun – coaching, consulting, yoga teaching, small business advisory and mentoring, travel and food.
Sarah’s need to brand each activity, to give it a unique identity and to house it in a distinct space had resulted in an overwhelming muddle. Made more confusing by the fact that many of Sarah’s activities overlap in terms of clients, geography and referrals.
After a conversation that ran along the lines of “This piece is about travelling but it’s writing about the sense of discovery so it’s not travel writing, its more coaching, so maybe it should go out under the coaching brand…but with a link to the writing website as well?” It has been a difficult, but necessary and worthwhile process.
So, I did what I do when faced with an overwhelming situation or problem to solve. I ask:
‘What are you trying to achieve?’
If we can clearly identify the desired destination, then we can map out how to get there. Stephen Covey’s principle of ‘begin with the end in mind’ is a coaching edict that has never failed me nor the people I help.
- go back to basics
- press pause on thinking in multiples
- map out the desired end state
- find the core purpose and messages
Solving the issue of how to present a portfolio career is about stripping away the differences to find the common denominator. You.
The highly talented Jane Audas has it covered. Her work and interests are captured on her website perfectly because she is the core, the centre around which all her creative activities and interests orbit. Take a look here. She moved away from titles for each of her websites and blogs and rebranded under her name. Yes, she has categories, but her work and interests overlap because she has identified herself as the core and why she does what she does: “The link…is that I like finding and telling stories about objects.”
Similarly, at the core of what I do is that I help people be happier at work. My brand is structured around that central mission and all of the services I provide link back to it.
If you’re struggling to define and present your professional self, why not get in touch? A session of career therapy can help you define your core brand so you can move forward.