“Don’t Become a Stranger to yourself by blending in with everyone else”-Dodinsky
A random post that I shared about Women in Business and Personal Branding on Instagram last week totally inspired this blog. It took me awhile to actually sit down and write it because I’m all over the place and I’m still finding my blogging voice...but it’s getting clearer.
The best thing I ever did for myself and my business was take off the mask... the mask of appearing perfect.. the mask of having it all together… the mask of being all business and all “boujee” all the time. That’s not me, that’s not even 25% of me. Over the years I’ve learned that it’s the perfectly - imperfect, quirky parts of me that have helped me connect with my tribe and my friends on much deeper level! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying bare your whole soul and just tell all your personal business through your branding; nah not at all...I’m saying that as an entrepreneur it is perfectly fine to merge your personality and those very real and relatable parts of you into your business. From there you create an appeal that is unique to you and only you. Think about it.. Who gets noticed more, people that blend in with the masses… or people that stand out in their uniqueness???
It's from this vantage point that respect and trust are born. Not only is this vital for building credibility among your customers and followers, but it also puts you in a great position to network on a more personal level with your peers and colleagues. In my opinion, being genuine and authentic is the first step in creating a powerful personal brand.That is why I absolutely LOVE it when clients come to me willing and ready to take that mask off, that mask that they think they have to wear to be successful and accepted. From there we are able to create a collection of photos that have dimension and depth as they own their power and essence in pictures and position themselves on a more visible platform to serve and earn a living on their own terms.
A few years ago, just starting out and transitioning from the corporate world where I was a total misfit and non-conformist in that culture. I had dreams of a “Chanel like” brand that was timeless, iconic, chic and super sophisticated and there was nothing wrong with that except for the fact that I thought that I had to appear as something more perfect and polished than what I was (as if I wasn’t already enough) to establish myself as a serious high end portrait photographer. After a few years of all the pretty, “PC” and perfectness I started to feel restricted, like I was in a box and that I couldn't really express myself in my business because it didn’t match my Brand… how did I not match my OWN personal brand?? This did not sit well with me at all (around that time was when I created my alter IG Ego by the name if King Moe… she’s a fool y'all.. And she’s also me...more on that in a different post).
Granted, we all have multiple sides but I think the part of me that is the least “Chanel like”, the real person with challenges, wins, a potty mouth, vulnerable moments as well as major accomplishments makes me more relatable and accessible to my people and ultimately that’s what I want as that’s what I want for my clients.
Now that I think more about it, it all just seems crazy and hella contradictory (even though I am a walking contradiction of sorts..no shame here) as much as I railed against that rigid, picture perfect corporate culture that I came from, I still found myself bringing it into the brand that I was creating for myself. The one with my name on it (Monique Floyd) and all that did was put up a barrier between me and the audience that I wanted to engage with and the clients that I wanted to work with. The thought leaders, the spiritual game changers, the wild and wise women that are ready to kick ass and take names. The brilliantly smart shit talkers with a heart of gold. The rebels with an actual cause. Ultimately the brave, bold and beautiful women that stand for something larger than them (I just love adjectives y'all).
Honestly not everybody that hires me is fully sold on my idea of personal branding, some still come in stiff and stuffy with dark suits, blazers and kitten heels and that’s perfectly fine but I make it a point to give them permission to be all of themselves during the shoot and 99% of the time that’s all it takes for the real them to show up and that’s when the magic happens.
As a Beauty and Personal Branding Headshot Photographer my goal is to have all my ladies feel fully self expressed in their Images so I make it a point to let them know that they can just themselves… in real life and their business and I use myself as the example. I set the tone before the shoot during our initial consultation as I get to know them and the story they want to tell. During the shoot I’m usually in something lowkey and casual…. I might even be barefoot...dancing around and laughing. I tell them flat out that there is nothing scary and technical about the way that I shoot so there is no need to be nervous. I like to follow energy and light and If you’ve ever had a shoot with me you know that we have fun, we share stories, we even cry…. somehow all of my sessions turn into parties and clients leave feeling empowered, confident, and beautiful.
For years I’ve been telling myself that eventually I’ll just “I get paid to be me as I help others become more of themselves” … after writing this I realize that I already am.
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